Paris Fashion Week – Whelmed

It has taken me an entire week to get enough enthusiasm together to write something about Paris Fashion Week. It is usually the high point for me, where creativity and wearability collide with some happy bonkers moments too. I don’t know what is going on at the moment with regards the amount of fur being used by fashion houses. A few years ago, it was sporadic, tiny bits would pop up, perhaps on a collar or a cuff, but all 4 weeks have been awash with it, thousand and thousands of beautiful animals have been electrocuted and skinned alive because of people’s ignorance or refusal to face up to the horrors of the trade. Even friends seems to be jumping back on the bandwagon in the shape of little real fur pompom on a wooly hat or the dead rabbit gilet which ‘came from China’ as if that somehow makes it alright. It revolts me, it is a disgrace and anyone who buys into this evil trade needs to get over themselves and show some compassion.

As a result, I’m only going to show looks from houses that had no fur. As far as the rest goes, if you are interested; Dior had several mustard coloured catsuits – which, lets face it, will never be seen on anyone, Rochas, usually beautiful, had strange frilly, ill-fitting, boob covers on most of their dresses,  YSL was horrendous. The look was ‘Britney during breakdown with added Pat Butcher;’ ripped fish nets and pvc mini-dresses with zips that rose above your crotch, covered with a leopard print jacket. There is nothing innovative or high fashion about that. It is lazy and frankly an embarrassment to the famous name it is designed under. Do I sound angry? That is because I am. Even old misery features; Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel collection was hideous. Of fur he said: “I’m very sympathetic. I hate the idea of killing animals in a horrible way ………. It’s horrible, no? So I prefer not to know it.” He may not have shown any fur in Chanel’s show that I could see (Fendi however, was awash with it) but it looked like this:

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Missoni on a bad day. Point made.

So, here are some looks by Stella and Vivienne, both unique and incredibly talented women who refuse to use fur, vegitarian and leaders in fashion. Who needs anything else?

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One beautiful winter coat and a wicked pair of platform boots (faux leather too – hurrah). Something slouchy, warm and chic to wear to the office:

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And a (Westwood-esque), super-structured dress to wear in the evening:

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Sure, these are all black/white or grey but hey, they go with anything.

Wonderful Dame Vivienne Westwood showed looks for both men and women. It has long been a gripe of my husband’s that men get such a short straw when it comes to fashion, their choices are so limited and they are forced to wear entirely pointless items such as ties in order to look acceptably ‘smart’. This is Vivienne Westwood’s perfect response to that:

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This coat looks amazing. There is no reason why men should be forced to wear only ‘masculine’ shapes. What the hell does that word mean anyway? Express yourselves and free yourselves from the boring world of men’s fashion! Set asside the polar fleece gilet and puffa jackets. Let’s get coat sharing! Apart from the possible size issues, I’m 100% for it!

Two gorgeous pieces:

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I love this top, it is classic Westwood, drapey and cinched at the waist. The trousers look great too, there isn’t enough grey pin-stripe in the world and turn ups can also become handy secondary storage areas if your pockets get full… And finally:

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It may not catch on but I am a much happier person for having seen it. The end.

(all photos from vogue.com)

Milan Marmite Week AW 2015

After the lightheartedness of London Fashion Week I found myself in a bit of a fug at Milan’s offering. Ok, so they have some super big names but really, although it had its good moments it was awash with bad. And fur. Ugghh, so much fur, popping up in places where, dammit, it really took the piss (fur shoulder bows at Prada anyone?)

So, I’ll start with the good. Alberta Ferretti is always beautiful. A gorgeous warm looking cropped jacket and in white. I also can’t resist a Victorian looking white shirt or velvet over-knee boots it seems:

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She showed some beautiful brocade fabrics, I loved this suit:

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And my old friend the pinafore, this time almost medieval looking but beautiful non the less:

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Fendi was a bit all over the place but it started well. I think a large white winter coat is in order for next year:

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And a beautifully cut white winter dress:

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Prada was so wonderful for colour, shape and freshness and had no need for the endless fur additions. Many gorgeous dresses and jackets were ruined by random fur panels which I refuse to show. There was also a fascination with ostrich skin leather which was a bit much for me I’m afraid. However, here are some of the lovelies that got away without them:

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This may be kinda crackers but it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate its many lovely aspects.

