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25-09-2003
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Suzy Menkes - International Vogue Editor, Condé Nast International
Quote:


A play on patterns

Suzy Menkes IHT* Thursday, September 25, 2003
LONDON What makes a great print? "Spontaneity, love of drawing, love of color, balance - and poetry," said Wakako Kishimoto while her husband and design partner Mark Eley gave a more elliptical response. "Honesty," he said.

Colorful prints are the story of the London spring/summer 2004 season and they are proving a plus for British design. The shows are all of a pattern, yet intriguingly different. They go from the futuristic projection of laser-beam color on white dresses as the finale to Hamish Morrow's powerful show; to the unexpected flutter of butterfly and flower prints from Nicole Farhi, who said: "I felt it was almost a Bird of Paradise, for color, energy and happiness."

Dealing with pattern in fashion is a complex affair, but it is also a British heritage. Two current influences are the indefatigable Zandra Rhodes, front row at the shows in a shocking pink print, and the work of 1960's designer Ossie Clark, on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Art Deco exhibition held earlier this year at the same museum is another inspiration for a 1920's spirit and its geometric lines.

But since that flapper era, the computer has come into play and transformed the world of print. Jonathan Saunders was the designing hand behind this year's exceptional feather print from Alexander McQueen and he has worked for Pucci. Saunders manipulates images to create colorful geometry on panels of fabrics that are then integrated into clothing. His use of pattern on thick jersey and stretch work-out pants gave his collection an athletic energy, compared to the more predictable flower prints on flimsy fabrics.

Hamish Morrow is a major talent. His creative sportswear in translucent cellophane fabrics with a graph-check pattern was interspersed with glittering gilded shorts or silken skirts with geometric inserts of color. Morrow was first off the block with this mix of sport and chic and this season's techno effects made the show eerily elegant. There were angular blocks of pastel color cut into racing-back tops, sports jackets inset with hoops of color and silvered geometry to break up a gray jersey dress. Transparent colored plastic even veiled the insteps of high-heeled shoes. When so many shows across the world are echoing existing ideas, Morrow's collection showed forceful forward thinking.

The Eley Kishimoto show opened with an explosion of stripes bending and stretching as if on an Op Art canvas. Polka dot bandannas added to the eye-popping effect. But the design duo sent out a smart collection in which bold pattern was subdued with solid color and suffused with sweetness, as in romper shorts with bows or skirts with scalloped hemlines. Often textile designers are less dexterous at turning their flat canvas into clothes, but Eley Kishimoto's kimono coat with a cabbage rose/butterfly print and flower petals swirling over a tailored coat proved that there is wearability as well as poetry in their prints.

Patterns can be worked in different ways. Sophia Kokosalaki has made Grecian drapes her signature and although her range may be restricted, she is an original talent. The show started strongly with blocks of tucked jersey in sugared almond colors creating patterns across the bodice. The idea of these swathed tops above soft shorts or short crinkle skirts grew from Kokosalaki's Greek roots, but looked contemporary. So did a simple dress with just a rouleau of fabric across the wrapped front. The designer's white goddess dresses are as good as they get, but the long parade of black draped dresses begged for the gentle dusty pink and pale blue palette of the show's start.

The 1920's influence was omnipresent - too much so - at Pringle, where the designer Stuart Stockwell started with the signature diamond pattern, developing it not just as deep V-necked sweaters (worn with visible satin brassieres) but also for flapper dresses that seemed to be stretching Pringle's brand extension too far. What worked in this show were summer knits where the harlequin pattern was created from open work giving an airy effect; and also sporty pieces such as a curvy crested blazer or polo shirt dress flirting out at the knees. Fondant pink may be the color of the season, but a brighter shocking pink seemed - just like the long parade of low-waisted, filmy dresses - to be too far from the craggy landscape of Pringle's Scottish heritage.

Farhi used pink for anything from a zippered suede jacket to candy floss layers of wafting chiffon dresses that were part of the designer's pretty woman look. That majored on flower-printed skirts and tops, often very sheer. For more solid sportswear, a black leather jacket was teamed with a gauzy skirt and there were western shirts with cowboy fringe. Flower chiffon tops in the workplace? This collection may surprise the fans of Farhi's user-friendly clothes, but it had a romantic feel that taps into modern woman's psyche.

Blaak still believes that raw edges equal "cool." But the designer duo handled well the raggedy tweed suits or pants with frills worked vertically down the side. The show was given a sporty energy as the models walked the runway on flat white sandals. And Blaak's prints were striking: optical illusions sliced with zippers and splodgy patterns mixed with constructivist geometry.

In this fest of color and pattern, Jens Laugesen stood out with his collection of predominantly black clothes that were wrapped and layered with dangling straps that looked as though a parachute had landed in a heap on the collection. This attempt to be at the cutting edge of cool was reinforced by an arty video by the photographer Nick Knight which appeared to show the bemused audience the silhouette of a collection under creation. The problem with this show was that it was trading in second-hand cool - with the spirit of Helmut Lang all over the runway. Two stylish women showed their vision in print during London Fashion week. Allegra Hicks baptized her new store (28 Cadogan Place, SW1), where interior decoration patterns framed the selling areas - an inspiration of her husband Ashley Hicks, who designed the shop. These touches of pattern reflected the spring collection that contained starfish and leafy patterns from a fashion designer who started her career with textiles in Milan.

"It's a totally different idea, but I think I am learning now," said Hicks, who was wearing a green and brown print top inspired by Valentine hearts she had created with her children.

In fashionable Notting Hill, Diane von Furstenberg celebrated her first London store (at 83 Ledbury Road W11) with a party where guests included the actor James Fox, Sophie Dahl, Bella Freud and Jade Jagger. The designer is a master of print and her current collection reflects that in rich floral patterns and graphic black and white. Wearing one of her iconic wrap dresses with a flower print in wine-dreg red, Von Furstenberg gave her take on pattern in fashion.

"It's all about how it moves on the body," she said.

Suzy Menkes is fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune

Hamish did get raves!

.. and prints are hot right now.

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25-09-2003
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great article loved the intro and her reviews , thanks igni

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04-10-2003
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Quote:
Sensual Gucci is all about Eve
Suzy Menkes IHT Friday, October 3, 2003
The Milan Collections

MILAN Tom Ford's new collection for Gucci was all about Eve. As sparkling snakes twined around the torso of little black dresses, wound in bracelets at the wrist and slithered across snaffle bags, the show looked polished and glamorous. Its mix of sport and womanly elegance was not innovative, but this sleek performance put Gucci back on track after a couple of floundering seasons.
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The show was also all about Yves Saint Laurent and the way Ford's double design life has re-adjusted his mood. The show switched from rock to romantic as the hot new band The Kings of Leon faded from the soundtrack to be replaced by sweeter sounds.
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"Eye candy - I wanted the girls to be breathtakingly beautiful," said Ford backstage, admitting that his joint project with the two labels was to re-assess contemporary glamour.
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If Gucci has in the past been associated with saturated sex, this show exuded a more subtle musky perfume. Snug jackets were worked with rosettes at the back as though Ford were finally referring Gucci's horsy heritage. The beautifully crafted pieces had light bands of fabric that still made the slim skirts seem seductive. The only strident note was fringed caftans (again!) over gaudy swimsuits. In a Milan season of summer color, Ford stuck with neutrals, choosing pinkish taupe with white and his favorite black. Gold used in moderation, such as for a scaly leather jacket, lit up the runway.
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Vivid color came on the bags - bright flashes around the flat snaffle bags that are this autumn's hit. Their soaring sales have contributed to what Domenico de Sole, Gucci's ptesident, revealed is double-digit growth in Europe - after the brand had taken a nose dive.
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The clothes were sporty, but not athletic, using the blouson jacket, easy tops and narrow pants with a racing stripe. But the shoes, with their gilt-tipped high heels and silken hose wound as ankle straps, made no pretension to be in anything but fashion's forward race.
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If neo-femininity is the issue of the season, Capucci scored a hit with its mix of the sporty and the pretty. The fast-forward pace of the revered Roman house is a welcome sign of movement in Milan's stagnant fashion scene.
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After the Spanish designer Sybilla's conceptual couture creations for Capucci, shown in Paris in July, the Antwerp-based designer Bernhard Willhelm, 30, presented his second collection on Wednesday and it was a fine and fresh surprise.
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Polo shirts breaking out into tiered circles at the skirt hem, cape effects at the shoulder and dresses draped from encircling sleeves showed Willhelm working ingeniously with a compass. Cords curling through hems or shaping the hip-line of a jacket, gave substance to the malleable cotton jerseys and piqués. Yet the clothes, however complex their cut, seemed simple and sporty, while the colors - lime, grass green, peach and white - sung of summer.
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"I don't like conceptual clothes - I wanted it to be spontaneous but to give the collection some structure," said Willhelm, who had also produced a separate sportswear line that was strong but still feminine.
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Max Mara had more of a problem making the new femininity convincing. A lot was right in this show, especially the sweet, soft pinks and lilac colors and gentle textures such as scaly suede for a mauve trench coat or slithering pink satin. But the show opened weirdly with coats over awkward halter-twist dresses that proved that this solid Italian company is not in the brassiere business. For evening, the solution was there: a mini-vest top (an omnipresent and cute theme) covered bosoms draped in chiffon with a print that was a "homage" (read "copy") of Zandra Rhodes.
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Fashion's journey from androgynous tailoring through girl power and vixen has been deftly steered by Max Mara, but while some of this collection, such as a three-piece seersucker shorts suit with that shrunken vest seemed in the company's territory, puffy rompers seemed more like runway fodder. The hobbling long skirts just seemed daft for the active modern woman. The fashion rumor mill has Max Mara courting Proenza Schouler, the American design duo who create womanly clothes without the sugar. It is harder than it seems to meld user-friendly clothes with unfrilly femininity as this show proved.
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Beyoncé Knowles was, in the words of her summer hit, "Crazy in Love" with Emporio Armani's clothes. Sitting with her mother Celestine (better known as Tina) at Giorgio Armani's aftershow party at his Nobu restaurant, the song and dance pop queen stated her opinion on the show. "I want it all!" she said.
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Emporio Armani, a line with a chameleon image, changed tack again this season and the beautiful Beyoncé would look gorgeous in the sporty, sexy cut-away tank tops, racing stripe pants and the bold color palette of red, black and white. But was all this skinny, shiny stretchy stuff from ruched skirts through mini jersey dresses more than just another sportswear story? Armani had given it his favorite 1920's spin, catching that streamlining era with bright swimsuits and graphic prints of Art Deco squares and circles.
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But the show, with its complex cutouts, even piercing a vast Emporio logo with open slits on the body, missed the seamless ease of Armani's signature style. But then, as he said himself backstage: "I oversee everything, but I don't do it all." He has handed over Emporio to his niece Silvana, who took a bow along with the nine-strong design team.
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Anna Molinari has handed her eponymous label over to her daughter Rosella Tarabini, who this season found her fashion feet. Instead of the sex kitten clothes associated with this brand and the in-your-face girlishness, there was a quieter, more artistic approach. The show was created mostly in layers of light fabrics in neutral colors - although it opened with a series of good-enough-to-eat raspberry-colored dresses. But there was a hint of the 1920's theme that is wafting through Milan in this collection. The thread that held it together - apart from the delicate stitches and details - were the flat fringed boots that gave a sporty, dynamic touch. Feminine effects included jacquard brocaded coats with a sparkling surface effects, airy jackets perforated with eyelets and chain necklaces created like charm bracelets with dangling keys and shells.
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A discreet card, printed with Trussardi's signature greyhound logo, gave notice of the house's 30th anniversary. There was no razzmatazz in the classy surroundings of Italy's leading business school, but Beatrice Trussardi had something to celebrate: a maturing of her designer role, as she makes the leather that once dominated seem more like accessories to the clothes. That was symbolized by a trench coat in cloth with suede only at the yoke.
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There is always a touch of whimsy in Trussardi's work, but the models' thong-sandaled feet were no longer walking the hippie trail. Appliquéd flowers on a paneled skirt or worked in crochet on tulle emphasized the fine workmanship and gentle femininity.
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Suzy Menkes is the fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune.
Intresting.

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04-10-2003
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the whole snake thing was NOT the centre piece of the collection i have no idea what suzy is talking about, nor has this collection brought gucci back on track.

besides.....the whole luxe snake decor has been used by valentino for years and years


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04-10-2003
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well, not her best reviews ever, dont forget , Gucci group is always a client of IHT , right Acid? Her 'review-ing' bit for Capucci was for laughs and yes, I agree, the snake was certainly not a central theme at Gucci, maybe in Tom's head, but not from what we saw in pictures/videos.

like exte, they were supposed to have a theme that was introduced in flyers at the show, but the show had absolutely no connection with the 'advertised' theme

thanks for the articles igni

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intresting thanks

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04-10-2003
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Your welcome guys.

I don't agree with her review on Gucci except for the coment that this collection brought it back on track. See, guys, even though Gucci scored a smash hit Fall collection it, with all the Alaia influences, seemed to be going too far from what the brand is known for. Tom did it well, but still it was going too far.

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09-10-2003
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Quote:
Defining a modern elegance

Suzy Menkes IHT Thursday, October 9, 2003


PARIS The death of Eleanor Lambert, keeper of the flame of elegance and founder of the best-dressed list, brings to an end a century of style. Even if Lambert from her beginnings as a publicist in the 1930's, was a cheerleader for American fashion - and indeed its mentor - she absorbed the concept of style as part of society.

Those who tried to bluster, blandish and pay their way on to the famous list of socialites and elegants knew that she could be as tough as her appearance was marshmallow soft.

For this formidable fashion maven believed that elegance of manners, social mores and class were intertwined. Her vision required polish and harmony that has been constantly challenged since the punk era.

The mission of the powerful names at the spring/summer 2004 season is to define a modern elegance. And nowhere is that message more powerful than at Balenciaga, where the structured and elaborately constructed clothes of Nicolas Ghesquiere are both creative and challenging.

"It was about architecture - and how to embrace femininity in a modern way," said the designer backstage of his brisk parade of slim suits and dresses put together with a marquetry of seaming.

The matte white fabrics might have been carved and jointed to fit the body, yet the final silhouette, although unforgiving, was rigorously elegant, the geometry sometimes broken with round black buttons.

The second passage was more difficult: the idea of dresses that worked against the body, swinging loose over hefty bras (or were they swimwear?). By the time these flying buttresses were smothered in dense flower prints and the hems hung into horns of plenty edged with zippers, the effect was of creativity soaring away from reality.

Yet Ghesquiere is a truly original creative talent, who uses Balenciaga's heritage as the compass point round which to twirl his imagination. Past and future came together beautifully in a group of sculpted dresses that embraced Cristobal Balenciaga's concept of volume and grace in a powerful modern way.

But what this show lacked was a bridge to make the Balenciaga style seem accessible - such as the precision-cut pants and hugging sweater in which Marianne Faithfull took her front row seat and which Suzanne Tide-Frater, head of creative design at London's Selfridges, says fly out of the store.

Junya Watanabe constantly pushes his aesthetic forward - but who would have expected heavy breathing on the soundtrack and a sporty sexiness to dominate the collection. It opened with the all-black stretch bandeau tops and shorts, covered with gauzy coats that often opened a curtained window on the body. The idea seemed to be an elegant sportiness, expressed in the pouf wigs and the pointed-toe sneakers that occasional had a kitten heel.

Yet many of the dresses seemed complex and complicated as the fabric twisted and turned.

It seems churlish to complain that a designer is trying too hard to be original, when so much of fashion is derivative. But this collection seemed unnecessarily edgy from a designer who has previously had a sweet, fresh feel.

The relationship between protégé Junya Watanabe to parent company Comme des Garcons seems like that between Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel: one season distant and independent, the other reverential. Watanabe's show seemed to cling to the spirit of his patron and mentor, Comme's Rei Kawakubo, until suddenly he broke free from the complex, twisted sportswear and built in bosomy drapes - and showed his skill with graphic pattern and print.

As he has shown before in quite different collections, inspired by the 1970's or by western folklore, Watanabe has a feeling for pattern. And these neat mixes of large and small polka dots with stripes, mostly in black and white, had a freshness and an energy that suggests that showed Watanabe's self-challenge at its best.

If there was a message from Vivienne Westwood - other than the fact that she had torn down English country house curtains to improvise a series of bunchy toga dresses - it was obscure.

Perhaps the retrospective that will be shown at the Victoria Albert museum in London next year set the British designer on a nostalgic trip.

One moment the loosely bloused tops and narrow leggings - that looked cute on the bride - seemed to be referring to the 1980's; then there was a perfume of punk in dangling straps and twisted hose; a regression to the nursery for romper shorts; a touch of the stoned age in eye-popping florals - or were they Tudor roses to go with the embroidered puff-shouldered parka that a latter-day Henry V might have worn to Agincourt?

Westwood's mix of historicism and contemporary style just didn't work this season. The toga drapes even looked flung together. Yet the occasional jersey dress gathering in the folds over womanly curves showed Westwood at her best: a sly take on sexuality as a rerun of New Romantics. Yet the "Blue Sky" statement on the invitation and on the cerulean runway and backcloth did not bring Westwood 20/20 fashion vision.

The fashion calendar is increasingly crowded with off-piste events from young hopefuls with runway presentations through store openings. The fact that Balenciaga chose to show to just a few press and buyers, rather than in a big show is indicative both of the mood and the cost. Also off runway is Christian Lacroix who sent out a CD rom with the looks from his collections, mixing up different lines; while Antwerp-based Bernhard Willhelm chose to show a film.

The idea of the video presentation capturing the spirit of the clothes - but not in the heat of a runway moment - may be the future for some designers during the increasingly frenetic fashion weeks.

Theoretically, it would be possible for editors to download the images, bringing to an end the spectacle of 250 photographers trapped in a pen taking the same shot as their rivals whom they are elbowing out of the way.

Suzy Menkes is the fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune.

< < Back to Start of Article

I agree on Westwood.

Very smart for Lacroix to do a CD instead of a runway show because his Pret-a-Porter isn't his best and a must-see, it's the couture.

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09-10-2003
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It seems churlish to complain that a designer is trying too hard to be original, when so much of fashion is derivative. But this collection seemed unnecessarily edgy from a designer who has previously had a sweet, fresh feel.
suzy has obviously nto doen ehr watanabe home work, only citeing recent shows wich ahve had more rpess coverage, watanabes clothes or poetique but can also be extreamly modern

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Quote:
Originally posted by Spacemiu@Oct 9th, 2003 - 6:46 pm
Quote:
It seems churlish to complain that a designer is trying too hard to be original, when so much of fashion is derivative. But this collection seemed unnecessarily edgy from a designer who has previously had a sweet, fresh feel.
suzy has obviously nto doen ehr watanabe home work, only citeing recent shows wich ahve had more rpess coverage, watanabes clothes or poetique but can also be extreamly modern
you said it, Spacemiu

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10-10-2003
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Quote:
Abstract artistry from Kawakubo

Suzy Menkes IHT Friday, October 10, 2003


Sexuality and gender is a subject at the spring/summer 2004 Paris shows. After a long period in which women tried to make themselves look and act as equals to men, the time has come to reassess in fashion what being female means.

Three designers took up the challenge in different ways. First there was Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garcons, whose poetic and courageous show - of cloth sculpted in abstract forms below the waist - ignited the Paris fashion season.

At Rochas, Olivier Theyskens described his pretty, youthful collection focused on breasts, framed by a scooped-out bodice, as "very personal." And at Issey Miyake, Naoki Takizawa said that this season, instead of starting with a dream, he wanted to design from the skin out.

Kawakubo sent out a radical collection that took fashion back to the basics: cloth. Quiet beige cotton and bright, bold patterns wound around and hitched to the hips - with nothing between the skirts and the equally striking tricorn headgear except a fleshy veil over bared breasts.

"I have seen breasts before and red eye makeup before," said Peggy Moffitt, sitting front row and referring to her design partnership with Rudi Gernreich, inventor of the topless swimsuit.

But of course this abstract expression of female grace came from deep in Kawakubo's fashion soul.

"Abstract excellence," she called it backstage, explaining that it was design from intangible forms, aside from the body shape. In this collection where sculpted borders circled the skirts giving them stiff substance, or where the fabric parted to give a glimpse of pleated skirt underneath, Kawakubo still made a statement that chimed with the full skirts that are dotting the spring/summer 2004 season. But this was not a moment to think about trends or to ask whether the skirts were "wearable." It was an expression of artistry, imagination and a certain sweet elegance. And it represented the power of Paris to accommodate ideology in the industry.

Theyskens had a simple explanation for the sweet and graceful Rochas collection he sent out on pretty models whose femininity was expressed in lacy suits with rounded scoop-front jackets or dresses with ovular fertility symbols inserted like cameos.

"It is an absolute conception of the female - I have never done this before," said Theyskens, whose collection was pretty, romantic and never predatory or vulgar. The models seemed more like graceful fertility goddesses carved in a temple frieze - except that their clothes were normal, upscale even. They were all eveningwear with a focus on lace, which Theyskens works with delicate skill.

The sparrow silhouette was curvy and fragile. Dresses were trimmed with bows and tufts of tulle and occasionally with a circlet of full blown roses around the neckline. A color palette of black, silver and powder pink made the collection as if it were played out in moonlight - and this gave a frisson of darkness to cut the sugar.

The ripe femininity was well-handled, even if there were a few too many brassiered bosoms. And the lacy fertility symbols that appeared at the shoulder blades of a jacket or punctuating an airy evening gown were a graceful way for Theyskens to make a homage to fecund womanhood in a collection that showed him maturing beautifully.

The Lagerfeld Gallery collection is also growing in stature and now expresses strongly Karl Lagerfeld's graphic, linear sensibility. In the crisp white collars on black leather jackets, the knife-sharp pleated short skirts and the coin dot and stripe patterns of a powerful finale, this show was as streamlined and modern as the computer-generated silhouettes crossing the backdrop.

"It is graphic," said Lagerfeld, explaining backstage that the geometric patterns were hand-painted to suit the cut and drape of the clothes. Those effects also came on fluttering long scarves that both trailed the color message - dusky pink, dull amethyst and aquamarine among the black, white and red - and also played out the crisp/soft message. If some of the vertically pleated dresses hinted at Coco Chanel, there were other feminine looks: denim worked as jumper dresses and vests, rather than as jeans; and the graceful jersey dresses unfurled to reveal silver swimsuits. The silhouette was as slender as the designer - or as Lagerfeld put it text-message style on a T-shirt: "4slim people."

As the dashing Galliano walked the Dior runway in a tailored silver satin suit, you wondered why his women, showing their underpinnings through chiffon dresses or a rubbery transparent leather coat, could not have a few suits of their own - or at least ones that were not appliquéd on the outside with black patent garters.

The Dior show and its lustful lingerie seemed very familiar. Although that still makes Galliano streets ahead of most designers, with his attention to details of makeup and hair, his sense of fun and his mad imagination, his high fashion streetwalkers have lurked around too long.

"Artistry and ambiguity," said Galliano in the backstage scrum. The designer was referring to his icons of the season - Marlene Dietrich, Janis Joplin and Courtney Love - who brought to the show a gutsy soundtrack, berets and fuzzy hairdos. But now that Dior has comprehensibly dumped its old couture image, there are some gaps to fill in - and not just where bare flesh in a teeny bronze bikini was wrapped in a fluffy fur jacket. (Think shocking pink!) Instead, the show was the usual homage to the bags, sunglasses and, this season, chunky crystal jewelry to make the tills ring.

There was a moment at Takizawa's Miyake show when his message came forcefully across: the models peeled off their sporty all-in-one outer garments to reveal tattooed body suits beneath. It emphasized the feeling for the body as the basis of a collection of easy but interesting pieces. Although these second skins have been seen before - from Jean Paul Gaultier and at the Dior show this week - the idea worked.

The Miyake show started with silver squiggles traced on the backloth and the sense that the rubber lattices that covered sporty swimsuits, the patches of rainbow colors and the silver strands threaded in the hair all formed part of a graphic grid.

But Takizawa, in the eagerness of his bubbling creativity, confused his story. Almost any piece pulled from the different groups made a strong statement: the coin dot patterns in different dimensions; the pants laced up the legs; or the metallic blue shimmering through blocks of orange, green and khaki. The designer showed his interest in organic forms when an orange nylon bag sprouted snowball growths. Yet a show is required to tell a concise story line.

At Costume National, the designer Ennio Capasa had a message: highlighting the sexuality of the female body. That could be literal, as green gleamed like beetle wings on a black bodice; or technical, as seams shaped a taut silhouette. His concessions to softness were the panels of smocking inserted in leather jackets and the sugared almond colors, such as lilac for a suede coat, pastel pink for a skirt with scalloped hem and yellow for a chiffon top. And this was the play on color, textures and light amid the black which lifted the collection out of the ordinary.

Suzy Menkes is the fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune.


We have same thoughts on Dior and Rochas.

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Originally posted by ignitioned32@Oct 10th, 2003 - 12:25 am
Quote:

Abstract artistry from Kawakubo

Suzy Menkes IHT Friday, October 10, 2003


"Artistry and ambiguity," said Galliano in the backstage scrum. The designer was referring to his icons of the season - Marlene Dietrich, Janis Joplin and Courtney Love - who brought to the show a gutsy soundtrack, berets and fuzzy hairdos. But now that Dior has comprehensibly dumped its old couture image, there are some gaps to fill in - and not just where bare flesh in a teeny bronze bikini was wrapped in a fluffy fur jacket. (Think shocking pink!) Instead, the show was the usual homage to the bags, sunglasses and, this season, chunky crystal jewelry to make the tills ring.
We have same thoughts on Dior and Rochas.
Any collection inspired by Courtney Love is a no-go in my book.

Thanks for the article, Ignitioned.

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Suzy gets it right every time.

Quote:
McQueen debut spearheads sartorial revival
By Suzy Menkes (IHT)
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Alexander McQueen unveiled his first menswear line in Milan on Monday - and it was a hit. The British designer, who famously started his career hand-tailoring jackets for Prince Charles in London's Savile Row, caught the spirit of the 2004 winter season, which is moving from the sporty to the sartorial.

Tailoring is sweeping through Milan with a fine collection of crisp coats from Jil Sander, sharp Versace suits and, at Dolce Gabbana, a symbolic plaster reconstruction of Rome's Trevi fountain as a backdrop to a frolicking take on La Dolce Vita. Significantly, Miuccia Prada waited until the end of her show of straight unlined coats and tailored, if deliberately wrinkled, pants, to present sportswear.

McQueen acknowledged that his taste for shaved leather paper-thin coats, thigh-length jackets and luxurious denim was his own.

"It's completely me - I designed everything I wanted in my wardrobe last winter that wasn't there," he said, explaining that his original inspiration was seeing the dark, pencil-fine silhouette of Orthodox Jews in Antwerp.

The result was a powerful, well-judged collection, enthusiastically received by Robert Burke, fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman, who said that fashion needed precise tailoring with original details.

McQueen's luxurious 250-piece collection, shown with a video of a couple's life on the weekend, included "angel skin" fine leather, flannel coats teamed with gray denim pants, stone-washed satin or velvet jackets and a leather scarf lined in cashmere. But its soul was in the frock coats, some with military bullion embroidery or Hasidic cording. The designer personally supervised the tailoring, saying, "That was the best part - I did all the fittings."

With this impressive collection, McQueen has proved his potential for growth, whether or not he follows the wishes of his parent company, Gucci Group, and takes on a second role as designer for YSL.

Prada summed up her vision of the modern man, saying, "When they are young, it is trashy T-shirts and jeans, and when they are in business they dress up very formal."

But she could not resist an ironic wink at this male work robot, by oiling the elbows of a loden coat, tie-dyeing the edge of a cashmere sweater and using a computer game robotic image, embroidered on T-shirts and dangling from the waist like a bunch of keys.

It all worked, but without the oomph! of a mold-breaking Prada season . The sartorial style was well done, not least when a perfect navy coat came out without the increasingly tedious designer creasing. What's not to want among the straight pants below brief blouson jackets and above shoes with crocodile toe caps? Knits, with a low scoop baring the chest, looked elegant, but the sportswear was tricksy - at least as shown layered with shorts over gym leggings. Maybe Prada's fashion instinct, mirroring the Milan season, was not to put her heart in sportswear.

Back at the helm of her own company, after a dispute with owner Prada, Jil Sander's collection was honest, precise, pure and surprisingly full of charm in its colors. There were tonal flashes under coat collars, as well as in the cabbage green of a dappled velvet jacket or the fondant pink of a V-necked sweater. The footsteps on the opening soundtrack were indicative of Sander's subtle imprint, as in a ghostly plaid on a short car coat or a sweater furrowed with ribs. But once again, the power was in the tailoring. Sander's vision is of very young men and from that slim silhouette she created a solid, but never stolid, wardrobe. It was based on coats: short, perhaps with a belt circling a low waist, worn over V-neck sweaters and with hand-warmer gloves. Slender flannel suits were just the thing to bring a new generation back to smart dressing.

The warm welcome-back ovation was echoed by Patrizio Bertelli, chief executive of Prada, who, wreathed in smiles, praised the show as "elegant and modern."

Donatella Versace cannot resist a fashion cliché. The female models looked more than ever like blonde Barbies, and the Versus collection was a parody of the raunchy rocker: Guns 'n Roses blasting on the soundtrack and tight leather pants with bands gripping the thighs. But something good happened at the Versace line, where the menswear looked smart and fresh. From the first outfit of three-piece chalk-striped suit, the clothes had lost their exaggerated swagger. Instead there were smartly tailored coats, often with a short belt at the back. Even sweaters were worn with collar and tie. From taut, short trenches through evening coats, the show was calm but not conventional. But Versace had inserted juicy pattern and color, mostly under a jacket. "Just a little touch - and a lot of formal tailoring," she said, proving that even for Versace, less can be more. Dolce Gabbana's Roman backdrop heralded a good show with just a touch of the gigolo. A clarion call of "Marcello" introduced the Dolce Vita spirit of Marcello Mastroanni: skimming suits, classy cut velvet jackets, brief camel coats - but always updated by mixing in flat-front pants, destroyed jeans and slender-toed shoes. A bit of sportswear, as in a shiny patent leather blouson or trench coat, cut any nostalgia.

But why "La Dolce Vita?" "People want something sweet in their lives," Stefano Gabbana said backstage.

Burberry was surprisingly nostalgic, as designer Christopher Bailey took his London street style to the aristocratic playing fields of Eton. This newly romantic feeling made for a fine collection in which fair isle knits, cricket sweaters, tweed suits and the not-so-classic trench coat provided the base for fantasy pieces such as pajama-sized "Oxford bags" and coats like gentlemen's bath robes.

"The spirit is very English, very traditional, about old British culture of field sports," said Bailey, who had updated all that with fabric research and abstract elements that reduced the trench to its shoulder cape. Occasionally, the presentation of floppy-haired models seemed like a 1930's period movie, yet Bailey's skill was in toughening all that up.

Pringle was in "Braveheart" mode, taking its Scottish roots so literally that a model stomped out in kilt and knitted cardigan as thick as porridge against a backdrop of a painting of "Stag at Bay." The concept was exaggerated, especially when a bold computerized coin-dot pattern substituted for the traditional Argyll check. Yet Pringle is on to something. The highland connection validates its hefty knits, shearling jackets and felted fabric, used for a four-pocket vest worn with faded jeans. Husky, country clothes have a fashion place, and knits can be adapted to urban ways. Vivienne Westwood rocked down the runway, full of energy after all these years. Enthused, perhaps, by her exhibition at London's Victoria Albert Museum in April, the Westwood Man show was the strongest in years, mixing sexy tailoring of a pant cupping the rear with conventional jackets or bold knitwear. Some sweaters seemed borrowed from Missoni, but Westwood finally parlayed this men's line into clothes that reflect her spirit of tradition spiced with wit. The samurai was the inspiration for Ennio Capasa at Costume National, but alongside the laced-up leather breast-plates, vest bibs and all-in-one leather biker suits were slim and simple tailored pieces, introducing raspberry and petrol blue into the designer's black palette. And here, as in the rest of the Milan shows, tailoring was king of the closet.

Suzy Menkes is the fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune.

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13-01-2004
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Stitch:the Hand
 
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That Alexander McQueen show sounds heavenly!

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13-01-2004
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alexander mcqueen would be spread too thin at ysl...he would have mens and womens mcqueen collections; haute couture, mens, and womens collections at ysl; and final sign offs on things like fragrance AND beauty at both ysl and mcqueen? sounds like something would have to give...

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