Thursday, September 29, 2011

Balmain's Gold Glitters: SS12

One of my favourite bits of university research has been reading snippets of Pierre Balmain's autobiography My Years and Seasons. Balmain wrote about designing through the Occupation, working for Lucien Lelong and meeting another budding designer, Christian Dior. He talked about how they would hang out with Christobal Balenciaga and how he eventually decided to create his own fashion house. Balmain and Dior worked together at Lucien Lelong, and during Balmain's going away party, Dior had to leave because he was so upset. Nearly 70 years later, the House of Balmain is still going strong.

I feel as though I've said this a few times but Olivier Rousteing's Spring 2012 collection might be one of my favourite collections of the season. It was only April of this year that the 25 year old Rousteing was named designer at Balmain, replacing Christophe Decarnin. At this young age, Rousteing already had 5 years experience at Roberto Cavalli under his belt (as well as 2 years working under Decarnin.) Among others, New York Times magazine demonstrate some apprehension as to whether Rousteing would experience as much success has Decarnin has done as head designer at Balmain, but this Spring collection shows that Rousteing has the talent and the guts to pull off a well-tailored and ambitiously adorned line of women's clothing. 

At the same time, Rousteing isn't taking any huge steps away from Decarnin's previous aesthetic. Both are masters of cutting a fierce jacket, have a propensity for edgy rocker style, and Rousteing seems to be carrying on the smatterings of gold that Decarnin's made use of for a few seasons. (We all remember that infamous gold bathing suit that made covers on at least 3 international women's fashion magazines, yes?) 

Rather than give into the omnipresent colour and floral trends popping up all over spring runways, Rousteing seems to have instead opted to display a number of different textures and techniques. His work demonstrates an amazing amount of detail, rich use of gold, minimalist yet elegant use of blacks and whites, and even denim and quilting. Decarnin and Rousteing's Balmain lines have often been described as "rock and roll," but for some reason, both seem to have the ability to make rock and roll look effortlessly rich and put together. 

It was incredibly difficult to choose favourites, but here they are: 

Posted by: Carla

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Free Flowing Fashion: Bottega Veneta Spring 2012

If you cast your mind back to this past summer, you'll remember Emma Watson's fabulous Bottega Veneta gown she wore to the premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2. This Italian house, now headed by Tomas Maier, has been around since the 1960s (an influence evident in the latest line) but has really only been on my radar, I'll readily admit, since Watson's dress made its appearance.

German born designer, Maier's, latest offering displays a wide range of colour that we've seen in a number of Spring/Summer 2012 collections. But rather than give into the impulse of designing a line of over-the-top fluorescent shades, Maier sticks to saturated, rich tones in silks and chiffons. At the same time, the shear plastic applique found on a few of the looks was less than appealing.

And still, I feel as though the garments this season that have excited me the most have been the red-carpet worthy dresses. Maier churns these out in spades. Like any great show, he's left the best for last: four (in the words of Nicole Phelps) "glorious chiffon goddess gowns, each one more vibrant than the next." 

I couldn't have said it better myself, Nicole. 

Posted by: Carla 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Crop Top (Where my witty titles at???)

When I was about 10 years old, my best friend at the time's mother bought us matching peasant skirts with black crop tops. We called them our "Thailand Skirts" which I assume is where they came from (clearly I've developed some form of early dementia since then, because I don't remember what happened of these outfits or if they were ever actually from Thailand.) BUT ANYWAYS, I remember being slightly uncomfortable at the prospect of pairing a skirt with a crop top at the age of ten, and its still something I'd never wear.

Having said that, I'm LOVING the crop top trend on just about everyone else. Its something that's been on my radar since at least last August when Glamour Magazine came out with this amazing shot of actress Grace Gummer wearing an adorable H&M crop-top.

As mentioned, this look has been popular for some time, and doesn't seem to be slowing down. As the Spring 2012 shows come out, the crop tops are still holding their own amongst the other prevalent trends. Below are some of my favourite crop (and, indeed, almost bra-top category) tops. Thoughts?? 

Nanette Lepore
 Oscar De La Renta 
 Jeremy Scott 

Posted by: Carla 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rachel Zoe: Legit Designer or Stylist Extraordinaire? SS12

I'll admit it. Something about Rachel Zoe has always bothered me. It was probably the rumours a few years ago that she was telling already skinny clients to stop eating and get thinner. These stories seemed justified by the fact that Zoe herself is so thin.

