• Man Up: LCM 2016 Review

    Returning for its fourth year, London Collections: Men took place last week and the fashion focus was certainly on the boys. Despite never before meeting the gravitas of women’s ready-to-wear collections, 2016 has proven to be a coming of age in men’s high fashion. Thankfully with the help of the British Fashion Council there is an inaugural Menswear Fund, which was established in 2013, put there as a pedestal for young talent; for them to engage in one of the worlds most global and lucrative events seen by press, buyers and the public. Household names are worthy of note as are the new kids on the block. So keep an eye out, as the Autumn/Winter 2016 menswear collections are usually a good indicator as to what will be expected in the womenswear shows in weeks to come.

    On a personal note the Alexander McQueen show this season was one of aesthetic simplicity coupled with astounding detail. Tailoring was the key aspect of Sarah Burton’s gothic elegant A/W menswear spectacle as pinstripe and floral suits were marched down the catwalk. Bullion embroidered moths and silver sequins were stitched onto a cast of camel coats, white suits and military tailcoats. The best was a floral glitter printed velvet suit jacket that worked out as a visually stunning butterfly display.

    Gender blending was a recurring theme this season with Burberry’s A/W16 collection displaying men’s and women’s unisex bomber jackets and duffle coats that could hardly be told apart. A leap forward by Christopher Bailey at Burberry. From there, Jeremy Scott’s Moschino was unsurprisingly entertaining and outrageous, as denim and leather cut offs were spray-painted, which stood next to a rainbow of neon garments that too, received the same graffiti.

    While all these shows screamed ‘established’ with a wave of maturity there is still a thread of youth and experimentation that was reflected in some of the most standout collections this season. Graig Green and Charles Jeffrey encompass the idea of emerging talent through their identifiable aesthetic and both unquestionably have a strong platform for their brands. Yet it was Wales Bonners first presentation at LCM this year that brought a thoughtful eye to fashion. Her designs are clearly recognisable with her exploration of the black male and African craft techniques that make you look and think a little bit harder. While all mega-brands are vying for buyer’s attention, Bonners talent cannot be denied. She is the one to watch.Read more at:http://www.marieprom.co.uk/blue-prom-dresses | http://www.marieprom.co.uk/black-prom-dresses

  • Gucci AW16 report Milan Menswear

    Models at the Gucci AW16 Milan Menswear show
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    There’s a whole load of baloney being said right now about the speed of fashion. It’s usually when a designer leaves a label, or when members of the print media cannot understand another new app which is taking yet more attention away from them. The theory is that fashion is running so fast, it’s out of control. Actually, something very different is going on. For all the immediacy of the internet, in the 21st century fashion itself has slowed down.

    The main proponent of this is Gucci, where creative director Alessandro Michele is celebrating his first year in the job. “I still think it’s really new to believe that a piece from your wardrobe is beautiful,” he said backstage. It was 40 minutes before the show was due to begin, and we were walking along a rail of clothes ready to be put on the models.

    A tapestry coat had its hem raw-cut, a velvet jacket was richly embroidered, held by frogging. It was familiar to what he had shown a year ago, six months ago, at pre-collection, cruise, for women, for men, whichever. Michele has a totally new outlook. Rather than aggressively pushing forwards, fashion can feel fresh by staying calm and looking deeper into itself.

    It is a point of view that has reignited Gucci. A couple of days ago, I asked a buyer from a major retailer if Michele’s version of Gucci was selling. He said it was: the catwalk clothes were doing great, but more crucially its sneaker and shoe business has exploded, with a new appetite for Gucci loafers. One more thing: how many journalists had asked him the same question? He laughed, “Loads.”

    Michele is a designer who applies profound theory to his work, while also making fashion that is both covetable and fun. “I put together fragments of my memory,” he said. “But everybody has a different memory. You can look at the same thing, and after it you remember something and me too, they are completely different.”

    The result is something familiar but also weird. It’s been a week where many brands have cited space as inspiration, but the Gucci show was the most space-y. It felt like a trip. “I don’t want to have a real space in fashion,” he said. “I want to fly. It’s the way to be myself.” Take the embellished tracksuit with a repeat mustard and navy optical pattern, like a load of tessellated open books. It was worn over a mesh vest printed with an image of Snoopy. That’s right, Snoopy.

    “I put this here because Snoopy is a piece of romanticism for me from the 80s,” he said. Michele is in his forties, and was talking about his memories of Snoopy as a kid. “And because Snoopy was a philosopher, in a way.”