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I love camel coloured coats and I have no idea why this works, who puts metallic lime, scarlet and pink together and gets away with it. Fab.

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Maxmara was a bit of a snoozefest, but at least it was wearable:

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Ditto Armani. I actually couldn’t find anything I was mad about, masses of identical trousers, some with flaps (!) and some without. Plus it went on an on…

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Dolce & Gabbana was pretty much exactly the same as it has been for every show for the past 6 or so seasons. All very spanish in feel, lovely shapes and lots of very wearable pieces, however, with slightly overwhelming themes of mothers and roses.This was pretty ravishing:

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There was also some really quirky child-drawn fabric at the end.

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Now for the less great. I’ll start with Gucci. I have nothing good to say about this collection. It felt lazy, self-important and just didn’t work. And don’t start me on the dead-dog shoes.. My evidence:

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Not even Alexa Chung would wear this (cue Alexa Chung proving me wrong).

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Ok, here is a nice print. But honestly, I really had to think about whether to show any of them given the shoe, fur situation and the ugliness of it all.

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Missoni was equally ugly. It felt like a bunch of cheap knits and matchign leggings you’d buy on Kat Moon’s stall on the market:

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Versace still think they need to plaster their name on EVERYTHING in order to get people to wear it. Really?

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I’m a Scorpio so I should love this but I don’t. Its hideous. Thanks Pucci:

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And finally. A whole lot of WTF. Am I missing something. The irony? The fact that it is so utterly awful that its brilliant?? Explain PLEASE!! Moschino:

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Not

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Even

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KIDDING.

(all photos from vogue.com)

 

Tata Naka – a lesson in colour, pattern and quirkiness

Back in 2000 when I started knitting and only dreamed of doing it for a living, Tata Naka had just launched their label and had shown at London Fashion Week for the first time. It was a beautiful, whimsical collection which mixed modern shapes with vintage fabrics from their birth place Tbilisi in Georgia. I particularly coveted a pale pink, hand knitted jumper in a batwing shape where one sleeve had been replaced with beautiful, delicate lace.

Fast forward 15 years and they are still as innovative as ever, using bold colours and patterns in wearable shapes, often with a wink to their heritage or an interesting period in time.

On the 11th February, Vogue.com posted this mood board from their upcoming collection:

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This glimpse into the story behind the upcoming collection, showing, amongst other things, a little nod to Asian styles and shapes, shown through the multitude of images of classic Asian actresses and the Chines dragon print. It is no secret that I love colour and especially appreciate it when used in AW collections. This all made me more than a little bit excited and the resulting show was not a disappointment. These prints are mouth-watering, as is the colour palette:

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I also love a good, bold monochrome print and in a long-sleeved, maxi-length dress it is a complete winner

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Why not throw it together with another pattern? Bingo! The pleated multi layered skirt can cover a multitude of sins as does the polo-neck cut top.

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To me this is a garment for our (generally not very warm) English summers, to a wedding or party when you really can’t face uncovering your arms or permi goose-bumped legs:

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And if you are self-conscious about revealing your stomach (which is pretty much all of us) then:

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Their prints are pieces of art, it’s as simple as that. Who doesn’t want a suave, cravat wearing man on their skirt?

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Did I mention warm? Actual, warm looking winter clothes. For winter! And crushed velvet! Oh, you’ve come a long way since the early 1990s..

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And lots of white too. It just gave it such a fresh and light feel. Nothing dour here..

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And finally – no collection loved by me would be complete without a mullet relating item, seen here as a side-mullet top…

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This last one might just be overkill but so what. It is fashion fun at its best and not a dead animal in sight.

(all images from vogue.com)

London Fashion Week Rundown – Boho Craziness

There were two main themes running through London Fashions Week, firstly our old friend Boho, a look that has been missing for all of about 5 seconds. Its not that not I’m a fan, I am, but too much can get a bit, well, Edina Monsoon (Lacroix sweetie!) Secondly, many of the catwalks were so darn dark and moody you couldn’t see the clothes. However, here is my snapshot of what went down:

Boho Burberry. I can’t help but love this, my 16 year old self is having a meltdown…

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Great colours, in a 1970s wallpaper themed fabric:

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Um, no.

