Runway to Reality

From vivid colors worn head to toe to feathers and ruffles attached to every imaginable item alongside futuristic silhouettes, the runway is everything but boring. The trends that we see on the runway are extravagant and inspirational, but there is one conflict: how can we interpret these trends so that they are appropriate for our daily and unglamorous life? We believe that by beefing up your out of the box thinking skills, even the most variegated runway look can be made office friendly. We decided to take five catwalk trends and show you the best ways to pull them off in real life.

Working girl

The pin-striped suit of power and formality and a touch of masculinity is back. From observing the Fall 2017 RTW collection, it seems that the checked grey prints are becoming must-have pieces for every fashionista. The tailored suit borrowed from the boys’ fashion handbook is no longer limited to the Wall Street banker. Designers like Calvin KleinDries van Noten, Céline, Mulberry, Stella McCartnery, Balenciaga, and many more pushed the power suit forward through more relaxed silhouettes. To make the pinstripes everyday-ready, they have to be comfortable and roomy. A poor fit can make it look cheap, so it’s smart to pay more attention to the proportion and silhouette. You can break up the suit and pair the tailored blazer with a pair of flattering jeans or a fun blouse for an off-duty look. You can also play with contrasting and team up a vibrant color top with grey check trousers; another option is to pair it with a white polo neck for a youthful and fresh take.

Runway v. Reality (left: kelvin-klien; right: Nordstrom)

NASA is calling

It all started when Chanel transformed the runway to a space center with models who wore Space influenced versions of the brand’s classics. Metallic details and futuristic elements were also present in Saint LaurentPaco RabanneChristopher Kane and more — apparently designers adore the future and we are all waiting to lift off. But before we do, let us help you prepare in style. For a casual look, focus only on one high shine piece or limit the number of flashy fabrics. For instance, look for metallic pieces like geometric jewelry in silver or gold, or choose a sassy winter coat that evokes the Space look. For a subtler look, pair metallic booties with relaxed denim and roll up the hemline, or make it office appropriate with a monochrome outfit in muted colors.

Lady in red

It’s about time we say hello to the most powerful color of the season: Red. This fall, we spotted head to toe red in a variety of shades like crimson, cherry, and wine. Needless to say, red was a favorite among designers at fashion weeks from New York to Paris. Designers like Max Mara, Jil Sander, Bottega Veneta, Dior, and Fendi showcased the confident color in many variations, which is an indication that it’s about time you add some of the sensual red to your wardrobe. The good news is that red happens to be the most flattering color on all skin tones. The key is to find a way to make it work for your daily outfit. For an office look, break up the monochromatic appearance by pairing it with natural tones. Avoid cheap fabrics and opt for silk or wool for elegance. Keep it ladylike with a cozy red coat that will upgrade your casual outfit. For an evening look, velvet is a great option and it will bring a sophisticated sex appeal to your overall look.

Matrix

Welcome to the dark side of fashion. Since its release 18 years ago, the Matrix trilogy has inspired and continues to inspire fashion designers today. And look no further than this season to witness the Matrix’s reach. Think all black clothing, leather trench coats, crocodile prints, Neo’s bondage pants, catsuits, skinny bug=eyed sunglasses, and even more futuristic elements, all in sexy silhouettes. On the catwalk, Vetements, Balenciaga, Alexander Wang, and Balmain dialed the Matrix vibe to the fullest. The movie inspired look may be challenging for an everyday look, but it’s not an impossible mission. A leather trench coat can feel more practical when styled with a pair of skinny black jeans; or wear head to toe black with a pair of futuristic statement sunglasses. Whatever you do, just make sure to keep the look minimalistic and highly tailored.

