copenhagen fashion week: yde

(images via fashionising)

i suppose i’ve become a little spoiled, having had the opportunity to discover so much background information for the shows held in buenos aires, stockholm, and medellin (among others), but it is making coverage of copenhagen’s (and berlin) fashion week that much harder, and a little less fun.  after all, don’t the danish designers deserve the same love the colombian or swedish do?  they do! especially when the shows we’re discussing are as good as designer ole yde’s s/s 2013 range for his label, yde!

but as ever, we’ll just have to do the best we can.  and although i can’t say i’m a particular expert on mr. yde’s work, having covered his collections only sporadically—for the s/s 2011 & a/w 2012 seasons—my overall impression is that he likes to create pretty, frilly party clothes (ruffled cocktail frocks and smart black-and-white suiting separates in particular) with a touch of youthfulness, but enough quality control to make his pieces both appeal to the older crowd and (with a couple of exceptions, of course) be malleable enough to manipulate into something work-ready. 

anyway, because doing free-association is one of my favourite things about assessing all of these collections (and really, i like to think that maybe i can pull influences out of all of this), i’d love to take a couple of guesses, although i’m not sure i can pin it exactly.  for spring, mr. yde’s diverse colour palette and girlishness reminded me a little of fellow danish label rützou’s s/s 2012 range, with the same iridescent shine and almost plastic-y texture that we saw at both anne-valerie hash a/w 2010 show in paris and cyrille gassiline’s a/w 2012 exhibition in moscow, while these, as well as the lovely, almost cartoon-y florals echoed that which we’d recently viewed at the s/s 2013 são paulo fashion week iódice show. 

yet i don’t want to suggest that there wasn’t a mood all inherently mr. yde’s own—there was, and as i’ve said previously, i’m not well aware enough of the intricacies of the label to really assess from a professional perspective, but those ultra-feminine details like peplums, accordion pleats, and ruffles (to say nothing of the regular presence of blistering shades of pink and those ubiquitous florals) certainly weren’t active participants of any of the aforementioned collections, though they were in full force at the present show (as, yannow, they are at practically all the yde exhibitions i’ve checked out over the years). 

now then, even though there weren’t many opting to weigh in on the events of yde’s spring collection, we were lucky enough to get at least one.  in addition to giving us such snazzy images of the show, fashionising wrote in their review that “(w)ith side-swept waves of hair and bold, graphic eye makeup…[the yde] show was already off to a great start. Even when outfits were reduced to plain black daytime dresses, the hair and makeup lifted them into looks you’d want to wear.”  

“Mid way through, when day dresses turned to evening ones, the whole look edged its way into 1960s territory by way of white lace or organza minidresses scattered with appliqué flowers. If the brand is all about feminine, luxury pieces for women, then designer Ole Yde did that right for spring / summer 2013,” the site concluded.  i suppose i’d tend to agree that there was a certain sixties flavour, but as with the prior collections of the label opt has reviewed, i’m not sure that there wasn’t any one strength of feeling contiguous throughout. 

rather—and this is, perhaps (in my view, at least) the designer’s biggest failing—the yde shows tend to feel like a haphazard display of current trends and favourite ideas of ole yde’s, without any one overarching idea to in the end tie things all together.  now, that isn’t to say there aren’t (as ever) a lot of really good individual looks, but taken as a whole, his collections tend to feel a lot more like a very girly girl’s closet than a cohesive whole, telling us a complete story (and in this way, he rather reminds me of ny designer erin fetherston, especially given his love for the frothily feminine). 

and so, as i could simultaneously pick out a whole basketful of looks i’ve absolutely love to whisk away, i’m going to all the same argue that i wish mr. yde could pull things tighter, forgo some of his colours (really, we saw nearly everything on the colour wheel), prints, and styles, and work on trying to cultivate a mood, to tell us something instead of just arbitrarily creating pieces based on the notions of things he believes his customers might like to own.  in the end, much as i believe the man has talent, i think it will help the label survive—after all, if he doesn’t have a game plan (and these days, it appears he doesn’t), how will the label ever evolve beyond making cute girls look cute?  true, that works for some, but with a talent like this one, don’t we want yde to be more than just that? (see additional show images at vogue & dark light color)

