Viktor&Rolf Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2019/2020 further explores Viktor&Rolf’s notion of conscious design with emphasis on ‘Spiritual Glamour’. With the original meaning of the word ‘Glamour’ referring to that of a magic spell, an illusion said to be cast by witches. In this case, the spell is cast to transform a general feeling of doom about the environment into positive action.
Joining forces with Dutch artist-alchemist Claudy Jongstra, this collection illustrates that change for the better is indeed possible. For several decades now, Claudy has been a trailblazer of sustainability. Her hand felted fabrics are works of art, woven from wool of her own flock of sheep and dyed with natural ingredients from her own gardens. Her holistic approach demonstrates how man and nature are interconnected. A longstanding source of inspiration, it is our privilege to collaborate with this exceptional artist this season.
This collection focusses on the colour black, not just any black, but a multitude of tones centering on the darkest colour of the spectrum. Dyed by Claudy Jongstra in a gently simmering cauldron with plant pigments, her extensive knowledge and experimentation allowed for the re-discovery of the long-lost creation process the famous ‘Burgundian Black’: the most precious of true blacks based solely on natural ingredients and ancient recipes. The products of her eco-aware practice are used in a series of sculptural coats in an array of voluminous shapes.
The mood is pagan. Black felt coats give way to a series of colourful dresses in fabrics of Viktor&Rolf’s own making: vintage garments and fabrics were disassembled to threads and re-constituted as needle punch, almost like abstract paintings. Elaborate patchwork, appliqué, and crochet cultivate a handmade, ‘do-it-yourself’, almost naive aesthetic.
With creatively embroidered symbols of the sun, moon and the stars, the collection is an ode to mother nature and her powers of spiritual glamour and ecological renaissance. Christian Louboutin boots in a complementing palette complete this season’s Haute Couture AW19 look.
Tue, September 10 2019 » Fashion Blog
CHARMS OF CHINA
Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2019/2020
The ELIE SAAB Autumn/Winter’19-20 Haute Couture collection finds a wealth of inspiration from China and East Asia, whose cultures are rich in symbolisms, drawings that have intrigued for centuries, and stories that have been passed down through generations. Elements highlighting nature, mystical creatures and divine characters sparked the curiosity of the designer, inspiring him to translate them into his very own art.
Using signature embroidery techniques and knowhow, ELIE SAAB reimagined mesmerizing traditional Chinese drawings, to create patterns in sequins, diamante and explosions of colour, that are the Maison’s abstract depictions of fauna and flora. Key elements believed to represent powerful protective spirits who watch over those who carry them, like guardian angels.
Throughout the collection, strong shapes and volumes are balanced out with softer fabrics, and plays on transparency, that also allow the vibrant and intricate embroidery to pop out, effortlessly drawing a timeless tale of goddesses from one piece to another.
Connoting wisdom and elegance, the crane appears as an elongated figure surrounded by floral shapes that adorn long, sleek and structured dresses that overlay tulle, tafta and feathers in plum, gold and powder pink.
Expressing a tougher attitude, the carp fuses with wave-like forms on more straight-cut silhouettes in black and gold, with large satin bows tied at the waist, and oversized sleeves that create powerful volume and movement.
The dragon makes its protective presence felt, adding a hint of mysteriousness to the woman who bares its forms, from ornate kimono-style jackets, to imperial red and jasmine pieces in rich combinations of velvet and satin.
The collection also puts emphasis on blown-up and fan-shaped shoulders, that allude to heavenly wings. Draped sleeves and capes that descend off-the-shoulder, leading into long trains that flow to the ground, create the illusion of angelic forms.
Imperial-inspired amulets, topped with a dragon, come in to further capture the essence of this faraway inspiration, along with golden accessories featuring leaves and feathers that are complemented with ruby-red, blue and emerald stones, taking the form of earrings and tri-circle crowns. The high heels are a combination of gold leather counters, divine velvet at the toe, and transparent, diamond-studded straps.
The elements masterfully portrayed and delicately stitched to every piece allow this ELIE SAAB Autumn/Winter’19-20 Haute Couture collection to draw from inspiration and imagination, to create its unique take on the undying mysteriousness of women. Women who shine in their softness and elegance, but who are also the embodiments of strength and power, inherited from their divine protectors.
Tue, September 10 2019 » Fashion Blog
Life and death are never just religious propositions or philosophical thoughts, it is also a domain which artists never stop exploring and expressing. Approaching middle-age, life and death are no longer just poetry chants. With the loss of beloved ones, you wonder what it will be like when the journey ends. Since death is inevitable, I prefer to imagine it as a dream, an alternate universe parallel to this world, where everything returns to its original state of true pureness and beauty. It is the start of a mysterious journey.
