When creating a list of “most daring looks,” one shouldn’t directly look to the most outlandish haute couture or the most outrageous and downright unwearable pieces seen in a collection. Daring looks should be something wearable, yet completely out of the box. Something that is entirely everyday, yet distinctly high-fashion in the way it is made and looks. Think of it as the furthest stretch of everyday fashion available.
Ann Demeulemeester has always been known for outstanding gothic futurism. The brand practically lives and breathes modern darkness, which often gives room for some extremely avant-garde designs to hit the runway. This specific look for fall 2017 is the perfect mix between vintage romantic goth and modern ease of wear. The stunning oversized shirt dress paired with the elongated leather boot creates a very wearable silhouette while the elegant and exaggerated length of the look push a sense of uncommon extravagance.
Undercover’s last runway presentation managed to stir up a lot of buzz within the global fashion community. It’s always been known that Undercover is a brand fit for those daring to wear something a little more out of the box, but the brand’s fall presentation elevated the brand’s reputation for forward-thinking design to the next level. The stunning hole-filled knitted gown in pale mint paired with the exaggerated sleeves and insect like headdress take everyday things and transform them into something far more regal and elegant.
Punk rock has been seeping its way into fashion for quite some time now. At Junya Watanabe, punk hadn’t just seeped in, it was on full display! Rather than keeping with the punk aesthetic in the traditional sense, Watanabe fused punk with contemporary fashion. This created an almost Pierrot like punk interpretation. But what truly makes this ensemble daring for the everyday wearer is the kaleidoscope of print, leather, colour, and patchwork that’s thrown together beautifully to create this look.
Maison Margiela Artisanal
Now Maison Margiela may not be a surprising pick for a list of daring looks, but under the command of John Galliano, Margiela has transformed into a brand focused more on wearable art than just mere outlandish fashion. This particular look from Margiela’s fall artisanal collection embodies just that. Like many of his other creations, this look boasts architectural structure that is no easy feat to accomplish. Yet, the look is still wearable and recognizable as a gauzy trench coat. And apart from some confused or amused looks one may get, this daring look can definitely still be worn on the streets of the world’s fashion capitals.
Miuccia Prada’s baby, MiuMiu,is no stranger to wild prints and shocking colours. But when Miuccia pairs a plaid fur hat and a warm neutral/pastel colour combination taken straight from the ’60s with a quirky pattern, the result ends up looking more like a vintage costume dream than an everyday office look. Now, most people wouldn’t pair a print this bold as a matching pants and blouse set, but somehow Miuccia makes this work (as usual), giving the world a fun take on the everyday office uniform.
To some, the outlandish tactics used to garner attention within the fashion industry may seem like ridiculous attempts to either shock or put out confusing jumbles and present them as art. And though that may be true to a certain extent, there is one area where designers, film makers, photographers, and artists all agree: that bigger and bolder is always better. Fashion ad campaigns are one of the most important things that brands put out throughout the year, second only to the products made by the brand itself. They showcase the created message that may not have reached its audience during the initial runway show. Here, the entire creative team can create a fantasy world based on the collection, fragrance, cosmetic, or accessory that the ad is based on, taking whatever unanswered questions the collection left behind and filling in the blank spots on the canvas.
Christian Dior Fall 2017-18
Although some may say that Maria Grazia Chiuri’s work at the iconic house of Dior is lacklustre, it’s undeniable that this ad campaign injects brute strength that may have been missing during the show. With Dior favourites like Ruth Bell and Fernanda Ly, the original idea of outfitting a strong and unapologetic woman in Dior is completely evident in this campaign. The pulsing, industrial music and stark black and white create an air of strength that follows each model as they twirl, stomp, and pose in their black leather berets.
Valentino Menswear Fall 2017-18
Menswear sometimes gets a bad rep of being the less inspired and completely out of touch brother to high fashion womenswear. However, many brands are starting to take notice on how important the men’s fashion has become. Valentino is definitely one of those brands. In recent years, Valentino has made amazing strides in taking their brand from luxury tailoring to here and now men’s fashion. Valentino is no longer your rich grandfather’s go-to suit, and their campaign for fall proves just that. Placing their models in a modernized version of punk London, the ad pushes the idea that Valentino is a brand that’s as fresh and as new as the millennials it wants to attract.
