Saturday, February 28, 2009

Extraordinary Chanel

I've decided to stop talking about the black hole to fashion, which is celebrity designers, and get back to the true art that is fashion: couture. Karl Lagerfeld's collection for the House of Chanel is truly beautiful. In the beginning, I must admit I was a bit underwhelmed with the same white suits coming down the runway for the majority of the show. Even though Karl said he wanted to bring simplicity to fashion because of the economic crisis, I personally think couture is the only arena where designers can go over the top. Their customers are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to stand out from the crowd, but the first few outfits blended in with the crowd. However, as the show went on and the clothes switched from white to a white blue and criss-cross black and white, the true artistry that Lagerfeld can produce was shown. I love the layered look he presented with the clothes, the cropped jackets and tops that were in the collection. His final bridal dress in the end I believe I saw in last season's except it was in silver, but was pretty much the exact same outfit. I know how much Karl loves his job, but if he can't do it anymore he should retire like Valentino. To watch the full runway show, click here and here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Big Question

For the last three days, we took a look at the hypocrisy that are celebrity designers and it made me wonder if any of you would still go and purchase clothes from these people. Below, I did a survey to find out just how all of you feel about the phenomenon that is celebrity clothing lines. Please feel free to leave a comment as well as your choice.

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe, depending on the celebrity

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fake it Like Beckham

A couple of days ago I vented on my frustration with the abundance of celebrity designers and took my frustration out on Justin Timberlake in particular. Tonight I decided to give Justin the night off and focus my attention on another "designer". Victoria Beckham is one of those phenomenons because she is so famous, yet she doesn't do anything. She is basically an older Paris Hilton. Many say the reason she is constantly in the press is because she is married to the "talented" soccer player, David Beckham. I would believe this theory if it wasn't for the fact that when Pele (the greatest soccer player of all time) still played soccer no one knew or cared who he was married to. For her second collection as well as her first, Victoria has received praise from the fashion community for creating a "great collection". The only reason that Victoria went into fashion was because she has no talent or drive to be successful in either music or acting. To her, fashion was the only arena where someone can do all the work, yet she receives all the praise. In fact there is this rumour that after her first collection many of her clothes resembled the work of her friend and talented designer Roland Mouret because some of her cocktail dresses looked quite similar to his infamous galaxy dress. Even her former design partners at Rock and Republic said that she did not put any effort into designing her jeans for the company. For the sake of this article I am going to critique her Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter 2009 collections. Her first season was basically the same dress with the same silhouette but in different colours. The new collection seems like the same outfits as before except longer and different colours. For instance, this cocktail dress from Spring/Summer looks exactly the same, to me at least as this ballgown from Fall/Winter. I am not saying that any of these clothes are bad, far from that, they are actually really beautiful but that is not the point. The point is that they are not fashion because they are not unique or artistic. One thing I find absolutely hilarious is that Victoria is adamant that she creates clothes that she would wear and "are her style". She even said after her show that
"Every single dress I would wear myself."

I'm sorry, but I find it hard to believe that she would wear any of the evening dresses from the collection. Not that they aren't beautiful, but they are too covered up for her overtly sexual style. Another reason I find it hard to believe that she created this collection is because her design studio is in London, England and she resides and spends 90% of her time in the United States. These clothes would be great if they were made for a retail company but Victoria does not have the expertise or the credentials to produce a high fashion collection. Even though she uses high quality fabric it is still not worth the $1500+ price tag that she is commanding for these clothes. To charge those prices are a privilege, not a a right.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Biggest Crime in Fashion

