Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Basso & Brooke A/W 2012


Shortly after the show Alex Fury described Basso & Brooke's latest collection as mank (he was seated opposite me during the show, you may spy his face in some of the photos where he just refused to be edited out).  Now, I wouldn't go quite that far.  It wasn't exactly their best collection and it seems like they've been on a slight downward slope since my favourite early runs (the slick Japanese collection in particular!), but it still stood out in the better half of the shows I saw in London.  Of course, at the time, I was loving it - prints, colours, just my thing.  It's only really when I look back at my images now, though, that I kind of see Alex's point.  The prints are somewhat ugly and just don't really sit properly with the shapes.  It comes across a bit schizo-frumpy.  The collaboration with The Cambridge Satchel Company is completely inexplicable, but I do like the Finsk shoes; love a chunky wedge, I do.  Individual pieces work - a patterned blouse here, a tessellated jumper there - but I wouldn't recommend the total look...

I am excited about the menswear sweatshirt launch, however.  Just need to figure out where's stocking them?!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Comme des Garçons Competition


So I have a little surprise for you, dear readers. You may have noticed I've never run a competition on here before but today is your lucky day (maybe). I've been waiting until something good came along – something I'd actually want to win – and it doesn't get much better than a piece of Comme des Garçons, right? 

No, I'm not giving away a pleated black kilt or a transparent hoop skirt (I wish!), but if you click on the link in the sidebar and play a little game, you could find yourself the new owner of a full-sized bottle of the Comme des Garçons 2 perfume, certainly one of their more 'commercial' fragrances (although I'll always be partial to a musky splash of Incense d'Avignon). And although the competition might be called 'Second Gets Nothing', that's not quite strictly true. For if you lose you still get an e-sample of Comme des Garçons 2 and the chance to play again the following day. The competition will be running for 5 days and 10 of you clicking from my blog can win each day. So there's an incentive to keep coming back, if not for my inappropriately astute critiques of this world we call fashion.  Oh, and I'm afraid the bottle you win will not come personalised with your blog name. That's just for me. Because I'm special. Apparently you can also get your bottle customized...


Now, let's finish this post by looking at something pretty – Comme des Garçons' bridal S/S collection. What else could one possibly wear during the gay wedding season?  It's time for Stasie to show up the bride...


xxx
Duck

P.S. Runway photos from Style.com

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Nobody panic! Raf Simons A/W 2012


Oh what a long day it's been.  Just back from a slightly tipsy brunch with Hugh, among others, at the delicious Brunswick House Café (Go! If only for the handsome manager wearing Dries and Comme Balenciaga, Helmut Lang, Lanvin and Ann Demeulemeester to your table) after an aborted breakfast with Anna in town.  On my wanderings I finally got a hold of the L'Officiel Collections for this season so I can start planning my moodboard and post-April shopping trips for the summer.  It's a bit dog-eared and 'twas the only one in the ickle kiosk opposite Liberty but I'll take what I can get at this point.  I was just about to break into the colourful summer lines in bed with a nicely chilled glass of Gewürztraminer when I got all caught up in the Twitter-fashion-house-reallocation-panicfest.  

Apparently Carine Roitfeld is starting a new range for Findus Crispy Pancakes - très exciting, I'm sure you'll agree - but it was the sad news of Raf leaving Jil Sander being confirmed that got me going.  You must know how much I've been a fan of Raf's work at Jil for so long; you can find the back catalogue of my purchases on this here blog.  I almost cried.  So I started flicking through the A/W photos and eventually came to the realisation that maybe I'll be OK even if Raf does make the jump to Dior (noooooo).  

At least next season I'll be able to get that look I love from Raf's main line (more so than the leather/latex fiasco that was S/S Jil).  I don't quite love the voluminous shirts but above I've picked out my five favourite looks.  Fuzzy teddy-bear jackets - check.  Dip-dyed sweaters - check.  Skaterboi hats - nervous check.  Who doesn't want to look like a manic-depressive, mildly aggressive, pot-smoking, teenage boy scout?

