London Fashion Week Spring 2018: The Highlights

The usual ebb and flow of London’s fashion week hit a bit of a snag this year. Like New York just last week, London faced the daunting task of having to reinvent itself or suffer becoming irrelevant. With the fashion world once again putting all of its eggs in Paris’s basket, cities like London, Milan, and New York are starting to see its big names uproot and make way for the City of Lights. This has left many fashion capitals in a bit of a limbo. Luckily, London and its designers carry a resilience about themselves that allows them to push forward, to spin the wheel of reinvention time and time again. Which in today’s day and age, is the only way to stay relevant and in business in the ruthless fast fashion dominated landscape.

Emilia Wickstead

Often times, it’s the most unexpected combinations that are the most rewarding when paired together. At Emilia Wickstead, the idea of mixing early settler pilgrim garb with hints of contemporary casual worked wonderfully. The designer, who embodies the aesthetics of England’s well-to-do women, focuses her designs on prim and proper frocks. However, this season seemed to incorporate a far more costumey and playful sensibilities to her usual designs. Long 17th-century gowns were made fresh and interesting by translucency that exposes the model’s breasts, while sheer dress coats were paired with high-waisted denim pants, echoing the big denim boom that’s taken hold of the fashion world for the past two years. When it came to the more formal evening gowns, the same wisps of first settler fashion were felt with just a touch more glamour. One of the real stars of the show was a beautifully bright floral gown that can be worn separately from the soft bowtied sweater, though the sweater adds that perfect hint of modern femme and makes the gown so charming.

Ralph & Russo

To the complete and utter joy of many couture lovers around the world, Ralph & Russo have finally created their first ready-to-wear collection. Not only does this mean that lovers of Ralph & Russo couture can stock their closets with everyday creations, but those with the means to buy designer can opt for a piece of R&R’s luxurious pie. One very important thing that should be taken from the design duo’s step towards becoming a year-long, four-season brand is the notion that the big dream is not dead within fashion. Sure there are tons of fashion houses that pop up throughout the year, receive a quick following, then sadly disappear as quickly as they came. But there hasn’t been a full fledged fashion powerhouse that’s managed to grow to the level of Ralph & Russo’s fame in quite some time now. But the growth is well deserved. Designer Tamara Ralph knows exactly how to dress a woman perfectly, without any fuss or smoke and mirrors. Her designs are pure modern glamour, pairing relevant metallic leathers, with vintage draping that rivals the greats of fashion’s yesteryear. And what a better way to appeal to the growing group of millennial rich kids than to modernized and translate their parents’ luxury into something familiar to them?

Nicopanda

This season, Nicola Formichetti’s label Nicopanda came out with a big surprise. Now, the brand may have made waves within millennials since its inception. It sadly fell into the luxury streetwear category almost immediately due to its penchant for creating very wearable and often comical athleisure collections. However, this season seems to have marked a change for the designer. Nicopanda showed a collection that not only adds far more runway flare, but also even more high fashion digestibility, opening the doors to an entirely new fashion crowd for the designer and the brand. The real highlight of the collection is its completely visible and satisfying linear story, which echoes a modern high-schooler’s athletic wardrobe. It takes the trend of luxury athleisure and injects a much-needed dose of high fashion appeal. Ruffled tracksuit skirts and shorts add a hint of whimsy to what would have been a standard athleisure look, while oversized varsity sweaters became dresses with the addition of wispy chiffon skirts, giving the look a grungy millennial art school vibe that’s sure to sell out in stores immediately. One interesting look that came down the runway was what could only be described as a matchy-matchy red Peter Pan collard leotard, thigh highs, and beret combo, which came fully embellished with chains and knick knacks, bringing to light Formichetti’s high fashion spark.

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New York Fashion Week Spring 2018: The Highlights

New York seems to be in a peculiar place at the moment. On one hand, you have designers abandoning their spots in the city in exchange for spots in Europe, while other big-name designers have all together left behind the traditional runway shows and opted for lookbooks and presentations, leaving New York in quite the predicament. However, as newcomers flood into New York for a shot at international fame, the electricity that runs through the veins of the city ceases to die out. And in turn, that electricity gives the American fashion community the jolt it’s been needing for the past few seasons.

Cushnie Et Ochs

Cushnie Et Ochs has become a celebrity staple at this point. Every season, Cushnie Et Ochs’s band of loyal silver screen mavens storm red carpets around the globe, showcasing the brand’s body-conscious design. Very rarely will you find someone who can find a fault in the duo’s designs; it’s equal parts delicate and sensual while being headstrong and unapologetically confident. This season was no exception, taking inspiration from Mexican painter Frida Kahlo’s game changing use of gender defiance and self-expression, which fits perfectly with the brand’s narrative: Liberated.

