One of my highlights of Paris Fashion Week was the Lanvin AW14 re-see. On a huge scale, this is where you get to see the commercial workings of Fashion Week at play, where buyers view the pieces they’re really going to stock, and write their orders on the spot. The vast space (a 1920s former railway depot) was a hive of activity, it even had a pop-up café to keep the buyers and clerks fed and watered while crunching those numbers.
I was guided through both the catwalk collections and the commercial collections so I could see the pieces close up and learn what sells and what doesn’t. The theme for AW14 was extremism, experimentation and extravagance, shown on the runway with Edwardian-esque styling of romantic picture hats and elbow-hugging gloves. With a dark palette, it was useful to see the myriad fabrics and textures at close quarters; fake and real furs, loose salt-n-pepper tweeds and sheer gauzes designed to suggest movement and lightness.
A shaggy wool fringed coat from the runway collection had shaved sides while a ‘leather’ trench turned out to be fake leather “for better movement”. Fabric experimentation here is the key – think a sheer gauze shell top with wool and tinsel woven into it and feather and knitted wool transformed into a tactile mini shift dress. The colour-block fringing was one of my standouts, expertly placed on dresses in varying lengths to keep the eye travelling.
After being walked through the catwalk collection on one side of the room, we switched over to the commercial collection where I was surprised to discover that a pair of posh jersey track pants are a perennial best seller. This is the interesting part of re-sees, you get to look at a collection with commercial eyes and appreciate how a designer balances dreams and desires against what people really wear. In that sense, it’s kind of true what they say about ready-to-wear being more like couture while the commercial and pre-collections do the job of ready-to-wear. The experimental pieces may not surface much further than the rails in this showroom but they do the job of delivering the brand statement loud and clear. That said, Lanvin has the freedom to be risk-taking in its commercial offer too. “As an independent, we can produce things like fur without worrying if it will sell,” I was told. Less polarising were the twisted ribbed knits, especially one in deep magenta, a welcome splash of colour.
As with many RTW brands, bags and shoes are a big old deal for Lanvin so naturally there was a huge area dedicated to them (alongside those dreamy feathered hats and some impossibly elegant gloves). I made a beeline for the cutaway pumps and flat ankle boots, while the multi-way bag was flagged up as popular with the buyers. I suspect the theatrical hats will wend their way into a few order books too, we all had a go at trying them on. Extremism, experimentation and extravagance may well be the look for Lanvin AW14 but underscoring that is a cache of pragmatic, crowd-pleasing product that promises to move swiftly on the shop floor.
CLICK BELOW TO SHOP AW14 LANVIN
The Chanel and Dior AW14 couture collections were so different from each other although they both referenced the past to inform the future. The other thing they had in common was youthful hair and makeup. Chanel’s wayward ‘eighties boy band’ hairpieces (above and below) stole my attention from the clothes, giving the outfits an energetic attitude alongside equally youth-centric Sharpie-pen eyeliner flicks. (Full disclosure: I had a major backcombing habit in my teens.) Continue reading
As we all know, a decade doesn’t really hit its stride until it reaches its mid point, which is kind of where we’re at now – summer 2014. In fact, it feels to me like we’re only now properly embracing the 21st century, ready to leave the security of the past century behind and boldly go forth. If you want a crystal clear sign, then look at the death of the hipster. Ruling the fashion landscape since the early 2000s, the combo of vintage pastiche, emerging technology and ironic, ugly-on-purpose styling defined the first decade of the millennium with one foot in the past and one foot in the future. Now, having exhausted every ironic retro reference, we’re ready to go full speed into the 2000s. Continue reading
Leaving aside if there’s anything ‘new’ being said at Saint Laurent, on a basic ‘want’ level there’s plenty I found to love from the menswear SS15 show. Admittedly, the menswear appealed more than the women’s pieces, but then I’ve always had a thing for Cuban-heel boots and rocker jeans and those ultra-thin scarf arrangements. Continue reading
Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, featuring the brands currently buzzing on my radar…
1. COS X SERPENTINE GALLERIES
COS is marking its collab with the Serpentine Galleries with a special pair of shoes. Digging through the archive, it has reworked a classic Oxford with a stepped in back, with sales revenue donated to the Serpentine Trust. A good enough reason to invest, no? Buy them online or at the Regent street store… Continue reading
I always like the sneak previews of womenswear that Prada shows on its menswear runway. As the men’s collections are shown a full three months ahead of women’s it gives us a good idea of the direction, not just for Prada but for fashion overall*.
This collection led us back to Miuccia’s 60-70s roots, with a more everyday look than her sometimes fantastical offerings. It also reminded me a lot of 90s Prada. The camel sweater, rigid denim and crystal-adorned slingbacks get my vote… Continue reading
Is it just me or did the Topman Design SS15 show at LC: M feel like Madchester-meets-Britpop through an Elizabeth Peyton filter? Gorgeous colour palette, psychedelic print-clashing, sensitive-boy casting, floppy flares and wayward moptop haircuts. That’s your indie-boy look sorted for 2015…
It’s the eve of London Collections: Men, so the latest DRG STYLE INDEX is a little bit menswear focussed. Here’s my ranking of the brands on my radar this week…
1) J CREW X PUBLIC SCHOOL
Every good menswear designer knows there’s more money to be made from womenswear. So naturally it makes sense for (newly crowned CFDA Menswear Designer Of The Year) Public School to work with J Crew on this womenswear collab. Continue reading
Eighties cocktail girl is back. So says Marc Jacobs, who for the first time presented his resort 2015 collection as a mini show. Styling deets to note: semi-sheer black hose, classic T-strap stilettos (echoing Givenchy aw14), grown up up-dos and Friday-nights-at-Tramp makeup. Dresses are short and tailored, not body con. Continue reading