So I've got some breathing space until we find out exactly where Raf's going.  Phew.  Nobody panic.  And if you do, finish the bottle of wine will you?

xxx
Duck

P.S. Photos from Style.com

Friday, 24 February 2012

Michael van der Ham A/W 2012


Occasionally I find myself getting carried away during fashion week and overestimating my own understanding of designers' motivations or what's going behind the scenes.  I start reading too much into a collection or set myself up for a fall by expecting so much from the designer.  This is exactly what happened when the first couple of looks came out at Michael van der Ham.  I loved his early magpie patchwork creations and was really pleased by his last collection which translated the slightly less 'wearable' runway pieces I enjoy to a commercially viable format (sadly everyone's got to make some cash).  So to me it seemed like his A/W collection wasn't going anywhere new.  The multi-fabric jigsaws were back but their projection onto print seemed a little less cohesive.  There was the introduction of knitwear yet things still looked strangely like a spring collection.  

And then I had to take one large step back (mentally speaking).  I've figured out that the best way for me to judge womenswear is to ask myself the question, "Would you want your friends wearing this stuff?"  And the answer is a resounding "HELL YES!"  Who cares if Michael isn't quite pushing the boundaries this time around?!  Every show can't be a revelatory 'fashion moment'.  These are some seriously pretty dresses with flattering shapes, vibrant colours and more than enough sparkle for any pop princess to strut down a red carpet.  I could do without the Betty Draper hair but if my friends decide to wear silver lurex knits, gold sequinned panel dresses or a myriad of prints wrapped around their shoulders next winter, I'm not going to complain one bit.  

I really need to take myself less seriously sometimes...and stop listening to the way the other fashionisti talk about the shows!       

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Ponystep x True Religion

Just came across this photo of Alexxsia and me at the Ponystep x True Religion party on Prince Pelayo's Kate Loves Me blog.  Of course while everyone else (Charlie, Louisa, Jen) was sitting down to be served tray after tray of The Diner burgers and vegetarian chilli, Lexxi and I were knocking back the vino and getting down to some Spice Girls.  At this point in the night it appears I've ditched the Balenciaga dog jumper I was wearing that day and am only in a gradated black/white t-shirt by Helmut Lang and my favourite John Rocha tinsel headband.  Later I may have tried on those Dior shades Alexxsia is rocking and worked my best Diane Pernet look.  AND SHE RETWEETED ME.  Life made.

Later,

Diane Duck
xxx   

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Charlie May A/W 2012


On Saturday night I had the immense pleasure of getting to see Charlie May put on her second ever RTW presentation during fashion week.  You probably recognise her as the Girl A La Mode version of Charlie who crops up in my posts and can be found screaming #A2A or #hashtagtotesamaze at me on Twitter.  But in the real world Charlie actually lives the sometimes less than glamorous life of an up-and-coming womenswear designer.  I know how much work (and money) goes into creating a collection like this so it was so wonderful to see all those hours paying off!  

Whereas last season was light both in colour and fabric selection, this time around Charlie added deeper colours like blood to the mix.  I loved the bondage/insane asylum connotations of a double strapped wrist (both on a super soft white leather biker jacket and an oversized open-backed shirt)  as well as the dresses which are completely cut away to one side.  I may be requesting a dress made up in masculine sizes so I can live out my teenage Girl, Interrupted fantasies.  I must also shout out to Alexxsia for an excellent styling job! We quickly spotted the Michele Lamy inspiration for the ink-dipped hands - a subtle metamorphosis of the clay she used last season. 

Charlie's presentations are always so relaxed and enjoyable; she even has the models wander around the room, Patrón cocktail in hand.  In fact, a couple of them joined us for the Ponystep x True Religion party later in the week... 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

McQ A/W 2012


OK guys, you all know I'm not exactly the must-post-this-instantly kind of blogger but I just had to get these photos edited and up here right away. If you saw my tweet delirium earlier you'll know why I am so excited – today I was invited to attend McQ's first ever runway show! Sarah Burton has recently brought the diffusion line back into the Alexander McQueen fold and taken the helm of the design team. I still can't quite believe I got to see such a beautiful spectacle; this was nothing like the other shows at London fashion week.

There was Anna Wintour sitting next to Salma Hayek opposite me, a runway strewn with autumn leaves, and some truly gorgeous clothes. Sarah has obviously decided to raise the standard at McQ and many would find it hard to distinguish the looks coming out from the McQueen mainline collection. Women's dresses exploded with appliquéd flowers or were decorated with delicate lace and cinched in tightly at the waist. The menswear had a distinct military feel with epaulettes and khaki greens – some of the coats were to die for.  I'll definitely be getting myself one of the kilts.  I am so glad I wore my own family kilt to the show!

Oh, and then there was the finale.  A model dressed in white, lost in a twilight clearing, stumbled under a shower of leaves until she found a hidden rope and followed it to a secret forest which magically appeared at the end of the runway. It was all the fairytale darkness and elegance you'd expect from any McQueen production. I know I'm gushing but I just can't get over how wonderful it all was...


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Corrie Nielsen A/W 2012


I'm starting my first fashion week post with the first show I attended on Friday (I guess that's the right way to do things), Corrie Nielsen.  Corrie maintained her couture style - although she threw in a few more 'wearable' pieces, probably to boost sales now that she has made her name - and took her inspiration this season from 18th Century Scotland.  

Maybe it's because I am actually Scottish that by the end of the show I had started to find the references to the homeland bordering on the superficial: tartans, sashes, bird feathers and even Scottish widows.  Thank goodness everyone's favourite, curmudgeonly groundskeeper didn't make an appearance!  But after speaking to lot of other bloggers and journalists, nobody else seemed to find these allusions too strong and I even heard comparisons to McQueen's infamous Widows of Culloden.  

Putting my personal gripes about Scottish stereotypes aside, there were some stunning items throughout the collection, in particular a long-sleeved black dress complete with monochrome sash and flowing pleated skirt.  Now that is one piece I can see myself swooshing along the West Highland Way in.  Can't wait to see the locals' faces.  I was also intrigued by the circles painted on the models' hands.  Of the original inspiration I have no idea, but I like to think the girls belonged to some Georgian secret society or cult.  Maybe I've just been watching too much Doctor Who*.        

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Björn Borg


There is only one word capable of describing the Björn Borg 'Turn The Lights Off' party on Thursday night - INSANE.  Battersea power station illuminated by a 3D laser light show.  Hot tubs.  A full-on buffet with oyster bar.  Models prancing on a giant bed in their underwear.  A live performance by Robyn and Coco Sumner.  That bottle of Cointreau we 'borrowed' from behind the bar to set up our own cocktail station at the end of the runway. What else could a boy want?

I'm not completely sure the day before fashion week begins is the best time to throw an event of this nature - I saw quite a few hungover faces yesterday morning, including my own whenever I risked looking in the mirror - but... it was quite possibly the best "fashion" party I've ever been to.  And I've never seen so much food! Not a miniature hamburger in sight.  

Thank you so much to Björn Borg for bringing a little taste of my beloved Sweden to London.  And apologies for getting into a pillow fight with the models; I couldn't resist.     

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Paul & Joe Menswear A/W 2012

Photography setting at Studio Harcourt

It's funny how things work out sometimes.  When I set off for Paris last month on my whistle-stop trip to fashion week, I actually only had three shows confirmed; I was planning to spend the rest of my two days sight-seeing and visiting friends.  But of course, as soon as I checked into my hotel, I discovered a pile of show tickets I hadn't requested and sadly many of them were for the days I'd be back in London beavering away.  I also received a last minute email from the people at Paul & Joe who invited me to drop by their presentation at the Studio Harcourt which I had seen once before for Romain Kremer's future retrospective.  It's such an iconic location that it's almost impossible to decline, and of course I love any opportunity to look at more clothes, especially from a brand I'm not too familiar with.

Paul & Joe had the photographic studios arranged as they might once have been, with models drifting in and out of relaxed tableaux, even being encouraged to drink a glass or two of champagne to loosen up.  The perfect opportunity to play around with my new camera lens...  The collection itself was a mix of old-school dandy and modern gentleman.  I surprised myself by loving a bright orange polo-neck (I know!) and also quite a classic zip-up cardigan with a grey marl effect (similar to some 3.1 Phillip Lim from last season, I'd say).  The very chic glasses had me regretting my damned 20/20 vision, and not for the first time let me tell you.  One day I'll get to look intelligent in a pair of specs :-(  There were also some interesting fabric choices when it came to the jackets; I was not expecting animal prints from a brand like Paul & Joe but I certainly like it!      

Man in flat cap

Friday, 10 February 2012

John Lawrence Sullivan

Turquoise suits by John Lawrence Sullivan

Admittedly I didn't really know much about Japanese designer Arashi Yanagawa, or his brand John Lawrence Sullivan, before I attended his show in Paris last month, but having taken a glance at his website this makes sense - while being stocked all over Japan I couldn't trace one stockist here in Europe.  There are quite a few designers like this who show in Paris for the prestige but actually only sell back in Asia.  It's a funny concept but I guess there is still that cachet associated with the Paris shows.  It might also lead to more Western press exposure, which can only be a good thing for the Sullivan brand because there was a lot to like!  

While I did find a few of the pieces rather dated (double breasted suit jackets worn with roll-necks and billowing trousers - The Sartorialist/Mr Porter has a lot to answer for here), it was the more modern items getting me hot under the feathers.  I liked the accentuated shoulders, either pointed or padded, which had a touch of Mugler about them and were certainly less ridiculously proportioned than at Thom Browne.  The narrow-legged trousers in either leather or gold were much more my style as were the silk evening jackets in jewel tones - just the thing for a nip down Shepherds Bush market.  I'm starting to enjoy the stares I get in West London.  The long, sweeping coats and the black suede biker jacket were instant classics that almost any guy would want to wear (even a girly boy like me).  So, as Stasie's been saying for years, out with the old and in with the new!     

Blue coat by John Lawrence Sullivan

Monday, 6 February 2012

Stella for Spring

Stella McCartney spring resort collection 2012

Lusting, wanting, needing, etc; totes amaze, so chic, blah, blah.  These four tops from Stella McCartney's Resort collection have me mumbling all the fashion blog clichés to myself on the hour, every hour.  I went into the West London Browns this weekend with Brooke to try and source them but I'm afraid they weren't in stock.  I have, however, tracked some of them down online and may find myself in the South Molton Street store at some point this month to stroke them with requisite Oooh's and Aaah's.  I don't know if it was watching The Descendants last week (George Clooney definitely still has 'it' - even if he won't admit wanting to give 'it' to me) but Hawaii is creeping into my springtime inspiration; I may even drape a ceremonial lei around my growing mood board.  The boxy-shouldered floral t-shirt [photo 2] is probably my favourite piece but the more trad, loose Hawaiian shirt [photo 3] is infinitely more wearable, especially given that I'll need to stretch it over my masculine (read: fat) shoulders.  The only flaw in my plan?  The bloody snow outside... (Me not being able to afford the ~£600 price tag is irrelevant)

xxx
Duck 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Y Project


I was planning to start my Paris fashion week by meeting up with Jess and Andrew for Yohan Serfaty's Y Project show but they never actually made it to the Maison des Métallos, being trapped in a 10 course truffle-attack at 3 Michelin-starred L'Astrance.  I'd say they missed out but then I'm a total truffle fanatic so am currently experience major food envy.  In any case, I certainly enjoyed Yohan's show.  He had chosen only three models who proceeded to change in front of us, behind backlit screen, before coming down the runway one by one.  This was a perfect photo opportunity - at one point I am certain I saw penis outline (although not through the lens of my camera) - except that the models took so long to change that the music ran out of time. Maybe some more run-throughs next time guys? 

As for the clothes, it was a slightly odd (for me) mix of that industrial-post-apocalyptic-ninja-goth look now ubiquitous at the Paris shows with more casual but chic streetwear options.  Saying that, there were some killer pieces amongst the layers.  I loved the long asymmetric coats that zipped up the side and the simple grey wool coat.  There was a gorgeous structured white jacket with fringed edges and bold black zips (OK so not particularly practical but definitely worthy of a totes amaze! moment) worn with a black tabard that I'd be very happy to layer up right now - computer is telling me it's 1°C outside but "feels like -4°C" :-/  Oooh and leather trousers! I've been seeing these everywhere recently and they are starting to slide their slippery way into my next season wishlist.  I'm thinking that Yohan's options might be more me than the 'play' trousers suggested by Hugh...