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Erdem had some similar shapes (but shiny shiny versions).

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But then this happened, heaven:

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This coat is just incredible. How the heck did they blend thes completely opposing fabrics together? Or is the shiny shiny part painted on? Whatever –  a massive YES PLEASE!

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And I’ll end with this little pretty, worn by Laexa Chung the following day at the Elle Style Awards:

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I love Giles, but the catwalk was so flipping dark it was hard to see any of the details and many of the looks were primarily black. However, a fab magic mushroom print appeared:

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Happy days – as did this witchy number. I love a cape though I may pass on the ruffles:

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Christopher Kane was feeling romantic. Delicate blue vein print? Or winter branches?

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Navy, black and red velvet. Oh yes.

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Then this range of dresses began to appear. There is some lovin’ special time going one here:

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And goodness, LOTS of lovin’ special time going on here:

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Roksanda was my favorite show my a country mile. Fabulous colours, fabrics, shapes. But there was also lots of (UNNECESSARY) fur which made me very sad. I will continue to hope that it was faux but I will not be showing any look in which it featured.

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The make up is beautiful too. I love dark berry lips. Works so well with the mustarrd and other pops of colour. Not to mention those shoes!

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Peter Pilotto was a as colourful as you would imagine and fell on the Boho side of the proceedings.

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It’s great fun, and the colours were mouthwatering. This makes me very happy in an AW collection because they can so often fall on the dour side of the colour wheel.

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I love this dress:

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Mulberry was pretty dull but I loved this coat:

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Temperley equally underwhelming (on the whole) despite rolling out a few retired models like Sophie Dahl. However I thought I’d post this look beause it was the high point of the show and shows how skilled she is at putting together patterns.

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Jonathan Sunders rolled out a load of clashy 70s looks with A line skirts and polo necks. It wasn’t my bag. The shapes were fine but the patterns and colours gave me brain freeze.

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Matthew Williamson was as expected really, Bohotastic but overkill, and lots of dead sheep. However this was rather lovely:

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And who doesn’t like a crab on a print?

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Mary Katrantzou was really interesting. The colours, fabrics, textures and shapes were exciting. And the shoes were perfect:

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Possibly the most beautifully and futuristically adorned rain coat in history..

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And finally, the great Dame of London – Vivienne Westwood (Red Label). Look at this incredibly chic coat, not to mention what looks like a gorgeous, soft gersey dress underneath it:

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Trouser suit!

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This dress may be my favorite of the whole week, for its pure drapey, delicacy and comfort factor:

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But so as not to lull anyone into a false sense of security, there will always be batshit crazy, tartan and super boob lift in there somewhere:

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(all images from vogue.com)

Victoria Beckham AW 2015 a lesson in effortless style

I have an embarrasing confession to make. Back in the far gone days of my  career as a knitwear design I was asked by a stylist if a certain Victoria Beckham could borrow and wear one of my dresses to an event. I said no. To clarify, at this point in time she still dressed like this:

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Less than ten years later, the same woman is designing my favorite collections by a country mile. She seems to share my obsession with navy and black (together), and makes clothes that are a perfect mix of slouch and fit, in fabrics you would like to touch. And very importantly for me – no fur in sight:

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Her clothes could be worn at work, or to a glam party. they are cut in such a way that you wouldn’t endlessly be worrying about vpl, sweat marks or sitting down. They are wearable.

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Anyone who uses suck a vibrant pop of colour in an A/W collection gets a prize in my book, and even more so if it is yellow. I love the kilt-like slouchy hip fastening and the fact these are BIG comfy trousers:

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I WISH I had designed this sweater. It is utterly perfect. I want one in every colour there is.

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And coats – how great are these sleeves which form part of the coat’s neck? Very great. It even looks like there are some secret under-arm vents (the designer in me wonders if this started life as a way of getting around a complcated arm seam) but hey, its different and why not:

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In a nutshell, I am an idiot. I should have give her the dress, given her 20 dresses. Maybe my fashion fortunes would have changed along with hers. Keep doing in Victoria. You have a massive fan in me.

(photos from vogue.com and mtv.com)