    We moved on, and reached a quite beautiful suit of printed floral squares bordered by a grid of red wavy lines. It could be a curtain in a caravan — a compliment. Is it an old print? “Nothing came from the archive,” said Michele. “But it could be a memory, whether it is Gucci, whether it is not.”

    We’d only done one rail and models were swarming, ready to be dressed. He headed to the women’s rail, where one of the waiting models was Hari Nef of television series Transparent. Michele continued. “I’m obsessed with work and embroidery and fabric,” he said. “I did a big research . . .”

    Someone talked in his ear, and they spoke Italian to each other. “I am sorry, we are late,” he said. The models needed to be dressed, the show had to start. “Always we are late.”

    Michele was taken away but I remained behind to look at the clothes as the models were put in them. A raglan-sleeved, long check coat had an embroidered bear on the back. Suddenly I was surrounded, limbs of angular young men everywhere. It was like being caught in a thicket. I headed out to my seat.

    What struck in the show was the emotive power of his clothing, and his quite extraordinary eye for colour. A jade green jacket was worn over a fine yellow rollneck with loose but cropped purple pants. A pink cardigan worn over a red pussybow top with cherry pants. Simple looks were some of the strongest, like a wide necked T-shirt matched with blue pants, an excellent yellow sweater with borders of brown worn with dusty pink cords, or a blue cardigan knitted with yellow teddy bears matched with faded jeans.

    With womenswear added in, the show was 58 looks long. Every garment shown could be sold right now in Gucci’s stores. This is something new: so much of what is seen at these shows never gets put into production. Here, there’s no dilution: what Michele shows, they sell. Afterwards, a representative of the brand asked me what I thought. I said it made me want to go straight to the Gucci store. Which is the exactly the point, they said.

    Don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a lovely fashion bubble. Michele has understood a major shift in the way that people dress in the internet age. Trends have pretty much disappeared. There are many reasons why: people no longer need to communicate so much with their clothing when they can do so with their phone. Meanwhile, on social media, familiarity of style is actually more popular than something unusual or strange. Buy a good pair of jeans now, you’ll probably be able to wear them next year, the year after. It’s a great time to enjoy wearing clothes, because that old tension of being in or out is pretty much irrelevant.

    At Gucci, Michele has tapped into that pleasure. “The most important thing is the way you let the people dream about something,” he had said backstage, “Not what is real, what is fake, I mean fashion is all fake.” True. But his effect on Gucci is very real, and very welcome.Read more at:cocktail prom dresses

  • Iconic Princess Diana dresses to go on display at her former home

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    Famous dresses worn by Princess Diana will be among the highlights of a new exhibition at Kensington Palace.

    Fashion Rules; Restyled will include stunning garments worn by the Princess of Wales, as well as fellow royal fashion icons Princess Margaret and the Queen.

    It will feature an all-new display of around 20 dresses plus accessories including sunglasses, scarves and capes, from the wardrobes of the three Royal fashionistas, and explore how the women navigated the fashion rules defined by their royal duties in unique style.

    Work by designers Catherine Walker, Hardy Amies and Christian Dior will all feature, and it follows the successful Fashion Rules exhibition.

    It will take in the ‘New Look’ glamour of Princess Margaret in the 1950s, and the the elegance of her older sister in the 1960s and 1970s.

    But it is the tailored drama of outfits created for Diana in the early 1990s which is generating much excitement.

    A spokesperson for Historic Royal Palaces, which runs Kensington Palace, said: “From a much-copied tartan and black velvet evening gown designed for an evening of Scottish dancing at Balmoral, to the double-breasted styling of a bottle green silk velvet halterneck worn privately by the princess - and later made famous by Mario Testino’s iconic photographs commissioned to support the sale of her dresses at Christies – the display will explore how Diana’s wardrobe had the power to set trends both at home and abroad, and represented a truly modern royal style.”

    Libby Thompson, Historic Royal Palaces curator, said: “Fashion Rules has proved popular with our visitors, and we’re delighted to be able to expand on this theme to celebrate the style evolution of three iconic modern royal women. The new display will delve even deeper into the royal wardrobe, revealing some real surprises that I hope will challenge the way we think of royal style.”

    Fashion Rules; Restyled is sponsored by Estée Lauder Companies and opens at the palace Diana once called home on February 11.Read more at:cheap prom dresses