Loving fashion week
IFrom cutesy cow motifs to tumbling models, these are highlights from the Spring/Summer 2012 collections. T’S that time of the year again when the well-heeled around the world take time off from their elegant soirees to place their Chanel-clad derrieres in front row seats to witness the most awaited spectacles in the fashion world’s calendar.
When designers showcase their Spring/Summer collections; models live out of suitcases as they move from one show to another, from one fashion capital to the next. When influential fashion editors decide what’s hot and what’s not. When buyers place orders for glorious garments that they hope will entice customers ...
Yes, dahlinks, it’s fashion week time. Or rather, it’s fashion weeks time, because there isn’t just one fashion week, but a whole series of fashion weeks. Beginning early September in New York – always New York, as it is the originator of the fashion week, the very first one taking place in this megalopolis in 1943 – the fashion extravaganza winds its way across the globe, stopping at the fashion capitals of London, Milan, Paris, Los Angeles and Tokyo.
As more geographic capitals become acknowledged as fashion centres, they too are added to the itinerary of the fashion week. And so now we also have Melbourne, Sydney and New Orleans on the fashion week map.
As I write this, the fashion week is taking place in the fashion mecca – Paris. Thanks to technology, we don’t actually have to be there in person to keep pulse on what’s going on. We can read the reports and see the photos online. Of course, it’s not the same as experi- encing the champagne backstage, the heart-stopping moments on stage and the air kisses all around ... but it’s a pretty good alternative. I, for one, am perfectly happy to be able to sit behind my laptop and have my fill of the events.
What I love about fashion week, other than the fantastic clothes, is the way it reflects the indomitable spirit of the industry – of the creative minds who make the fashion world go round. They are such sources of inspiration. I have never known of a year that has failed to inspire, amaze or renew my passion for the art of fashion.
The world may be in the doldrums; the price of oil may be skyrocketing; mega companies may be cutting down on employment – but fashion week will go on. There is true grit and tenacity among the fashion gurus that I find so wonderful.
So what about the actual fashion on the runways this year? What do the collections hold for the coming spring and summer? From what I can see, it’s all very colourful, sexy and playful. There were colours of all hues and shades, prints from florals to the edgy and graphic, and styles reminiscent of all eras – from the 50s to the noughties. In other words, it was a little bit like rojak – but a really well put together fashion rojak.
In New York, other than the staples such as Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs, we got to see the sartorial creations of Victoria Beckham, whose two collections – the more exclusive Victoria Beckham and more affordable second line, Victoria by Victoria Beckham – were well received. The second line was surprisingly cheerful for someone who doesn’t seem to smile a lot, with cutesy cows, cats, clouds and moons adding fun to colourful shifts in crepe, satin, jacquard and a light, summer wool.
London was not as eccentric as it could be. In fact, I was quite impressed by the very pretty, feminine dresses that were seen at many of the shows. I was curi- ous to see what Jonathan Saunders – one of Kate Middleton’s favourite up-and-coming British designers – would produce. And I wasn’t disappointed. He offered plenty of pretty, nipped-in waisted 50s inspired dresses in colours of sherbet – peppermint, raspberry and lemon. But I must say Mulberry’s “summer-at-the-seaside”-themed collection was more my cup of tea. Apparently, they served guests icecream at the door and a dog made a guest appearance on the catwalk. It was irreverent, witty, fun ... very British!
At the Milan shows, there was lots of skin, as to be expected by the very body-conscious Italian designers. Cropped tops and sheers, however, were balanced by feminine florals which were also to be found on the shoes. Ah, the shoes – they were something else altogether! Heels were sky high, so high in fact that one seasoned model actually lost her footing; while the colours and designs were decidedly summer, with floral prints and appendages. Of all the colours, blue stood out at most of the collections – a very sea-evoking blue that calls to mind lazy hazy Mediterranean island days.
And then Paris! Already, we have seen Dior’s classics, rehashed by the house’s temporary designer, Bill Gaytten, who’s filling in while the bosses decide who’s to replace John Gallliano. We’ve seen Balenciaga, where the inspiring designs made everyone forgive the inconvenience caused by the audience’s benches collapsing. We’ve also been wowed by the elegance of Dries van Noten, the fun-but-sexy creations from Roland Mouret. With my penchant for ethnic embellishing in beautifully cut designs, I really loved Balmain’s collection this season. But the jury’s still out on the Paris week which has yet to end. I know I’ll be keeping my eyes glued for more reports from trusted sites like Style. com and Stylesight.
Meanwhile, to summarise my overall impressions of the Spring/ Summer collections, here goes:
> Luxurious shine. There were lots of sequins, satin, python prints and items with bling, but mainly on garments and not so much on the accessories which have been quite minimal.
> Sheer and sensual. Better start toning up as the shops are going to stock up on transparent dresses and tops made from lace, tulle and organza, mainly for evening wear. This is going to be a hot summer – sexy but in a kind of demure way.
> New edge. I’m talking modern, minimal cuts and shapes, highly stylised lines, comfortable airy numbers. I saw lots of short-front, long-back blouses, skirts and dresses.
> Colours. These take on a vibrant life of their own in fun, playful, neo shades that bring to mind happy, happy holidays. There were strong graphic edgy prints, abstract floral prints and solid colours, especially royal electric blue and orangey-peach.
> Stripes and more stripes. I was pleased to notice stripes – my perennial favourite – some cleverly creating optical illusions, others making more classic statements. Casual, sporty and evening wear all sported some well-earned stripes! n Award-winning fashion designer Melinda Looi tries to marry consumerism and materialism with environmental consciousness, and believes her greatest creations are her children. Follow her on Facebook or write in to star2@ the star. com.my.