(enjoy the full fashion show video here)

bafw: amores trash couture

(images via dmodas)

one of the things i really enjoy about some of the smaller, lesser well-known fashion weeks is the requisite ‘zany show’ (or shows) that must be contained within the lineup: for example, los angeles has nuvula; são paulo has neon; zagreb has…well, okay, practically everyone showing; copenhagen, the tabernacle twins, oslo has fam irvoll, and i think from here on, you probably get the rest of my point.  but anyway, though i can’t be sure (as we’ve only seen a glimpse of their s/s 2012 range), i’m suspecting the honour at buenos aires fashion week belongs to amores trash couture!

like, say, london’s the rodnik band, it would appear that the argentine house is more about having a good time and presenting a cheerful, zippy collection than anything really weighty descending upon us, but their s/s 2013 range was a fun thing to behold, all the same.  according to the argentine site zirene, the collection was titled ‘jungle robots’, and as i suspect you’re beginning to suspect, the backstory was basically as madcap as the chains adorning the models’ faces. 

anyway, the brand’s explanation of what it was all about on the bafw site was a little muddied, but we’ll try to sort it out all the same (trans.): “it speaks of a robot entering into a jungle…[and] begins to want to be alikeIt is a fantasy with this character so different and particular, with a transformation happening where your lines become more rounded and square and angular and strong, saturate colours decrease in intensity until it becomes a jungle metal. Eventually symbiosis happens between all levels, a harmony [in which]
lines and colours soften and fuse together. This process reads the throughout the collection.”

got that?  i’m not sure i totally did, but i’m going to read it as something of a backwards story of the urban jungle, with something that was once hard and metal turning backwards into the organic (rather than the other way ‘round the planet appears to be going at a rapid rate), which reminded me rather a bit of a video i happened to catch on an airplane of what would happen to nyc if people suddenly vanished from the scene (you can see it in two parts here & here—it’s actually quite interesting if you’ve the time). 

but sorry, back to the collection at hand. and so, informing us that the stage was set rather like a summer’s night, complete with carribean-influenced music, the blog (which incidentally has some great detail shots) me gusta o no me gusta reported that (trans.) “(t)he colour palette is true to the brand, or vice versa: blue, yellow, pink, black, silver and gold,” while the bafw article went on to detail that the main materials for the range were silk, metallics, and jersey. 

finally, as for what was on the runway besides a lot of party-esque frocks (that really reminded me of what we regularly see in both the balkans and london), loqueva relayed that (trans.) “(t)he proposal for this collection was to expand the brand to include everyday items like patterned shirts, skirts, shorts, pants and even swimsuits.”  and while the separates were charming, i’d certainly avow that it was the short, taffeta-esque (okay, it just felt like taffeta) numbers that speak to when the amores trash couture co and really in their groove. 

in the end, i’d call things basically pretty wearable, with a few exceptions (those high-waisted strapped power blue short shorts, above), but if anything looked intimidating, i’d say it was likely more of a styling issue than a design flaw—actually, when checking out an image of the overall scene, those draped and ruched frocks were pretty run-of-the-mill cute club-going pieces for a variety of bright youngy things, which sometimes actually led me to wish they’d taken a few more creative risks like those metallic layered numbers (at top and bottom), but whatever, not really a problem.  it was all good fun, in a bit of a high street-going sort of way, but sometimes a girl needs that too, non?  of course (see some additional show images at moda al dia).

