steampunk lady


paris fashion week: gareth pugh

(images via style)

although i’m definitely in a place where i can say i appreciate the efforts gareth pugh made in pushing his label forward (after seasons of what i’ve consistently though too much rick owens homage-ing–see a/w 2010, s/s 2011, a/w 2011, s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013), it still begs the question: did his a/w 2013 range at paris fashion week really require, like, 50 versions of that stock-type disney evil queen/empress dress? yes, come shoot me out back, i’ll wait for you there.

okay, good, so we can meet on the other side. now, i’m, like, totally aware that this particular designer inspires some fanatical devotion, and i can also appreciate that maybe i’ve turned a little harshin’ after seasons of impatience following a designer i always believed to be one of the more exciting up-and-comers only to see him essentially drawing from his mentor’s impressive archives repeatedly. now, we can debate the veracity of that statement, but i believe in past seasons mr. pugh has sampled more from mr. owens than he ought have, whatever the critics might want us to believe, but you can think as you’d like, too, and i’ll respect that.

i guess what i’m ultimately trying to say is that much as mr. pugh appeared to be one of the more exciting, experimental designers (a new enfant terrible, if you will), with those days in london during which he’d all but transform the body into something utterly unrecognizable, it seems that…maybe he got overwhelmed? maybe he rose too quickly, too soon, and wasn’t able to flesh out the early ideas in the way he might have, had he not been in so glaring a spotlight from the first? in other words, i never feel he’s really delivered on the promise he set out to, and things have just stalled a little.

but the fashionies don’t like to place a bad bet. and, perhaps because of that, perhaps because he’s quite simply one of the few turning clothes out in a gothic vein these days, they’ve lingered by his side, forever pushing the idea that he is, indeed, the next great genius of the paris runways. yet to this, i say the current fall collection is a good example of what’s wrong. to be sure, as i hinted above, mr. pugh is trying something new. but does it look...good?

well if it does, in your eyes, i’m honestly not trying to stomp on that. and to be sure, there were a couple of dresses that really got to me, like daiane conterato’s high-necked, sweeping gown that appeared to be tasseled with fringe made from fireplace char, or nastya kusakina’s structured white number crawling with wintertime tree limbs. and even julia nobis’ dragon-slaying dress, with its leg-of-mutton sleeves and its scaly texture that appeared constructed from the hide of the animals she’d just obliterated was quite interesting (and in one of ms. conterato’s other looks, the stripe-y furry coat with the high, popped collar would probably function in nice, versatile fashion).

yet in many of these cases, it felt like mr. pugh was shooting from a single idea, trying to eek as much as he could out of it, and getting…sloppy. maybe it was meant to be elegant decay, or something like that, but all too often the bodices appeared loose and messy, not as though it were intentional, but as if it were unfinished, desperate to be different. if we looked even further, i’m sure we could find plenty of gems, but on the whole, i got too much of a grad student ‘look at me! i’m artistic, moody, and eccentric!‘ with too little of the clothes really telling a compelling story. and the fact that the designer had to put it all into a whopping fifty looks says something rather strongly, as well.

but there you are. that’s just my take. and, quite honestly, i’m sure some of the critics will be all about it. and if you are too, so be it. we all see clothes differently, and if you can extract something beautiful, i’m all smiles to hear it. and i just wanted to include this point as a little interlude, because much too often i come across reviews on blogs, or on websites, that make it sound as though the writer’s opinion is the ultimate last word. and i don’t like that. variegated perspectives is what makes the topic of fashion so compelling, and we all come at it from different places, different aesthetics. so there can never be one definitive opinion, you see.

anyway. sorry for that little soliloquy. let’s on to the critics! and so, according to style, “‘(w)e had found this information about a tribe of women called the Asgarda,’ Pugh said after his show. ‘They’re amazing and inspiring. They want autonomy from men, and they live in the Carpathian Mountains.’ The influence of this contemporary band of extremely tough women, who take their cues from the Amazons, filtered into the collection, knocking any notions of mere costume drama out of it. ‘It is about both fight and flight this time,’ said Pugh. The standout looks were based on simple T-shirt shapes with full-length skirts, which had an ease about them that was new for the designer. They were a direct reference to the Asgarda, but also an artful nod to mid-century couture, marrying a new and an old sensibility for Pugh that suits him well.”