I've decided to take a little break from our couture-watching season to talk about my biggest pet peeve. Since New York Fashion Week started last Friday, many established high-scale designers (such as Betsy Johnson and Vera Wang) had to skip the catwalk show due to the economic crisis and guess who have taken their place? Celebrities. Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate celebrity "designers" with a passion. In fact, to even call them designers is an insult to the fashion industry. These are people who have absolutely no training or skills to create fashion. The most recent one to do his collection is Justin Timberlake for his clothing line "William Rast." For the sake of this blog, I am going to critique his Spring/Summer 2009 collection rather than his recent one. When doing interviews after the runway show, Justin said that the inspiration for his collection was Southern looks. While I like Justin Timberlake as a singer and as a producer, he is one of the biggest talents to come along since Michael Jackson, as a "designer," he is a joke. These clothes are as basic and as commercial as it gets without any shred of individuality or artistry in them. To be a designer and to make clothes are two different thing. Anybody can make clothes as long as you have fabric and a sewing machine. For someone to be a designer, you have to make something as simple as clothing into pieces of art, like a Picasso. You cannot be a designer/singer/actor. To be a good designer requires all your energy and attention -- every single day. Being a designer is not a hobby or a pass-time; it is a full time career, but people like Justin don't understand that. They just see it as another avenue to make money and inflate their bank accounts. It especially angers me when the quality of work and the price don't match. For a designer outfit, even though you are spending thousands of dollars, you know that it's high quality. Designers use the best fabrics and sometimes things are hand-painted and hand-sewn by a professional seamstress, not a machine. Take for example, this black blazer on Justin's site that is 97% polyester, but worth $328, while you can get this same blazer from Suzy Shier's website which is 100% polyester for $30!! Does Mr. Timberlake expect the buying public to believe that the 3% elastane is worth the $298 difference?? No, what he is expecting is the fact that it is a jacket from his clothing line that represents the difference. That's what truly angers me -- the fact that they are simply cashing in on their notoriety and insulting a true craft. Hopefully the recession will weed out the fake designers from the real ones. To watch the William Rast "Fashion" show, click here.

UPDATE: elastane is another word for spandex

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Valentino Look has Returned

As you all may have remember I was not a fan of the Valentino Spring/Summer collection under the work of Alessandra Facchinetti. In fact I said that it was best that she leave the famous house before she did too much damage. Well I must be a psychic because after the collection the owners of the label dropped her and replaced her with the duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli. Their first collection which was the Spring/Summer 09 couture was absolutely amazing. They returned Valentino's legendary fantasy and glamor that was missing for the last year. I love all the ruffles and the layering that almost looked like fish scales going down the dress. I love their use of color and beading and feathers that trimmed some of the outfits. The whole collection seemed like something Valentino would have created himself but younger and more structured. One thing I found the most adorable was that each outfit had a shoe that seemed like it was made from the same fabric. These were clothes that were not only Oscar worthy but worthy of the $100 000+ price tag that comes with it. I look forward to seeing the future collections of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli. To watch the full runway show click here and here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dear Dior

In continuation with our Couture Week theme, we arrive at the legendary house of Christian Dior. What I love about John Galliano is that he is one of the few true couture masters. In my mind, when I think about couture, I imagine outfits that are theatrical but not costume, whimsical but not outlandish. This is the only time when designers can let loose and create more pieces of art than clothes. With Galliano, he produces a masterpiece of a couture collection with every single season, and this one was no different. I absolutely love his use of colours and over-the-top makeup to emphasize the theme. I also love how he takes the summer's trends of volumed skirts and sleeves to the nth degree. It's almost as if the collection was dynasty-inspired but on acid. With all the beading and designs on these dresses, it's no wonder that they cost so much money to make. The only criticism I would have for Galliano's creations is that some of the bubble skirts made the models look heavy and most of these models probably weigh less than infants so on a regular woman, it would be a hard look to pull off. And his princess-like dresses at the end would be hard to get through doorways, let alone sit. But I guess that's the whole point of couture. It's supposed to be over the top clothing that is completely unpractical and most of the time uncomfortable. To watch the full runway show, click here and here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Privy to Prive

Since I've been looking at all the collections that designers have issued for Spring/Summer '09, I thought it might be fun to look at the ultra expensive and glamorous world of couture for all you uber-rich people. Seeing as how every outfit that comes down the couture runway has a price tag between $50 000 - $100 000 plus, it is no wonder that there are only 200 customers in the world. The couture shows wrapped up last month, it's still the perfect present to buy your Valentine if you're a billionaire. For those who have the cash for couture, you cannot go wrong with the Armani Prive collection. Even though Armani kept most of the black and white, there was still a pungent of purples, yellows and other vibrant colours that made the collection magnificent. I love the flapper, Asia-inspired look for his collection. I love the patterns that look like walking pieces of art that moved effortlessly. I love the sharp tailoring of the jackets and the slight ruffle on the trim of the skirts. Armani is definitely a man that knows how to take old school Hollywood, but make it modern for today. These clothes would fit nicely with any high class socialite that still exists in the world. The dresses in the end were a definite nod to the red carpet and specifically the Oscars. Even though Armani put the occasional avant garde, for him it's about taking over the crown of the red carpet king from the retired Valentino. I especially loved the silver sparkly dress at the end because it is the type of dress you can see someone like Cate Blanchett or Angelina Jolie wearing with ease. To watch the full runway show, click here and here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Saab Summer

