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Fashion Blurbs

Fashion Blurbs

LOST IN FASHION TRANSLATION

August 16, 2017
  1. When I spent july in the city, meaning New York, visiting the summer exhibition in the Met is part of it.
    This summer, I was thrilled to go and see, feel, explore ” Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons Art of the In-Between”.
    She is the first living female designer since YSL ( in 1983) to be the subject of the Met Museum annual exhibition in the Costume Institute.

Since 1969, year after year, season after season, collection after collection she provoques and stimulates our awareness of the fashionable body through her clothes.
At the heart of her work are the koan “mu”(emptiness) and “ma”(space), which coexists in the concept of the “in-between”.
What happens in between ?
That’s what her exhibition is about : she examines nine expressions of “in-betweenness”.
In all honesty, as I was walking through the nine presentations, I was sometimes lost for words or I didn’t get it at all.
Let me explain :
– In observing “fashion/Antifashion” , the clothes were principally black, unconventional creations , outsized and shape-less.
My first reaction was : this can’t be fashion, as the garments don’t look very wearable or even flattering on a body?
But for her these loose garments create space between skin and fabric.
– when looking at “Model/Multiple” a set of skirts are featured here. At a first glanze, they look the same but when you take a closer look you see subtle changes in color, fabric and shape.She creates uniformity on the one hand but on the other hand each skirt is original and individual. There seems to be not much space in between uniqueness and mass-production.
– one of my favourites was “Self/Other” in which she explores the boundaries of gender identity.
It fuses the clothes typical for men and women into one outfit.There is nothing in between anymore, this new created garment can be worn by both sexes. Or do we have a new type of unisex ?
-the exhibition concludes with “Bound/Unbound”.
It’s beautiful to observe how these pieces bind the body but they unbind, set free the body culturally.As she explained once : ” I work around the figure, but I am never limited by what the figure has to be”.
Again here , there is space for thinking that the dressed figure is free of bounded definitions of the idealised perfect female body.These thoughts feed the art of the in-between options.
It was a very intense observation of Mrs Kawakubo ‘s explanations and conclusions with reference to this selection of her collections.She insists that her work deals with her ” feelings, instincts, doubts and fears.” And I could sense that.There was mainly a lot of personal opinions and emotions involved.
But in the end, that’s what it’s all about.
You don’t need to get it ( her way). Let your imagination of interpretation flow.
See it your way. Embrace the feeling of interpretation it evoques.
It will only encourage Mrs Kawakubo to continue her journey of the “in-betweenness”.
If you like that, I suggest you go and explore before it ends on Sep 4.

To be continued…

TeDe

 

 

 

 

 

Trees

Fashion Blurbs Uncategorized

MY PICK FOR MFW

May 15, 2017

 

Let me take you back to MFW in February for the presentation of AW17.

My designer of choice is one of the oldest Roman fashion houses, Fendi, founded in 1925 by Adele and Edoardo Fendi. It was taken over in 1946 by their five daughters: Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla and Alda – talking of a proper sisterhood of women!

The only man they took on board was Karl Lagerfeld in 1965, at the time a 32-year-old freelance designer. Nowadays he’s still the creative director of women’s ready-to-wear and fur. In 1994 Sylvia, Anna’s daughter, took the house’s accessories line for her account. Her daughter Delfina Delettrez is a well known jewellery designer. We’re talking three generations of women running a fashion dynasty.

And this was clearly visible in the presentation of their AW17 collection. One saw it in the reoccurring blood-red patent leather boots that every model wore. It was a true demonstration of girl power with a “No nonsense” message. The Fendi woman is approachable and says what she thinks. Meanwhile, the long dresses and coats identified a traditional craft, wrapped with ladylike belts around their waist; strong colours like dark red, camel, black and petrol blue for strong women in a film noiresque style.

It’s a sign of the times, the fact that more women run a fashion house. I’m particularly delighted to discover the feminist awareness that comes with it. Only the idea that 5 sisters ran a family business is unique. Through their clothes, they express a uniting power.
Because, remember, “We Are All Feminists”.

To be continued.

TeDe
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Fashion Blurbs

MY PICK FOR LFW

March 15, 2017

For the last ten years, London has emerged as a proper global fashion community.

The British Fashion Council rebooted when they presented a platform for new designers whose eccentric, rebellious, streetstyle, edgy and daring characteristics put London again on the fashion map.
They built up a worldwide reputation with names like Christopher Kane, Erdem, Simone Rocha, JW Anderson, Marques’Almeida, Roksanda, Peter Pilotto and others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My pick this year is the Belgian fashion designer duo Christopher De Vos and Peter Pilot To based in London.
They’ve been part of the London fashion scene for a while now and I’ve always enjoyed their consistency despite evolving every season.
The designers were greeting guests at the entrance of their AW17 show, as if they wanted us to feel at home when entering their world.
Once the show began, It was uplifting to see the harmony of colours in their dresses, jackets and trousers.
I particularly liked the South American influence in the Andean knitwear dresses with embroidered pop-up square patchwork.
The super-long sleeves on the coats, adjustable with zips, evoked a nonchalant elegance. And the trousers featured zips down the front of the thigh subtle opening to mark your limbs and shoes.
I haven’t really seen that kind of creative texture elsewhere this season.
They have become a true landmark in LFW’s landscape.
It’s what set them and London apart from the other fashion week cities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m the lucky owner of a Peter Pilotto dress I bought many years ago in a small boutique called ” A La Mode “. The owner Josephine had an eye for new just-graduated designers and bought pieces from one of their first collections. The shop is no longer there, but I still have my dress. It’s a typical ” any occasion dress ” with a timeless feel – I can always wear it.

To be continued.

TeDe

Fashion Blurbs

MY PICK OF NYFW

March 8, 2017

The Fashion Month bonanza for AW17 is over and through flashbacks I’ll give you my pick of the 4 weeks, the 4 cities starting New York.

As I’m a Belgian living in NY, it had to be the other Belgian living in NY.

The expectations for Mr Raf Simons first collection as the new chief creative officer at Calvin Klein, one of the iconic names of American fashion, were at its highest, to say the least.

The fact that his show was so early in the week at the unheard time of 10:00 am, gave it even more attention.

 

We were given a thrilling, beautiful, intelligent, pragmatic, simplistic, unisex catwalk. Although there were some blurred lines between men and women, Simons was not always going into gender fluidity : the women wore ribbed skirts and plastic feathered dresses. For the men, we recognised his trademark tailored skinny suits. In those suits, I also saw a reference to Calvin Klein’s tailored Nineties suits. It’s proof that Mr Simons respects the CK legacy, taking it on board in his future creations. Nonetheless, both women and men wore the same colourful shirts with breast pockets.

And we have to add the political statement he made, beginning and ending the show with David Bowie’s “This is not America”.

Backstage post-show Mr Simons said : “I keep thinking of all the beauty here; you have to focus on that now. And I think American youth is the future for this country.”

Certainly, his American quilt parka could be this generation’s go-to look. And if this is his way of approaching the actual American political situation, it’s honest and hopeful.

The show was a great premiere. For now, I am satisfied and let this first presentation of the new Calvin Klein sink in.

Mr Raf Simons was the talk of NYFW.

To be continued.

TeDe

 

Fashion Blurbs

FASHION MEETS ART

December 27, 2016

What I like at this time of year is the cosyness of getting together with loved ones : the domestic bliss of comfort, security and belonging.

That was exactly the theme of an exhibition I went to see in MoMu ( fashion museum in Antwerp, Belgium) : “Rik Wouters & the private utopia”.

It put me straight in a festive mood.

The exposition links the contemporary desire to go back to nature, what is called the ‘slow’ movement, with the revisited interest in artisanal  techniques. As Rik Wouters decided to go and live in the woods with like-minded artists, so decided fashion designers in Antwerp, at the beginning of the 21st century, to have their own independent studios and techniques of craftsmanship, in reaction to the over-industrialisation of fashion.

Let me walk you through a selection of exhibits to see how a conceptual artist and a fashion designer merge in the search for a domesticity in Nature.

Photo Jan-Jan Van Assche & Collective : SS17, SS16 & AW16-17.

This designer had a utopian outlook. He does only one season a year, creates a series of garments with small variations that fit together, and combines them to make layered clothing. The silhouettes give a nonchalant feel : he creates textiles that become a second skin and fuse with the wearer and their life.

Rik Wouters enherited a love for landscapes from Renoir, whose work he saw in Paris. His scenes bring the outside and inside world together : flowers are placed in a vase or are pictured in the garden. They’re a symbol of the beauty of nature.

