Hermès Menswear Spring 2013

We’ve all heard it before “mother knows best”.  Well, we should start calling Veronique Nichanian, the French menswear designer of Hermès, “mom” because her spring 2013 men’s collection is perfection.  A woman designing men’s garments?  Don’t be skeptical – fashion knows no gender, and Nichanian really delivered.  She truly had man in mind when she was creating her new menswear collection because it focuses on what men want in their clothing: simplicity.

When it comes to the most basic item of clothing, the tee shirt is the obvious winner.  Nichanian incorporates tee shirts into the new Hermès menswear collection.  In an interview about her new collection with Agence France-Presse, she said, “[translated] A tee shirt for me is a piece I really love because it is a signature item of the 21st century.”  She couldn’t be more correct.  The tee shirt is iconic.  These aren’t just any average cotton tees, these Hermès tee shirts are crafted from lamb suede and crocodile.

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Overall, the color palette for this collection can be described as a marriage of navy and neutral tones.  Pouring rainbows of color onto garments for the sake of adding color is absolutely unnecessary.  Nichanian proves this by only adding three colors to the collection’s muted palette: red, blue, and yellow.  The primary color trio injects fun into the collection without being overwhelming.

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Nichanian revives the white suit for her spring collection.  The white suit is not meant for the office; it’s a symbol of easygoingness.  Higher breaks in the sleeve and cuff and higher armholes characterize her white suits.  Her suits give off an air of sophistication, yet at the same time easiness.  The entire Hermès Spring 2013 menswear collection embodies simplicity and freedom of being a man.

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Fendi Spring 2013

Fendi’s collection for Spring 2013, led by Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi, features pieces that are luxurious, modern and impeccably crafted. With the mix of geometric shapes and delicate blouses, it is clear that the designers wanted the collection to focus on bringing different elements together. The variety of multi-level skirts also highlight how duality is easily wearable and can be achieved by the everyday woman. Spring fashion is shaping up to be all about graphic and architectural pieces.

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The geometric structures are enhanced by the use of color blocking, a trend that is obviously here to stay. However, the bold mix of white, black, teal, peach and yellow add a refreshing new angle. Leather, fur and ruffles in combination with this fresh color palette create elegant, sophisticated pieces with an athletic sensibility.

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In an interview featured on the Fendi website, Lagerfeld said his inspiration for this collection was more abstract than in pervious shows. Instead of pulling ideas from nature, this concept arose from modern art and 3-diemensional effects. This is clearly evident the accessories. From the high block heels that feature metallic-cube embellishments to the redesigned Baguette and Peekaboo totes, Lagerfeld, as always, keeps the 87-year-old brand relevant and trend setting.

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Fendi effortlessly creates futuristic pieces while still retaining the luxurious feel that we have come to expect. Any woman who prefers sportier dresses, modern silhouettes and 3-D accessories will flock to this collection.

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All photos courtesy of Style.com

Alexander McQueen: Spring/Summer 2013

Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen, is quite the busy woman. In the past two and a half years, ever since the death of one of fashion’s most brilliant designers, Sarah Burton has been working hard. She has debuted consistent collections that have adhered to the aesthetic created by Lee McQueen, designed a highly lauded wedding dress for none other than the Duchess of Cambridge, and decided to open up a store on Savile Row, where McQueen first worked as an apprentice in a high-end tailor shop. And on top of her hectic work life, Burton is now pregnant and due in February.

Burton’s busy life style, her role as a true artist and hard worker in the fashion business, and her upcoming role as a mother seem to all converge in her newest collection, the Spring/Summer 2013 show, which debuted in Paris last week. The show, quite literally, was inspired by bees. Busy, buzzing bees battling it out to become the last Queen Bee standing. Of her collection, Burton reported to Vogue, “I don’t know what started it. Maybe female worker bees, like all of us in the studio.” Worker bees may have been Burton’s initial inspiration, but her final collection showcased Queen Bees, not worker bees. Gold jacquard suits influenced by Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, honeycomb tailored pants, and corset dresses showcased Burton’s expert tailoring skills. However, this collection illustrated more than Burton’s skill, it captured the creative spirit that seems to have finally moved her out of her predecessor’s shadow.

Image courtesy of vogue.com

Image courtesy of artnouveaushop.com
Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss

The hourglass structure of her dresses and the bustier tops evoke a feminine sensuality for which Burton is becoming known. Her color palette of black, gold, yellow, and white becomes more sensualized with the bright red that pops throughout her collection. Burton’s dresses also feature some daring necklines, like the exposed bustier under a swath of red and the plunging, navel-exposing neckline featured on another one of her printed red dresses. However, Burton always tempers this sensuality with a delicate femininity and an avant-garde aesthetic. For instance, all her models wear “bee-keeper” hats that obscure their faces but allow viewers to focus on the garments.

Image courtesy of vogue.com

Image courtesy of vogue.com

Burton’s breathtaking collection evolves from structured jackets and pants to the full-on whimsy of blooming dresses. Three dresses covered in yellow, red, and white flowers close Burton’s show. Although the avant-garde style of Alexander McQueen may be hard to replicate, Burton’s aesthetic can be easily copied. Mix edgy, more structured pieces with whimsical, flowing fabrics. Don’t be afraid to experiment with sexier necklines that push the limits but remain feminine. And lastly, try to incorporate a bright shade of red into your wardrobe—it can be as small as a cherry-red scarf or as extravagant as a scarlet ballroom gown.