interestingly enough, prabal gurung was also inspired by that tribe for his a/w 2013 show, and you can read more about them (and whether they’re real–it’s apparently debatable) there. but! anyway, fashionologie chimed in that “(t)he show went from light to dark, starting with a series of white pieces — gowns, or floor-length skirts paired with jackets — with golden branches snaking up from the hems. Then black made its way in, as did gray and a deep, moody blue. Many of the garments featured necklines that stood up on their own, as if Pugh wanted the audience to focus on his models’ faces and wild hair…But any competition those hairdos might have offered couldn’t hold a candle to the black masterworks that ended the show.”

best read in your most malevolent video game voice and backed by some richard wagner music, we heard the washington post report that “(t)o discordant music and hellish mist, Gareth Pugh went to the gates of the underworld, bringing back with him an inspired collection of dark angels…Each look was fastidiously tailored. At times, it looks as if Pugh had made a pact with the devil and channeled the full-skirted proportions of the 1950s, with their tights waist and full collars, but with dark excess. But in Wednesday’s show, Pugh saved the best till last: a series of impressive black creations billowing with shredded black polythene. They fluttered by malevolently like feathers, as if the models were half-human, half-raven.”

“Every figure wore a floor-sweeping skirt. The rest of the body was hidden beneath these sculptural forms with high necks and leather sleeves,” explained elle. “All the better to see the precise cutting of those coats and jackets – some sculpted in ribbed leather or tough army-blanket wool, others soft in fragile papery blacks, the finest shearling or ribbed strips of glossy mink. It all looked incredibly luxurious, almost museum or gallery-worthy in that they didn’t really need a body inside them to stand up on their own. Some seemed so precious you could imagine them being marvelled at from behind ‘don’t touch’ glass. Until finally, bin bags – that is, the cheapest variety of black bin bags – had been chopped like topiary, first as a frothy hem on a coat, then an entire coat, then mountainous ball gowns and matching cube hat.”

but for all of that raving, there was, finally, wwd, which seemed to fully understand my perspective as they wrote that “(a)fter a dalliance with ruffles and gossamer fabrics last season, the English designer was back to his sculptural, futuristic ways. Employing heavy couture silks, bonded leather and sturdy canvas the color of cement, he crafted coats and jackets with hunched, sloping shoulders and raised necklines which elongated the body. They flared open over stiff, jutting skirts that picked up the dust from the point de Hongrie parquet.”

“Forgetting the caught-in-a-hurricane hairdos and the heavy Goth styling, this collection was really about statement coats with demonstrative, face-framing collars — some jutting dramatically, others crumpling romantically. The finale looks were over-the-top, with black plastic strips employed as fringe on silvery tweed gowns, or shaved like a hedge into bulging atomic-bomb silhouettes. Deflating the apocalyptic mood, a few editors couldn’t resist copping a feel of the swollen dresses as they passed by to see if they might be made of garbage bags,” they concluded. ooooh, snap. there you go. and take from it what you will. any opinion on the show is important–but mine remains: i just don’t get it.

madrid fashion week: francis montesinos

(images via vogue)

although i’m definitely sad that we’re not getting to discuss some of these designers in-depth, i’m nevertheless quite pleased with the fact that, for practically the first time ever, opt is getting caught up on all of the back shows, and is practically current with the happenings of right now. and so, you’ll forgive me if we continue this just a little while longer, and zip through the a/w 2013 madrid fashion week shows, which includes designers like francis montesinos, whose s/s 2013 range was a particular standout for me in spain last season. but enjoy the images, and i’m sure i’ll be yakking about his upcoming spring show at length just the same!

(see a short collection video here)

stockholm fashion week: dagmar

(images via rodeo)

so yes, we’re still quickly rushing through the stockholm fashion week shows, largely in an effort to be completely caught up with everything as we finish paris fashion week, and so for the moment, i’ll be asking you to focus your attentions on dagmar, a label that purports to usually source their themes from the twenties or thirties, although as we’ve been following them for some seasons (see a/w 2011, s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013), i’d say we’ve seen some pretty disparate notions. anyway, in brief, for the upcoming a/w 2013 season, the mbfws site informs us that “the new Renaissance flourishes to full extent. After an initial period of cautious optimism, this era’s own Renaissance blooms afresh with new confidence and energy. Sculptured cuttings, wide sleeves, ornaments resembling coat of arms and dusky colours.”