Couture roundup: The best of Fall 2017 Couture

Couture, to some, may seem like an excessive waste of fabric and embellishments. But to some, to the true lovers of fashion, couture is more than just an expensive piece of clothing. It’s a living organism capable of transforming itself. Coiling around the body of the wearer, transforming them from ordinary human to extraordinary living artwork. This season, Paris once again sprung to life with the beauty of haute couture. Taking ordinary clothes and turning them into living fantasies.

Viktor & Rolf

Photo: Alessandro Garofalo

Speaking of fantasy. No one does it quite like couture duo Viktor & Rolf. For their Fall 2017 collection, Viktor & Rolf created a bobble head dream world based on diversity, individuality, and the ability to change oneself into something new without sacrificing who you were in the beginning. Bobble headed models opened the show, showcasing their diverse heads in every skin tone. The diverse cartoon cast paired perfectly with the swishy reworked bomber jackets that made up everything except the pants and shoes of each look. The concept itself of showcasing diversity in a lighthearted and creative way was already a strong concept in and of itself, but what came next was truly the icing on the cake. After their first round about the runway, the models then shed their cartoon heads and walked the runway in the same outfits during their prior walk. However, with their beautifully unique and diverse face showing, their outfits had to match each girl’s beauty. Which lead to the outfits being opened up and unfolded. Releasing beautiful gowns, ruffles, and bows. A perfect example of growth and change without the compromise of oneself.

A.F. Vandervorst

Photo: Kim Weston Arnold

A.F. Vandervorst is a brand many would associate with contemporary rock and roll clothing. The edgy silhouettes, the affinity for all black, the Vandervorst line embodies the current evolution of what it means to be a modern headbanger in terms of fashion. Yet surprisingly, the Vandervorst’ team created a collection steeped in eclecticism and colour for their first couture outing this week. The collection was based heavily on the notion that anything can be made into something beautiful through the processes of repurposing and reusing the material. This was evident through the creative use of plastic like materials, mix and match fabrics, and clothing worn in non-conventional ways. Giving couture a modern and relevant edge geared specifically for the young elites of the world that may be looking to the world of haute couture for options tailor-made to them.

Iris Van Herpen

Photo: Yannis Vlamos

The queen of movement celebrated her 10 year anniversary as a designer with a stunning collection based heavily on aquatic life living in the world’s oceans. Various jellies took the form of dresses. Billowing out behind the models as they walked passed four musicians submerged in tanks of water. The collection gave it’s audience exactly what they expected from an Iris show. Movement, shape, texture, and a three dimensional nature that looks alive. What’s most striking about Iris’ show this season was her affinity for all things sheer. Now Van Herpen is no stranger to sheer and nude illusions, but this season proved that her skill with fabric illusion is incomparable. To create so much depth with the sheerest of fabrics is no small feat, even for the most seasoned of designers.

Giambattista Valli

Photos: Yannis Vlamos

Giambattista Valli has quickly risen to become the alpha and omega of the couture world. Every season, the Italian designer sets out to create cohesive and expressive collections that stay true to the world of couture while still remaining relevant and extremely fresh in terms of design. For his fall 2017 collection, Valli gave his collection a nod to old world extravagance. With floral embroidery and his famous voluminous tulle taking centre stage once again, in a way that feels new every time. The most striking of his creations this season were of course, his tulle ball gowns. However, a string of beautiful column dresses seemed like well though out stylistic break from Valli’s signature Valli-isms. Proving the designer is capable of covering a braid spectrum of design when he’s ready and willing.

Ulyana Sergeenko

Photos: Marcus Tondo

She really does give it to you every time! Millionaire socialite turned grand couturier powerhouse Ulyana Sergeenko once again proved that her expertise as a couture customer taught her well as a couture designer. Sergeenko’s affinity for 1940’s and 50’s silhouettes is a refreshing throwback to the hayday of Galliano couture at Dior. But it’s the raw sexual female dominance she presents in her shows that really set her apart from the couture pack. In all fairness, if Sergeenko set her own namesake brand aside for a little while, she would have no problem taking over a brand like Dior or Lanvin. The couture house codes are already running in her veins.