When I think of flowers and fashion, I see Dries Van Noten. His SS 2001 hand-painted flower motif on a printed silk crepe dress and silk jacket were a beauty to watch and to touch, and definitely wearable whether you go out or stay in.

I really enjoyed the installation of Dirk Van Saene, an original member of the Antwerp Six, who gives an overview of his career on the basis of fifteen silhouettes. He is a perfect example of a fashion designer who follows his own path in terms of collections, shows and seasons, and sells where and whenever he chooses. He’s been a one-man business since 1982. His sources of inspiration are the work of Louise Bourgeois , the documentary  “Grey Gardens”, tribal motifs or masks and the world of haute couture : bows, embroidery and trompe l’oeil motifs.

His creations are an ongoing process of original fashion art.

Wouter’s images of domestic bliss shows Nel (his wife) in a variety of daily activities : ironing, playing with the cat or sewing.

SS16; silk crepe dress with bustier in crochet and knotted cotton.

The Antwerp designer Veronique Branquino similarly makes coy references to 1970s fashion, a world away from contemporary fashion, when handicrafts such as macrame and knitting were very in.

Here she goes back to nature, specifically the woods. The wood is the setting for the haunted woman that VB expresses in her collections : the dark birch wood that fascinates as much as it terrifies, offering a hiding place that cannot bear the light of day.AW 2000-01, AW 98-99, AW 2009-10 Into the wood. Pre-fall 16 & AW 98-99 Black & white in the forest.

My last choice will be the utopian idea of a better, slower future embodied by Belgian designer Bruno Pieters and his label “Honest by Bruno Pieters” . Consumers can see how his garments are manufactured, from the original base materials to the hours worked on it. Pieters does not want to turn his back on the fashion world but wants to show that change is possible; all resources are produced sustainably. Furthermore, it serves as a platform for new talent as he invites young designers to collaborate on a collection that corresponds with his vegan lifestyle. Examples include the wood fibre shoes by Mats Rombauts and the 3D-printed sneakers by Comme des Machines.Rombaut SS16 & AW 16-17 Comme des Machines. Utopia-Bruno Pieters Honest By.

 

I thought the presentation of this exhibition was excellently done, fresh proof of how fashion meets art. The artist and fashion designers embraced pure domestic life in tandem with nature. Home sweet home comes to mind. Because, in essence, that’s where we all go back.

 

To be continued.

TeDe.

 

 

Fashion Blurbs

FESTIVAL FASHION

November 6, 2016

Now that the music festivals season comes to a halt, I’m ready to look back at the creativity and variety of festival fashion gear.

But first I wanted to find out when those music festivals started.

Forerunner of the late ’60s festivals were the 1965 Newport Folk Festival with Bob Dylan.

The start of Mount Tamalpais and Monterey in 1967 built to Woodstock in 1969. Those 1960s festivals provided the possibility to be part of a liberal society.

The 1969 Woodstock Music Festival was an enormous unexpected success, attended by 450,000 people. In the UK, the Isle of Wight Festival had a record of 600,000 music fans when Jimi Hendrix performed there in 1970.

And in Sep of that year, a small unknown festival opens it doors in Pilton, Glastonbury.

So now we can understand why the hippies and power flower style is still very present in the dress code of the music festivals nowadays.

Mind you, it wasn’t always about clothes back then, as nudity was considered a political act of freedom and acceptance.

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Whether I attended Coachella Festival in April or the desert Festival in October, whether I was surrounded by jumpy twenty something or rock ‘n roll 60-plussers, the hippie and flower power look was available.

Sometimes a modern touch was added with a Chloe handbag, Gianvito Rossi’s gladiator sandals or Dior sunglasses.

Seeing a greying man wearing his ever favourite black outfit (black jeans, black T-shirt, black leather biker jacket and his black rider boots) made me smile.

You’re never to old to wear what you feel like wearing ! Especially not when you’re going to the latest gig of your favourite band !

I love dressing up and changing outfits all the time when I go to a music festival. This season, out of my suitcase came : my black MiH cut off shorts, my seventies red flared legs jumpsuit covered up with a cropped flower crocheted top and my blue cowboy boots.

Yes, it’s that feeling of do what you want, wear what you want, forget about your age ( by saying this, I am giving my age away), let yourself go, liberate yourself from any prescribed dress code. And let the music do the rest !

