The fashion industry is in a complete state of flux at the moment. So much change in such little time. The revolving door of creative directors keeps on spinning and many brands are still ironing out the logistics of their newly adopted "see now, buy now" format.
Some immediate edits to the industry came to light during New York Fashion Week. Jonathan Saunders for example debuted his first collection as creative director of Diane von Furstenburg, Coach continued to cement their massively overhauled more "urban" aesthetic and Oscar de la Renta showcased their latest collection before Monse's Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia take over as creative directors next season. So let's see how these collections have set the brands up for next season.
NYFW Trend: The (Mostly) Monochrome Texture Mash-Up ft. Victoria Beckham, Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung and Rodarte
This season's New York Fashion Week has been ridden with change. Not only has the fashion industry seen a flux of changes in creative directors but a noticeable change is apparent from merely looking at the clothes - a shift in priorities from silhouette to texture. This season is a lot more about how a woman feels in her clothes rather than how she looks in them. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to design elements, the focus has been to offer pieces which seem familiar, but in an unexpected fabric and coupled with other pieces in starkly contrasting fabrics.
|Lucky Blue and Gigi Hadid walk for Tom Ford - Fall 2016. Image: Vogue Runway|
Fashion month has officially kicked off to a roaring start and who better to really get things going than the dashing Jack-of-all-trades supremo Tom Ford?
Yesterday Ford debuted his first show-now-buy-now collection, and though it is still yet to be seen exactly how (and indeed how well) the immediately-available fashion week format is going to work, Ford is clearly in no way intimidated.
Three months ago, after seven and a half years in London, I left. With nothing but a laptop and a suitcase of clothes, I flew to Berlin to start a new chapter in my life. Last week marked three months to the day that I arrived in Berlin, not a milestone by any means, but the gravity of it has made me somewhat homesick for the past week or so. When I lived in London, I rarely got homesick. It was still Britain, everything was familiar, I had friends, and I knew that if/when any pangs for the green, green grass of home kicked in, I could jump on a train or a coach and be home in under three hours.
This homesickness however, is different. Home is now a two hour flight then a three hour drive away, and because of that, I've been reflecting a lot on my time in London - the good, the bad, the incredibly ugly, but also the rewarding, the educational, the life-affirming and character-building things that have undeniably shaped and formed who I am today.
I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 18 year-old from the Welsh valleys when I arrived in London, having never been away from home for longer than a week. Yes I was terrified, but my fear was overruled by excitement. I left London a more confident, determined and self-secure 26 year-old, and I can confidently say that I'd be a completely different 26 year-old now had I not done it.
So with that in mind, (and seeing as I'm in a reflective mood) I thought I'd tell you a little of what I learned in that time. Whether you currently live in London, used to live there or are planning to live there, or any city really - I hope this is of some use!
As you may or may not remember, last year illustrator David Murray dropped a sartorial and fairly satirical series of images, each one of a different movie villain/horror movie character wearing some of the hottest recent runway looks. Hello my two favourite worlds colliding!
Whilst smirking to myself at the sight of Boba Fett in Astrid Andersen, Stephen King's Pennywise in Moschino (which will have me never look at Ronald McDonald in the same way again) and Darth Maul in a suitably coordinated Givenchy ensemble, some of my favourite female villains were noticeably absent. Thankfully, Murray has returned this year with a series dedicated entirely to my favourite type of on-screen persona - the female super-villain - decked out in Spring/Summer 16's finest looks.
While admiring this season's finest fashion ad campaigns, I Carrie Bradshaw-ly got to thinking - do we still need these?!
When Kenzo was confirmed as the most recent H&M designer collaboration, the twittersphere seemed more excitable than usual. While previous collaborations such as Versace, Karl Lagerfeld and last year's Balmain have been a sort of novelty for the brands from the upper realms of the fashion stratosphere to create high street clothing (emulating but of course never quite matching the aesthetic or quality of their own designs) this collab could be one to break the mould.
And there it is - another menswear micro-season wrapped up. We've seen 70s hippies at Moschino, 90s psychedelia at Gucci, naked kings at Commes des Garçons, British heritage marrying Parisian elegance at Dior and a celebration of the British seaside at Topman Design. What a trip!
While this has probably been the best set of collections I've seen in years, there's still a long way for menswear to go when it comes to experimentation and boundary pushing.