Milan Men’s Fashion Week Recap

Milan is the name and graphics are the game! This spring, designers brought the same precision to classic, tailored looks that we expected. However, graphics distinguished their pieces this year. While these details allude to fun and vibrancy for the coming fall and winter months, what they also do is indicate a theme or attitude that the brand is trying to convey aside from the pieces themselves. Here are the highlights from Milan Men’s Fashion Week!

PRADA

Prada’s futuristic theme paid homage to old and recent comic books. The setting had a comic strip mural wrapped around the venue. The models sported multiple looks, each one showing a unique way of showcasing the theme. A truly unexpected show from the brand and definitely a main standout from Milan this season.

FENDI

Fendi is known to use small, random style graphics in their pieces. This season, a desk light was repeatedly seen. The random embellishment placed over muted colour stories and and oversized pieces added depth to the looks and brought playful detailing to what could otherwise could have been seen as a more understated collection from the brand.

VERSACE

The use of graphics and patterns was nothing short of what’s expected from Versace. Nevertheless, the collection had a superb mixture of patterns and pieces with colourful images that looked exceptionally vibrant against the dark and edgy, black pieces. The use of graphics added an element of fierce confidence.

RALPH LAUREN PURPLE LABEL

The all-American Ralph Lauren shook things up (slightly) in his Ralph Lauren Purple Label as he played up the Tour De Ralph theme, while still staying true to his red, white, and blue combinations. Graphics were used to play on the athleisure theme, which was placed on some very tailored and old-school varsity type pieces.

DSQUARED2

Dsquared2 is always known to have standout, fashion-forward pieces. This season, they did not disappoint and played up contrasting pieces to create a shocking and unique look. The brand contrasted the very edgy leather pieces theme by adding Hawaiian, floral, and colourful graphics, which allowed each individual piece to standalone. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the brand took inspiration from envisioning Edward Scissor Hands going on a beach day!

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Tried and Tested – Spring Fashion Trends at Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue has finally arrived in Toronto, and there is no better time then now to check out all the fashion trends the high-end department store has to offer for spring 2017. In case even the prospect of browsing through the new season makes you feel exhausted, I took it upon myself to try on all the hottest trends for your entertainment.

Walking into Saks Fifth Avenue made me feel like a kid in a candy store. With more than 60 well known designers including Gucci, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Prada, and so many more featuring all their newest collection, it was hard for me to stay indifferent.

The boho skirt is back

I don’t know about you, but my gypsy soul and I are defiantly ready for Spring. I had my eyes on this tiered silky skirt, which is not only eye catching but totally wearable. As you know, the coolest way to up your style game is to play with different textures or elements. To give the hippy skirt a cool twist, I paired it with a crop denim jacket with a studded point collar. I love the edgy jacket against the flowy femme flare of the skirt.

Jacket: Alice+Olivia Skirt: Tanya Taylor

The blooming season 

Even though mixing prints can be tricky, there are some ways to pull off this trend like a pro. Since head-to-toe florals are a key trend for spring 2017, I decided to pair the off the shoulder floral top with an embroidered chambray mini skirt, both from Alice+Olivia. This is the coolest way to embrace Spring without feeling like you are trying too hard. The easy breezy relaxed top balances out the A-line mini skirt.

Top and skirt: Alice+Olivia

When in doubt wear stripes

Stripes lovers, I have fashion forward news for you: Spring 2017 is all about bold and bright — stripes in primary colours like red, blue, and yellow are having their moments. The clever way to do it is by sticking to one item that will be the focal point in your outfit, while keeping the rest of your outfit in a neutral hue. I have tried to take it one step further in the spice level, pairing the colourful top with a crochet skirt with fringed trim.