On July 3rd, Guo Pei presents her Autumn/Winter 2019/20 Haute Couture collection at the Beaux-Arts de Paris. Under the magnificent glass dome of the Cour Vitree hall, a whole new universe emerges. Here, light and darkness co-exist, angels and Satan sit next to each other. Humans are no longer the masters of this world. Monkeys sit on the king’s throne under the guidance of prophets.
For this collection, the treasured material of the Philippines, pineapple hemp fabric, is widely used as a backdrop of a world never seen before by mankind. Pineapple hemp fabric has been in existence for over 400 years. It is extracted from the leaf fiber of pineapple plants, and put through seven manual processes such as spinning, rinsing, drying and knotting. It is light yet tenacious, retaining its original state nature has intended for it to be. Through its natural ivory color and translucent delicate texture, pineapple fabric provides the perfect look and feel to the Grecian-style silhouettes of the collection. Like goddesses in Greek mythology, exuding pure and sacred wisdom.
Expressing limitless creativity through her use of pineapple hemp fabric, Guo Pei explores various sewing techniques to juxtapose the world she imagines – through hand folded pleats – she expresses the sense of architectural space, through hot stamped fabric – she restores the remnants of ancient Greek scrolls, through exquisite silk embellished with radiant pearls, feathers and Swarovski crystals – she depicts the elegance of genies and goblins.
Crows play an essential role in Guo Pei’s Alternate Universe. At the border between life and death, crows are the messengers and prophets of wisdom, leading the way and bringing insights between the universes for his compatriots in the forms of hand-embroidered beetles, spiders, butterflies and bees. Guo Pei’s signature three-dimensional embroidery is once again in the spotlight. Combined with the use of Lafite embroidery techniques, the designer conjures up vivid images of these creatures, layered with rich emotion and life-like texture.
Drawing inspiration from life’s beauty, lifelike animal and insect images feature heavily on this season’s pieces, from the monkeys of Aesop’s Fables, to the poisonous snake which lured Eve to steal the forbidden fruit, to herds attracted by the melody of Apollo’s golden harp. The dresses’ silhouettes are interweaved with elements from various civilizations.
Using the concept of ‘invisible form’ from ancient Greece, Guo Pei restores the elegance of goddess with fluid lines and drapes. On the other hand, she references designs from the ancient European royal courts – from the Gothic aristocratic Poulaine shoes to the exquisitely crafted Ralph collar of the Baroque era, to the iconic Panier oval skirt of the Rococo era. Guo Pei uses these dramatic styles together with the use of silver, light gold and light grey colours to paint the pure beauty she sees of this universe.
Behind each arch in this realm created for the show, is a meditative journey guarded by devils and angels. Here, gods have human nature, humans have animal nature, plants and animals are given godhood – an alternate narration of reincarnation.
In the silence, the crows cry hoarsely, fluttering their wings and flying away. Along the silvery river, a colorful flower bud floats as a woman closes her eyes peacefully. No one knows if she is leaving or returning as death is just another state of rebirth.
Tue, September 10 2019 » Fashion Blog
For this collection, the designer finds inspiration in the hypnotic manifolds within our ecologies through the work of American artist Anthony Howe. The three-dimensional cyclical harmony of Howe’s kinetic sculptures is the wind beneath the wings of this collection. Howe’s spherical ‘Omniverse’ sculpture explores our relationship with nature and intertwines with infinite expansion and contraction, expressing a universal life cycle. The meditative movement of the ‘Omniverse’ serves as a portal for the collection and the models, encircling a state of hypnosis.
The collaboration with Howe evolves ‘in an ecstasy of attentiveness’ through the symbiosis of all the elements of nature that are dependent on each other. As one of the key pieces of the collection, the finale ‘Infinity’ dress comes alive on the breath of a finely balanced mechanism. An engineered skeleton of aluminium, stainless steel and bearings is embroidered with a delicate layering of feathers in cyclical flight; revolving around their own centre. ‘Hypnosis’ reflects the beauty and complexity of our environment, exploring the patterns and structures within its fragile landscape.
‘The ‘Hypnosis’ collection is a hypnotic visualisation of nature’s tapestry, the symbiotic cycles of our biosphere that interweave the air, land, and oceans. It also reflects the ongoing dissection of the rhythms of life and resonates with the fragility within these interwoven worlds.’ – Iris van Herpen.
The ‘Hypnosis’ collection consists of 19 silhouettes that flow deceptively in transparencies. Multilayered around the body, they revive the ancient silk moiré weaving technique that links to the illusory nature of human perception. The ‘Epicycle’ looks are constructed by multi-layering luminous organza spheres, which challenge the relationship between surface and substance through illusory patterns that wrap into each other infinitely. The ‘Suminagashi’ garments which reflect the venerable art of Japanese floating ink on water, are lasercut into liquid lines of dyed silk, heat bonded onto transparent tulle to seemingly and seamlessly flow over the skin.
