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SPRING 2019!



Who can describe fashion weeks more profoundly and intelligently than the masterful Tim Blanks? No-one − for he is the absolute genius analysing, putting in context and describing what was going on for spring 2019 this September in New York, London, Milan and Paris. As I cannot compete with Tim Blanks, I will try to give my humble comments. Dressing-up however we want and however we like might be the only freedom left to us in this new society; bodies and minds are globally different and we will continue to make the choices for dressing-up or dressing-down. Political influences, the #MeToo movement and gender freedom apart, we dress, we shop, we like, we dislike fashion. In this hybrid post-modern society, let’s search together for the “Modern” in it!

Starting off with the New York fashion week in mid-September, press, critics and fashion lovers could witness the variety of styles fashion was going to offer. Focused on diversity, New York fashion week was not really about content but more about freedom of expression. And what freedom there was! Diversity in gender, race, styles, colours, models, sizes and front-row stars. Families were on the stage as well as friends, children and finally the models. This created a chaotic moment where fashion was subordinated to the wild expression of anything that could be called design based on tailoring. Even Calvin Klein was disappointing and I felt as if Raf Simons and Pieter had missed a season; we wanted fresh summer spring details and we were given heavy blazers, skirts missing pieces because of a shark bite and no coherent ideas, all mixed together in a repetitive way that lacked impact. Too many references made the collection look like the work of a recent fashion graduate. Raf Simons can do better…

But luckily some minimalist designer brands saved NY fashion week. Both The Row and Mansur Gavriel are designing clothes for women and they will definitely dress the Céline woman, left an orphan after the departure of Phoebe Philo, while Ralph Lauren brought the week in New York alive with his 50thanniversary of working in fashion. The collection could be described as a modern version of conservatism, mixing the styles to produce a casual stylish contemporary brand. Another collection I was surprised by searching on Fashion Runway or on BoF Fashion Week, was the minimalistic beauty of Theory; stylish, tasteful, beautiful trousers and coats and sunny colours. It felt I had to rush to the store and try on those clothes, the ecru colours and the simple styles. I am probably looking for the “Modern” style that I am familiar with.

London Fashion Week brought us back to a positive fashion mood! Three women designers, Simone Roche, Molly Goddard and Victoria Beckham showed collections that are well thought out, constructed and wearable with a spirit of folly that could probably push us into buying those marvellous pieces we saw on the catwalk! Dresses and jackets or coats to wear for evenings in a summer spirit. London showed a lot of designers with a creative vibe and this is what London should remain: a laboratory of ideas to discover new talent. Burberry, the cherry on the London cake, was uplifting and showed a collection in the same spirit of essential beauty. We will be very ‘chic’ in all those whites, camels and assorted bags and shoes. Riccardo Tisci used product placement to have a visible impact on the streets; Marina Abramović was even wearing a new Tisci/Burberry blouse with the new logo on stage during her talk in Florence, last week. Mmm…strange phenomenon for an artist with such strong integrity.

The Milan fashion week didn’t deliver what we expect from Italian fashion design. A weak Versace, (probably busy negotiating on the two-billion-dollar sale), came as a great disappointment. ‘Functionality rules’ said Tim Blanks in his review of Fendi and this is the tone of Italian Fashion Spring Summer 2019. The collection of Salvatore Ferragamo showed a beautiful minimalism based on a no-risk strategy for the women’s line; an oversized traditional menswear look made the collection appear a bit outdated.

Paris is always the most uplifting of the fashion weeks and the best to look forward to. Paris was sunny, beautiful in all its grandeur and it was worth staying for almost a week in this city of fashion and luxury to enjoy the fashion community, see some friends and talk about fashion and culture in general in an Indian summer mood. During a Polimoda workshop with the “Luxury Business Master” students I had the opportunity to visit the Dior archives; a perfect project to understand the richness and perfectionism of the LVMH group. Another example of such richness is the Kering Group headquarters displaying the culture related to fashion. In the chapel, in the rue de Sevres, we admired some highly important art pieces belonging to the collection of Monsieur Pinault: artists like Damian Hirst, James Lee Byars, Camille Henrot, Gunther Uecker, Giuseppe Penone and Huang Yong Ping filled the space as if we were visiting the biennale in Venice. But back to fashion where surprises are always around the corner. I had the courage to ask for an invitation to the Maison Margiela show. It was the first I had attended since Martin Margiela left the house. I was nervous as I entered the show and I was happily surprised by the positive energy that emerged from the space and the extremely high quality of the garments worn by a transgender modelling community. I was relieved that the heritage of Maison Martin Margiela is not completely forgotten. A highlight of the Paris fashion week is the show of Rick Owens. The shaman, the performer, the creative designer flows over our heads and bodies, becoming part of this ‘momentum’ at the Palais de Tokyo premises. Messages, political or not, are imbedded in the clothes, volumes never seen before, a gathering of a community living for fashion − but not only.

Beauty and femininity was at its best at the Dries van Noten show as well as at the show of Haider Ackermann. Dries offered a new sobriety, Haider presented us with a gift of both masculine and feminine beauty and elegance. A standing ovation because we need elegance, we need designers who make us look good! Paris was the moment of excesses; shows such as Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga, Celine, and Saint Laurent seem to have put Paris firmly on the map as the city of fashion and fashion creativity. Shows were spectacles, experiences that let us dream instead of having nightmares such as in New York. Not to mention Rei Kawakubo who came back to the human form after a few years of experimenting with volumes alien to the body; in this show the first silhouette surprised all present proclaiming the power of a pregnant woman, her belly in a dress bursting open under a man’s jacket…

From the New York designers Ecklaus Latta to the Italian Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino grandeur shown in Paris, a world, an ocean of difference flowed through our brains and our I-phones and Instagram accounts. What Piccioli presented at Valentino was for many their favourite collection! I can image the beauty of the magical satins and cottons and fluffy shoes like a dream of a fashion show ending a terrible and traumatic month for Tim Blanks and many other buyers, press agents, journalists; the good news is that femininity is back – bye-bye streetwear!!!! − and we need it so dearly! Hey, Mister Slimane, copying yourself is not such a good idea, is it? Better next time? 

Linda Loppa – October 15, 2018


Fashion only moves forward

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