By Milly Edgerley
Since its foundation in 1913, Chanel has become synonymous with pushing the boundaries of design and exploring the transformative nature of fashion. From the little black dress to the tweed suit, Coco Chanel established the brand‚Äôs legendary legacy; an iconism that Karl Lagerfeld has not only safeguarded during his twenty five years as Creative director, but cultivated into an innovative, forward thinking aesthetic that has consistently put Chanel at the forefront of contemporary fashion.
Nestled in the heart of the Grand Palais, Chanel‚Äôs Couture collection was showcased in a simulacrum of a commercial space shuttle flight complete with a luxury drinks trolley and reconstructed cockpit; an attention to detail that sets Chanel apart from other design houses. In a swift departure from the decadent scorched-earth world of previous shows, the vision was streamlined and upbeat, looking to both retro and futuristic influences as inspiration.
The venue seemed to inform the cut of the clothes, with widened bateau necks and starkly fresh lines giving the signature Chanel suit a retro reimagining, however it was clear that any ‚ÄėPan Am‚Äô references were not intended to be literal and the collection felt intrinsically modern as it came down the runway.
Silhouettes were feminine and elegant, a classic Chanel formula but this time with a twist. Waists were dropped past the hip with pockets replacing the trademark handbags, imbuing the collection with a fresh sense of youthful insouciance. This feeling of rebellion permeated the collection, welcoming playful touches such as a classic-style Chanel suit re-constructed in faded denim.
The Alice Dellal-esque hairstyling and the high-altitude colour palette continued this fresh modern mood throughout the collection, bringing a new nonchalance to couture.
That is not to say, however, that the classicism of Chanel was lost to casual modernity. The cavalier drop-waists were combated by the exquisite tailoring and delicate intricacy of the embroidery that created the texture of the fabrics.
Evening Wear in particular showcased the craftsmanship of the collection: a dress encrusted with peacock-coloured paillettes from collarbone to hem slouched perfectly with the model‚Äôs hands thrust into jean ‚Äďstyle pockets. Elsewhere a gleaming monochrome contribution showcased Lagerfeld‚Äôs affinity for creating unparalleled glamour for the modern woman.
Furthermore the collection presented whimsical floor length dresses paired with structured jackets which will surely be a highly anticipated look for Spring/summer.
The Industry‚Äôs resident renaissance man has once again delivered a collection that captures the fresh mood of the moment whilst upholding the staple values that have long established Chanel as the prominent design house of every era.
Images from Style.com
By Milly Edgerley
The Spring Couture Collection by Giambattista Valli was one of fragile decadence, with Valli‚Äôs elegant cuts, graceful necklines and romantic colour palette giving a feeling of effortlessness to the intricate construction of his haute couture collection, inspired by the ever-enduring ‚Äúart of the atelier‚ÄĚ.
However Valli‚Äôs collection was not a mere study in old-school couture techniques. This was a collection that married those techniques with a fashion-forward vision that resulted in garments that were contemporary, youthful and desirable.
In particular injections of black lacquered crocodile skin and Luigi Scialanga‚Äôs jewellery anchored the collection and gave it a distinctly modern feel.
The polarities and contradictions of the collection interplayed perfectly. The austerity of a clean cut white coat coupled with the opulence of its floral embellishments,
A minimalist pencil skirt contradicted by an unapologetically feminine sheer top adorned with white flowers,
and an understated sheer shirt and lace pencil skirt interrupted by an explosion of feathered peplum all combined to create Valli‚Äôs vision of contemporary couture.
It was perfection with a twist: elegantly feminine silhouettes mirrored in draped, one-shouldered dresses exploded into floral shoulder embellishments, injecting excitement and intrigue into the graceful collection.
Garments that seemed perfect at first glance surprised with a twist of unexpected chaos: Scatterings of dark florals over heady silk skirts and hints of dark visible underwear affected a mood of delicate youthfulness that spoke perfectly to the salon surroundings of the show.
Triumphs of the collection came in the form of exquisitely composed evening dresses that undulated down the catwalk with instinctive delicacy.
This collection re-defines couture in a contemporary context with a well-executed elegance.
Images Courtesy of Style.com
By Anupriya Dutta
The bird, an epitome of grace has been an inspiration for designers across the globe for centuries. Emerging from countless Roman, Greek and Asian mythologies the blue bird specifically was coined in the Chinese literature of the Han people as the ‚Äėimmortal fairy spirits‚Äô. Symbolising liberalisation, freedom and power, these winged creatures have inspired the hundred-year old brand Van Cleef & Arpels along with dragonflies, butterflies and of course, Maison‚Äôs symbolic fairies. Nature is not relinquishing inspiration for designers the first time.
The sparking similarities between nature and fashion are uncountable. Birds have been a source of inspiration for thousands of years, not for just fashion but art at large. Their grace, elusiveness, delicate and majestic approach is so similar to what the designers want in their collection. After paying homage to a thousand brands, it is time they paid it to Van Cleef & Arpels too. The people behind the impeccable designs have always defied the boundaries in order to bring life to these versatile, gravity-defying creatures and their dazzling plumage.
The Maison has dedicated the unrivalled savoir-faire of the most extraordinary stones to celebrate the rainbow of colors with multi-coloured pav√© setting, cut-to-size gems and Mystery Setting technique. These symbolic creatures are among the most stunning pieces at Maisons. Their graceful tails are decked with shimmering gems and their love dances inspire the jewelry scenes. Embroiling the exotic legends of the past, these creatures truly open the door for innovation for Van Cleef and Arpels.
The journey with the birds started out in 2009 when the Maison trod with the birds of paradise with their collection: Oiseaux de Paradis. The collection offered fluidity with precision along with beauty and immaculateness. Two years later, the brand added along the idea by premiering another collection: Nid de Paradis inspired with the habitat of birds, their nest. Ring, pendant and earrings were born while a pendant on the centre was nestled. The collection too had the same swirls and delicateness as the previous collection offered.
This year, the brand pursues the same inspiration but with an introduction to elegant pearls along with hard stones like Onyx, Turquoise, Chalcedony and Lapis Lazuli. These stones appeared back in the 50s and 60s in their iconic Alhambra collection. Today, the rich hues with lightly coloured plumage represent the abstract fashion and each piece is an ode to the creature‚Äôs grace and beauty. Emphasis has been given to the volume and to achieve this, elements of each silhouette has been carved on wax before being crafted and assembled step by step thus giving life to the aerial beauties. The motifs are set with stones on both sides thus giving volume to the supple jewelry.
Adding to the refinement, each bead is separated from the other by a delicate golden bead. The collections provide a harmony along with the previous collections each being better than the predecessor providing more pleasure in combining the different pieces in infinite variations. Designed to meet the demands of the elegant ladies, Make-up, and Minaudi√®res are bejeweled with mesmerizing hummingbirds‚Äô peacocks and pink flamingos. A timeless tradition revived by a timeless brand, the trend is continued with the new Couleurs de Paradis collection.
Edited by cjs - 30 Jan 2012 at 10:57pm
Expect to be treated to Mood Therapy treatment at the heart of the new spas, designed to offer a multi-sensory experience. At the heart of each treatment is a traditional therapy or massage with extra attention paid to colours and music options, not to mention multiple herbal teas and a wealth of aromatherapy oils to choose from. Maai will also introduce it's own product range, with both spas focusing heavily on the traditional Thai techniques of massage and other therapy treatments.
Breeze Spa at Amari
By Ruthie Holloway
Edited by MLVH - 27 Jan 2012 at 7:42am
Alber Elbez and Lavin‚Äôs head Menswear designer Lucas Ossendrijver showed a sophisticated, desirable collection that served as a great reminder as to why Lanvin is the brand on everyone‚Äôs lips. Here is a house that is unafraid to bring play with ideas of sculpture and proportion to the regimented world of menswear. The jumpers and coats with exaggeratedly rounded shoulders and dropped sleeves are in no doubt experimental but looking past the showmanship of these designs, one can easily see how these details will trickle down to the mass market, don‚Äôt be surprised when you find yourself gravitating towards that strange bow shaped jacket come September. Indeed it is in something so simple, such as a rounded shoulder, that excites the most ‚Äď so long have we been wearing structured shoulders, all angles and severity, that the idea of softening these lines can seem radical and fresh. The layering in the show equally showed that for winter 2012 the number one trend will certainly be a smart, well-cut suit with a sportswear puffa jacket on top, a trend that I for one can get behind.
By now I‚Äôm sure we‚Äôre all aware of the brilliance of Raf Simons - from a small menswear label, truly do great empires grow. This season Simons presented a collection that harked back to a man‚Äôs defining years, yes his schooldays; with oversized knitted sweaters, knee length shorts and ties around a white collar, not to mention the fantastic little hats that I‚Äôm sure everyone will be clambering for come September. Showing such a direct-referential collection can sometimes be risky, but here the masterful Simons successfully managed to make dressing like an oversized twelve-year look new and exciting. Brilliant.
Givenchy has undoubtedly become the hottest ticket during menswear week, an achievement that proves just how ridiculously talented the designer Riccardo Tisci is. Here is a designer who can wow the critics with couture, Womenswear and Menswear too and single handily saving the house of Givenchy. This season Mr. Tisci alluded to past work, with a familiar star motif, bright reds and nylon black leggings ‚Äď perhaps a bit self-referential for some, but for me this is a designer telling us exactly what he likes, and understanding that a man‚Äôs wardrobe doesn‚Äôt drastically alter every six months, but develops and evolves slowly. Whilst the biggest criticism of his Menswear is that his designs only work for the young and the rich, break this collection apart and you‚Äôll find some amazing pieces suitable for anyone (well they‚Äôll still probably have to be rich‚Ä¶). Also I have to give a quick shout-out to whoever casts his shows ‚Äď once again, this was the best cast show of the week by far.
I don‚Äôt think I‚Äôm alone when every season come rain or shine my eyes scour the menswear shows for the perfect pair of trousers. You can feel that the designers too are in pursuit of this almost grail-like achievement ‚Äď playing with shape, cut, dimensions, details. But it seems like this is no mean feat, over the years men have eager to experiment with new ideas in the hopes of finding the perfect cut ‚Äď they‚Äôve bound fabric tightly to their calves in the stampede of ‚Äėthe skinny‚Äô, they‚Äôve dropped crotches, alluded to flares time and time again, they‚Äôve worn leggings and mid-thigh shorts. At Rick Owens, the esteemed designer has answered all our questions and shown us what I consider the best trousers for Fall 2012. High-waisted with button details, slim fit to the ankle and in black of course ‚Äď these are trousers to love!
Burberry has shown over the past few seasons why they‚Äôre one of the most financially successfully fashion houses in the world at the moment, with orders climbing year on year ‚Äď they make clothes that work in the real world. Luxurious and formal but with city-aware casualness and an attractive sense of effortlessness, this season Christopher Bailey brought use classic suits in non-classic finishes, think velvets in blue, all accessorised with that most English nessesity ‚Äď the umbrella. What I enjoyed most about this collection was the layering of winter jackets on top of suits, its‚Äô a look that replicates exactly how men over the world dress in their lives. All too often a suit is shown on the catwalk on it‚Äôs own, but the styling here nodded towards how Burberry presumes you the customer would actually dress.
Edited by amahrose - 24 Jan 2012 at 3:25pm
Band of Skulls' album covers were homegrown don't you know... yes, their very own Emma Richardson is not just a BoS musician and vocalist but also a painter, who has created a series of works in response to the band's music. This is set to tie in nicely with the release of their second album, Sweet Sour. Richardson also produced artworks which were then digitally manipulated and used as inspiration for works by two glass artists, Cedric Ginart and Karina Guevin, which then formed the cover of their first debut album.
You can see Richardson's large abstract works explore the human form at the Londonewcastle Project Space this February. Keep your eyes open for other shows coming up at Londonewcastle Project Space, as they are fast racking up a great little rosta of exhibitions.
Cruisin' For A Bruisin' by Emma Richardson
Londonewcastle Project Space
28 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP
Thursday 2nd February - Sunday 12th February 2012
Open daily: 11am-6pm
Edited by RuthieHolloway - 23 Jan 2012 at 10:47am
Lanvin, Lanvin, Lanvin... With a touch of the military trend which is has been evident on the the catwalk over the last couple of weeks Lanvin brought us a show which mixed the classic and the modern classic. We were shown bomber jackets with tux's and boxing boots and trainers with tailored trousers and trenches. There was every element of modern male dressing.
Some outfits were very street with baseball caps and a loose fit while others were classic male style; a great pair of trousers and shoes with trench but tying the whole show together was that special ingredient X which has got everyone talking. This show is proving to undoubtedly be the hit of the season.
Edited by amahrose - 23 Jan 2012 at 9:31am
Bottega Veneta put their own spin on suiting with classic styles embellished and printed for a touch of modernity. But with dark jeans and leather flight jackets with pea coats and v neck sweaters this was a really wearable show, not straying too far from the mainstream but in that bringing a very buyable collection.
Edited by amahrose - 23 Jan 2012 at 11:23am
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