Elie Saab is one of those designers that brings hope to the future of fashion. While many of us fashionistas know that the time will come when older fashion legends, like Valentino, will retire, there are people like Saab who can carry on the mantle. I absolutely love his Spring/Summer '09 collection because it actually looks like a Spring/Summer collection. While other designers have been doing nothing but black, and white, and basic tailoring, Saab has taken a totally different direction. I love his uses of blues, purples, yellows, and pinks. One thing I loved the most is that Saab has toned down his clothes from when he first became a designer. In his first collections, his dresses had everything from bows, to crystals, to lace, to the kitchen sink. He's now toned back a lot of the flamboyance, but kept the feminine whimsical charm of his clothes. I love the flapper/ballet style trimming of his cocktail dresses. I love the fact that he emphasized the accessories more, with the bags and shoes that were to die for. I absolutely loved the fact that he produced flowy dresses that did not like a caftan. The standout piece for me has to be these 2 bubble dresses he made that had a flowing train in the back. All in all, I must say that he produced a tremendous colllection.
To see the full show, click here

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Red Carpet Weekend -- The Five Best and Worst Dressed Women

The awards season is well underway in show business, and during the weekend we had two of the major awards for both film and music that took place. On Saturday, we had the BAFTAs which is the British equivalent to the Oscars. Then on Sunday, we had the Grammy's which is the highlight of the music calendar. Needless to say that in both award shows, the women and their clothes came out in full force. I shall now critique who I think are the five best and worst dressed women (because who cares about men in their boring suits) of the weekend.

Kicking off the list for best dressed is one of my favourite singers, the oh-so-talented Sheryl Crow. Sheryl wore this blue off-the-shoulder dress to the Grammy's that just looked perfect on her. The shiny blue and sometimes purplish colour would look strange on any other person, but since Sheryl has such a kooky and hippie personality, it works on her. She's the type of person that picks outfits that reflect who she is and not just something that might look pretty in the next day's papers. continue reading further

At Number 4 ...

One thing I love about Kate Winslet is that she doesn't go over the top with the type of clothes that she wears. Every outfit she puts on during the red carpet is always has a minimalist and understated quality that is fleeting in Hollywood. This particular dress is a simple shape and cut, but her personality is what brings the element of pizazz. This is a woman who is more interested in her acting career than keeping up a glossy and glamorous image. Her style actually reminds me to that of Jackie O because they don't let the clothes overshadow their natural beauty.

At Number 3 ...

I love Penelope Cruz's style because she always turns out a sexy, but elegant dress. Even though she wore the uniform black to the BAFTAs, she definitely stood out from the crowd in this dress. I love the simplicity of the dress. I love the almost shiny fabric, the criss-crossed lines around her neck. The whole ensemble made her look like a dead ringer for Audrey Hepburn during the infamous Breakfast at Tiffany's moment. Even the damp and rainy weather of England didn't deter Penelope from bringing the WOW factor to the BAFTAs.

At Number 2 ...

Out of all the things that Jennifer Hudson had to go through last year, it is amazing that she would want to head out into the world ever again. During this weekend's Grammy's, not only did she head out, but she headed out in style. This Roland Mouret just hugs her figure in all the right areas. What I like about Jennifer is that she proves that you don't have to be stick thin to be stylish, sexy and elegant. I guess during the filming of Sex and the City The Movie, she must have picked up a few tips from Patricia Fields.

And the Winner of the Weekend is ...

I know Kate Beckinsale is supposed to be an actress, but I have absolutely no idea what notable films she has been in. That doesn't matter because this woman knows how to dress for her figure. This black mermaid dress that she wore to the Grammy's (which I don't know why she's there, as she's not a singer) was old Hollywood at its best. I especially love her wavy curly hair that just seems effortless to maintain. This is a woman who knows she is beautiful and uses it to help her reach the top of the best dressed list because lord knows she won't make it to the top of the best acting list.

Now For the Other List ...

Coming in at number five on our worst dress list is Sharon Stone at the BAFTA Awards. I admire her for wearing red when everybody else came in wearing black. However, this dress seems a bit young for her, especially the fact that it squishes her torso. The dress also seems to make her a lot more linear than the more curvier Sharon that we are used to seeing. If she wants to maintain that cougar image, then this is a good outfit, but she needs to wean back a little bit before she becomes a joke like Madonna.