Top: Opening Ceremony Skirt: See By Chloe

Head to toe Ruffles

Ruffles is one of those trends that we’ve seen everywhere, but it seems like we just can’t get enough of them. I guess some of you are still concerned about incorporating frills pieces into your wardrobe, but trust me, you can rock ruffles from head to toe without looking too girly. This look from Phillip Lam proves it. The statement making pants and top with the side ruffles give the entire look an edgy spin, while keeping it effortless and casual.

Top and Pants: 3.1 Phillip Lim

The little blue dress

A classy blue dress is a fresh take to the little black dress. Since LBD is a Spring-Summer staple, which can also be flattering for events like weddings, I thought it might be a great idea to consider switching to blue. The monochromatic colour looks classy and timeless. I choose this dress because it is a perfect spring dress that you can wear with layers: over a turtleneck when it’s chilly or with bare arms when it’s warm.

Dress: Saks Fifth Avenue collection

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Gotta Have it! Must have show stopping accessories from the fall 2017 runway

One interesting thing that most people don’t know about is that many of the world’s most beloved brands and fashion houses actually make the majority of their profits through accessories. Brands like Prada and Dior are tasked with creating new and exciting bags, shoes, jewellery, and more to drive sales through the roof.

Some brands are even blessed with the gift of having almost their entire yearly revenue derived from the sales of their non-clothing goods. That just goes to show how important accessories really are to the fashion industry itself. They aren’t just afterthoughts or cherries on top to add “a little something” to the collection. They’re there to seal the deal on whether one loves a collection or skips it. Here are Novella’s top picks for best accessories of fall/winter 2017.

The Bags

Photos: Vogue Runway | From L to R: Prada, Miu Miu, Jacquemus, Chloe, Altuzzara

Prada: As she does every year, Miuccia Prada released a coveted selection of bags that are sure to end up on everyone’s must have list. Ranging from all black and all baby blue shoulders bags, green ostrich feather handbags, nylon satchels, and python skin to fur-covered confections and printed leather bags, Prada outdid itself once again in creating an innovative and versatile collection of handbags for every occasion. However, one bag stood out from the pack. A bag that clearly played off the brand’s fall 2017 collection of book bags. Like its predecessors, this new bag resembles a leather bound book, but this time the entire bag is comprised of velvet, giving the bag a quirky 70’s feel.

Miu Miu: Just like her bags at Prada, Miuccia’s Miu Miu bag collection is another beautiful example of how well-rounded a designer she really is. This season, Prada’s younger sister released a groovy collection of bags that mirrored the collection’s feminine 60’s flare. There were bags with fur handles and bags with large glamorous brooches. But the most interesting pick of the collection was a selection of bags that had “Miu Miu” stitched all over the bag in a stunning psychedelic swinging 60’s font.

Jacquemus: Simon Porte Jacquemus has been one of the only designers of late to actually produce worthwhile collections. And although the statement may seem a little extreme, it’s completely called for in Simon’s case. For his fall 2017 collection, Jacquemus gave the fashion world one of the most creative and innovative bags to date. Gone are the days of his “haricot” bags and wallets — his newest offering comes in the shape of an upside down envelope, mirroring the bags a bourgeois woman of the 1950’s would have worn in Paris. The greatest thing about this bag is that it carries (no pun intended) all of the things that define French clothing (like the gold chain and old world shape) and literally turns it on its head, thereby making the bag distinctly Jacquemus yet still very much French in design.

Chloe: Chloe has always been a staple in exceptional bag making and this season just another testimony to that statement. This season’s it girl bag has to be Chloe’s white sand coloured circle crossbody bag. The adorable bag is the perfect run around bag that matches any outfit, plus the brass coloured metal handle adds that perfect bohemian touch that Chloe has always been known for. And the best part is that the bag looks as if it will be available in a multitude of neutral and dark colours to suit any preference and need!

