Thursday, June 20, 2024

BEAUTY: Clothing--Undercover

It has been quite a while since I have posted anything from Jun Takahashi's label Undercover (previously here). Maybe I should go back over past seasons and remind myself why I failed to cover them. Anyhow, here we are at Paris Fashion Week and Undercover's SS '25 collection is fascinating, and a bit elusive. Takahashi does love a theme and working meaning, often heavy meaning, into his garments, collections, and presentations. After the show Takahashi mentioned that the collection was a metaphor for the dissolution of borders in order to eliminate conflict. I see what he means...the concept of us vs. them. If there's nothing to invade or fight over, then there is no conflict. Another influence in this collection references a West Asian and Middle Eastern sensibility which can be seen in the lovely, loose silhouettes of soft, flowing material and some prints that feel a bit ethnic. Collars, cuffs, and elbows often showed ribbons to cinch and tie. Art played a subtle but important role as well. The opening section featured a small rendering of an Italianate house that appears to be the one from Edward Hopper's 1925 painting Edward Hopper's 1925 painting "House By The Railroad". A middle section featured cloudy, amorphous images of what could be portraits of people. And the closing section of jackets with short and long skirts were printed with paintings in tones of green created by Takahashi himself. Playing with the theme of borders, he said he wanted to bring femininity to a men's collection since he believes the border separating the two are getting less and less. All of these elements taken together create a swirling enigma, especially considering the models were styled with crowns of leaves and lace masking their eyes. Not everything in life has--or needs--a clear explanation or answer...


http://undercoverism.com/

Happy Summer Solstice 2024!


Happy Summer Solstice 2023!
The longest day of the year. Enjoy.
After today, the days grow shorter as we begin our descent into autumn...

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

BEAUTY: Clothing--Burç Akyol

Paris Fashion Week started yesterday, and it was Burç Akyol's sensuous SS '25 collection that stood out.

After starting his brand in 2019, Akyol debuted at Paris Fashion Week only just last year. But he is rising fast with gorgeous actors like Jared Leto and Ncuti Gatwa (the newest Dr. Who!) wearing his creations.

He is dedicated to sheer fabrics and a sense of flou, as the French say. And this is evident in his SS '25 collection that seems to be even more intimate than his past collections. Despite the structure of a waistcoat or jacket with a deep cut, there remains a sense of the boudoir, with references to slips, teddies, and camisoles. I like the softer approach to a silhouette that includes dresses and a strapless top with a peplum.


https://www.burcakyol.com/

JUNETEENTH


https://www.juneteenth.com/

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

BEAUTY: Clothing--Misc. Milano Moda Uomo

Milano Moda Uomo wrapped today with some digital presentations but nothing in person, the same day that Paris Fashion Week started...that gives busy fashion journalists a minute to get from Italy to France! Anyhow, here are just a few details that caught my eye from Milan for Spring-Summer '25...

Fendi showed shirts whose plackets twisted off from the center, buttoning or snapping down the side. Some of them ended up as a shoulder-baring moment, like Jennifer Beals in "Flashdance" from back in the day (if you don't get that reference, Google it). I like that.


And Alessandro Sartori at Zegna included mature models in his show, which prompted Vogue fashion journalist Tiziana Cardini to refer to them as "handsomely grown-up." Delightful description, thank you Tiziana! And kudos to Sartori for showing that men in their 50s and 60s (and even 70s) are still viable. The show closed with actor Mads Mikkelsen who is the face of this SS '25 Zegna campaign.


https://www.fendi.com/
https://www.zegna.com/

BEAUTY: Clothing--Giorgio Armani

Regular readers know by now that an Emporio Armani or Armani show means a cut-and-paste moment from all my past posts about Giorgio:

I love Giorgio Armani: I say it every time I blog about his work. Every season for his own eponymous label or for his Emporio Armani line (the more causal and sportier version of Armani), I swoon at what his house creates and sends down the runway. I respond most to designers, designs, and shows that have a strong inspiration and concept, and a near-performance art presentation. But Armani does not need concepts. He has been creating his own sense of easy luxury for nearly half a century now, and it's still fresh and relevant today.

It's hard to exaggerate the contribution of Giorgio Armani to fashion history. Along with names who changed silhouettes and shapes and ushered in new cuts and styles and materials, Armani takes his place in the pantheon. He deconstructed the men's suit in the 80s, turning it into something soft and sensual, something sexy and flowing, without altering the basic concept of what it was. He removed layers of felting inside suits, making them relaxed and able to behave like thin silk. Just take a look at the iconic clothing from the film "American Gigolo" and you will see what I mean. It was soft and casual with a sense of effortless power. This revolution rippled out into the industry and we see its waves even now: designers still grapple with ways to make suiting less stiff, to make clothing more luxe without being precious, and to make pieces with more innate ease without being sloppy. In short, to make clothes more Armani. But no one does Armani like Armani. Clean lined and impeccably tailored, Armani's sensibility is about luxe fabrics and the way a garment hangs and drapes on the body (of both men and women).