All of that aside, however, I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt and check out her first Fashion Week offerings. I have no problem admitting that Zoe's designs, while not exactly groundbreaking, are not bad at all. The looks are chic, fun, and suited for daytime, weekend, resort and nighttime. The thing that struck me was that all of the models seemed to be wearing Zoe's own signature wavy hairstyle, and all seemed to be wearing clothes that she, herself, would wear. Indeed, when it was announced Zoe would be designing a line and turning her name into a lifestyle brand, she herself would be wearing the clothes. 

I couldn't help but wonder--is this something all designers do, but we don't notice as much because not all designers are stylists-turned celebrities-turned designers? Or is Zoe simply a consummate stylist who has designed a line of clothes that she would pick for herself and for others? The odd thing about this line was that there didn't seem to be a central piece of inspiration or theme that linked it together as a cohesive collection. Instead, it presented 30 outfits containing trends that have been around for some time that were not necessarily bound to each other. 

I even took the five minutes to put together a fun little diagram to express what I mean re: Zoe's models being her clones:

Also, a quick screen shot to demonstrate how her line is just a little disjointed somehow, and really seems to be a mish-mash of fairly on trend outfits rather than an actual collection. View the whole slideshow HERE.  Maybe I'm out of line with this. I'm pretty sure it's what Victoria Bekham did with her first few collections (Posh Spice Clones)--does it matter where designers draw their inspiration? I'll let you be the judge. 

Posted by: Carla

Fall Shoes

I'd have to say that Kiran and I (Carla) share a deep love for shoes. Indeed, just yesterday she texted me to say "Just bought 2 pairs of you boots you would loveeee." At the same time, I feel like after this past  spring/summer when we saw some crazy shoe trends mixed unashamedly with fancy patterned socks popping up all over the street style photos, the shoes for this fall are comparatively lack- luster.

Still, after some browsing on one of my favourite websites (NeimanMarcus.Com) I managed to pick out a few styles that remind me of the more daring aesthetic that ruled the streets earlier this year.

Posted by: Carla

Monday, September 12, 2011

Because You Live Your Life in it: Versace Atelier FW 2011/2012

I sometimes have a hard time convincing people that fashion is art. In fact, I believe it to be one of the most relevant and immediate forms of art in our society, which is why I love it so much. Sure, not all of it is entirely practical, and I wouldn't go grocery shopping in a gold Balmain bathing suit, but I probably wouldn't go grocery shopping in a Klimt print either.

The thing about fashion experimentation is that it can either go horribly wrong, or horribly right. Atelier Versace's Fall/Winter 2011-12 line is a glowing example of high fashion gone right. The entire time I spent flipping through the images, my eyes were glued to the screen, the letters "O-M-G" bouncing through my head. It feels so good to find fashion to literally be excited about.

Atelier Versace's line makes use of metallic leather, baroque details, tulle, sequins, crystals, prints, gold accents and, obviously mixes these materials and mediums most effectively. There's also a glimpse of that ever-so-popular crop top that doesn't seem to be leaving anytime soon.

My favourites (aka pretty much all of the designs, because it was hard to choose):

Posted by: Carla

12 Reasons why Zac Posen will Rule the Red Carpet

If a picture says a thousand words, Zac gets 12, and we needn't say anything more than that these gowns are exquisite and we look forward to seeing his work everywhere next year. 

Posted by: Carla 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Luca Luca | Spring/Summer 2012

Luca Luca's signature aesthetic has been its bold use of colour. Raul Melgoza, the label's creative director since 2008 has taken the line in new directions using more subdued tones, but his Spring/Summer 2012 collection shows a return to those bright colours of the Luca Orlandi days.

Bright colours along with beach or retro inspired looks have reined so far in the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week shows, but Melgoza's line channels a more professional silhouette. He also largely rejects the patchwork and floral patterns we've seen elsewhere in favour of juxtaposing multiple bold colours on a single garment or outfit. This is something we've also seen from Prabal Gurung (notably in the pink pants/red blouse look that Sarah Jessica Parker has made famous, to mixed reviews.)

Melgoza's collection is, above all, aesthetically appealing and likely to pop up on many a street-style blog come spring. Some standouts:

Posted by: Carla