The ‘Dichotomy’ looks are laser- printed, heat-bonded and lasercut into contra-positive waves. Each dissected curve is then pressed onto hundreds of ripple-like panels that ebb and flow in an exquisite swell of meticulously hand stitched silk organza. The ‘Hypnosis’ technique, developed in collaboration with Professor Phillip Beesley involves ten of thousands of plottercut mini ripples that continuously dissect the dress through each movement of the body, revealing skin in between the whimsical spheroid patterns.
The printed duchesse-satin is plottercut into thousands of 0.8 mm exquisite waves that each are interlinked, designed to move faster than the eye can follow.
Sat, July 6 2019 » Fashion Blog
Ulyana Sergeenko has carved her own special niche within the world of Couture. A passionate storyteller, she conceives each collection as a fully formed tale. Story after story, season after season, her heroine changes and evolves, keeping intact an unmistakable wit and joyous femininity, drawing a glamorous map of references and inspirations.
For Fall-Winter 2019/2020, opening once again the magic box of fantasy, Ulyana Sergeenko brings her heroine on an enriching, exotic journey around the world. One decided overnight, grabbing a few belongings and hitting the road. Along the way, the heroine swaps her things for local artifacts. Gradually, her wardrobe bursts with colorful pieces from different cultures, which she mixes freely. We meet her in the souk of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, right in the middle of her journey, free and happy.
She is wrapped in a multicolored fur coat, and wears trousers; her local Ikat robe is embroidered with crystals and colored stones. On warm days, she layers weightless dresses made of mesh and transparent organza and swarming with singular patters. Her capes are embroidered with the motifs of local carpets.
As usual, she favors a shapely silhouette with a nipped waist, and is all for a soulful touch of craft: floral ornament applied by hand and then embroidered; bomber jackets and skirts made to resemble the Uzbekistan kourpeshkas (national pillows), with hanging beaded tassels; intricate crochet and beading. Images of herbs and flowers are blurred, following the Ikat technique.
Precious and tactile materials such as silk, atlas, sateen, chiffon, jacquard silk, lurex, crochet, taffeta, patent leather come in a palette of black, gold, green, purple and blue, interspersed with shades of pink – from powdery and pastel to electric to deep.
Accessories homage the Uzbekistan culture. Bags are inspired by the local torba, the sack tied with a gold cord, and are made in leather, taffeta or velvet. There are small knitted bags, and bags with long straps made of gold coins. Jewels, gathered along the journey, cover the outfits. Pointy mules with lavish bows and small heels and classic high court shoes in bright colors, devised with Charlotte Olympia, complete the image.
Samarkand, wrapped in romantic secrets, bombarded with the smells and colors of the souks, is the perfect place for the Ulyana Sergeenko woman. Like in an Eastern fairy tale, as she travels she meets happiness and love, enjoying the moment.
Sat, July 6 2019 » Fashion Blog
At the end of last November, I was asked for a proposal reimagining the house of Schiaparelli.
At the time, I had just left a job at the house where I’d spent my entire ten-year-long career. It was in that job that I discovered who I was as a designer, but also who I was as a person, as an adult, as a New Yorker, as a friend.
As I began thinking about what my vision of Schiaparelli might be, I was also thinking about who I myself might be, because I didn’t know anymore. For the past decade, I had been one person, one kind of artist. Now I had the chance to become someone else, something else. Every morning, I walked from my apartment in downtown Manhattan to the eastern edge of Chinatown. My walk took me from one world into another, and as I walked, I could watch the moneyed, polished New York of the twenty-first century slip away, to be replaced by one much older, as boutiques gave way to fruit stalls and cafes to little storefronts selling hardware and tea and dumplings. It was as if I was heading into my future by venturing into the past.
At the time, I was renting a skinny, shoebox-shaped studio cut out of my friend’s larger third-floor atelier, where she made hats. For the month of December, I sat at my drafting table, wearing gloves and a hood (the heater didn’t work, or not well enough), listening to the rumble of the M train rattling over the Manhattan Bridge past my one window, and sketching. I thought often about the nature of creativity, and about how an artist forms his aesthetic only when he’s able to retreat to the purest, most childlike part of himself, the place in which nothing can be wrong and nothing can be bad, because everything exists in the realm of possibility. That’s what becoming an artist demands. Staying an artist means trying to hold on to that exuberance, that naivete, that sense of wonder. Cynicism, world-weariness, snobbery: Those are the artist’s enemies. Creativity only moves forward if you can let go of everything you thought you knew.
This collection is the story of that December, and what I dreamt up in that little studio. It’s also about what I learned there: That a life of perpetual transformation isn’t the safest or easiest one, but it is the most exhilarating.
July 1, 2019
Sat, July 6 2019 » Fashion Blog