Gucci Fall 2017-18
Gucci‘s creative head, Alessandro Michelle, is no stranger to transforming a brand into a contemporary go-to. Not long after joining the brand, Michelle was able to turn the ever increasingly forgettable brand into the most talked about and coveted Italian name in the fashion industry today. For their Fall campaign, Gucci not only channelled the same cacophonic parade of colour and texture that’s brought it back to life, but also channelled something that’s become a staple in millennial style; nostalgia for times far before their childhood. The ad features the all too familiar setting of a psychedelic ’70s like space adventure that mirrors the bright rainbow of colour, texture, and inspiration that Gucci is all about.
Oscar De La Renta Fall 2018-17
Since taking the helm at Oscar De La Renta almost a year ago, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia have thrust the brand into an interesting place. Hovering delicately between modern edge and old world glamour, the brand that has dressed the likes of Laura Bush and Sarah Jessica Parker is eagerly awaiting to see whether the fashion world buys into its new image. One key element in helping its audience understand the new De La Renta image is fashion icon Mariacarla Boscono who was the face of Renta’s fall campaign. Her strikingly alien face and sharp gaze helped sew together the contemporary edge that Kim and Garcia wish to bring to the brand with the grace and glamour that Oscar established years ago.
Miu Miu Fall 2017-18
Miuccia Prada is a fashion genius. No one is able to reinvent two brands simultaneously every season and keep the look and the ideas of the brands fresh and exciting the way she does. So it comes as no surprise that her brilliant collection for Miu Miu now comes with a brilliant ad campaign. Borrowing heavily from the collections fuzzy bubblegum-60s mod fusion, the ad takes its viewer through a pastel coloured journey that takes place in an old movie theatre where models (including Kate Moss!) all sit and watch a grainy Lousiana Bayou short film featuring the models themselves. And if seeing Kate Moss decked out it groovy Miu Miu is not enough, then seeing Adwoah Aboah and other stunning models of colour dominate the ad should be more than enough incentive to fall in love with this light hearted ad!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 createda 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.
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.
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.
Milan is best known for being the most conservative of the four big fashion weeks and that’s partly due to the Italian woman herself. When we look at Italian design, it seems very set in its ways. House codes are followed to the T and very rarely do fashion houses aim at creating collections that stretch too far out into the world of sex-appeal or groundbreaking contemporary fashion (with the exception of a few.) However, it seems that in recent years, Milan has been edging closer and closer into previously unexplored territory by tapping into new talent and allowing designers to go beyond the confines of strict design codes. This season saw one of the best outcomes in terms of collections for Milan in years.
Here are Novella’s highlights for the best of Milan Fashion Week!
There’s something about a collection that relies heavily on gothic romanticism that just gets the blood pumping in every fashion lover’s heart. At this seasons Ricostru show, the audience was treated to a cavalcade of modern gothic romantics. Black leather looked softened and fluid when paired with knits and vinyl, while sheer elements created a soft whimsical aspect to the collection. The collection also had a very 90’s goth rock edge to it that felt refreshing after seeing 70’s trends dominate the runway everywhere else. However, the collection did not rely solely on black, some of the best looks came in light stone greys and metallic silver, with the most compelling and inspiring looks having a beautiful iridescent sheer silk draped over them.
Contemporary fashion is dominated by trends and sometimes designers feel compelled to have to follow said trends, which can lead to some extremely unfortunate mishaps and hiccups for designers. Thankfully, at Erika Cavallini, trendspotting and editing definitely paid off. The designer definitely hit a strong note by picking some of this year’s biggest trends and fuse them into a perfectly smart and relevant collection. Ruffles and plaid danced with one another in the form of flirty skirts, coats, and dresses. Florals were printed on pastel fabrics and even denim and sportswear found their way into the collection in ways that weren’t off-putting. Creating an intelligent and social media ready collection that’s bound to be on many young fashion lovers wish lists this season.
For Restless Sleepers
Sleepwear has been a major trend on and off of the runway for the better part of a year now. It’s invaded menswear, ladieswear, street-style, and even fast fashion retail with a gusto that hasn’t been seen since its big boom during the 1970s. At F.S.R, luxury loungewear reigned supreme in all of its silken glory. Heavy bohemian prints and velvet rounded out the collection while crisp Japanese and English florals were presented in the most regal of colours, giving off an air of richness that goes perfectly with the clothing being presented at hand. One of the standout outfits had to have been a strikingly beautiful silk robe that depicted a beautiful scene of peacocks taking flight in hues of evergreen and watercolour sky blues that conjure up an image of a king lounging in his gilded smoking room.
