Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Fashion month is upon us!

Hello Paris '99ers!
Yes its true, fashion month is (almost) upon us!
Starting this time next week in New York (Feb 9 - Feb 14), hitting London (Feb 15 - Feb 22), running at full force in Milano (Feb 22 - Feb 29) and finally exploding in Paris (Feb 28 - Mar 7)!
Like me, you may have noticed that there is a significant amount of overlapping about to happen, and this is scary for those designers who fall into the dates in question. It leads to questions such as; which editors will come to my show? What if the major journalists are out of town before I open my showroom? What if the models I want are unavailable?!!!
The models question really exists regardless, and in fact when I was in Paris with A.F Vandevorst (and every other season I imagine), there was much controversy when the powerhouse Milan designers began casting models a week in advance, causing major talent to essentially skip London Fashion Week, and the Brits were not happy. Well, everyone except Burberry of course, who could afford to match bargaining power with the Italians.
Luckily for Paris, all this was over, and all they had were a bunch of overworked and exhausted models. Note that they were not underfed, well, the backstage catering at A.F was simply fabulous; sandwiches, pasta, fruit, salads and cold meats galore. If I had't been riding my bike religiously for the whole year I surely would have put on weight, and come to think of it, I also took a few salted foot baths due to strenuous walking, but I concede it was not in 15cm platforms after-all.
So, what can I write about fashion month?
Essentially I'm going to outline who I think will be worth watching, and provide pretty pictures of standout collections from them. Of course its all open to interpretation, and I imagine there will be disagreements, but I welcome varying opinions, its important to share. :)

New York Fashion Week (presented by Mercedes Benz), the place for glamour, cool and event dresses.

Badgley Mischka (Tuesday February 14, 10am)
The duo who can do no wrong with sequins, lace and tulle. Stay away if you like it simple, or do not live at galas, cocktail parties or on the red carpet, unless of course it is the one in your own head, and why not!

Gown from Pre-Fall 2012, who doesn't love a covered up yet totally sexy long sleeved floor length gown!

And as you know, I do love a bit of gold, from Spring 2011, and that simple 'knot' neck line, beautiful!

And just to show they can do daywear and print is this vibrant, leafy wrap dress from Fall 2008.
All images taken from, thanks :)

Derek Lam (Sunday February 12, 12pm)
As someone who always loves a quirky colour combination using 'tilted' tones, I count Derek Lam, an absolute fixture on the NYC schedule, as one of my favourites. Added to that strong, linear shapes, and you have powerful, urban clothes, with a twisted femininity.

From Fall 2009, this wrap-like coat over a wrap dress using four colours maybe shouldn't work, but with the tones working in harmony with each other, it really does. Let's see how the outerwear this season is!

This is a perfect example of Lam's soft toughness. The rusted brick sleeveless shapeless duffel detailed coat is all military, but the legs and sandals lighten it all up. From Fall 2011.

Again slightly monastic in its covering up, this dress is lifted by the romantic yet restrained floral print and its most vibrant green, love it! From Pre-fall 2012. All pictures taken from, thanks :)

Proenza Schouler (Not featured on official schedule as of yet)
Another duo no longer the new kids on the block, these gentlemen are infinitely cool, love a fitted bodice and always imbue their collections with high level construction techniques and a deft way with fabrics.

 Fall 2010, a short but voluminous skirt and cropped jacket make for a long, loooong, leg.

An example of the duo's hand with fabric. The velvet devoree which organically surrounds the body and wisps away around the leg continues a sense of movement around the garment, as seen at Fall 2011.

 Also from Fall 2011, though I feel mustard will actually make another appearance for the coming season too.

And from the most recent collection, Pre-fall 2012, is this shade of blue and matelasse treatment that Proenza Schouler have used previously, but with an ever growing body of work, why can't they be self referential?
All pictures taken from, thanks :)

London Fashion Week (by Vodafone) the breeding ground for the world's next best talent.

Highlights: (Almost too many!)

Jean Pierre Braganza (Friday February 17, 4pm)
A graduate of the prestigious Central St. Martins, Braganza was selected for mentor-ship by Karl Lagerfeld as part of the Woolmark design contest of 2008. His strong and impeccable tailoring and deeply intricate digital print designs ensure a successful and exploratory future.

