Burberry Fall 2016 Ready-to-Wear


For such a legendary name, Burberry delivers a very modest show (at least compared to other time-tested giants such as Chanel and Gucci), which is much to their credit. Burberry is comfortable with their rather conventional character and humble in their innovation, which is refreshing today when so many brands boast of a creativity that simply isn't there. Burberry doesn't reinvent the wheel, but rather embellishes and builds off of it, while other brands in similar positions seem to be wasting their energy in attempting every single, yet unnecessary, way to change either the clothes themselves or, more commonly, the flesh and bones of a well-established brand (cough, cough SAINT LAURENT.) Christopher Bailey would be a fool to ignore the British heritage woven into the famous tartan, and he would also be a fool to try to "reinvent" it (he is slowly winning back the integrity of the print from the chavs and cheap copies), but he does know how to manipulate and save it from complete cliché in tasteful splashes here and there. He preserves the character and dignity of the storied house with a certain modesty that is rare with such esteemed brands. While he manages to maintain the history with respect, Bailey also brings characterized modernity to Burberry.

Music is often a focus at his shows; last season's concert-fashion show hybrid starring Alison Moyet amplified the aura of the clothes, and subsequently the Britishness of the brand. This time Nottingham native Jake Bugg captivated the audience and conducted the clothes passing around him with his singular self and guitar located conveniently in the center of the runway. And just as music is rarely completely new, but rather a new combination of already existing notes and tunes, Bailey's creations for Burberry don't possess the desperate quality of grasping for newness, but instead a comfortable, modest, and, most importantly, fresh approach to the traditional definition of British fashion. Burberry is not a brand obviously trying to achieve a certain "look" ; Burberry is not a brand boastful of their history; and Burberry is not a brand to rest on its laurels.

In a Vogue interview after the show, Bailey called the collection a "patchwork," remarking on how he pulled from various musical influences as well as Burberry's own (and undoubtedly vast) archives. In addition to the music and military references, and all things Burberry and British, there were distinct notes of qualities original to other brands; a style of pattern and color mixing native to Miuccia Prada, the 70s metallics brought back by Alessandro Michele at Gucci. With all the hype and exaggeration around New York fashion week, London, and especially fuss-free Burberry, acts as a reliable cleanser, freshening us up before the heavy lifting to follow in Milan and Paris.















Tired in New York

I have a bit of a confession to make. I haven't exactly been following the shows taking place in New York this past week. While this may seem the most insignificant of actions, it's perhaps reflective more of the state of the shows themselves than my (neglected) duty as a faithful fashion follower. You see, my problem lies not in the massive number of shows that take place, nor in accessibility to the collections, but rather in their contents. I'm finding that every show looks just like the one the designer created the year before, complete with all the same concepts and executions. From the small glances I can afford to pay to the collection, every look resembles a previous look, a bit too similarly to spark interest, but just enough to spark recollection. Put quite simply, I'm bored. And with the fashion weeks just starting, this may prove to be a complete misinterpretation of what (hopefully) turns out to be an innovative season, but for the moment I am not impressed. 

With all due respect to my base city, New York has never been known for its artistically innovative design (with few inevitable exceptions such as the genius of Thom Browne and Marc Jacobs, and younger talent like Vejas and Eckhaus Latta), but the sameness and insignificance of the shows makes me ponder their necessity, and on a greater scale, the necessity for fashion week as a whole. If every Calvin Klein collection produces the same monochromic set of basics, every Anna Sui the same acidic boho, great coats at Altuzarra, New York simplicity epitomized in Hugo Boss, and the most of elegant side of New York summed perfectly up between Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta (both originally not native New Yorkers, yet capture the essence of its most traditional beauty the best, but that's a talk for another day...), is it really necessary to hold shows for all of these? If consumers know what to expect then there's really no need to show the clothes like they don't. Fashion shows should be saved for the noteworthy and/or newsmakers. If it's not innovation or creation, then we really don't need to see it walk down a runway (again.) 

Every designer, every brand, every established fashion house wants their own show, their own literal 15 minutes in the ever-hungry, unforgiving, and forgetful spotlight of fashion, but all the focus (however short) on mediocrity sullies a fashion season and/or city as a whole. I don't even attend shows and I'm still tired and bored with most of what I see. That's not to say fashion shows should be exclusively avant-garde presentations akin to the likes of Rick Owens, but I think I might have a originality-starvation-inflicted mental breakdown if I see any more damn neutral-colored, structured outerwear from New York fashion week. 

The opening look at Calvin Klein. 
Photo by Vogue Runway.

Casual Photography

The purpose of photography is to document or create a moment that evokes some sort of feeling while and/or after viewing it. 

But the purpose of photography is becoming blurred and diluted. Once an act exclusively for special documentation or fantastical creation, photography has now become a daily activity. People, especially of the younger variety, constantly take photos with little thought. A Snapchat sent here, an Instagram posted there; so many photos taken without even noticing. The ability to take a photo (I can't exactly bring myself to call all photo-taking photography) is remains fairly common in day-to-day life, making the rare, moving piece of photography more of an anomaly. 

It seems as though the world simply doesn't have the time for truly affecting, disturbing, and thought-provoking works of photography, an epidemic that is similarly seen in the areas of art, fashion, and film. The world doesn't have time to soak up the emotion found on the traditional scale of great works of art, but rather takes in small floods of feeling from large bursts of content. A scroll through Tumblr gets the feelings flowing and the thoughts thinking, but it takes a continuous series of images (and the few, fervent words) to evoke that emotional inspiration, rather than a singular image. 

The accessibility of photography today may leave little room for the singularly strong images, iconic and overpowering, but it only amplifies the everyday beauty, sadness, and emotion found in our world. Don't get me wrong, the ineffably beautiful and powerful image will always play a part in the motivation of deep thinking (or at least deep appreciation), but it is the curation of simply-shot candids, indie movie stills, and unrealistically raw iPhone snaps that inspire people faster. While a set of seemingly mediocre, yet moving pictures don't last long in memory, they stir and slow the mind just enough for the dull speed of life today.











(Léa Seydoux is such goals.)









Vejas

Youth, effortless style, and innovation are concepts commonly thrown around in fashion, but rarely genuine. But Canadian designer Vejas Kruszewski based in New York offers an effortless and unconventional youth. The youthfulness of of Vejas is evident not in media's over exaggeration and admiration of the designers green age of 18 (in fact, he prefers to keep age out of the equation), but in the concepts woven into the clothes. They aren't trying to be young, they simply are and therein lies the magic. Vejas brings a much-needed wave of freshness to the New York scene; a freshness from the clichés and faux innovation of brands trying too hard to be young or provocative or, quite simply, cool. Part of the freshness in Vejas lies simply in the diversity across size, race, and gender in his lookbooks and promotion. The diversity found in Vejas doesn't have the empty-gesture feel of a brand yearning for fifteen minutes of fame for using a variety of models, but rather a natural acceptance.
















Photos via Tumblr and Vejas.