At Number 4 ...

Leona Lewis has to be one of my favourite singers and some day might become the new Mariah Carey, but I was not impressed with her Grammy outfits. This is a girl who has a slender but curvy physique that would make practically any dress just sit on her like a dream. This particular brown dress made her seam about twenty pounds heavier than she really is. I appreciate the fact that she went for the glamazon look with all the sequins on the dress, but it just made her look pudgy. In the future, it might be best for her to stay away from this colour.

At Number 3 ...

When Marion Cotillard won her Oscar last year, she looked absolutely breathtaking in the Jean Paul Gaultier couture dress and everyone had high expectations that she would be the next Catherine Deneuve when it came to style and elegance. However, at the recent BAFTAs, she wore this ill-fated black cocktail dress that just looked terrible on her. The dress makes her seem like she has wider hips than she actually does, and the white in the front makes it seem like she is just wearing an undershirt beneath the dress. Let's just hope this is one of her few fashion mistakes.

At Number 2 ...

I have to give it to Paula Abdul for trying to be edgy and fashion forward, but it
seems no matter how hard she tries, she just looks horrendous. When she wore this yellow confection to the Grammy's, it just made me want to cry in sympathy for her because she just has awful taste in clothes. What I find incredible is the fact that this woman has a stylist. During her short-lived reality show (thank god for that!) "Hey Paula," she showed to the world her young stylist named Tiffany. I don't know what school Tiffany went to or if she has a deep seated hatred for Paula Abdul, but this partnership is obviously not working.

The Bottom of the Barrel

Coming in at number 1 is the female "rapper" known as M.I.A. This woman decided to come and perform at the Grammy's while nine months pregnant. I can understand how at this stage it might be really hard to find clothes that are complimentary to a woman's figure, but this is just ridiculous. At first, she shows up looking like a blue Big Bird and then for her performance, puts on a sheer polka dot looking atrocity. If I were her kid, I would be forever shamed that my mother wore these outfits while pregnant with me. Next time, I think it's best if M.I.A. stayed missing in action while pregnant.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Live from the red carpet

This past weekend, two of the world's most prestigious award shows or both acting and music took place. Before I slice and dissect the best and worst dressed, I want to hear what you guys think is the best and worst dressed during the BAFTA and Grammys. And we'll compare your opinions to mine tomorrow.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Coco Would Be Proud

Chanel has to be one of my favourite labels in the world, and Karl Lagerfeld has to be one of my favourite designers. With every season, whether it be Couture or ready-to-wear, Lagerfeld always manages to stay true to Coco's vision, but make it modern at the same time. For his Spring/Summer 09 collection, he stayed with the black and white trend but made it unique and sophisticated. The patterns for the tweed suits looked almost futuristic and I loved the fact that tweed patterns had a mix of black and white intertwined rather than two separate pieces. I also loved the cropped jackets and the chains that came off the sides of some of the outfits mixed with the cut-out gloves which gave the clothes a rock-n-roll feel. Then on the other side, there was this lady-like, romantic look with lots of pink and fuzzy balls on the back of shoes. I just completely fell in love with all the day wear that Lagerfeld produced for this collection. The evening dresses however, I was not impressed with. First of all, there were these weird, plastic looking dresses that looked only appropriate to wear at a rubber fetish club. Then there was the ruffled, full skirts that looked almost country-western inspired, that just left a lot to be desired. Then again, Lagerfeld always said that he liked to focus more on the day wear for his ready-to-wear collection and leave the outstanding evening dresses for Couture. To watch this fabulous collection on YouTube, click here and here. Or if you wish to watch it on the Chanel website, click here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

De la Renta Pulls in Another Knockout

Oscar de la Renta has to be one of the legendary people in fashion. He is the king of New York sophistication and glamour. For his Spring/Summer 09 collection, Oscar stayed with the trend of the season of mostly black,white and nude colours. However, his collection still had that rich and jet-set looked to it which is completely different from the understated look the other designers have created. I absolutely loved the shredded tops and the volume filled skirts. The stand out garment for me was the white crisp trousers that were so bright, it practically hurt your eyes. Another theme in his collection was the fact that ther was these large, almost corset liked belts, and the return of the chunky necklace and bracelet look. The purses and the shoes were absolutely fantastic. Especially the shoes because even though there were heels, they weren't the vertically challenging heels that other designers have produced. Basically these are the type of shoes where you can look sexy but you won't be dieing by the end of the night. When watching the evening dresses come down the runway at the end, it is little wonder why they call him "the king of glamour." My favourite dress had to have been the black lace dress that looked sexy but yet elegant. There is not one bad thing I'd say about this collection. To watch the full runway show, click here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Nights in Rodarte