There is always something wonderful about pulling off a complicated construction such as these stripes in changing thickness and experimentation with sheer and volume at the same time, and the bold red skirt and boots create a strong anchor. From Winter 2011.

This jacket cum vest cum dress highlights the tailoring prowess shown by Braganza. Strong shoulders, a slight angled drape and flawless fit. From Winter 2011.

A combination of light androgyny and perfectly positioned print. I see this jacket shape as a definite way forward. From Spring 2012

This cascading print from Spring 2012, graduating to the apricot shade and into white bring a certain softness to the otherwise hard and futuristic feel of the work.
All pictures taken from, thanks :)

Marios Schwab (Sunday February 19, 12pm)
When Schwab burst onto the London scene in 2006 he helped to further popularise the body-con revival, albeit in a carefully constructed manner that never looked cheap or retro. Since then Schwab has presented collections that verge on avante-garde whilst staying feminine, not unlike Sophia Kokosalaki, or Helmut Lang (Schwab is half Greek , half Austrian no less).

Always embracing unusual textures and fabrication and reigning them back to the female form for an off kilter femininity. From Winter 2010.

A Schwab take on evening wear. The pearls serve as the only decoration, and are integral to the construction of the dress. Winter 2011.

Exploring the difference between light and darkness with mesh and transparency. The darts, like the pearls before them, fulfil two roles. Spring 2012.

Also from Spring 2012, Schwab explores lines in lingerie, a recurring theme in his practice. His father owned a lingerie factory in Athens.

Roksanda Illincic (Tuesday February 21, 11am)
Known for her bold approach to colours and strong solid shapes, and a tendency to exaggerate elements of her garments to super proportions, creating a dreamy, elegant and modern approach to fashion.

 Pre fall 2012, exploring blocking with the primary colour palette of LEGO building blocks.

The unassuming, for Illincic, front of a simple shift surprises with an unexpected 'exit' back. Pre fall 2012.

Fall 2011, an evening ensemble.

A candy pink organza concoction with enlarged head scarf from spring 2011.

 Neon pastels from Spring 2012. All images taken from, thanks :)

Milan (o) (presented by Canon) the ultimate in cut, Eurotrash and sex, a real family affair!

Highlights: (again too many, but I'll try for a mix of established and fresh names)

Aquilano.Rimondi (Sunday February 26, 7pm)
 The duo formerly known as 6267, and the just recently outed designers at Gianfranco Ferre, have been for years steadily building a loyal following (yours truly included!) with their excruciatingly sophisticated and decorated collections.

From Fall 2010, embellishment to the max with the beaded edge and feathered body, this coat needs nothing else but a little slip of a dress and an attitude!

A staggered degrade of texture with impeccable control of each fabric; a heavy but pleasurable silhouette from Fall 2011.

Uplifting colour with classic and perfectionly balanced cut from Spring 2011.

Layer upon layer of sequins shows an intricate 3D relief which swirls around the body and is given a subtle pop but nice clean finish with the prim and proper shirt in pastel.
All images taken from, thanks :)

Prada (Thursday February 23, 6pm)
The powerhouse of powerhouses, but a necessary and deserving inclusion in any highlights listing, Miuccia has been at the forefront of textile experimentation since the 1990s and has a knack for setting the shape for seasons to come.

From Autumn Winter 2007 came the 'simple but strange' collection, where the shapes were boxy and square, but the fabrics curled, bubbled and rose on their own in a compelling and unsettling manner.

Autumn Winter 2011 saw a return to the typical Prada silhouette of a mix of the 1960s, '20s and 40s, strong narrow lines, more often than not above the knee, and that over the top embellishment using plastic discs.

Spring 2010 saw a high sun sheen on fabrications and prints were of a tropical tourist beach scape.

The outstanding and iconic Spring 2011 collection saw an explosion of colour, bananas and monkeys on drop waisted shapes or conversely circular shoulders and straight skirts.
All images taken from, thanks :)

Bottega Veneta (Saturday February 25, 9:30am)
Originally a family based accessories company known for its signature 'intrecciato' basket-weave technique. Under the guidance of Gucci group and creative director Tomas Maier, the house's ready-to-wear line now flourishes of its own accord, providing the highest in luxury, everyday options, and getting better every season.