Alessandro Michele makes another triumphant return at Gucci this season with his usual cacophonous parade of colour, texture, and style. Models wore everything from pseudo-Paco Rabanne-esque 1960s style knitted hoods, to a rainbow fringe, and even Japonesque florals. The wonderful part of this collection was its sheer size. A total of 120 looks were featured on the runway which featured almost every trend imaginable, but the most striking of the bunch had to be the looks that were made with the help of Spanish artist Coco Capitan. The artist created highly political statement slogans for Michele’s collection which took aim at the current political and social climate in the United States. One Particular look fused an interesting mix of denim (in the form of cutoff shorts) with a glittering bodysuit that looked almost like a mirrored exoskeleton with a slogan shirt that proudly stated: “common sense is no that common.” This look, which featured one of the simplest outfits in the entire collection actually proved to be one of the most striking and visually stunning in the entire collection; giving Milan its own iconic protest moment.
In a surprising turn, Italy’s wunderkind Giambatistta Valli opted for a presentation this season, as opposed to a runway show, to feature his baby line Giamba. But that did not take away from the beauty that his collection brings ever season. For this season, Giamba continued doing what it does best, providing young well to do women with stunningly regal and flirty clothing that completely defines today’s fashion forward millennial. However, this season saw the addition of something interesting and genuinely unexpected for a Giamba show, extravagant luxury. The first telltale sign that this Giamba collection wasn’t going to be like the rest was with the introduction of rich long-haired furs. Beautiful shag coats were layered over pretty “it girl” dresses creating a 70s sensibility that felt completely relevant with today’s fashion scene. Another extremely pleasing aspect of the show was its slight injection of maturity. It seems that instead of creating another collection of sweet as bubblegum dresses, Valli opted to use a darker colour palette, giving his a collection and Edwardian heaviness that is definitely pulling the brand forward into new territory.
It’s a known fact that Miuccia Prada has always moved to the beat of her own drum, and this season is no different. For her fall 2017 collection at Prada, Miuccia presented a collection aimed at reclaiming women’s sensuality and sexuality in a way that’s reminiscent of past feminist movements, hence the overall 1960s / 70s feel. The collection starts by featured strong silhouettes that fused the raw sexuality exuded by the female body, with elements of menswear. This gave the collection a wonderful air of androgyny. However, masculinity was not Miuccia’s answer to female strength. For the remainder of the show, Miuccia Prada presented compelling looks steeped in femininity, because a strong woman doesn’t have embrace masculine traits to be strong, femininity can be just as strong, if not stronger in its own way. Case in point being the true stars of the show, which were a group of graphic printed dresses that depicted portraits of women carelessly lounging, posing, and generally going on about their day without a care in the world. The images are reminiscent of women in the 1960s, with the bright coloured clothing a perfectly coiffed hair. It’s almost as if you can see Leslie Gore singing “You don’t own me” while wearing one of these dresses, giving 1 part seduction and the other part empowered lioness.
Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini
Philosophy was known for having it’s great fashion moments over the years, but it seemed like it was beeing overshadowed in recent years by the big Milan 5. Fortunately for lovers of the brand, it seems like designer Lorenzo Serafini took fall 2017 as a way to change all of that. This season saw one of the most compelling collections at Philosophy to date. The collection, which was steeped heavily in old school femininity, played on all of the ultra fem trends that haven swept fashion for the last few seasons (ruffles being a big one.) The 1950s and 60s silhouettes were made fresh and modern through sheer polka dot blouses and dresses, while tulle dresses added a youthful edge to the already lively and soft show. One of the biggest highlights of the collection is a simple outfit comprised of a sheer ruffled blouse worn with a slick white dress pant. The outfit itself isn’t anything different from what been seen audiences has seen before, but it’s in the outfit’s expert and well thought out design that truly makes it a standout piece. All in all, this collection seems to be a preview of the newly lit spark that is inspiring Serafini, and in the fashion industry, any spark is a good one!