In the hazy aftermath of the world’s fashion shows for Fall/Winter 2010, I struggled to decide which designers and exactly how many of them to recommend you put on your radar – and shopping lists. I decided to take a cue from Noah and his Ark and present them to you in pairs. Let’s take a look at the latest that London, Milan and Paris will have to offer you in the fall.
Burberry Prorsum was one of the most hotly anticipated shows of the London season. Why you ask? Not because this ready-to-wear collection from the venerable brand is always edgy, but because Creative Director Christopher Bailey live streamed the show in 3-D and offered online viewers the option to â€œBuy It Nowâ€ with select outerwear looks. This option, long a staple of eBay, has never been offered before in fashion, where we are used to seeing some, but not usually all, of the runway looks in stores six months later. Much fuss was made in the fashion press about how this show revolutionized the way we present – and deliver – fashion. Regardless of whether you are a cybershopper, a trunk show shopper, or a frantic fashion emergency retail shopper, the looks that Bailey presented were notable this season. In this supposedly post-recession era, luxury is back in a big way – as in oversize. Bailey’s outscale collars on cropped shearling jackets fit any lifestyle, and add just the right amount of military edge.
Given the fashion world’s collective focus on Tim Burton’s latest opus, we all expected Vivienne Westwood‘s collection to be even more Mad Hatter meets Alice in Wonderland than ever, but she surprised us all by presenting a riot of color and texture that is undeniably her aesthetic, but as fresh and modern as our favorite Belgian designers. Origami obi sashes in satin over mountains of tulle and neon knee socks all combine to create traffic stopping looks. Virgil may have told the ancient world that â€œfortune favors the boldâ€, but in today’s world, the bold favor fashion!
Speaking of bold, in a bold – or was it forgetful? – move, Dolce and Gabbana declared a jacket moment in fashion history. They sent a flock of models down the runway in tailored jackets – and no pants. Jaded fashion observers looked past the oversight immediately and differentiated the jackets from each other as only fashion people can. After all, not all black jackets are created equal, but you can be assured if you choose one from this designer, you’ll stand out in any sea of cocktail hour black. If you’re feeling â€œcheekyâ€ this fall, you’ll know what to wear to that snooty gala whose invitation reads â€œJacket Requiredâ€!
Thomas Meier made a grab for the â€œsleek and chicâ€ customers who normally rely on Rick Owens and Jil Sander for minimalist designs with his latest collection for Bottega Veneta. Career-driven, fashion-obsessed women in the world’s fashion and financial capitals will no doubt be rejoicing at new options for black-on-black. This venerable brand is well known for its supple woven leathers, but Meier has made a name for the brand in ready-to-wear, a name that is soon to be on everyone’s lips.
In business terms, Phoebe Phyllo is the Tom Ford of her generation. Credited with reviving Celine, Phyllo has brought it to a level of global awareness that exceeds the peak it enjoyed in its heyday during the 70s. Her collection notes sum up her inspiration for the season: “Strong. Powerful. Reduced.” The looks on the runway certainly lived up that mantra. In terms of design, Phyllo is well on her way to being the Donna Karan of her generation not just to New Yorkers, but to a whole world full of women who want clean, simple design paired with precise construction.
Chanel this season was anything but simple. Monsieur Lagerfeld had over 250 tons of ice brought in from Sweden to create the iceberg set that barely melted in the freezing Parisian springtime. If Marie Antoinette were alive today, she might say of the global recession, â€œlet them wear furâ€. If Lagerfeld has his way, that fur will be Chanel. Not since long before anyone was whispering the â€œRâ€ word have we seen so much fur on the runway. Even the classic Chanel skirt suit was given the full fur treatment by weaving strips of fur through the tweed. The fur boots and handbags will surely be flying out of stores. Get on the wait lists now!
I couldn’t possibly end without at least mentioning that the fashion world has lost one of its brightest young stars: Alexander McQueen. While many believe that McQueen succumbed to his inner demons, his final collection was delicately balanced between angels and demons, specifically the ones he culled from Medieval art and had woven into delicate jacquard fabrics. These final sixteen looks will stand forever as his last collection, as timelessly beautiful as the saints and queens of the Dark Ages that inspired this talented artist. If there is a fashion heaven, then it has one more angel.
1. Burberry Prorsum Fall 2010 RTW
2. Vivienne Westwood Fall 2010 RTW
3. Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2010 RTW
4. Bottega Veneta Fall 2010 RTW
5. Celine Fall 2010 RTW
6. Chanel Fall 2010 RTW
7. Alexander McQueen Fall 2010 RTW
Image Layout: Tiffany Carlin