(view the catwalk finale video here)

berlin fashion week: rena lange

(images via mbfwb)

okay, so i’ve actually got a couple of ‘this is weird’-type remarks, and i don’t really know where to begin, so i’ll first point out that although as my affection grows for designer rena lange, and while i always thought she was one of the better-known exhibitors at berlin fashion week, when regarding the reviews on her s/s 2013 range…well, they were paltry.  at best.  and it’s a shame, because her colourful, oft-retro leaning, polished femininity (see a/w 2011 & s/s 2012) makes for interesting conversational fodder, which will actually lead me to my next point…

interestingly, in their review, wwd remarked that “(t)his collection exhaled a laid-back, high-summer feel. The core inspiration: David Hockneys swimming pool paintings as well as Romy Schneider’s easy chic in the 1969 movie ‘The Swimming Pool’.”  and while we’ve seen the film work as inspiration for the s/s 2012 joe fresh show in toronto, mr. hockney’s work ‘a bigger splash’ has actually just served as fodder for the malaikaraiss s/s 2013 presentation in berlin!  so.  small world, i guess. however, i would hasten to add that the two german designers’ work was very different in tone, and it’s always quite fascinating to see how that works, methinks. 

thus, while what we saw manifest on the runway wasn’t drastically different from that which we’ve seen at other maritime-esque shows (and in particular, i’m thinking of the s/s 2012 nica kessler show in rio de janeiro, as well as a bit of mongrels in common’s aquatic prints in their ‘heidi goes scuba diving’ s/s 2012 affair and the cool tones combined with smart lines for ‘stevie wonder in iceland’ a/w 2012; the subtle delicacy of these three shows was evoked here for me combined with traces of several stella mccartney collections, though most particularly s/s 2012 & a/w 2012), i will say that designer karsten fielitz did a good job of melding these notes with the house aesthetic. 

as for the critics’ opinions (for which i know you’ve thus been waiting with eager anticipation), zeitgeschmack stated that mr. fielitz’s (trans.) “designs are a perfect symbiosis of what Rena Lange was in the past and the modern spirit.…[he] put not only delicate colours such as nude and a soft apricot on the runway, but black and navy also played a major role in his choice of colours,” as the blog fashion notes suggested that there were navajo overtones, citing (trans.) “suede, applications and ethno-prints” in the range as well, though i personally found these trends more in line with the seventies-casual spirit the brand seems to have as an integral part of its dna. 

meanwhile (yeah, i really wasn’t able to find any weighty discussion or anything nearing it on the range), amongst their marvelous images that up-close show the textures and the distressed and tactile prints, the german site modepilot ventured that the lange show might have been the best of the week.  certainly i’ll allow that they have a case—what with the lovely, and utterly wearable breezy, summery separates and sweet little cocktail dresses, which often have a touch of—but not too much—girlishness. and seeming agreeing with me on the last point was the blog that’s so me in commenting that the brand’s (trans.) “classical and conservative navy looks were interpreted [in a] younger and more athletic [manner] in this collection.”

Fine prints in bright shades, short hemlines and kaftans with simple cuts completed the elegant summer look,” (trans.) related the german site modeopfer 110.  “Strong contrasts, such as a bright yellow collar on a white silk blouse, made eye-catchers of simple basics. The pastel shades were replaced at the end with marine blue-and-white contrasts…[which] acted as the well-known sailor look.” indeed.  but what i really liked about the show, ultimately, was the way it would integrate easily with the pieces in one’s own wardrobe.  it had as easy, unassuming manner that was at once pretty and lovely, but not so sharp or shocking it would fail to assimilate well with items from another collection.  and though it didn’t get the reviews it probably deserved (probably because it didn’t scream loudly), i, too, am tempted to say that this season, it was one of berlin’s best (see additional images at vogue, amicales mads).

(see a short collection video here)

couture week: chanel

(images via vogue)

so.  although opt has actually been following the house of chanel some years now, both in couture, which we’re discussing today (see s/s 2010 hc, f/w 2010 hc, s/s 2011 hc, f/w 2011 hc, s/s 2012 hc) and rtw, i think you know that the past couple of seasons have been fraught with see-sawing.  i’m willing to praise karl lagerfeld’s overwhelming talent loudly as any of the sycophants in the fashion magazine industry, but all the same, i’ll also confess (albeit grudgingly, considering the shrapnel that will rain down on my head) when i don’t think homeboy is on his game, something that, indeed, has been happening with all the more consistency of late (kind of like the way woody allen’s films are a bit like 2:1 these days). 

thus, that, of course, begs the question: where was his latest haute couture effort, for the f/w 2012 season (particularly as i wasn’t especially pleased with his prior couture, nor his most recent rtw, for the resort 2013 season, presented in may) to land? ah, well, i’m pleased to proclaim that—from where i sit, at least, as there are many others who seem to believe the man could never design a bad item, even if that design might include something like the orthopedic-esque skate-type shoes that were a part of the aforementioned resort show—i found it an absolute success.  does that mean the upcoming spring show might fail?  maybe.  but at least we’ve got the designer’s brilliance here for another day. 

This evocation of Alain Resnais’s elegiac 1961 film, Last Year at Marienbad, elegantly costumed by Coco herself—and Karl’s reminder that he is living firmly in the present—summed up the spirit of a collection that he dubbed ‘New Vintage,’ reworking Chanel’s classics in a way that subtly showcased the extraordinary handwork which the house’s ateliers and the subsidiary embroidery houses that Chanel now owns, are so capable of producing,” us vogue prattled, adding rather interestingly that “‘(a)ll the tweeds are embroidery,’ Karl declared…Whilst some were created entirely from looped silken threads and shimmering paillettes, others were sophisticated patchworks of color-block plaids.”

meanwhile, the iht’s suzy menkes weighed in that “a flow of high-waisted, wide pants..might have come from hazy photographs of a mademoiselle in Deauville…were, in fact, invented in one of the designer’s gouache drawings. With the models wearing mesh snoods and walking in metal-trimmed court shoes, the clothes looked womanly and for the well-behaved. Checked tweed coats and suits certainly seemed familiar, the kind of solid Chanel pieces that come up at auction. Except that they were an optical illusion: new renditions of the eternal Coco look, with every square and line embroidered by the Chanel fairy fingers.”

“But,” she continued (wrongly, i think), “fashion now is not about the actuality of intricate handwork, however beautiful. It is about perception. And the problem with this collection, for all its genteel and fragile beauty, is that it seemed dull — although there were lovely pieces, like a black velvet dress with a frilled pocket in the skirt, and pants in a patchwork of lace. The root problem was that this is not a moment to look back. It is time to clear the closet, strip everything down to clean lines and make decoration sparse…In his recent resort collection shown at Versailles, the Chanel image was of froufrou and frivolity to the max. Playing picador to fashion’s minimalists would not have been appropriate for couture winter 2012. This show therefore seemed like a compromise: a gentle kiss to Coco, but not enough energy for now.”

ah, well, whatever.  on the other hand, showstudio opined that “(a)t [the] Autumn Winter show there were, of course, the requisite tweeds, though with extra long sleeves (even sleeveless looks had over the elbow ‘gloves’ cut off at the fingers) and sparkling silver tights to keep you warm.  One dress played with a butterfly effect, shoulders of pale pink chiffon and a bodice of striped shell and cream pailettes.  All the standard suits were there, a few Peter Pan collars, bell sleeves and slinky dresses (is the new erogenous zone the sides of the stomach and lower back?)  Real whimsy came though in an Indian dream of a look with scales fading from blue to hot pink [and] a sweet pom pom dotted shimmer column.”

“The show was staged in the Grand Palais, as has become custom, but this time Lagerfeld used the Salon d’Honneur, a space that had been closed off for 70 years,” style informed us.  “The walls were painted, the ceiling and door surrounds customized to an interior design concept that Coco Chanel used in her original salon de couture. But here it was refreshed. ‘A renovation of the existing spirit for our time,’ Lagerfeld said. Renovation wasn’t, however, the thrust of the actual collection. It was far less jeune fille than it’s been of late. When Jamie Bochert and Stella Tennant stepped out on the catwalk, they looked like substantial women of character. Their clothes had a 1940’s line—broad shoulders, swingy coat, cape backs—in a color palette of black, gray, silver, and dusty pink that spoke of film noir interiors.”

