The day after Paris fashion week finishes always feels like coming up for air, just for a moment, before the next wave hits. It’s a moment of reflection in the middle of what’s probably the busiest time for anyone in the fashion industry. It’s difficult to remember life before New York fashion week kicked things off. Life was definitely different then. But, there's a lot of fashion to reflect on. So, let’s reflect - on eight magical collections. Don’t expect chronology or any real order, or even sanity for that matter. It’s just those eight collections that made our hearts beat a little bit faster. Honest to god, it’s nothing to do with too much caffeine! I read an article
how excessive caffeine intake suggests lower emotional intelligence. We’re a bunch of empathetic ladies here. See, I told you sanity is gone. Back on track now!
Despite my tender age of 25 people have (on a whole) stopped asking me who I want to be when I grow up. So, in case you were just too shy to ask – it’s Phoebe Philo. I’m not exactly looking to wear her skin on me, but I’d definitely wear most things she does at Céline
. I also do look up to her so hard I occasionally get pain in my neck. She’s a woman like no other but otherworldly or not, she knows what all the other women want. The collection shown on what happened to be International Women's Day proved just that. It was dramatic and understated simultaneously, coexisting in a space only Philo can find. A knit that nods to Gaultier and Madonna? Casually sporting some furry pom poms? Crazy intricate flowery details? Duvets turned into coats and finished off with prints? Philo stays true to Céline, but she never stops pushing forward. She certainly hasn’t stopped having fun while doing it.
Fun is something that has to be had and Zoolander and Hansel closing Valentino
was exactly that. It was wonderful! Hansel’s locks were luscious and the embroidered suits the pair wearing beautiful, but it wasn't the highlight. It was a collection of contrasts between the utterly delicate and the fashionably heavy. It was all executed with such conviction that pinpointing what stole the show isn’t that simple. Was it the girly garms? Was it the femme fatale frocks? Maybe the easy answer would be the gowns. There were geometry, the embroidery and materials so fine I’d almost be too scared to touch them. It’s as if Valentino dismissed the notion of ready-to-wear. Of course they didn’t really
, and instead used their skill to create an elegant balance in the more wearable stuff. The oversized knit with the geometric midi-length skirt stopped me in my tracks, making me acutely aware of how limited language can sometimes be. But does it even matter? The collection does the talking for itself. It says Valentino is at its very best.
February in New York… can kill you. It’s difficult to strike this balance of cool with your look if you live in what’s essentially subarctic climate. Edgy but without your body temperature dropping below 34 degrees, you know? It’s as if Kenzo
heard the shivering of the masses because what they’re packing for AW15 is exactly that. Clothes that will actually keep you warm. They’re also bringing back their signature prints and not-so-subtly letting us know there is no such thing as too much. Five different prints in three layers in one look? This isn’t amateur hour, and the Kenzo girl will look effortless in this buying gum from her local bodega. It’s the season to layer so do it with ponchos and shawls and metallic anoraks. Maybe top off your outfits with huge shearling jackets? Ones so warm and fuzzy that street style photographers might start hugging you after taking your picture? A collection for the street style royalty, floral jacquard is a definite staple, and fringe details on trousers and tops alike have to take home a trophy of some kind. Prada
is perhaps the only unexpected sighting on this list. Always beautifully made, it’s so classic. Too classic. This season Miuccia really channelled Miuccia, and so here we are. It’s a collection in a way reminiscent of the house’s can’t-tell-if-it’s-good-or-bad-heyday. “Sweet, but violent,” she says, and she packs a punch. We’re drowned in pastels, so soft and innocent by nature. The 60s took over. It could’ve been all too kitsch and cute but it was delivered with the type of nonchalant arrogance that said you’d be a fool to doubt its force. Tweed was present but took the back seat as jersey held the reins. I know, we all thought it was neoprene. Just shows Prada is still full of surprises. It was shapely - the flared trousers cropped at ankles, the ladylike coats. There were bows and brooches, ponytails and opera gloves – it was all made fun, dramatic, decorative. It was a bit like playing dress-up, but the kind where walls don’t end up covered with lipstick. That is unless you feel like covering a wall in lipstick. The Prada woman this season might just do it, but it won’t leave you questioning her actions. She’s all about taking a stance.
You expect a bit of drama from a Yohji Yamamoto
show, don't you? It was at once literal and not. A metallic tent halfway morphing into a skirt is stirring, no doubt. It's big and shiny! How could you miss it? But even the seemingly subtle is riveting with Yamamoto, theatrical in its essence. It was complicated but clear, severe but soft all the same. The contrasts drew us in, the architecture juxtaposed with draped pieces of fabric. Soft flowing shapes completed tailored looks. Delicate dresses were paired with powerful shawls and coats. It was a bit unhinged, it was emotional. It was exactly what was intended. You may wonder what emotion it tapped into, but Yamamoto's excellence is clear. He manoeuvres between the minimal and maximal, the understated and over the top, successfully delivering a collection that's both here and
Who else could make fashion kids run around with WANG written on their chests if not Alexander Wang? He's a street style favourite. Balenciaga
on the other hand is luxurious, regal even. The worlds are very different, but there is no doubting the creative director’s ability to link the edginess of the former with the elegance of the later. “The society women, the aristocrats, the regal women,” he speaks of the original clientele. His aspiration is to tailor that opulence to the Balenciaga customer of today. It’s unfair to keep comparing Wang to Ghesquiere. While staying true to the house aesthetic, Wang is constantly updating, reinventing. His new opulence needs to be disruptive, a touch unusual. Leather belts became collars. Flat boots paired with cocktail dresses. Metal staples lined the seams and linked the materials. Pearl studs decorated the garments. It’s the details that change the game. He's not Nicholas, but do we want him to be? Dries Van Noten
circa AW15 in one sentence was elegance and luxury for a woman that can hammer a nail into the wall. Grounded glamour, he calls it. It was an empowering collection. Every detail was as if high fiving women. The soundtrack was from an all female ensemble, made up of the likes of Birkin and Bjork. Singing a cappella, void of background, their voices stood alone. It’s powerful. It was also an enormous collection. It wasn’t just the number of looks but the details that made each look. Utility held it on the ground, linked it all together, but it was the intricacy of his work to steal breaths. Flowers and feathers lining necks, beads adorning the garments, sequins shimmering on the fabrics – it was old time glamour. Alas, the true magic of the collection was creating a world where such extravagance live in a symbiosis with oversized chinos. Not many can mix casual with couture in the way Dries Van Noten does. Simone Rocha
is becoming a definite favourite. She’s still sweet, still romantic, but there’s an artful touch to her work. She’s a woman of substance, and so is her client. A girl is growing up; she is blossoming between petals of velvet. Despite the ever-present preciousness, she
isn’t precious. She is strong and powerful. This time around she’s muscular. Between the brocade and tapestry, there’s a clear sportswear influence to the collection. It’s unexpected perhaps, but fitting nevertheless. The Bourgeois inspired body of work is complete, for the lack of a better word. It’s wholesome. Heavy at times, it was balanced by organza and tulle. It’s multifaceted, dreamt up to give presence to all those sides that make up a woman of substance.