Kate and Laura Mulleavy founded Rodarte 3 years ago and, since then, have taken the fashion world by storm. These two sisters are not the type of people you would think would be designers just by looking at them. In an industry that is as superficial as fashion, the way a designer looks is as or more important as the clothes they create. This has led to Lagerfeld and Jacobs losing weight to fit the physical ideal of what a designer should look like. Aside from Kate and Laura's appearance, they make incredible clothes. For their Summer 09 collection, the girls stayed true to their goth-rock motifs when creating the clothes. Apparently, the structure of many of the outfits were based on the skeletal frame of the human body. I love the fact that these sisters are not afraid to push the boundaries of fabric and colour to make some really avant garde, borderline couture-type look. They have to be the edgiest designers to come out of New York since Marc Jacobs. Whether they start a whole fashion movement like Jacobs did with grunge, however, remains to be seen. The only criticism I would have for the Mulleavy sisters is that their Spring/Summer 09 collection looked awfully similar to their Fall/Winter 08 collection. Other than that, I loved it. To watch the full runway show, click here and here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Same Old Same Old

For a long time the label herve leger has fallen out of the fashion spotlight but then reemerged when Maz Azria took over the design and produced their signature bondage dress in 07. When it first came out it was sexy but edgy and a new element to the world of fashion. Two years on and the same dress keeps reappearing. I'm sorry but how many times can Azria make the same short, tight, cris-crossed outfit and still be considered relevant. It would be understandable for them to try and maintain their signature look and build on it with every season but you have to show some type of change and growth. Unless the owners of the leger label want to go back to fashion obscurity they have got to change it up. Who knows it may be time for leger and Azria to part company. To watch the full runway show click here and here.

Cool Britannia 2.0

The Brits have brought us such great talent as Matthew Williamson, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano just to name a few. This time they have produced a talent in the form of Giles Deacon. I love how Giles manipulates fabric to produce unique masterpieces. I first heard of him last season when he produced a dress that was hand painted pictures of headless Bambi. In today's toned down commercialized world of fashion it's so refreshing to see someone who puts the excitement back into the industry. I loved his spring/summer 09 collection because it was just as artistic as his last with all the hand painted dresses and the shredded and manipulated fabric he once again produced a stand out collection. One thing I like the most about Giles, is that his clothes are unique but still wearable. All of his dresses could be worn at a society cocktail party or to the office. I especially liked the weird hats that he gave the models that from the side looked like a Mrs. Pacman. This is a designer that you can clearly tell is going places. To wait the full show click here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Oh Canada!

The Canadian twins that are sweeping Italy have produced another stand-out collection. Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared2 came up with a 1970s Charlie's Angels theme for Spring/Summer '09. This was a very sexy, retro, but yet modern type of clothes that could fit quite frankly a wide range of women. My favourite was the high-waisted wide legged pants because the Caten twins did proper high-waisted pants. This look is hard to carry off because a lot of people think that high-waisted pants need to be so high that they touch your nipple. In reality, they are pants that are situated right above the hip bone. The only thing I didn't like about the runway show, was that it was so theatrical it became borderline campy. The whole intro they had in the beginning about the Dsquared2 angels was just too much. All in all, I think that Dean and Dan have made Canada very proud and will continue to make Canada proud. To watch the runway show click here and here.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Angels Wear Prada Too

For spring/summer 2009, Miuccia Prada decided to take more of a sexier twist to her family's label. This collection was sportswear inspired but with a twist with all the sweetheart lined crop-tops and the lingerie inspired skirts. It was as if Miuccia took a page out of the Dolce & Gabbana handbook when she designed this collection. I loved the delicate look of the clothes and the sim[ple yet meticiulous detail that showed every piece. My one area of contempment was the was the gold fabric at the end that looked like yellow seran paper on the models. The bra-like tops were also meant for skinnier girls because if you were amble sized bosoms you would look like a high class hooker. The biggest show stopper in the entire collection had to be the shoes. I have seen many high heels come dowqn the run way for many years but these heels were at a whole other level. The shoes were so high that the models were practically on their toes. So unless you're a ballerina, admire these shoes from a far. To watch the full runway show click here: