Stella Jean Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

One who values tradition, prefers exotic extravagance, and uses the two opposites together when dressing. That's a certain type of woman, the exact type for Stella Jean fall 2015 ready-to-wear. An unusual combination of traditional silhouettes and bohemian design, this collection proved that opposites really do attract. Plaids, tweeds, long overcoats, sweaters, and tartan coats all acted as  a canvas for embroidery and painted scenes of elaborate castles. Tassels decorated this collection as accents sprinkle words, that is to say, frequently and seemingly random, but meaningfully placed in reality. The tropical components looked as though they belonged somewhere warmer, and the traditional elements would seem to have gone better somewhere more north-western-European, but together they fit perfectly on the Stella Jean runway.

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No. 21 Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

To my fellows who are not fortunate enough to live in a tropical paradise, look no further for your haven; No.21's fall ready-to-wear collection incorporated pieces of paradise into modern, urban looks, a feat that deserves recognition and exploration just as heaven itself. Gilded materials give a literal nod to golden shores or plains, but styled with heather-gray knits point to a more practical reality. Other representations of a modern Eden include tropical paradise motifs, watery aqua colors, coral (in both texture and color), and patterns printed with birds of paradise — the fabric serving as a perfect sky for them to fly free on. All of the previously listed components of heaven are grounded back to earth by style and silhouette: trench coats, sweaters, shifts, fur, and trousers all ensure these looks have the practicality that ready-to-wear has, or at least pretends to have. Long gloves of black lace accompany all the looks; possibly an attempt at daintily elegance, but the end result added a nice contemporary touch of toughness. The idea of paradise and practicality combined to form an everyday utopia is one often explored, and failed, but No.21's proved to be a true Heaven on Earth.

The Eyes of Style

Everything in fashion is based off of style and to understand fashion one must understand style. Style is so elusive and I'd like to put into words what it really is. I don't think that I could uncover style in just one post, so this is a series I'm doing, with no specific start or finish.

We all know that style is personal, it's different for everybody, but we all possess some form of it, like eyes. Describing style like eyes is perfect. In a literal sense, the purpose of eyes is to see and style is typically visual. Eyes also hide deeper feelings and thoughts as does style.

When figuratively relating style to eyes, I like to think of each eye separately, the only thing similar between the two being their appearance. To have an eye for style is to actually have two eyes. One eye is abstract and one eye moderates. Both eyes are trained and influenced by the world around them. 

The abstract eye keeps an open mind. This is the artsy eye. This eye has to be trained to accept and appreciate the unique and unusual. For example, most, average people think runway designs are wild and ridiculous. But the abstract eyes for people in the fashion industry are trained to a point where we don’t blink an eye for even the strangest clothes by normal standards. The level of abnormality in this eye depends on the beholder’s location and views. If the person is more exposed to art and beauty then their eye will be trained more. It also depends on the type of art they are exposed to, which is where location comes in. You abstract eye will be trained and adapted to what you are exposed to in your location. The best type of abstract eye is one that is open minded and cultured, not dependent on local customs. It’s good for the eye to be influenced by the local area, but not restrained. A large city is a wonderful place to train your abstract eye because there’s so much mixed culture and they’re generally more accepting of what may be thought of as ‘abnormal’.

Perfect, ideal eyes of style are balanced, each eye functioning the same amount. The abstract eye keeps an open mind to what’s being viewed as the moderating eye keeps it under control. The moderating eye checks and controls the abstract eye with proportions, color schemes, and other elements involved in ensuring aesthetic. Too much of the moderating eye and you're boring, too little and you're over-the-top. Neither extremes are stylish.

This whole eye metaphor isn't really how having an eye for style works. You don't see the world through two different eyes, but this is an explanation of how a stylish mind works when looking at the world. Style has to be cultured and abstract, but it can't be overly so. It needs to have practical reason, — and when this is forgotten, we get all those weird avant-garde designs that are the very reason the fashion industry gets made fun of. We should strive to develop strong eyes for style and then use them to interpret and transform the world around us.

Along with trusting your eyes of style, you have to remember the other elements of style, such as confidence and authenticity, and using them to carry out your ideas.

Gareth Pugh Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

A fashion revelation? Rebellion? Revolution? Call it what you want, but Gareth Pugh's fall 2015 collection was certainly like no other this season. Fashion, like other art forms, is often a statement on society; an individual's political or cultural opinion; an expression. In his latest collection, Gareth Pugh made a statement on his mother country, England, and a strong one too. Between the red crosses painted across the models', or revolutionaries I might say, faces, the fluffy hats stolen right off the heads of beefeaters, high-fashion versions of Wellington boots, and the general style and silhouette of the looks all pointed to England and the darker part of its rich history. I'm not as educated in English history as I'd like to be when reviewing this collection, but this much is clear to me: this collection is a reminder of a battle and the victory, but most of all, it represents all the blood spilled in the process. The last look stood strongest of them all, almost completely mirroring the scene out of Eugène Delacroix's La Liberté Guidant Le Peuple: a topless woman, the human form of liberty, leading the people to victory with the nation's flag in hand. The flag in La Liberté Guidant Le Peuple is completely wrong for the British theme of this show, but the moral still stands. 

Proenza Schouler Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Who said there has to be a difference between structure and softness? Not Proenza Schouler obviously, who stomped on the line between the two in their most recent fall ready-to-wear collection. Sharp coats and shaped dresses ornamented with abstract shapes, fur, and cutouts made up the collection. The first looks of the show followed a color scheme of gray and maroon. Since gray is a color of structure and concrete, and maroon is more of a strong, feminine color; the two of them together represented Proenza Schouler well: a strong, but not scary, independence and self-assuredness. The oval fishnet stockings acted as a common factor in the all of looks as well as symbol of consistent structure in a gentler way, but still not without the strength. A nice detail on most of the hemlines was the thick, fringe-like flaps to add some character to the movement. The show ended with whites, blacks, and brighter hues of red, an even sharper look. The last three looks were all the same dress in the three different colors, but what a dress it was! Sequins and feathers and fringe and transparency. In Proenza Schouler's case, there's no such thing as too much of a good thing.