I started the season optimistically, writing a summary for each New York SS10 show, but blogging degenerated thereafter, and I’ve come to accept that taking a similar approach for all the London, Milan and Paris shows would be impossible, so instead I’ll just pick out some highlights (and, of course, ‘lowlights’) from the season, as I present Hapsical’s Brief Guide to London, Milan and Paris Spring/Summer 2010.
What better place to start, and to get some idea of the feeling of the whole season, than Prada? Miuccia Prada showed a summery and relatively upbeat collection, which opened with cropped tailoring (short jackets and un-hemmed shorts) in greys, before jewel embellishment and prints were introduced, and then more sharp tailoring in darker colours. In a typical, wonderfully quirky, Prada twist, the prints were inspired not by tropical beaches themselves, but rather by the strangely dystopian Japanese indoor beach resorts (example below, photographed by Martin Parr).
We enjoyed this collection, which had that real sense of ‘Prada cool’ to it (unsurprisingly, perhaps!) and which provided an interesting contrast between the serious tailoring and the beach-y prints.
*On the topic of Prada, can anybody explain why academics seem to like Prada Sport so much, particularly the trainers (sneakers)? Is it because Miuccia has a doctorate in political science (although I doubt most intellectual types would know/care)? Might ask my economics tutor, whose Prada shoes were distracting me from some awful algebra the other day, if I’m feeling brave…
It is impossible to deny Karl Lagerfeld’s mastery with the clothes themselves at Chanel, where he comes up trumps with a classic-Chanel-with-a-twist formula each season, but the vulgarity and tackiness of the presentation for spring/summer 2010 was such that we had to ask ourselves if Lagerfeld intended it as a parody (but of what exactly?). The models walked around a barnyard inspired set, complete with hay, in which some models had been instructed to roll. So far, plausibly a joke, and certainly a note worthy contrast between the highly polished clothes and the ‘rural’ surroundings, but when Lily Allen popped out of the floor (quite literally, we understand, on an elevated platform) to perform, the whole thing just began to resemble a desperate publicity stunt. The funny thing is that we can just imagine Lagerfeld issuing one of his infamously withering (and, of course, funny) remarks about the show, if only it had been put on by another fashion house. Still, the clothes themselves – the most important aspect of the show – were rather wonderful.
Alber Elbaz showed a breathtaking, sumptuous collection at Lanvin, the richness and quality of which jumps right out of the screen, even though
pictures normally do little justice to collections, which of course suggests that Elbaz’s masterfully cut and draped pieces will be all the more stunning in reality. Recently, courtesy of a great friend, I was able to get up close and personal with Lanvin’s FW09 collection, at an American Express evening event at the London store. We were plied with champagne and canapés and allowed to examine the collection closely, and truly the quality and refinement of Lanvin clothing never ceases to amaze me. This SS10 collection felt like classic Yves Saint Laurent, but updated for the 21st century.
4) Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen showed a stunning collection, which seemed almost enchanted and ephemeral in its beauty. It is unfortunate that discussion of the shoes, which were badly proportioned and did nothing for us, has rather dominated this collection, when it is the clothes themselves, original, sophisticated, and unbelievably well executed, which really merit the attention. It’s hard to put into words almost, but the prints, the cut… this collection was truly breathtaking and definitely had that elusive ‘wow factor’.
5) Jil Sander
Was that strictly unnecessary embellishment we saw at Jil Sander? And were those ruffles?! For spring/summer 2010, Raf Simons softened the Jil Sander minimalism somewhat, producing a collection which was, as a result, less visually striking than in previous seasons, but successful nonetheless. Simons is not the only designer who has been softening things up, almost looking “back to the land” (only in the most strictly metaphorical sense, of course...) as Sarah Mower put it over at Style.com. A result of the recession or not, it still made for an interesting new twist for Jil Sander, normally associated with a much harder-edged urban look.
Futurism was back at Balenciaga, where Nicolas Ghesquière showed a strong collection, with lots of interesting detailing and panelling. This was a collection that was not instinctively easy on the eye, but it was cool, it was pulled off well, and it worked.
7) Marios Schwab
Rising London star (and newly appointed creative director of Halston) Marios Schwab upset some critics with his triple layering concept, which admittedly may not be the best idea fashion has ever seen, but we enjoyed his SS10 collection, which opened with an extraordinary meringue like confection, and closed with a triple layered outfit, with a jewel encrusted grey sheer top, over a pleated black peplum, over ruched blue floor length skirt, cut provocatively high up one leg. The collection was edgy but beautiful, the silhouettes worked well, and we liked the draping.
8) Junya Watanabe
Although not as strong as his incredible fall/winter 2009 collection, Junya Watanabe hit us with another strong collection, characterised by sharp cut and well deployed creativity. The monochrome colour pallet made for a sharp statement, but the collection never felt too harsh or severe, instead having quite a serene beauty to it.
9) Yves Saint Laurent
What this Yves Saint Laurent collection lacked in contiguity (a cutesy appliqué strawberry print quickly gave way to Pilati’s staple Helmut Newton-esque leather-y bondage strapped subversion) it made up for in flair of execution, because it was really well done. Or were the strawberries (which also appeared as earrings and much smaller on another print) all part of the subversion, a sexually charged symbol perhaps? Chic subversion is something which Stefano Pilati does well, but that’s not to overlook the elegance, good taste and good cut which ran through this collection.
10) Christopher Kane
Star of London, darling of the fashion elite, sell-out Topshop collaborator, protégé of Donatella Versace… we have no idea how Christopher Kane handles the pressure to produce amazing collections season after season, while seemingly remaining so calm and grounded but, however he does it, he did it again for spring/summer 2010. At first glance the collection, with its pastel hues, frothy net and gingham check, was very pretty, but there was unquestionably an edge, a perversion almost with the unforgiving slashed cut-outs. Indeed, Kane claimed religious cults and the film version of Lolita had inspired the collection which will, of course, be top of the wish list of every cool ‘It girl’ come next spring.
Another collection bound to be in high demand from the famous and glamorous next spring was Christophe Decarnin’s latest rendition of the new Balmain look. The similarity ends there, however: whereas Kane’s collection was characterised by a quiet intelligence, originality and creativity, Decarnin’s Balmain was as flashy, unoriginal and frankly crass as ever. You would have been forgiven for thinking that some of the models were on their way to evening jobs as waitresses in a particularly naff themed casino (Grecian perhaps, with the awkward collision which occurred several times between draping and cheap-looking metallic material?)
12) Miu Miu
Before we’d even seen this collection, we knew we’d be in for a treat when we read on Style.com that Miuccia Prada had been “questioning innocence, questioning youth,” because what Prada does so well at Miu Miu is presenting pretty, feminine clothes, with a real edge – often added by a sexual undercurrent – all bound together by that Prada creativity and coolness, which is so hard to define. The innocent seeming cat, dog, bird (and, um, naked figure) prints were played out well against the close cut tailoring, while the towering platforms, sheer panels, and jewel embellishment added edge and contrasted well to the shirt collars and other elements of more traditional tailoring.
13) Comme des Garçons
Rei Kawakubo presented a typically edgy and enigmatic Comme des Garçons collection, which captured her characteristic intellectualism and quirkiness and made it work in ‘reality’ (as close to ‘reality’ as a Comme mainline collection can ever be) thanks to the spot-on cut and construction.
A sort of slightly dishevelled bohemian chic characterised the Marni SS10 collection, which may not have expounded many new ideas for the house, but was largely a strong rendition of the Marni look for next spring. Relaxed tailoring and fairly loose fitting layers in muted hues contrasted to strong, graphic prints; overall this collection felt chic, in a quietly confident way.
And as a little Marni tie-in, fans of designer macaroons (and fans of far-reaching branding) will be delighted to hear that Ladurée will be selling special edition Marni macaroons from December… we’ll have to wait until then to see what exactly makes a macaroon ‘Marni’…
15) Dries Van Noten
Dries Van Noten showed a beautiful collection which was full of strong visual references from the rich, ethnic prints. The collection may not have been exactly groundbreaking, but sometimes it’s worth letting the obsession with the new go, especially when the results of a tried-and-tested formula are as pleasing as these. The confidence and style with which Van Noten pulls off strong prints and colours is indeed something to behold, and overall this collection had a real old school elegance and beauty to it.
What do you think about these collections? Agree/disagree?
Lots, lots more to come both about the SS10 collections and about other stuff too... I'll post as soon as I can.