But there is something else that I really respond to in each Armani collection and that is a vague sense, a shadow, an echo of historical fashion. The way a jacket or coat is cut or its stance, the inclusion of waistcoats, belted outerwear, loose cut and high waisted trousers...it all reminds me of...what, the 1920s and 30s? The 1880s and 1890s? The 1940s and 50s? Yes to all of it.

At Milano Moda Uomo yesterday, Armani presented a Spring-Summer '25 collection of absolute ease in supremely luxe fabrics. Set against a backdrop of the shadows of palm fronds gently waving in a breeze, the Armani men strolled, relaxed, down the runway showing off perfect summer pieces that look simple but which actually take incredible skill to create. Armani has been doing this for fifty years now, and I marvel at the fact that he has managed to stay relevant and creative over such a long span. Oh, and he turns ninety...90 YEARS OLD in July. Buon compleanno, Sig. Armani!



https://www.armani.com/

Monday, June 17, 2024

BEAUTY: Clothing--Emporio Armani

Regular readers know by now that an Emporio Armani or Armani show means a cut-and-paste moment from all my past posts about Giorgio (and yes, you will probably see this again in a few days after the Armani collection shows on Monday):

I love Giorgio Armani: I say it every time I blog about his work. Every season for his own eponymous label or for his Emporio Armani line (the more causal and sportier version of Armani), I swoon at what his house creates and sends down the runway. I respond most to designers, designs, and shows that have a strong inspiration and concept, and a near-performance art presentation. But Armani does not need concepts. He has been creating his own sense of easy luxury for nearly half a century now, and it's still fresh and relevant today.

He deconstructed the men's suit in the 80s, turning it into something soft and sensual, something sexy and flowing, without altering the basic concept of what it was. He removed layers of felting inside suits, making them relaxed and able to behave like thin silk. Just take a look at the iconic clothing from the film "American Gigolo" and you will see what I mean. It was soft and casual with a sense of effortless power. This revolution rippled out into the industry and we see its waves even now: designers still grapple with ways to make suiting less stiff, to make clothing more luxe without being precious, and to make pieces with more innate ease without being sloppy. In short, to make clothes more Armani. But no one does Armani like Armani. Clean lined and impeccably tailored, Armani's sensibility is about luxe fabrics and the way a garment hangs and drapes on the body (of both men and women).

But there is something else that I really respond to in each Armani collection and that is a vague sense, a shadow, an echo of historical fashion. The way a jacket or coat is cut or its stance, the inclusion of waistcoats, belted outerwear, loose cut and high waisted trousers...it all reminds me of...what, the 1920s and 30s? The 1880s? The 1940s and 50s? Yes to all of it.

So for this soft, lyrical Spring Summer '25 collection at Milano Moda Uomo, Emporio Armani showed a collection that was clearly inspired by the south of France. As an ode to the area, a gigantic projection of the wild horses who live in the Camargue region encompassed the show space while models in gorgeous, flowing summer clothing with boots and belts referencing equestrian style leisurely walked the runway with straw hats à la Van Gogh in St. Remy. There was also that fantastic sense of history in silhouettes and cuts...wide trousers, shawl collars, even an 18th century-influenced waistcoat! And the footwear in this collection is swoon-worthy...take a look at the video below. But what clinched the south of France deal was the sudden introduction at the end of the show of several looks with sunflowers and in lavender. I have visited the Sault and Valensole plateaus several times and can attest to the fact that one sees sunflower fields alternating with lavender fields for miles and miles. At the very end of the show, a peek at the womenswear collection came out accompanied by hunky models in leather shorts carrying baskets heaped with dried lavender. Oh, heaven...



https://www.armani.com/

BEAUTY: Clothing--Dolce and Gabbana

Dolce and Gabbana are nothing if not prolific. Over the last many, many years, they have produced mind-bogglingly sumptuous collections for both men and women with incredible themes that are almost always centered on their home country, Italy. And while other houses and designers present collections that encompass perhaps twenty or thirty looks, D&G regularly presented 100 or more looks in each collection. But interestingly, the last few years have seen have seen D&G tone down the elements in their collections in favor of more minimalistic--and fewer--looks.

But at Milano Moda Uomo, D&G presented a Spring-Summer 2025 collection that seems to be leaning toward their established M.O., clocking in at nearly sixty looks. Yes, the style is still a little minimal compared with some of their past wild collections, but this time is all about craftsmanship and a handmade ethos. The Italian fashion industry does have some of the finest workers in the world and a bit of that skill was on display with garments made of actual woven raffia with patterns that look like furniture caning (click on some of the images below to get a better look at this incredible material). And a section of pants, shirts, and jackets studded with beads, jewels, and pieces of coral was absolutely stunning. As for a theme, it is easy to see by the cut of shirts and trousers (and the easy-breezy soundtrack of bossa nova and tango tunes) that we have settled somewhere in the 50's-60s, with a sense of Italian dolce vita, a sort of "life-on-the-Amalfi coast" moment with maritime references (love those big, splayed sailor collars). Did the recent success of "Ripley," the serialized adaptation of Patricia Hightower's novel "The Talented Mr. Ripley" play a part in it? Whatever the impetus, it is a wildly successful collection.



https://www.dolcegabbana.com/