“Their hair also had a forties flavor,” the site continued, “with a Rosie the Riveter snood. In other words, there was nothing new about this particular vintage. But it worked, in a gutsy, grown-up way. Lagerfeld’s portrait of Chanel adorned the invitation and, in keeping with that nod to heritage, the spine of the collection was suits. Except that the classic tweed was actually embroidery on tulle. Thousands of hours of handwork. Couture in excelsis.
 Lagerfeld paired the suits with sparkling hose and wove silver through his ‘tweeds.’ There was gilding galore….[with] an ethereal gilet spun from what looked like thistledown followed hard and less than coherently on the heels of a tracksuit in dégradé sequins. But that wayward abundance has always been the rule with Lagerfeld’s Chanel. And who knows how that tracksuit will look on the block at Sotheby’s in 50 years?”

and uk vogue praised the “the tweeds that opened the show (in a patchwork of lilac and pink, grey and black)…[included] one oversized jacket, teamed with a silver evening dress…The combination of the two garments together made for a modern twist. Lurex, too, was added to the mix to bring sparkle and shine to the otherwise very prim and pretty ensembles…For eveningwear, Karl took kaftan shapes and cut off their sleeves to turn them into lounge coats to accompany sinuous floor-length gowns beneath. Or kaftans themselves were transformed into shimmering dresses in pink and purple. He then took it up a notch with cream and pastel pink blooms smothering the fronts of dresses that were light, delicate and beautiful. For the more adventurous Chanel customer, there was a pink pompom-clad column gown – certainly a fun addition to the line-up.”

quite surprisingly, we actually found the nyt’s cathy horyn pleased with what she saw: “The beauty of haute couture is that things can be exceedingly odd and individual. For me, that is the basis of dreaming and constructing stories for the woman (me!) who might inhabit these clothes. This was a collection, done primarily in pinks and grays, with touches of pale blue and silver-gray (and naturally black), where tweeds were very often embroideries, where a pair of blue sequined palazzo pants appeared to be dip-dyed in rose pink. In fact, it was all illusion; the pants were entirely embroidered. One of my favorite pieces in the collection was a caftan in a seemingly scratchy knit patchwork of pink and light gray. The patchwork was broken in some places so that you could see the cream silk under layer.”

“Well, the caftan was not a knit at all but an embroidery on chiffon, and in some places the chiffon backing was snipped away to give the appearance of something even more delicate. Another gem in the collection was a long, fuzzy coat (again, an embroidery) that had the solid well-being of a bathrobe….He offered beautiful day suits (some with a fluttery hem of cream chiffon to suggest a blouse), and slate gray coats with matching embroidered tweed bags. And evening looks included a pale pink and gray column composed of micro-thin strips of silk interspersed with bands of tiny pearls, and a gown embroidered with flowers in papery cream chiffon and shaded with a gray tulle overskirt. The collection had all those gorgeous elements, but it had, as well, a narrative. I suspect that ‘new vintage’ was merely a handy catchall for the soulful personalities that set his pen moving across his sketchpad,” she nicely concluded. 

finally, taking a more business-focused look at the proceedings, the telegraph did finally get to assessing the clothes in asking, “(w)as it the demure tastes of the Chinese that determined all those high necklines? Not that Chanel has even been a label for die hard vamps. Next winter Chanel’s couture jackets, in patchwork pinks and greys are cut looser and longer and worn with sedate knee length skirts – or ankle length for evening. Sometimes they come with chiffon frills at the hem. Those hems are the only element that was light, at least in the daywear. This was a collection that zeroed in on the substantial: for evening, lovely pale peach organza dresses, strewn with silk camellias, were accompanied by thigh length sparkly tweed jackets or long bouclé waistcoats.”

so there you are.  i suppose there are always bound to be some detractors, but on the other hand, as i sometimes like to say when i’m tempted to dismiss a couturier, i believe it is probably wise to look at the offerings through the lens of the clothes as art, as intricate, exquisite works that—whatever a few editors might say—are probably some of the most exceptional, attentive, detailed, and amazing works to be produced contemporarily, and we ought look at them as such; it makes for a different viewing, doesn’t it? and really, even if we’re tempted for the moment to cast these clothes aside, don’t you wish you were so lucky to own one of the gowns shown here (or even to just borrow one to try on for five minutes)?

(see the full fashion show video here)