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Fashion Review Mondays: Chloe’s 2017/2018 Fall/Winter
Olivia of KingdomClothing

This week’s fashion review goes to Chloe. I have been a fan of the Chloe house’s easy, classic aesthetic for a long time. I can remember loving this house’s designs when I was in high school— maybe even middle school. There has always been an easiness and grace to their pieces. And this upcoming Fall and Winter collection is no exception.
Here, watch it before you read on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QZlyoDkRs4
I actually riffled through a lot of shows to review before I happened upon this one. I have not been particularly taken aback or impressed by very many designers in the past year, to be frank. As I was looking through, I saw a lot of looks that simply seemed hackneyed to me, or if not that, then too reminiscent to be called avant garde but too garish to be called wearable. On the contrary, however, Chloe’s Fall show didn’t have one look that I really didn’t care for. All of them were tastefully executed, well- styled, and wearable without being boring or already-done.
Let’s start with the basics of the show, the nuts and bolts: the setting, choice in music, and lighting were simple, chic, and fresh. I couldn’t tell if I was watching a Spring show or a Fall one…and I liked that. So many of the pieces in this show (and pretty much all of the ones I’ll mention) are transition pieces and can easily be worn in Spring, Summer, Fall, OR Winter, which is kind of…fantastic. To achieve this level of seasonal transcendence is impressive and not something I have seen in a while. It’s also difficult to do: designing and styling pieces that transition from season to season.
There were many basic traditional Fall-type pieces I appreciated seeing in the collection. This coat, the opening piece, for example:

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(numero.com)

It’s that perfect Fall coat. But there is a freshness about it that takes some of the traditional Fall heaviness out of it: its slightly shorter length, its decidedly bright palette, its wide sleeves. There’s a funness about it that is like a wink or a giggle: small details that give way to an attitude.
Another beautiful piece is at 1:10 of the show (if you’re watching). I am in love with the easy movement of this simple androgynous look. One piece, gorgeous colors for Fall (but honestly classic enough to look chic in any season), and is a beautiful balance of what is traditionally “feminine” and what is traditionally called “masculine.”
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(numero.com)

This show also included a lot of patterns and shapes of the 60s and 70s. It was like a neat blend of 60s/70s Paris and modern-day New York City. In some other reviews I’ve read of it, many friends seem to think this collection is safe and lack-luster, but I respectfully disagree. The clothes we wear are about expression, but we mustn’t sacrifice wearability for voice. Some designs have such loud voices in these days that wearability has lost its meaning. What I appreciated so much in this collection was the fact that simplicity and chicness held hands with subtle boundary-pushing and nods to the past. Yes, there was a lack of avant garde, no real “I’m making a huge statement; look at me!” type looks going on. But for me, this show commanded my attention in other ways.
Take this look, for example:

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(numero.com)
Design-wise, anything ground-breaking? Not so much, but beautiful? Simple? Light? Fun? Still interesting? Classically chic and would still turn heads? Yes. And again, this is a perfect transitional piece. Could easily be styled for Spring or Fall. The dainty little cut-outs inter-mixed with the lace on the sleeves are so pretty.  And all of the simple, barely there, vintage-gracing shoes: gorgeous and wearable.

Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL FOR fashion making statement, speaking for us, pushing boundaries, stepping out of the comfort-zone. But classically chic beautiful shapes and colors never fail and sometimes, as this show reminded me, simplicity is better. Subtle statements can be important, too.
As Keller’s time leading the designs for this house comes to an end, I think her nod to the house’s roots and her light-hearted simplicity in this collection were a beautiful end to a chapter and a welcoming for freshness.

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Christian Siriano’s Amazing Autumn

Fashion Review Mondays: Christian Siriano’s Fall/Winter 2013 Collection
By Olivia of WangGuk

Christian-Siriano-Runway-Fashion-Week-Fall-2013-Photos

This week, I’m reviewing a collection for the current season: Christian Siriano’s Fall/Winter collection for 2013.

From the start, I was quite impressed with this collection. But really, when I’m honest with myself, I’m always impressed with Christian. He’s just always known who he is and what he’s doing. He’s a master of detail, and this collection showcases that. The taste level was, for the most part, very high and all of the looks were detailed and polished without being over-worked or busy. I loved the collection as a whole— I mean, there were definitely moments when I thought “Well I don’t think I’d ever have the compulsive need to wear that” and others when I thought “Oh my word, I’m going to tear that off the model because I want that in my closet NOW.”

One thing I really loved about this collection was that the models Christian had walking in the show exuded such a powerful, strong woman. Like, she was a badass, you know? A well-dressed, expensive badass. The girls looked polished and sleek in their styling and they walked in a way that said “I don’t know who you are, but I know who I am— and you better just get out of my way.” The girl who is wearing all of these beautiful clothes is strong, confident, tough, and self-sufficient. I liked that. I liked that I felt that just by the way they walked in those clothes— I was able to imagine the girl who would wear all of these pieces, and that is so key in any collection. We always must ask “Who is wearing this?” and “Where is she/he going?”