Autumn Winter 2007, an important collection in establishing the right direction of Bottega Veneta's clothing. Simple yet dynamic, subtle and elegant.

A simple yet beautifully cut pant suit with masculine tones is kept feminine and edgy with the gold accessories, from Autumn Winter 2010.

For Autumn Winter 2011, Maier's effortless cocktail dressing shone through; of course plenty of effort went into the construction of each piece, they are deceivingly simple and that's why they work.

In Spring 2012, real saturated colour appeared on the Bottega Veneta runway for almost the first time, a step away from the usual pastels and muted tones. Is this a sign of the future?
All images taken from, thanks :)

Paris Fashion Week (presented by the French Federation of Haute Couture and Ready to Wear Designers) is the home of fashion, where it all happens. It is the dream of all designers to present their collection here and follow in the footsteps of fashion's greats!

Seeing as Paris is just over one month away the schedule has not yet been announced, however historically there is never much dramatic movement between the seasons.

Highlights: (Where to start!!)

Anthony Vaccarello (Day One around 6pm)
One of the hot new Belgians on the block, Vaccarello graduated from Brussels' La Cambre and won the competition at Hyeres Festival. The following year, the ANDAM prize was his. Short, tight and cut out is look, though 3 seasons in there is sure to be an added maturity and an expansion on the vision.

Given its own take on 'less is more', the precision in the cut of this mini-dress can clearly be seen. From Spring 2012.

The penultimate 'dress', or carefully placed wisp of cloth, from Spring 2012, is perfect for a hot night around the city of lights.

Like a late '80 early '90s Alaia without the bulk, this dress, from Winter 2011, apart from its somewhat 'modest' top, leaves almost nothing to the imagination from the navel down.

Cut-out body hugging knit dress, almost hosiery style patterning lends a further 'nudity' to preceedings to Winter 2011.
All images taken from, thanks :)

Dries Van Noten: (Day Two around 3pm)
No introduction is necessary for Dries, the softly spoken and fastidious designer whose use of vibrant prints and traditional artisan techniques has forged a unique and unmistakable signature resounding all over the fashion world.

Fall 2009, loose belted coats, pleated tapered pants, broken up abstract prints, and this effortless combination of four colours and printed shoes in one outfit.

Fall 2010, an emphasis on hip volume and loose pants, jersey cut off sleeve jumpers with long silk skirts and a revival of contrast sleeves which takes off at every high street chain around the world. Stunning.

Fall 2011, inspired by Najinsky and Bowie and '70s wallpaper prints. Each garment is subtley asymmetrical which leads the eye around the body.

Spring 2009, one of Dries' most iconic collections. Clashing coloured or monochromatic square prints, chunky gold and silver beaded necklaces and an all over wearability and ease for everyone's wardrobe.
All images taken from

Lanvin (Day Four around 5:30pm)
Alber Elbaz was a victim of power struggles and his career at Yves Saint Laurent ended prematurely in 2001. A sign if there ever was one, his move to Lanvin signalled a new era in understated luxury, distinctive draping and season after season of absolute desirability.

Fall 2008, to that point his most on point outing. Pieces such as this spliced ribbon dress translate from work, to dinner, to cocktails and to the club.

One of the signatures of Lanvin as we know it; ruffles that create an outline for the eye to follow around the rest of the piece, and I always love a long leg, as seen at Spring 2010.

From Spring 2011, this simple look encapsulates why Lanvin is the choice for subdued yet stylish women all over the world. Take a jacket for work, swap the skirt for jeans for play, so many possibilities.

Elbaz does embellishments as good as the rest of them, though his never look gaudy or without purpose. From Spring 2012

The finale of Autumn Winter 2011, a tour de force collection of silk gazar drapery in exciting and newly proportioned volumes, yum!
All images taken from, thanks :)

And voila! Fashion month a la Yahav is over! Feel free to read this post slowly and over a few days, it certainly is a lot to digest at once, or just enjoy the pretty pictures!

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