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It was inspiring to see the  walking creativity clothing company in the Californian desert.

It didn’t feel like a catwalk show because there was no commercial aspect. Clothes weren’t worn to be sold. People were just themselves, wearing what they liked. It was more like watching a film across the day because there was so much to see.

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I’m looking forward to the next Festival Fashion season.

Burning Man in Nevada is top of my list.

To be continued.

TeDe

 

 

Fashion Blurbs

GENDER BLENDER PART IV

October 25, 2016

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And last but not least, we wander through PFW for the SS17 collections.

” Finir en beaute ” as the French would say.

Our last stop to find out if neutral gender awareness was available in the city of light.

To be honest, it was less evident.

We had mainly female collections on show and hardly any unisex presentations.

The big new change here was that we had more women taken over the creative roles in previously male-dominated fashion houses.

imageThe power impact came across in the Louis Vuitton and Chanel collections, represented by 1980s strong, outspoken shoulders for Nicolas Ghesquiere and futuristic tweeds worn by space odyssey robot-lookalike models for Karl Lagerfeld.

But there was also a strong sense of masculinity or should we name it ” Demna-ism ” nowadays ?

Demna Gvasalia respected the heritage of Cristobal Balenciaga.

” I analyse and I question “, he said.

We got the girls wearing never ending spandex boots from toes to hips. ( or were they trousers ?)

The masculin touches are seen in his open ankle split trousers echoing a ” je ne sais quoi “ambiance.

He’s such a refreshingly new kid on the fashion block.

Continue Reading

Fashion Blurbs

Gender Blender part III

October 14, 2016

I can’t help it, but I would like to begin with Gucci.

Maybe partly because MFW has a more traditional feel and the neutral gender awareness was not as intense as in NY or LON or partly because Alessandro Michele gave us an overwhelming , theatrical SS17 catwalk presentation !

His geeky -chic style, the perfectly matched cacaphony of prints and colours brought both male and female collections nicely together.

We saw men in salmon-coloured wide trousers and pink sweaters with a gold bow tie. Or they wore a pink plisse skirt dress with trousers underneath. This was accessorized with lot of rings and facial tattoos.

Meanwhile, the women wore yellow glitter-metals seventies male-style suits; think David Bowie in Stardust. This confirmed that a gender-fluid tone was all-present !

Another designer whose girls and boys walked the catwalk together was Peter Dundas for Roberto Cavalli. The cowgirls and cowboys wore silk blouses with striped flared trousers. Both sexes had a similar Indian style jewellery : a thin long tie as a necklace and, in a way, they really ended up wearing the same type of clothes.

But even in the women-only collections for most of the designers, a message was sent out: “girl power”! When you present sportswear attire, a high level of androgyny is always recognisable. As an example, we can take the bomber jacket at Dsquared2 with the strong masculin shoulders. This type of 1980s power dressing was also noticeable in Jill Sander’s dresses with balloon blow-up or airfilled arms and shoulders. It’s as if the girls sit in a strong harness, well protected.

It represents a strong male image which, to me, represents an empowered femininity.

Talking of such, Donatella Versace put fit, strong, self-confident looking women in the picture with her sports de luxe. They walked the walk and talked the talk with the nylon tracksuits and parkas covering their midriff tank tops – truly fit for a female style.

This can also be said for Max Mara, who’s utility wear collection was marked with tropical prints.

And finally, I would like to mention the well known tailored suits chez Giorgio Armani. Isn’t it lovely to see the male models parading in blue metallic jackets, stepping away from the traditional fabrics for a male blazer ?

All in all, I would conclude that in Milan a lot of male touches were visible in the female clothes and a continuation ( like in NY and LON ) of feminine details was present in the men’s collections.

Maybe it’s a lighter touch of gender blender, but nevertheless it’s there.More and more, we are getting used to seeing it.

Therefore, in my humble opinion, the neutral gender dynamics becomes daringly and attractively acceptable.

Next and final one up is PFW.

To be continued.

TeDe

 

 

Fashion Blurbs

Gender Blender Part II

October 5, 2016

GENDER BLENDER PART II

As I continued my gender-wise observation during LFW, gender neutrality became less visible on the catwalk as there were less designers showing men and women collections together than in NY.

I have to kick off with Burberry of course.
Christopher Bailey calls it : “Sep 2016 Collections Men & Women”, not SS17.
He found his inspiration in Virginia Woolf’s book “Orlando”, saying:
“And above all, it feels as tho ugh it speaks to us today with utter clarity in its merging overlapping male and female…”

We saw a lot of Shakespaerian frills, cuffs, dressing gowns, pyjamas and lace for both men and women, as if he was creating a new personality, moving towards the neutral gender.

I quite liked J.W. Anderson’s androgynous sportswear presentation where the puffed, oversized trousers and bomber jackets gave the girls muscular shoulders.
The kaki army, camouflage print, parka-hoodie presented by MM6 Martin Margiela was also a proper example of a unisex garment.

But London being London had already redefined men’s fashion back in the sixties.
A certain Mr Fish loved putting capes, pajama suits and silk pussy-bow blouses on young men’s bodies.
Remember Mick Jagger wearing plush, velours flared trousers and high button collars during his gigs? Or David Bowie wearing Fish’s “man-dress”.

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I have to say that Mr Fish is still present in London’s SS17 shows. It’s in the clothes and garments, but it’s also an attitude, a mentality gradually emerging across decades.
Moreover, London has always expressed dandyism and eccentricity amongst men and women. This will only become more developed and expressed given that London’s menswear entrepreneur, Mr David Mason, purchased the rights to Mr Fish’s name and will relaunch the line soon.

“You have to think differently before you can dress differently,” Mr Fish said. Men are more willing to change and experiment with their clothes nowadays. They are no longer afraid to show their feminine side. Women are also willing to change and experiment but I think they have already been doing this for a long time with designers creating more androgyny and sportswear outfits.

Therefore, through fashion, both sexes are brought closer to each other. As if a new gender, a new blurred consciousness of what it is to be man or woman can now emerge

Whether you’re a woman or a man, whether your style is more male or female, more and more designers invite you to choose the garment that suits you fine.

I can only applaud this evolution .

Let’s move on to MFW.

To be continued.

TeDe

Fashion Blurbs

Gender Blender

September 21, 2016

As the vibes of Fashion month have kicked off, I decided to observe a reoccurring theme during the fashion weeks in the 4 different cities.

The theme would be described as :
postgender, genderless, gender-wise, gender-fluid…
Has a new normcore been born?

NYFW just finished, which means perfect timing to look back at the awareness of gender neautrality amid the SS17 collections of certain designers.

I will start with Lacoste, a more established fashion house:
Women and men presented the collection together and it was clear that both sexes walked in similar styles.
But to see the men wearing knitted long cardigans and bermudas, white wide legged silky trousers or a pink suit was new and refreshing.

A master of course in presenting a unisex collection is Alexander Wang.
His male models had long hair, long coats carrying handbags.
All models wore hats and caps, shorts and tops, so sometimes it was difficult to distinguish a girl from a boy.
That made it even more exciting, bringing the sexes almost together under one American sportswear collection.
His finale of 84 articles for Adidas was therefore energetic and strong.

 

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I particularly liked Eckhaus Latta.
Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta delivered a beautiful diversity across gender, race, age and body type.
The genderless sensibility was shown in an arty collection, presenting the same coloured tops, slip dresses and parkas for women and men.

Hood by Air with Shayne Olivier made a statement with his “back and forward boots”, meaning both sexes can wear them.
There was one white halter neck top worn by a male model that was very feminine. But again, the girls where also in those type of tops and it suited everyone fine.

 

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Rio Uribe from Gipsy Sport, who won the CFDA Vogue Fashion prize this year, also crossed the gender borders.
Boys and girls presented stripy floral floor length shirt dresses with fringes, see-through rain capes and lace slips.
Girls in bike shorts, boys in culottes – it all looked lovely.
Thigh high platform boots and shiny leotards expressed the gender bending streetwear collection.
After the runway show, the models, made up with blue kohl eyeliner, marched out on the street for everyone to see and enjoy.

 

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And when one of Jeremy Scott’s male models walked up the runway wearing leather trousers and a red lipstick face T-shirt, it all looked so natural.

This is absolutely how it felt: normal and harmonious.
It didn’t feel extreme or eccentric.
Its not difficult to accept that, in fact, we want to see more of this.
I think gender-wise will become part of daily life.

More to come after LFW.

To be continued.

TeDe