Here, I've pulled together some of my favourite looks from some of my favourite brands which deserve shout out for showing something different, playing around with proportion, print and generally being less conservative and more experimental. Something the world is in dire need of - bravo!
African-inspired prints, perfect pattern clashing and global jet-set chic at Louis Vuitton (Kim Jones I love you please dress me every day k thanx bye)
In a clear digression from its Brit-punk infused Cruise collection where Britain's melting pot cultured was realised in all its kaleidoscopic splendour, Gucci's Spring 2017 Menswear show was a worldly, multicultural myriad of geek-chic and historic-looking Chinese silks.
|Left: MSGM Resort 2017 Right: BOSS Resort 2017|
Every season I study countless images of runways, presentations, trade shows and street style shots from all over the world to see what's going on in the world, you might say that even though it has been longer than I care to admit since I graduated, you never really stop being a fashion student. This season, one thing has been inescapable - volume. Usually I get caught up in the types of fabric shown, how they're used and manipulated, but this season the one standout theme is the sheer amount of fabric.
Oversized, super long, voluminous, long line, ill-fitting, baggy, however you may refer to it, in this post-recession era brands are being wholly unapologetic for their decadence. Gone are the minimalist, streamlined, clean lines of season past and here we have enough fabric in one garment to make a head to toe look.
|A heavily denim-clad Pitti Uomo attendee shot by Phil Oh|
I have a confession: Alessandro Michele is a name I didn't know two years ago. Now however it is a name I can barely go a week without saying. Gucci's Creative Director made absolutely no effort to ease his vision into the esteemed house's history when he took the helm in January of last year. Instead, he arrived in a explosion of prints, patterns and textures, a stark contrast to the heightened glamour of Gucci past. Talk about an entrance. This season, (Gucci Cruise 2017) was no exception. In fact, it was a step up.
"Miami Vice meets Margate" isn't a sentence I thought I'd write when making notes on a menswear collection (or ever for that matter) and yet, here we are.
This season Topman Design showcased a brazen celebration of Britishness, the British seaside to be precise. Whether your sentiments towards British summers are that of looking out onto perfectly cloudless skies, above a glistening navy sea while you lap up a brilliant white ice cream, or of grey skies, howling winds, rickety death-defying fairground rides and eating shit fish and chips, there was something in this collection for everyone.
With Jeremy Scott at the helm, Moschino has gone from Italian fashion's neglected step child to one of fashion week's most talked about shows; and one of the decade's most divisive brands. Love it or loathe it, Moschino receives column inches other brands can only dream of and its divisiveness only adds to the much-hyped conversation. Better that people have a strong opinion, positive or otherwise, than no opinion at all. Right?
With an average London Fashion Week show costing around £200,000 and major brands like Chanel and Christian Dior spending millions each season, it's no surprise that many designers are now looking at new, innovative ways to present their collections. This is, in part, a result of brands increasingly looking at ways to save money, without sacrificing their reach and appeal. Previously living in fear of diluting their brand, or tarnishing its status, fashion houses are now looking at new, often unorthodox ways of reaching vast audiences.
Whitecross Street, Islington, is just around the corner from the Old Street roundabout and is the beautiful street on which I used to live (in, admittedly, a not-so-beautiful flat).
Having said that, I absolutely adored living there and frequently go back to visit purely for nostalgic reasons. Whitecross Street is home to some of the best street food in London, with a market which takes up the entire street from 11am to 3pm, Monday-Friday.
I have been calling Cape Town a second home for 13 years now and I each time I visit I fall in love with it all over again. One of the many, many, reasons I love it there is the food. So much variety, such high quality, and freshness that I've not experienced elsewhere (after almost 8 years in London, I was beginning to forget what fresh food really tasted like).
There are always new places cropping up and over the past 2 years in particular there's been a huge surge in small, local businesses thriving. With markets and fairs giving students and novices alike a platform on which to be seen by locals and tourists, the outcry for something home-grown and honest is being answered. Living in a society dominated by chains and franchises, it's so inspiring to see people going it alone and creating a business, be it a coffee shop or a food stall, out of the sheer love of it.
I've recently noticed more and more people booking trips to Cape Town so I thought I'd impart some advice and give some much-deserved shout outs to my favourite places to eat and drink in and around the beautiful city.