Altuzzara: The last bag on the list is by far the most traditional of the bunch, but that isn’t to say the bag is in anyway doughty or matronly. This Altuzzara handbag came in a stunning array of complementary colours that suited every look in the collection perfectly, which is also a plus. But the best part about this season’s Altuzzara bag had to be its simple design and decoration. There were no gimmicks here. Just a beautifully designed leather bag with an accompanying flower that would make even the most elite of New York’s Upper East Side squeal with delight.

The Shoes

Photos: Vogue Runway | From L to R: Gucci, Tory Burch, Maison Margiela, Rochas, Thom Browne

Gucci: Leave to Alessandro Michele create a cowboy inspired 80’s ankle boot that actually looks amazing. During his latest Gucci show, Michele sent out a real throwback of a shoe that was completely off colour to what has been going on at Gucci. The bright white bootie comes complete with an almost Wild West/almost Eastern European embroidered floral design that fits the brand’s outstanding new vision perfectly. On top of that, the boot itself is perfect for the 80’s revival trend that has been sweeping the fashion world this season.

Tory Burch: Tory Burch is a brand that has more recently been associated with wealthy soccer mom chic, rather than high fashion fallal. But this season, the American brand looked as if it was trying to shed its current plateau and engage new customers. And the shoe of the show did just that. This beautifully ornate Tory Burch heel burst onto the catwalk with one thing in mind — to make a statement. And that it did. The stunning heel pulled out all the stops to command attention; the sculptural heel, European style brocade pattern, and a beautiful oversized bow harked back to imperial French court glamour. It’s safe to say that Tory Burch is finally making fashion and that’s a wonderful thing.

Maison Margiela: The incomparable John Galliano has made a new name for himself at Margiela since his arrival at the iconic Belgian house. Every season it seems that Mr. Galliano has fresh and innovative ideas for his clientele’s eyes to feast on. For this season’s Margiela show, Galliano presented a knee length boot in an ever-so-relevant 70’s inspired silhouette. The boot, which features an ultra feminine pencil thin heel and deep ochre coloured python print, resemble the same heeled boots that independent and fashionable women wore back in the 1970’s, making it an instant buy on any trend followers must have list.

Rochas: Rochas has always been spot on when it comes to gloriously elegant women’s clothing. This season at Rochas, viewers were treated to the most darling of pumps one could ever imagine. The shoe, which looked to have taken inspiration from 1950’s fetish heels and Marie Antoinette court shoes, are as prim and proper as any shoe can get. And that beautifully placed heel makes the entire shoe look even more delicate and glamorous.

Thom Browne: Thom Browne has never been one to shy away from designing things that many would consider outlandish, but that’s exactly why he’s on this season’s “best of” list. For his winter wonderland inspired show, Browne created a heel that features his trademark all-American brogues crossed with an interesting hollow wedge heel made to look like a figure skater’s blade. The shoe is a testament to how amazing a designer Browne is. Not only is the shoe perfectly designed to fit, it also carries one of Thom Browne most easily recognizable trademarks. On the front of the shoe, a small shirt and tie can be seen peeking out from right under the ankle, showing any potential customers that Thom Browne’s quirky suiting is never too far away.

The Hats

Photos: Vogue Runway | From L to R: Christian Dior, Loewe, Coach, Adam Selman, Marc Jacobs

Christian Dior: Berets have been the go-to headpiece of the season and the hardworking ateliers at Christian Dior were definitely paying attention. For fall 2017, Dior had berets coming down the runway in full force. Part French go-to, part pro-feminist statement. The berets conjured up images of strong warrior women ready to fight for female freedom and independence.

Loewe: Jonathan Anderson has been wowing audiences in London and Paris for quite some time now, so it comes as no surprise that the British wunderkind presented another spot on collection for Loewe this season. The collection itself is a mishmash of all of the most beautiful things that Anderson has designed in the past, with the tiniest hint of European village life. This is where the hat comes in. The darling straw hat isn’t overbearing and ostentatious like many straw sunhats that have been shown on the runway. This adds to Anderson’s rendition’s charm. Rather than making the hat comical and theatrical, the small brim size gives the sunhat an air of authenticity and realness.

Coach: Coach is another one of those brands that ran into an extremely commercial plateau for quite a while. However, recently the brand has beefed up their designs and created relevant and exciting collections to lure would-be buyers in. For fall 2017, Coach has managed to design a wonderfully trendy hat for the young streetwear wise dressers of the world. With its fluffy shearling outer layer, the hat seems like the perfect alternative to a beanie for those chilly New York nights.

Adam Selman: Now this may not be the most traditional hat, but that doesn’t take away from how interesting a topper it is. At Adam Selman’s show during NYFW17, audiences were treated to a quirky little birdcage fascinator that was equal parts adorable and badass. Like 1950’s motorcycle gang chicks, the models stormed out with powerful little flowers on their heads and the best part about them is their versatility. Not only could you wear them with jeans and a leather jacket, but you could easily pair the fascinator with a beautiful black cocktail dress for more formal events.

Marc Jacobs: Marc Jacobs has always been fashion’s little rebel. Taking everyday trends from past and present and turning them into high fashion concepts. For his fall collection, the inspiration was clear. 70’s and 80’s urban and hip hop culture reigned supreme on the runway and it was perfectly evident in Jacobs accessories. This puffy hat is a perfect alternative to your traditional winter beanie. Instead of having a regular old boring knitted winter hat, you can have this interesting oversized retro beanie instead.

The Shades

Photos: Vogue Runway | From L to R: Anna Sui, Acne, Anya Hindmarch, Fendi, Sacai

Anna Sui: Anna Sui is one of those designers who has and will always march to the beat of her own drum. Since the early 90’s, Anna has been creating collections that are distinctly her own. This season’s Anna Sui sunnies follow in her great tradition of doing her own thing. The blue sunglasses feature a theatrical angular cat eye that is only further enhanced by their bright cobalt shade. The glasses also perfectly compliment the collections 1920’s/1970’s bohemian chic aesthetic, giving the wearer the glamour of a traditional cat eye with a bright pop of a mod colour.

Acne: The beauty of Acne is in its simplicity. While other brands thrive off of creating elaborate shows and collections, Acne has blossomed into a fashion powerhouse by infusing Swedish minimalism with high fashion appeal. And this is perfectly evident with this season’s sunglasses. The shades for fall/winter 2017 were simple in their construction. Two thin silver arms hold the angular coloured lenses in place to create a psychedelic feel to the glasses. Think John Lennon à la 2017 high fashion mod. But the quirky simplicity of these sunglasses aren’t the only selling points here. The glasses are actually quite versatile. They can be paired perfectly with a casual pair of jeans and a band t-shirt or glammed up with a silk neck-tied blouse, wide leg pant, and a floppy summer hat.

Anya HindmarchAnya Hindmarch’s entry into the industry as an accessories designer must be what pushes her to create an interesting range of accessories that are completely relevant, on-brand, and desirable outside of her own already spectacular clothing lines. Her fall 2017 sunglass collection just goes to show that she understands what her customers want. She could have easily made a pair of sunglasses with a simple frame and lens for her collection, but instead she chose to create a fur trimmed pair of sunglasses that more closely resembled a pair of skiing goggles. The fun, fur trimmed sunglasses add that perfect wintery feeling to an accessory that’s usually associated with warmer weathers and the summer months, giving the overall look a high fashion après ski feeling.

Fendi: Fendi is an accessory giant. Like its other Italian contemporaries, Fendi owes much of its success to its sales in trendy and in demand accessories. Usually known for its outlandish designs, Fendi presented a surprising take on sunglasses by creating a clean and perfectly polished pair of circular sunglasses. The posh specs fit spectacularly with the cool and composed vibe of the collection. It just goes to show that sometimes simplicity really is key!

Sacai: Sacai is a brand that has garnered a huge following over the years. And it’s easy to see why. This season’s sunglasses are in fact the most visually stunning, adorned with a number of butterflies framing the arms and lenses. These Sacai delights are perfect for commanding total attention when walking into a room. The one possible downfall of these sunnies may be their theatricality, but that’s also their the biggest allure. The beautifully decorative butterfly wings add an old world whimsy to the glasses that has slowly been coming back into fashion. And why not enjoy these shades all year-round? They would make the perfect winter pop of summery colour and the perfect summer conversation piece.

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Brighten Your Winter Wardrobe

Since we had some warmer days lately, the first snow caught us unprepared. It is time to bring out those winter clothes that will take you through the long and harsh winter season. Whether you like it or not, one thing is for sure — you can still be stylish even with the winter layers. We tend to associate winter with frumpy coats, heavy-duty rubber sole boots, and chunky accessories in melancholy dark hues. While this is true, there are still some layering tricks and trendy pieces that will help you put together a stylish winter look, while staying warm and cozy.

accessoires-refinery
Photo: Victoria Adamson

First Impression

The winter coat is a wardrobe saviour, so it pays to invest in a quality and fashionable one. The good news is that this season we are flooded with so many choices that you might even wish for snow so you can wear yours. From parkas and puffers to tailored wool coats, there is something out there to suit your style. Own at least one bold coat. It’s all about the first impression and making a statement. The waxed ski jacket in green and blue from Balenciaga is a great pick. It is guaranteed to add a boost of colour to your wardrobe, without compromising your coziness. You can also choose the flashy option such as the Vivenne Westwood’s metallic puffer jackets or make a dramatic impact with an oversized fur coat like Burberry Prorsum.

vivienne-westwood-balenciaga-burberry
Photos: Vivienne Westwood, Balenciaga, Burberry FW16

Layers, layers, layers

Take inspiration from New Yorker fashionistas, who know how to master the cool-girl even in the frigid cold. Start by picking out the base layer. Wool is on top of our the list. This fabric will not only keep you warm but, as a breathable insulator, it will also allow you to sweat without getting your other clothes wet. For another layering example, wear a turtleneck with a silk camisole on top or a cashmere cardigan with a wool coat. A blanket scarf or poncho with unique prints can also jazz up your look, so don’t be afraid to load on the layers and play up with different textures.

hbz-winter-is-coming-07_1
Photo: Harpers Bazaar

It’s all in the (BOLD) details

As much as we love wearing blacks and greys during the cold season, it can be boring after a while. Incorporating bold accessories into your winter ensemble will elevate a simple look and will even bring new life to the most redundant winter clothes. Experiment with bright toned and fun statement pieces like scarves that can be worn in various ways and will push you to think outside the box. You can fold your scarf in a triangle knot or even wear it as a belt on top of a jacket. Another option is to add a dash of luxe to your appearance with fur details, such as fur collars or fur mittens. Pom-pom beanies and printed socks (oh, the power of socks to change an outfit!) will also spice up your outfit in a cheerful way.

scarf-refinery29
Photo: Victoria Adamson

These Boots Are Made For Snow

No need to neglect your favourite skirt or dress during winter, you just need to invest in a thigh-high classy boots. Pair them with a midi skirt that falls below the top of the boot, or with a shorter skirt to reveal a flash of bare skin. Practical footwear doesn’t necessarily have to be unappealing. In frigid weather when you are forced to wear snow boots, you can opt for unique details such as colour blocking, neon accents, or colourful texture that can bring together a  cool outfit. Or try wearing track sole boots and loafers for an androgynous style. To make a fashion forward statement, match these chunky platforms with super feminine elements like a romantic lace dress.

fendi-msgm-diesel
Photo: Fendi, MSGM, Diesel FW16

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