Runway v Reality (left: Alexander McQueen; right: Aritzia)

Craftwork

This fall, arts and crafts seemed to inspire designers among all the fashion capitals. Multiculturalism and heritage craft ruled the runway, evoking folk influences blends with carefree and free spirit. The current season, the heritage craft reflected through American and British countryside traditions with rich colours and fabrics that look as if they have been woven from tapestries. Erdem, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Valentino showcased floral embroidery dresses, while Etro and Prada drew inspiration from the 70s with patchwork jackets.  On the runway it’s always looks exciting and colourful, but for daily life the traditional crafts prints can be a bit tricky to wear, especially head to toe. You can start small by spicing up a basic outfit with a decorative handbag or add a folk style scarf.  If you consider yourself as a fashion risk taker, you can bring out the vibrancy of the handcraft piece by using bold coloured basics in the mix.

This season, arts and crafts seem to have inspired designers in all the fashion capitals. Heritage craft ruled the runway and pointed to folk influences, which blended well with a sense of carefreeness. The current season showcases crafts that evoke the American and British countrysides with rich colors and fabrics that look though they were weaved like tapestries. Erdem, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Valentino showed floral embroidery dresses, while Etro and Prada drew inspiration from the ’70s and showed patchwork jackets. On the runway, it always looks exciting and colorful, but for the everyday, the traditional craft prints can be a bit tricky to wear, especially head to toe. You can start small. Spice up a basic outfit with a decorative handbag or add a folk-style scarf. If you consider yourself a risk taker, bring out the vibrancy of a handcrafted pice by adding bold colored basics to the mix.

Runway v. Reality (left: Erdem; right: Anthropologie)

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Highlights from Resort and Pre-Fall 2017/18

Pre-fall, Resort, Cruise. What does it all mean? Now some people feel pre-fall and resort collections are completely unnecessary, but the truth of the matter is, resort and pre-fall collections do play and important role in the fashion world. In most cases, pre-fall and resort are meant to showcase what’s to come for their respective season. For example, cruise and resort are meant to give customers a taste of what’s to come for spring/ summer, while pre-fall is meant as a tease for the coming fall/winter shows. Now you could argue that brands could cut their costs and just lump these small capsule collections into their respective seasons, but fashion is just as much about tradition as it is about innovation, so letting go of the mini mid-season collections may feel like a betrayal of traditions for some designers.

Proenza Schouler (Pro-Enzuh Skool-er) Pre-Fall 2017

Photo: Proenza Schouler

Yes, that’s right, it’s pronounced “Pro-enzuh Skool-er” not “Prenza Shooler,” but that’s beside the point. This time around, the boys at famed New York fashion powerhouse Proenza Schouler created a pre-fall collection packed full of all the things Proenza fans look forward to in the regular seasonal collections. A mix of modern edge and grungy industrial look come together in the form of a simple minimalist crop top, grommeted trousers, and what appears to be a simple black bomber. It seems like once again the Proenza boys have redefined New York cool girl chic with a simple silhouette and perfect styling. What more could you ask for?

 

Prada Resort 2018

Photo: Vogue Runway

Miuccia Prada is undoubtedly the reigning queen of design in today’s fashion landscape. Her constant quest for creating chic clothing that represents not only the here and now but also the future has solidified her place among the legends of fashion. For her resort 2018 collection, Miuccia dove into the world of feminine sexiness. The collection featured a plethora of sheer separates in macaron pastels. Pistachio greens flowed beautifully against strawberry milk pinks and champagne sequins, giving the collection and immediate feminine softness. But Madame Prada could never allow her collection to just solely rely on femininity to look good. Underneath the prettiness lies a strong sense of vintage intensity. The graphic socks and over the top shades, and shoes give off the impression that this woman is soft and sensitive, yet dominant and completely capable of fending for herself. A staple Miuccia has spent perfecting.

Mary Katrantzou Pre-fall 2017

Photo: Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantantzou has been passed the torch that was given to many a designer. Like Dries Van Noten, Christian Lacroix, Anna Sui, and Hanae Mori before her, Katrantzou now holds the title as the grand poobah of print designers. This pre-season collection saw the designer create a collection heavily based on different jewel toned prints. The most beautiful of the bunch is this stunning paisley print that almost leans towards a Mediterranean style of design seen in ancient Greece. However, there’s absolutely nothing ancient about this look. Between the beautiful royal blue suit and stole, the entire look screams modern elegance. A redefining moment for the modern woman’s power suit.

