Rich Colors @ Saint Laurent

Color is such a big component in style. Color can make or break it, and yes, black and white do count as colors. Rich color is so valuable, color that's made up of other colors. I actually find neons to be very flat colors. Empty, without character or depth. Deep colors have personality, especially when they're made up of different colored threads or materials. Rich colors like plums, scarlets, hunter greens, and navy blues always carry emotion with them. The Saint Laurent show really got me to start thinking about colors.

Rich green, you almost don't know what color it is.

The blazer is a deep green and even the black of the shorts are a deep black.

I love purple and green (my favorite solid colors) and I love seeing them together like this.

What color is richer than gold?

Anticipating Alexander McQueen

I've been waiting for the Alexander McQueen show since the beginning of September (and maybe a bit during the summer, too). I can honestly say that I really don't know what to expect. Sadly, I wan't interested in fashion when Alexander, Lee, McQueen himself was designing, but since then I've viewed many of his shows and collections, enthralled by the beautiful fantasies and feelings in both the clothes and intricate settings that house them. When I first started getting interested in fashion, Alexander McQueen caught my eye the most because of his eerily haunted collections, and upon further investigation at the time, McQueen's tragic story himself.

In my opinion, when Sarah Burton took over, the designs lost all the mystery, and, well, savage beauty, that only a deep, tortured mind like McQueen could dream (or nightmare) up. Lately, the designs have taken a geometric turn, and they're all beautiful and creative, but they're just not McQueen. When I think McQueen, I think of never before seen, or imagined, elegant and beautiful, but not in the classical sense. There are no traditional silhouettes or styles, and yet it's not quite as plastic-y and (I hate saying this) dowdy as some other brands that also might be considered avant garde. Alexander McQueen is avant garde, but without being inelegant, or unpleasing to the eye.

But I feel with Sarah Burton, the fashion house has taken a different, happier maybe, route of creativity. I don't think that Ms. Burton should change her thought process, happiness, or become depressed to produce more tortured-looking ideas. It's a different person in charge and it only makes sense that it looks differently, so I can't complain really, but I do still mourn for the creations that died with the genius. I realize that the old, savagely beautiful Alexander McQueen might have been at the cost of a man's mind, soul, and life, and if that's what it takes to create such amazing shows, then by all means I am completely fine with this new Burton-McQueen hybrid.

The sharpness of the crimson and white is like autumn, apples, and blood. Like puncturing the red skin of an apple and seeing the white flesh on the inside. Alexander McQueen once said on behalf of a later collection, "There's blood beneath every layer of skin." 

"There is no better designer than nature." McQueen knows what many other designers have yet to figure out.

This is my favorite look from the Fall/Winter 2010 collection, his last before he died (he passed before it was completely finished and presented). Many times, I'll call aspects of different shows perfect, but this entire show was pure perfection, sentimentality, grief, and beauty. Like the glowing sky after a terrible storm.

Undercover Spring 2015: Sugarplum Fairy Meets Black Swan

The Undercover Spring 2015 show in Paris started out like something right out of The Nutcracker: pastel, pretty, and sweet, on the surface. But there were dark, feathered wings and dramatic eye makeup that suggested something more mysterious was coming. And some of the models walked down the runway with their hands folded kindergarten-style, a bit too sweet and innocent for the entire show, like you knew in the back of your head that something more Stygian was coming, but these transitions, character changes, and plot twists are all within the same realm of fantasy and imagination. There was an eerie feeling present throughout the entire show.

Like poisoned honey.

This could come off as a soft, sweet dress, if it wasn't for those eyes.

A transition point in the show, the bridge to darkness.

This print looks like it's straight out of the pages of a child's fairytale book.

I love the rich plum color with the structure and detail of this dress.

Feathers tend to add either elegance and softness or drama. In this case it's a bit of both. I also like how her hands are basically resting on the skirt.

The headpiece for this look is just wonderful (literally full of wonder), but I'm afraid all eyes are on her head and not her lovely gown.

And here we have the Black Swan, eerie, sophisticated, and powerful as she marches, or floats, down the runway.

I love when the beginning looks and end looks are totally different, but everything flows in between so it doesn't seem as drastic. It's the best way to get two ideas and inspirations into the same collection and have it still be cohesive.
Undercover did a fantastic job of bringing together two very different sides of their collection and making them seem not so different after all. It's almost like the Sugarplum fairy side is undercover and is really the Black Swan side, and the Black Swans are undercover acting as the Sugarplum fairies. 

Ann Demeulemeester Women/Men Spring 2015

Ann Demeulemeester's Spring 2015 show yesterday during Paris fashion week was very textured, with fabric ranging from sheer to leather, and mostly all black & white, but it wasn't an obvious black & white, in fact it seemed colored while you were watching it, only seeing all the looks together did you realize that it was the color scheme of newspapers and movies from the 1930s. While I was watching the show, all from the comfort of my laptop of course, there was something in the back of my head that said I've seen this before. This is not unusual, there's a lot of copycat designers out there that just mimic others, but I know Ann Demeulemeester wouldn't just copy anybody, so I wanted to find out who, but I couldn't exactly place where I've seen it before. Only after quite a bit of googling and research did I find out that the only place I've seen these looks before was in the men's show by the same designer!

Even details like transparent fabric, heavy collars, and black & sliver shoes are the same.

I think I kind of like the matchy-matchy-ness. Whether it was intended or not, although I'm not sure how you can make such a similar collection and not be aware of it.

Of course the feminine version will fit and flow differently to the masculine version, but the resemblance is still evident. 

I love these two particularly because of all the almost identical details - white pants, both black & white in the shoes, the collars, transparent fabric, even their hair and the way they're caught walking in the photo is similar. 

Serious question: How can he walk down the runway with that hair in his eyes?!

I feel like they should trade hairstyles.

Even though they are similar, the women's look is a much softer, feminine fabric, and the man's outfit is made out of a much stiffer material.

The resemblance is uncanny.

Ann Demeulemeester is making a reliable look for her name, so when you see an Ann Demeulemeester dress, or suit, you know it's her's; while secretly giving us a sneak peak for the women's collection in hidden in the men's collection.

Balancing Acts @ Balenciaga Spring 2015

If you've read any other runway reviews that I've written, then you know that I'm always talking about balance. Everything in life is really based on balance, no one side should ever overpower the other; to perfect most things in life you must find a balance: something that is easily enough understood, but more difficult to live by. And that balance doesn't always have to be two perfect halves, sometimes it'll be a little more of something in exchange for less of something else. When I'm looking at collections I always look to see if the elements in the individual looks are balanced, and if the entire collection put together is balanced. If half the show is soft and ballet inspired and the other half is an edgy rock n' roll, then that doesn't work. It isn't cohesive, it isn't a group. But if each look in the show has elements of soft ballet pinks and edgy rock n' roll factors then it works. Balance, balance, balance, Balenciaga; such a similarity in names and sounds is no coincidence: if the Balenciaga Spring 2015 show was to be described in but one word, that word would have to be balanced.

The Matrix all the way.

Soft texture and color with sharp lines.

Netting is an odd material because although it's normally thought of and used in edgier fashion, it can have some elements  of softness to it, as in the example below.

It's still netting, but much softer.

This look makes me think of those styrofoam, plastic-y netting covers that sometimes goes over fruit in supermarkets. Probably not what the designer had intended.

Again, sharp lines contrasted by a feathery bottom, and brought together by the horizontal band across the middle. The arrow-head like top is balanced out by the swimsuit-onezie (for lack of better words) on the bottom.

The symmetry and geometry of this look is very balanced. I feel like I've written the word balance so many times in this post, even though that's what it's all about.

Really loving these long coats with lapels.

All photos via.

Lesson From the Runway: Balance is key.

Imagery & Ideas

After I've viewed collections and runway shows, I often like to think of how or why the designer was inspired, based on how it inspired me. For instance, I believe it was Giambattista Valli that had a gown that resembled heather blowing in the wind perfectly, or at least that's what it looked like to me. When I see this, it puts a perfect image of heather in my mind, so I think it's safe to assume that the designer was also thinking of heather when he was creating this dress. Fashion is not just about covering your body or trends, it's about messages and statements; it's another way to get ideas across, just like words, just like art. It starts with an idea in the designer's head, then they express that idea through a garment, and if the garment is executed correctly, then it gives the same idea to the person looking at it, like art does. Fashion, clothes, can convey basically anything and everything: emotions, ideas, thoughts, and even palpable things like nature and architecture. Sure, at the end of the day, fashion, collections, runway shows, it's all just really clothes, just something to cover your body, to keep you modest and warm. But with that point of view we can also state that books are just words, just letters, dances and performances are just steps, and architecture is just a building, a roof, only bricks cemented together for protection from the elements.

It's about expression. It's about what you're saying, or too afraid to say. Artists don't just paint, writers don't just put words on paper, architects don't just make buildings, and fashion designers don't just make clothes. They're saying things, opinions, images, ideas, everything. Many times, expressing it these ways will be stronger than anything you can ever say, whether you want to make a big, important political statement, or you want to express something as simple as heather blowing in the wind. I think that the artists deserve more credit for communicating these concepts through clothes, I mean, it must be pretty hard to have an image, or even harder, a feeling, in your head and have to convey that into clothes, words, or anything really, without being totally obvious; it should require some thinking to get the inspiration, but you shouldn't have to spend hours analyzing every little detail. And when you do get that feeling of inspiration from a collection, it can be hard to put it back into words, so fashion writers also have somewhat of a task. It's a cycle: the designers have the mission to take inspiration and turn it into clothes, and the writers find inspiration in the clothes and have the mission to turn the inspiration into words, to inspire readers.

When I was younger, and now too I guess, I would always dress a bit... different, my style has always been unique, but not a flashy, neon-y, in-your-face type way, a more subtle difference, but none the less still there and obvious against the unspoken uniforms of my peers. Some might read dressing differently as attention-seeking, but I know from experience that it's quite the opposite. I was/am quiet and shy and I didn't like to speak much, but I didn't have to: my clothes spoke for me and told you exactly who I was, who I am. And that's exactly what fashion should do; it shouldn't need any explanation.

This is the Giambattista Valli dress that gave me the image of heather in the wind. It's like an indirect message.

Although that Giambattista Valli dress made me think of heather blowing gracefully in the wind, this one made me think of a furry purple monster. It just goes to show that sometimes what you have in mind turns out different to what you create, and therefore different to what other people see.

I think Dolce & Gabbana did a *fabulous* job for their Spring 2014 collection and ad campaigns, and  also for their Spring 2015 show at Milan fashion week. It just makes me think of happy Italians enjoying life in style.

And their winter collection gives the perfect backdrop for a wintry, Italian Renaissance fairy tale.

I thought Blumarine's Spring 2015 show was an excellent portrayal of crystal blue oceans and floral vegetation in the tropics; the entire show was like a travel brochure to somewhere warm and sandy far away.

The goal of any designer or artist should be to pass the inspiration along to whoever is looking at their work; this is true for any artist, from painters to architects, to designers and writers.

Classic French Inspiration for Paris Fashion Week

The final fashion week has begun! This will be the last major one until it all starts again in February for the fall collections, and then again next September. Next September seems ages away, and it's not really something I enjoy thinking about so soon. It seems like yesterday I was writing about Day One of Milan fashion week, probably because it was only last Thursday, and then it seems farther away that I was writing about London and New York fashion weeks, and then I remember that this has all been in the month of September, and that September's not even over yet! It's been a very busy September, so far. I know I say that I've been looking forward to each fashion week in all my different posts, but fashion weeks are not like family members or books: I do have favorites. I think all of them are a home to both shows that already have a strong base and foundation, and shows that are just starting and figuring things out. My personal favorites have to be New York and Paris, even though I do love the culture and heritage that comes along with London and Milan. With Paris fashion week just starting up, I've been getting into a more French mood, little steps at a time: I bought a croissant at the farmer's market over the weekend, I've been keeping that effortless, Parisian chic look in my head while getting dressed, and I've been watching the 1998 Les Miserables on Netflix. So all of that basically makes me French now. I've also been exploring for classical French inspiration, which tended to send me to Marie Antoinette, Versailles, and Ladurée type things, as you can see by the photos below:

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about classic France, is Marie Antoinette. 
And the modern Marie also comes to mind.

And when you think about Marie, you also have to think about the magnificent palace where she stayed, Versailles. I was lucky enough to see Versailles in person the summer after last, and it was amazing, blinding almost, with the amount of gold, everywhere. The entire palace sparkled.
Let them eat cake! 
Quaint little side streets and cozy cafes definitely make me think Paris.
A classic painting of a Parisian strolling along... how peaceful...

How could I have Paris inspiration without a photo from Les Mis? Do you hear the people sing...

I also made a Pinterest board; the best way to store inspiration!