Solace London

When it comes to making a great collection that’s equal parts wearable and artistic, designers should look no further than using texture and movement in their designs. This season, Solace London proved just that, creating multiple shapes out of the sheer movement of the fabric itself. But rather than just relying on soft fabrics to get a point across, Solace London used tougher materials like PVC, leather, and denim to contrast the fluidity of the silkier materials, creating a confident wardrobe that stays perfectly on trend with whats going on in the fashion world these days. Another pleasant aspect of the show was its colour scheme, which can best be described as a dessert lover’s dream with creamy browns and tart pinks and citrus hues catching the eye right away. The ball heeled mules are a fun little addition as well.

Ulla Johnson

There’s beauty in the ethereal, and designer Ulla Johnson knows that. Fashion these days has branched out into a do anything and be anything industry, which is something to celebrate. But sometimes it’s simplicity and light-as-air design that creates a truly beautiful collection. Think of it as a breather from the sensory overload that often accompanies fashion in this day and age. However, delicateness doesn’t mean weakness for the designer. Instead, the lightness and transparency of the ensembles create a strong sense of self-empowerment and self-aware sensuality that gives a modern twist to the traditional notions of femininity.

The Row

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have solidified their brand The Row as one of New York city’s most on trend and important fashion houses of the 21st century. Season after season the twins have pumped out collections that carve out niche spot within the fashion community. Now, clothing from The Row may not be for everyone, and that a good thing. Because The Row was never meant to be a brand that appealed to the mass market. Instead, the brand focuses on amplifying one’s physical beauty with simplicity. Very rarely do you find brands that focus solely on minimalist designs that’s beautiful without the bells and whistles. But that’s exactly what you’ll find at The Row (this season’s collection is no exception) where fluid frocks and coats float across the floor in light and neutral shades, while comfortable silhouettes round out the collection by creating an effortlessness.

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Seoul Fashion Week Fall 2017: The Highlights

Seoul is one of the best-kept fashion gems in the world. Like Japan and Sao Paulo, Seoul keeps itself pristine and pure. It rarely wanders into the realm of knock off fashion trends. And if it does resemble something we’ve seen on the runway before, chances are that the trend may have just originated there and not come in after the fact. The beauty of Korean fashion comes from its authenticity. Nothing really seems forced and that’s a horribly difficult thing to come by in today’s fashion industry. This season came with some of the freshest collections to date. The authenticity is there, the style is there, and that’s what makes Seoul Fashion Week such a joy to review — Here are its biggest stunners for fall.

Miss Gee Collection

Photo: Seoul Design Foundation

Have you ever wondered what Blair Waldorf would have looked like if she would have gone back to her old stomping grounds and became dean of Constance? Well here is your chance. At Miss Gee Collection, a clear private school influence was seen. With streamlined pantsuits accented with coloured trims and mock school crests and emblems. This collection screams Upper East Side private school couture, which, for one, I am in love with. There’s something so functional yet whimsical about collections that are based on school uniforms. It paints a story for you. You can almost see the Ivy covered walls of an elite private school neatly tucked away behind a set of giant elms and wrought iron fence when you see this collection.

Beyond Closet

Photo: Seoul Design Foundation

Now you can’t have ladies varsity style without throwing some men’s looks as well. For this season’s Beyond Closet show, models were sent out in outfits that would definitely put your local private school bad boy to shame. The great thing about this collection is that it refrains from solely showing uniform clothing; instead, a great mix of streetwear is woven in and out of the collection, giving the show a very relaxed and New York feel which works with the fashion industries’ current love for athleisure streetwear.

Kiok

Photo: Seoul Design Foundation

Berets have been everywhere this season from Paris to New York, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the world is following suit. At Kiok, berets, Parisian flare, and strong deconstruction are all tied together in a neat little package. Many of the denim looks are outstanding and very relevant to today’s fashion trends. However, the best looks came in the form of polka dot print dresses, blouses, and blazers. The polka dots give the collection a comedic freshness that is sadly avoided in the fashion industry. Another really interesting thing about the collection is how well it’s styled. The layering between outerwear, formalwear, and sportswear perfectly mirrors what’s going on in the fashion world today.

J Koo

Photo: Seoul Design Foundation

Formalwear and evening wear are some of the most difficult pieces to design because they usually follow certain guidelines. For example, you can design a tuxedo made out of jersey, but it still wouldn’t be considered formalwear. At J Koo, the notion of formalwear and evening wear is revisited and reworked with knits and trenches. Giving the collection a very soft and casual feel without actually taking away from its elegance. Chiffon is sprinkled throughout and mossy greens break up the neutrals seen throughout the collection, allowing the evening wear to go beyond the realm of black, white, and jewel tones.

Kumann Yoo Hye Jin

Photo: Seoul Design Foundation

Herringbone is one of the greatest patterns ever invented. It’s fun, it’s bright, it’s eye-catching, and it’s elegant in its own right. So it came as no surprise when it showed up on the runway at Kumann Yoo Hye Jin. The beautiful citrine stone green pairs beautifully with the soft wool texture of the outerwear in the collection. However, herringbone isn’t the only pattern available in the collection. A great majority of the show’s outerwear is presented in sumptuous plaid wools that hark back to a more retro idea of outerwear. Denim and velvet also made spectacular appearances in the form of separates and dresses, which helped break up the various plaids and neutral tones throughout the show. Giving its would-be shoppers a wide variety of choices to mix and match with, which is a plus in anyone’s books.

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Tokyo Fashion Week: The Highlights

Tokyo is a shinning jewel in the fashion industry that rarely gets the credit it deserves from the international fashion community. The fashionable people of Tokyo have always been at the forefront of trend creation. Over the last 20  years, Japan (and especially Tokyo) has inspired many of the world’s most interesting a colourful trends. For example, Japan was the birthplace of the now famous Harajuku and Visual Kei styles which have becoming worldwide phenomenon over and over again as trends are recycled and reshaped every year. Truthfully said,  Tokyo’s fashion scene is more of a culture than an industry. It’s different groups and cliques are easy to spot and gives the world a glimpse into the closets of Japan’s most fashion people.

Yohei Ohno

Photo: Vogue Runway

Yohei Ohno has just debuted his first collection at Tokyo fashion week, and what a wonderful surprise and triumph it was. In a world where fashion has begun to slowly care more and more about sales and appeasing the trend hungry social media hounds. It’s refreshing to see a new designer create a collection based deeply in design and beauty, rather than uninspired trend regurgitation for the masses. Yohei’s play on volume and futuristic design in evident with his space like quilted dresses and gloves, which paint the perfect picture of an 80’s SciFi blockbuster. Think high fashion blade runner!

Akikoaoki

Photo: Vogue Runway

Akiko Aoki created a fantastical fashion layer cake for her recent TFW endeavor. It was like witnessing a heavy snowfall blanket itself in layer after layer of white fluffy goodness, but the layers never blend together, which makes the Akikoaoki‘s snowstorm even more like able. Rustic design elements and modern flare merge together to beautifully express the designers vision; take the rustic dresses in soft country hues paired with Crisp black shirting and herringbone trousers for example. Another fun layer that was added to the collection are the almost comical dancer heels, which contrast the collection completely, but somehow make the collection even more young and appealing. The great thing about this collection is that even if you can’t find the beauty in the way the clothing is styled on the runway, each piece can be pulled apart and worn as a stand alone piece to make a simpler, but still impactful statement.

Growing Pains

Photo: Vogue Runway

Mademoiselle Yulia has been a star of the Tokyo and international nightlife scene for quite sometime now and from that, she’s grown into a fashion icon in her own right. So it comes to absolutely no surprise that Yulia was able to create a clothing brand that actually appeals to a high fashion audience. At Growing Pains fall 2017 show. Viewers were treated to a refined streetwear collection that looked more Prada than nada. The influence was clear. Military staples with slight fetish and streetwear twists. Latex skirts walked the same runway as military berets and aviator jumpsuits and created a fun costumey mishmash of authoritarian fetish wear that any lover of Instagram style could definitely get into.

DressesUndressed

Photo: Vogue Runway

Japanese style has a cleanliness to it that can only be compared to its fashion contemporaries in the west (think Sweden and Denmark) It’s in this clean sense of minimalist functionality that makes things simply beautiful. Think of the simplistic yet ornate beauty of the Kimono. Where a beautiful balance between ornate embroidered silk is offset but the clean lines and architectural design elements of Kimono’s construction. The same key elements can be found in In DressesUndressed‘s fall collection. The influence was clear. Stark clean lines were mixed with modern excess. The traditional 9-5 office uniform is transformed into a delicate yet excessive feat. An over-sized blue shirt is tucked into a skirt a black leather skirt to create a stunning 80’s wall street fantasy, while a long quilted diver coat is worn over a white shirt and tear away wide leg trouser, creating the perfect blue tint for the new woman’s power suit.

Hanae Mori Manuscrit

Photo: Vogue Runway

Designer Yu Amatsu took the helm at Hanae Mori Manuscrit with a daunting task at hand. How do you continue to produce collections for one of the most celebrated designers in all of Japan? Luckily, Yu did what every good designer tasked to take over a brand should do. He took the staple house codes (femininity, movement, softness, gowns) that put Mori on the map, and modernized them without completely altering the brand’s persona. For this collection Amatsu created a beautifully soft and feminine collection that doesn’t loose touch with what’s going on in fashion today. The collection looked classic but not doughty, timeless if you will. The two piece ensembles worked perfectly with with one another or as separate entities, which is always a plus design wise. But the true beauty of the collection came with the dresses. Each cocktail length dress looked soft to the touch, while the gowns moved in the most delicate and silkiest way. It’s safe to say that Madame Mori’s name is safe in the hands of Amatsu and the house of Hanae Mori will continue to prosper and influence future designers for years  to come.

The Best of PFW Street Style

In terms of style, there are few things more iconic or elusive than the “French woman.” It has always served as the pinnacle of effortless chic. Despite certain well-known tricks of the trade (i.e. lots of black, tailored jackets, simplicity), it has always been difficult for those of us not French to emulate.

But for Paris Fashion Week, the focus is not actually on Parisian style per say. It’s about the individual, about the movers and shakers who come for the shows and linger long after in the blogosphere consciousness. For the Fall/Winter 2017 collections, we saw a parade of styles and creativity. We saw bright colours, graphic patterns, mixed textures, and, as always, the casual air of someone who is rocking their look and completely knows it. That, more than anything, might be the biggest secret of effortless style.

Here are some of our favourite trends from PFW street style.

Floral Accents

I, unfortunately, hear Meryl Streep’s voice saying, “Florals for spring? Groundbreaking,” every time I consider wearing florals this time of year. The truth of the matter is, I do like wearing florals, and they do appear in the spring more often than any other time of year. The floral accents we saw at Paris were mainly outerwear details, as show-goers were still fighting the cold while welcoming the change in season. These gorgeous floral prints definitely stood out during the gray days in Paris.

Photo By Jonathan Daniel Pryce via British Vogue
Photo By Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo By Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar
Photo by Tyler Joe via Elle

Denim on Denim

The Canadian Tuxedo trend has officially taken over, and I’m ambivalent about it. Mostly because I associate it so much with my parents’ friends in the 90’s, but here we are seeing it go international. I’ll allow it, mainly because it has brought out some crazy good streetwear looks both back here in Canada and worldwide.

Photo By Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo by Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo by Imaxtree via The Fashion Spot
Photo by Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar

Shoe Gaze

Colourful, statement shoes were one of the main accessories seen in Paris, from the new Balenciaga heels to the mismatched Celine booties. Shoes are the perfect way to make any outfit a little bit more, to add some extra drama. The photographers’ gazes dipped a little bit lower on the Paris streets to catch some of these wickedly cool kicks.

Photo by Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar
Photo by Diego Zuko for Harper’s Bazaar
Photo by Sandra Semburg for Vogue Paris
Photo by Tyler Joe via Elle

Vinyl Tap

Standard leather fare needs to take a breather because high-shine vinyl has arrived. Not to say it wasn’t here before, but it’s definitely here now in a big way. It was seen on the streets in pants and jacket forms. This would seemingly be a difficult trend to style on the regular, but the folks at Fashion Week have shown that it’s actually pretty easy to wear and easy to pair.

Photo by Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar
Photo by Brock Cardiner via High Snobriety
Photo by The Stylograph via Who What Wear
Photo by Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar

Statement Shades

When the sun finally came out in Paris, the best accessory to whip out was a killer pair of sunnies, and the show-goers certainly delivered. Glasses are an accessory, like a great watch or a pair of earrings, that can tie a look together. It’s that finishing touch, that metaphorical cherry on top that takes an outfit to another level.

Photo by Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo by Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo by Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo by Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar

The New Monochrome

Traditionally, I considered monochrome to be when one dresses entirely in black or white. And while that is true based by definition, for the past few years, street style has given us a new way to think about monochrome. It’s wearing only one shade or colour, but picking any shade or colour you want — it can be blue, red, green or yellow, but that colour takes over the look. And the effect is striking.

Photo by The Stylograph via Who What Wear
Photo by Tyler Joe via Elle
Photo by Imaxtree via The Fashion Spot
Photo by Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris

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