Louis Vuitton Cruise 2018

Photo: Vogue Runway

Nicolas Ghesquiere has been turning out fashion forward it-girl style since his early days in fashion. Recently, his endeavours at historic french powerhouse Louis Vuitton have produced some of his most successful and celebrated collections to date. For his cruise 2018 collection. Ghesquiere took Vuitton to Japan. Where he showcased his stunning collection against the backdrop of a mountainside museum.  The collection employed heavy use of texture to create layers and depth throughout the collection. One of the most stunning pieces in the collection came in the form of an oversized sleeve blazer worn over a crisp white shirt and matching shirts. Now the look isn’t the most elaborate in the collection, but it’s in its simplicity that you find the beauty. The simple amplification of an office staple creates a modern take on something every day; like finding the beauty in the mundane.

Jason Wu Pre-fall 2017

Photo: Jason Wu

The standard office uniform can sometimes feel like a coffin rather a form of personal self-expression.  Luckily at Jason Wu pre-fall 2017, the modern woman is finally given some standout options. Take this beautiful two piece ensemble. The pinstriping adds a faint hint of rigidness to an overall relaxed office look. The beautifully soft draping of the fabric along the waist adds shape and excitement to the look, while the simple wide legged pant adds and even more relaxed look to the ensemble, yet it never manages to lose its importance or elegance.

 

Paris Fashion Week f/w 2017: The Highlights

Paris is widely accepted as the pinnacle of fashion around the world and for good reason. This season seems to be no exception, with designers pulling out all of the stops to present some of their most exciting and iconic collections yet. There were designers who celebrated milestones by walking down memory lane, while others expressed their takes on modern feminism by pulling from the past. There was even a utopia created completely out of fabric that transcended words. With that said, Novella is proud to present the best of Paris Fashion Week!

Photo: Kim Weston Arnold

Dries Van Noten

It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a runway show sport such an outstanding roster that it sends me into a flurry of nostalgia with every passing model that came into the camera’s view, but that’s exactly what Dries Van Noten did for his 100th show in Paris. Models from all over the globe strutted down the runway in his creations for the show (some whom have walked his first shows back in the early 90s) in a show of support for Dries’ 20-year long breadth of work. Apart from having the pleasure of seeing the likes of Nadja Auermann and Malgosia Bela strut down the runway, fans around the world were treated to a whirlwind of prints that came straight from the brand’s archives. Noten’s paisleys and florals were dusted off and brought back as a celebration of the brand and its iconic designer. One interesting (and completely appropriate for our current times) aspect of the show was the heavy emphasis on menswear. Coats and suits carried a masculine air that made each of the runway veterans shine with a sense of feminine empowerment.

Photo: Vera Wang

Vera Wang

Sometimes a collection comes along that is so underlooked by the those in the fashion industry that it’s almost maddening. Such was the case at Vera Wang‘s Paris show. The New York native presented her collection in Paris last week only using model Mariacarla Boscono as her muse and beautiful historic building as her background. The entirety of the collection seems to be inspired by the queens of the world, with a heavy emphasis on Napoleonic-era military and aristocratic garb. The beauty of Vera‘s understanding of the female form and understated elegance is completely evident here in the draping and gold embellishments that hark back to a time when what you wore showed the world who you are. And Vera’s woman is that the top of the echelon. Some of the most stunning pieces that came from the collection are an Edwardian empire waist gown that cleverly comes paired with wool sleeve military jacket sleeves and a beautiful gold dress with shearling outerwear sleeves that exudes a sexiness that commands attention. However, dresses weren’t the only thing Ms. Wang had in store for her collection. Various different aspects commanded equal praise through the collection. One important piece that comes to mind is a beautiful ensemble featuring a delicate blouse with exaggerated proportions topped off with a shearling capelet that was grounded by a beautifully tailored pair of French legion style military pants.

Photo: Kim Weston Arnold

Jacquemus

The new king of Parisian design has once again outdone himself for his fall 2017 collection. I remember when a young Simon Porte Jacquemus began showing his collections in Paris. His designs seemed extremely easy going and effortless in comparison to the taught (and sometimes pretentious) standards that Paris demands of its designers. However, the idea of a young self-taught designer pushing through the fashion status quo to present original and inspired ideas was quite exhilarating. This season, Simon struck gold again with another solid collection based on the love story between a rich Parisian woman and a gypsy man from the south of France. The collection features Jacquemus’s tell-tale simplicity, which, as always, tells a far more interesting story than something with unnecessary glitz and sparkle. The collection is riddled with effortlessly fashionable “French-isms” like the simple Napoleon hats and the large gold brooches, that all bring us back to the iconic houses on Place Vendôme that put Paris on the fashion map. Apart from the all-around well-designed clothing, Jacquemus still manages to add his signature touches to the collection in the form of outstanding tailoring that plays on the brand’s fun-loving take on tailoring. Some of the best looks in this collection are the simplest in terms of design and styling — a black coat with a built-in peplum waist and suit ensemble that slightly twists at the waist.

Photo: Kim Weston Arnold

Off-White

A lot of people (myself included) are beginning to become weary and tired of seeing Vetements-isms riddle the runway. It seems as if every designer and their mother are pumping out their own alternatives to the elongated sleeve, oversized everything, puffer-jackets, oversized logo everything. The list goes on and on at this point. Now Off-White is one of those brands that sprang up with the insurgence of the streetwear dominated industry, so it came as no surprise when the brand had its fair share of Vetements inspired pieces in its collection. Fortunately, this season came with a wonderful surprise, designer Virgil Abloh created a fantasy world that echoed the modern freshness of the Off-White client while standing far enough away from any of the overused trends of the past two seasons. His collection left a lasting impression by just exhibiting well made and well put together ensembles that stay relevant to French design and European trends. Two exciting trend that was easily spotted on the Off-White runway was Prince-of-Wales check and denim; the two was intricately mixed with one another to create a complementing look that nestled somewhere in between casual elegance and sports chic. In the end, some visible Vetements-isms were still in the collection, like the mini puffer and hoodie, but they were toned down and given relevant and refreshing reimaging that made sense with the collection, rather than fighting it.

Photo: Monica Feudi

 Miu Miu

Miuccia Prada never fails to wow me. While some designers opt for taking the ideas they presented for their main brands and just altering them for their side ventures, Miuccia consistently delivers news and separate ideas for Miu Miu that only ever rarely echo what Prada is doing at the time. She understands that Miu Miu girl is not her Prada girl and both women need clothing that best represents them, not a mishmash of “either or“. This season, Miuccia created a candy coloured whirlwind for Miu Miu’s fall 2017 collection. The collection, which showcased fur-clad twenty-somethings flouncing down the runway in 60s inspired outfits (an ode to the ladies that launched the first wave of feminism maybe?) presented an interesting and relevant idea. “I am a woman, a Miu Miu woman, and I’m here to be seen!” As every woman should be, which is refreshing in a moment where women’s empowerment is being expressed by how masculine she can dress. The best examples of the what Miuccia is trying to express with feminine strength come later in the show when silky mini dresses were decorated with 3-D fuzzy flowers, wild 60s prints created a strong and imposing silhouette, and pastel coloured furs left a soft yet dominating impression on the viewer.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos

Undercover

I remember distinctly ranting and raving about this collection to our Editor-in-Chief Drew Brow whilst sipping a beer at Toronto Men’s Fashion week. The exact words I used were “I don’t think I’ve cried watching a runway show in such a long time! I was fanning my eyes Drew, I was so emotional!” And it’s true. It really has been years since a designer’s collection made me feel emotional enough to feel my eyes water, but that was exactly the case at Undercover this season. Designer Jun Takahashi presented what may be his magnum opus for Undercover at Paris fashion week last week. The collection was a cornucopia of beautiful looks that were meant to represent the residents of a kingdom or utopia built on extravagance and elegance. Now, while other designers have been rushing to pump out trend heavy and streetwear relivant collections it seems that Jun is in no way, shape, or form willing to water down his vision to accommodate the status quo. His collection was a remarkable ode to the days of Alexander McQueen, Christian Lacroix, and John Galliano at Dior. Where designers were more interested in telling a story through a collection rather than creating a collection whose sole purpose is to feed the retail industry’s need for new trends every season. But enough about the technicalities of the collection, because the clothing far outshines any written explanation that can be given to describe it. There were knitted gowns with accordion sleeves, and draped and gather military coats, velvet pie crust bomber jackets, oversized cable-knit dresses, beautifully printed opera coats, and a queen wearing and accordion pleated ball gown skirt that outshone anything that has been presented on the runway in the past few years. To be completely honest with everyone, no words I write can express the beauty of this collection in all of its regal glory. I implore you to watch the runway video of the show to see just exactly what I’m talking about. You can thank me later.

 

Iconic moments in fashion history: Christian Lacroix spring 2009 couture

In the fashion industry, finding a true genius is like mining for diamonds. You have to get through a lot of very ordinary rocks to find a true gem. It seems as if fashion innovators come once every few years. The 80s, like all generations, had its own small group of fashion geniuses which repaved and restructured the way fashion would be seen forever. But none were as extravagant and lively as the father of the puffball skirt, Christian Lacroix.

With the world of haute couture as his playground, Christian Lacroix was able to push boundaries of fashion that were only just being explored by other designers. Couture was no longer about just creating an impeccable dress or a perfectly tailored suit, it was now about creating a dream, a fantasy in the form of clothing. It’s safe to say that the theatrics seen in contemporary haute couture owes a lot of its inspirations to the dream worlds Lacroix created in the late 80s and early 90s.

For this edition of Iconic Moments in Fashion, Novella will take a trip to the world of Lacroix. Specifically, the spring 2009 couture show.

To start, one of the great trends that made this collection worth every fashion lovers while when it hit the runway has actually made a comeback in the past few seasons. The little drummer boy military uniform was almost everywhere last year. Every design house from Burberry to Gucci and Dries Van Noten had their hand in the military cookie jar. But none had the refinement and french romanticism that Monsieur Lacroix had. Fitted jackets with gold buttons, braided details, and floral embroidery were delicately trimmed with a crimson ribbon on each sleeve, while pantsuits were nipped at the waist and given an ultrafeminine silhouette. But it didn’t end there. Instead of pairing the military style jackets with traditional military style pants, Lacroix opted to modernize the look by pairing the darling jackets with slouchy trousers and delicate ruffled mini dresses that put the sugar plum fairy to shame.

Photos by Marco Madeira

However, the beauty of a Lacroix show is in its eccentricity. Rather than continue rely solely on his military influences, Christian went on to recreate his own stunning take on the french court. Models glided down the runway in brilliant floral confections and flouncy mini dress that would make anyone’s fairytale fantasies come true. Another brilliant little touch that Lacroix added to his ever-so-sweet madames wardrobe were the sheer printed tights that brought a sense of childhood whimsy to the collection. Some of the highlights in Christian‘s french court are a beautifully embroidered jacket and skirt paired with a lovely little basket purse and sheer blouse worn by model Hanne Gaby Odiele, a stunning ice blue skirt-suit adorned with crystals and ribbons worn by model Tanya Dziahileva, and a pristine black capelet and matching dress set worn by Lena Lomkova.

Photos by Marco Madeira

After presenting his french beauties of the upper echelon, Lacroix moves onto his riotous Can-Can beauties. Bright flashes of silk and chiffon dance around one another in perfect harmony. Lacroix‘s unmistakable knack for mixing prints and colour shine through here. His theatrics take center stage with gowns like the striped a-line gown worn by Elsa Sylvan, a beautiful off the shoulder gown in blush pink and fuschia worn by model Laura Blokhina, and the adorable embroidered bubble dress worn by model Skye Stracke.

Photos by Marco Madeira

Finally, the collection ends on the most glamorous of notes when Monsieur Lacroix introduces his belle epoque goddesses, draped in tulle and chiffon, feathers and jewels. Some of the most romantic and inspired gowns seen on the runway in the past two decades were part of Lacroix‘s spring 2009 finale. Black was intricately paired with soft pastel blues, golds, and dove grays to create a fairytale world of aristocratic head-turners and wealthy matriarch millionaires that play by their own rules. The embroidery and craftsmanship take on a refined new line in Lacroix‘s hands as the models storm the runway with billowing skirts that leave his brilliant patterned tights exposed to complete the look. One defining feature of the finale gowns is their bold shouldered silhouettes paired with their defined Edwardian influences that would give most designers using the same silhouette season a run for their money. The greatest moments during the finale came when model Tanya Dziahileva marched out in a beautiful voluminous black gown worn under a blush jacket that had been covered in flowers from sleeve to shoulder, a soft and delicate silk and tulle gown in ice blue worn by model Sissilee Lopez, a bold black shouldered tulle gown worn by Georgina Stojilkovic, and a stunning silk chiffon mini dress with flower embroidery and a yellow maribou-feathered dropped waist worn by Erin Heatherton. A true vision of couture perfection!

Photos by Marco Madeira

 

Five Paris Men’s Fashion Week Shows That Stood Out

Each fashion capital comes with its own anticipations, but Paris, for both men’s and women’s collections, is the one that I get more excited about. The Paris Men’s Fashion Week shows offered many wearing staples, and two of the major running themes throughout were a new take on suiting and proportions. Many designers looked to the 80’s and 90’s for inspiration for their Fall 2017 collections. It will be interesting to see how their ideas trickle down to the everyday man, but for those who grew up during those decades it won’t be too overwhelming.

Here is our round up of five collections that stood out during Paris Men’s Fashion Week.

Valentino 

Photo Credit: Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv

Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino man might not run in the same circle as the women he designs for, but I was highly impressed by his first solo collection for men. For Fall 2017, the designer brought in a bit of a punk attitude by teaming up with Sex Pistol’s graphic designer, Jamie Reid, and placing two different slogans on coats, sweaters, and baseball caps.

The collection offers men wearable staples, and I am sure the design teams at Zara and H&M are already figuring out how to knock them off.

Dries van Noten

Photo Credit: Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv

Any fashion recap I write has to include Dries van Noten. I have been a huge fan of the Belgian for sometime now as he is one of few designers I would wear completely head-to-toe if my bank account permitted.

For fall, van Noten played with proportions — boxy blazers à la David Byrne and oversized sweaters paired with narrow trousers. This look was first seen at Balenciaga, but Dries offered more wearable options and his felt less costume-y.

Berluti 

Photo Credit: Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv

Designer Heider Ackermann showed that he can scale back while remaining true to his design aesthetic for his debut as Berluti’s new creative director. The collection offered pieces that will satisfy customers of the brand and die-hard fans of the designer.

Dior Homme

Photo Credit: Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv

Kris Van Assche has long proved that he was a worthy successor to Hedi Silmane at Dior Homme. I am not one for wanting to wear a suit but Van Assche showed many options that I could see myself in, and that many guys could wear. The Tron-esque sunglasses are definitely a covetable item for next season.

Thom Browne

Photo Credit: Kim Weston Arnold / Indigital.tv

A Thom Browne show does not always include wearable clothes but the ideas are there. After all, the designer started his career creating cropped trousers and shrunken suit jackets that are all the rage now, but at the time seemed a bit too fashion forward especially from an American designer.

For Fall 2017, the designer continued to play with the idea of suiting proportions and, though there were no 50 shades of grey in the collection, grey was the main color for the collection. Often, what is seen on the runway won’t make it to the stores, but bravo to Thom Browne for continually putting on interesting shows.

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