Image courtesy of vogue.com

Image courtesy of vogue.com

Image courtesy of vogue.com

Burberry Prorsum Menswear Spring/Summer 2013

The English fashion mastermind Christopher Bailey took his Spring/Summer 2013 menswear collection of Burberry Prorsum to the runways of Milan.  The new menswear collection displays a variety of unexpected combinations: a blend of the traditional and the unconventional, a stunning juxtaposition of muted tones and metallic colors, and coupling of formal styling and casual dress.  Burberry Prorsum steered the collection in a direction that strayed away from the typical thoughts that are associated with spring and summer.  Instead of cliché floral prints that are predictable in spring collections, completely original prints gave life to several pieces in the collection without going over the top.  Take a look at these patterns.

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Paying tribute to its rainy and overcast homeland of England, Burberry Prorsum incorporated overcoats, jackets, and raincoats into this menswear collection.  While traditional neutral tones and shades of blues give color to some of the outerwear, the jackets and coats that are bound to turn heads are the ones that radiate with metallic tints.  In the three styles shown below, almost entirely muted outfits are infused with a single metallic piece.  This delicate styling displays not only the vast color palette of the collection, but also the range of materials used in the making of the pieces.  Burberry Prorsum has moved away from the pastels and solid colors that plague typical spring/summer fashions and chose dazzling colors to electrify the onlookers.

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

The formality of the garments in the collection varies greatly – ranging from cotton two-button suit jackets to men’s leather sandals.  The models, shown below, were styled in a manner than combined the formal and the casual.  Burberry Prorsum succeeded in designing a menswear collection that balances work and play.

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Image Courtesy of nymag.com

Diane von Furstenberg — Spring 2013

Diane von Furstenberg’s spring collection is not for those who shy away from color. The array of bold tropical colors and billowing silhouettes paint a picture of vacationing in the world’s most exotic locations – surely a testament to von Furstenberg’s extensive travel repertoire. Creative director, Yvan Mispelaere, and von Furstenberg’s inspiration for the collection titled, “Palazzo,” was von Furstenberg’s jetsetter lifestyle.

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With this collection, DVF brought the local fashions of Mumbai and New Delhi to the American fashion scene. The abundance of looks featuring long tunics and dresses paired with slim fitting trousers outnumber von Furstenberg’s signature piece, the wrap dress. Always known for her body-friendly pieces, the looks are pulled together with waist cinching metallic belts that create an hourglass figure.

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Keeping up with today’s ever-changing technological environment, the designer partnered with Google to debut their new Glass technology. The glasses that were worn by some of the models, and von Furstenberg herself, recorded behind-the-scenes footage that is featured in a short film about the show.

The combination of plunging necklines, bright color blocking and bold accessories exudes confidence, and is made for the self-assured, modern woman.  DVF effortlessly updates statement retro pieces and delivers a fantastic collection.

All photos courtesy of Style.com

D&G Spring 2013 RTW: Colors and Controversy

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the duo behind the ever-glamorous Dolce and Gabbana, debuted their Spring 2013 RTW collection in Milan this past week. A mix of vibrant colors, loose caftan silhouettes, and statement-grabbing accessories characterized their newest collection, which was inspired by Sicily, Domenico Dolce’s homeland. Dolce and Gabbana debuted eighty-five new looks that evoked a sense of casual chic on the beach, not too serious but still conscious of glamour. Particularly beautiful was the use of stripes in this collection. They popped up at various points, in all different forms, but somehow they never felt old or overused. Preview these three looks, in which stripes of all different colors and sizes are showcased.

Images courtesy of dolcegabbana.com

In addition to stripes, Dolce and Gabbana debuted eye-catching prints with scenes that directly spoke of Sicily. This dress, pictured below, has a particularly vibrant and complex print of the Pupi Siciliani, which are unique marionettes that represent the paladins or knights of King Charlemagne. The use of many divergent colors in the dress, both warm and cool, reflects the kaleidoscope of colors utilized in this collection’s palette. These graphic prints illustrate the technical talent of the designers but also show a movement toward incorporating technology into fashion. These prints, much like those of contemporary design team, Basso & Brooke, signal a movement away from overused patterns and simplistic prints. Instead, these designers encourage the fashion conscious to be daring—to choose prints or patterns that tell a story and make a complex statement of their own.

Image courtesy of dolcegabbana.com

Amid the cheery tone cast by a majority of the garments, however, was a problem that has caused much controversy in the past week. In some of the garments, most noticeably the graphic prints, and in the accessories, are images of a black woman that resemble the “mammy.” The mammy is an overweight, African-American woman who was known in post-bellum America as being content in her servitude. Characterized by her round eyes, exaggerated mouth, and full face, scholars today have noted how she is a stereotype created by white male artists and writers in post-bellum America. The mammy is a stereotype that demeans the worth of African-American women and essentially desexualizes them. Why, then, would this image be used in a collection about returning to Sicily?

Image courtesy of shine.yahoo.com

According to Dolce and Gabbana’s official website, swide.com, the dark heads portrayed are not images of a mammy but that of Moorish people: “The head is inspired by traditional Moorish people, a term used to describe the Medieval Muslim inhabitants of Sicily—a place that consistently inspires Dolce & Gabbana designs and the native country of Domenico Dolce.” So while the use of the Mammy image might not have been intentional, it certainly has stirred up discussion about the use of racial stereotypes in fashion and brings up concerns about fetishizing and objectifying other cultures.

Although you would not want to incorporate any of those ambiguous racially charged images into your fall wardrobe at UNC, the other looks presented by D&G show that summer is not over yet! