Mel’s Place

Lov­ing fash­ion week

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - MELINDA LOOI star2@thes­tar.com.my

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.

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