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Another aspect of this show that is particularly noteworthy, and which all the more built the character of this tough, powerful girl is the track Christian decided to play: music by Brad Walsh, featuring mezzo soprano vocalist Ilene Pabon. It was gorgeous in kind of a creepy, eerie, mysterious way— which matches the girl who was being illustrated in the collection. I loved it. It pulled everything together— a perfect choice for the show.

As for design aspects of the collection, there were many things Christian explored and experimented with that I appreciated. As for shape, a traditionally feminine one was what most of the dresses and suits were based on. I notice that Christian often stays with this form— his shapes never really stray from this more traditionally feminine form. When I look at other designers like Thom Browne or Rei Kawakubo or Junya Watanabe, I think that a lot of their design innovation comes to play in terms of shape and fit— these are designers who are always playing with shape and fit and pushing the envelope in terms of new silhouettes. But Christian seems to play around with other elements, such as color or print or material, as in this collection.

I’ve heard many people say “Oh so much black” and “There was finally a little color at one point”— to which, I was kind of always like “Well yeah…like, do you know which season this is?” Yes, there is a lot of black. Yes, there is a lot of neutral golds and browns. It’s Fall. But I love black, so maybe for a person who needs the rainbow as their wardrobe at all times, this collection would be not as wearable. But I loved all the dark looks. That said, one aspect of the collection I appreciated was that he used a color that we don’t typically associate with Fall or Winter: hot fuscia pink. Perhaps there have been others who have employed this loud color as part of their Fall/Winter collections, but for the most part, I feel like I always see red or gold or maybe a bold purple of some kind during Fall. That is why the pink in this collection was so unexpected for me, but it was also refreshing for that reason. I happen to dislike pink quite a bit, and the first time I watched the show, I was like “Ew that color is heinous; what on Earth would posses anyone to wear it?” But I watched the show a couple of times over, and I realized that this color actually adds a lot of necessary dimension to the collection. Plus, all of the dresses in this color were fitted immaculately and looked super hot. So, I was okay with the presence of pink here.

Something I found to be gorgeous was his use of lace and sheer paneling. Many dresses in the collection employed this. The shorter, gold, modernized circle-skirt dress was one of my absolute favorite pieces, and I loved it for many reasons (the color, the modernization of the circle-skirt shape), but the main reason was the balance it contained. The sheer top is completely balanced with the heavier fabric of the bottom skirt part. The dress is perfectly proportioned. The lace becomes the epitome of chic and classic, where if it had been paired with a less-conservative bottom, it would have become tasteless and vulgar quickly.
The black dresses that follow this one (the ones that are I think around minute 8 in the show) are also some of my favorite pieces. The black with the gold detailing is exquisite— I can’t even tell you how beautiful they are. They truly speak for themselves as pieces. I loved the bolero dress; I thought that was very modern and chic and perfect for Fall. I loved the black dress with the gold detail shoulders with the shell of tulle coming out— it reminded me of Bowser from Mario Brothers… only chic haha (this actually was more of a shape innovation, and I loved it for that reason).  All of these black and gold pieces were gorgeously pieced and just perfect, really.

MG_1877           161304419    Christian Siriano, Ready to Wear, Fall Winter, 2013, New York        christian-siriano-autumn-fall-winter-2013-nyfw27
The only part I will say that I did not particularly care for was the closing dress: all sheer lace with strategically-placed pieces of gold lace or stitch detailing that covered up all of the essentials. When I spoke of the gold dress before— the modern sheer circle-skirt one— I had said that the reason it worked was due to the balance. This final dress had none— the whole thing was sheer and I could see the model’s butt-crack (kudos for her walking with still such a strong, confident stride while she mooned the audience). I know that couture isn’t  supposed to be confined by the standards of a ready-to-wear look, but I just couldn’t really even appreciate the dress because of the vast lack of wearability. That aside, oh my word, the detail on the dress is, again, immaculate and Christian’s signature, so for that I congratulate him.

The cohesion and sophistication of this collection were astounding, and anyone who got to see it live is lucky as a duck because I would absolutely LOVE to see Christian’s amazing detail work up close and personal. He’s a genius. He always has been. And this collection is nothing less than incredible.

Video here>>  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNjI-1n_KmA

Still Photo Creds:

www.fabsugar.com

fashionista.com

coolechicstylefashion.blogspot.com

nowfashion.com

nyunews.com

Alexander McQueen’s Legacy

Fashion History Fridays:  Alexander McQueen
Olivia of WangGuk

This Friday, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite designers of all time:  Alexander McQueen.
You may only have heard his name in passing or only know him by the thousands of replica skull-print scarves that are floating around online and in stores now, but this man actually has a very cool story, so here’s what I know about him.
He was born Lee Alexander McQueen in the East End of London; his father was a taxicab driver and their family was not super wealthy or of high social standing.  The youngest of six kids, Alexander said that he was three years old when he knew he wanted to be in fashion.  He said, “I’m the pink sheep of the family” and that he was “a rebel with a cause… to destroy the fashion industry from within.”
His career began when he left school at age 16 and studied tailoring at the Savile Row institution, Anderson and Sheppard, where he developed his exquisite tailoring skills, which is what he is known for to this day (besides his famously eccentric shows).  Of his time spent here, he said that it was a most “homophobic place,” that it was like being a plumber— “a nightmare.”  However, he was impeccably good at tailoring; everyone said this of him.  His shows were outrageous and were about shock-factor, yes, but underneath all of his conceptual genius, the clothing was simply well-made.
After his education, at age 20, he moved to Milan after working in theater for a bit, and in Milan, he worked for a few different people until moving back to London, where he began working on his own line.  Famous stylist Isabella Blow bought his entire first collection of coats and dresses that were lined with hair, wearing them when pictured in British Vogue.  She started following him, along with many other people high in fashion, and he began to grow in fame.

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In October of 1996, the director of Christian Lacroix decided to have Alexander design for fashion power-house Givenchy, as John Galliano was currently leaving the house to start designing for Christian Dior.  So Alexander started designing couture for the Givenchy house, while still maintaining his privately owned brand, McQueen, of which he said, “I wouldn’t sell McQueen for nothing.”  His first two collections for Givenchy did not herald much praise from the public, but following these two, he began to channel his design aesthetic into a more streamlined and wearable couture, and he began to gain the public’s eye once more.
His private company, McQueen, began to grow as well, funded by the work he was doing for Givenchy.  His right-hand girl, Katy England had said that she never imagined the company reaching the heights it was now reaching— that they didn’t even have model fittings during their famous show, “Rape of the Highlands,” and their four-person team consisted of little more than a few sewing machines, Alexander, and that’s it.

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Fall 1995, “Rape of the Highlands.” A show encompassing the concept of rape and vulgarity present in society. Where McQueen allegedly mooned the audience.

He was known as the “bad boy” of fashion in his time, always peculiar and always unpredictable.  In his early “Rape of the Highlands” famous show, he allegedly dropped his pants at the end of the show and turned his back on the audience, to which many responded by walking out of the show.  The show was high-energy and extremely expressive, lots of nudity— like many of his shows.  It is said of his earlier shows that they contained a lot of anger and emotion— Alexander was known to kind of have the punk-mentality in that he started designing at a time of great social strife in London; it was the time of the kids, the punks, the outsiders who were not readily understood by the larger society.  And Alexander’s voice in fashion sort of mirrored the punk voice in society at the time.

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Spring/Summer 1999. McQueen’s “Robot” or “Man and Machine” show, in which his model came out in a beautiful plain white dress and was splattered with different colored paints shooting from robotic arms, so as to illustrate man’s relationship with machine at the time. He was quite the political speaker through his shows. This show, he later said, had brought him to tears as he watched it back-stage.

He was indeed a “pink sheep” in the fashion industry; he never did anything expected or traditional.  Many people shunned his shows, but many more adored him and couldn’t get enough of his theatrical masterpieces.  He sold out tickets for most of his shows months before they happened, and everyone was desperate to see what he’d create next.  His shows weren’t simply shows, they were living, breathing art.  He was a master of fashion.  He came to destroy the fashion industry and he instead changed it for the better, forever changing the definition of beauty, forever altering the standard for design.  When asked what fashion meant to him, Alexander answered, “change; constant change.”

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Fall 2000 McQueen for Givenchy, Millennial party show.

Alexander’s  millennium show for Givenchy in Fall of 2000 was a giant chaotic party, complete with dancing, smooching, and everything in between, while models still walked among the chaos to deliver his designs.  In 2001, he left the house and continued to expand his own company.  Alexander kept producing fantastically conceptual shows until his death in February of 2011, where he was found at his home in London by his house-keeper.  It was pronounced a suicide some time after, and Alexander’s line was continued afterward by the Gucci Group, which Alexander had sold much of the business to prior.

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Fall 2009, Chain Mail, McQueen for McQueen.
LOVE this.

Alexander McQueen is one of those designers who was so much more than a designer.  He was a genius, a creative soul who left this Earth too soon.  I miss him and I never even knew him.  He left quite a large footprint behind on the fashion world, and although his line continues, his famous theatricality and unique perspective on life are simply missing, in my opinion.  Alexander McQueen is another rags-to-riches story which truly inspires me— most of these fashion designers who went down in history have these kinds of journeys.  But Alexander’s story is quite unique, and he truly inspires me to not only continue doing what I’m doing, but also to never accept the status quo.  He inspires me to find beauty in unexpected places, like he did, to push boundaries set by societal standards, and that life is too short to be doing something that you don’t absolutely love.

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Spring/Summer 1997, McQueen for McQueen.

“I never did anything to be famous; I mean, just go out and shoot someone and you could be famous.  That’s not the point.  What you need in the end is to get respect for what you do.”

Thanks and photo credits to:

blog.metmuseum.org
vadamagazine.com
www.ibtimes.co.uk
www.huffingtonpost.com

www.thestyleandbeautydoctor.com

Masters of Style series (watch this series; it’s fantastic) >> http://www.hulu.com/watch/128746#i0,p0,d0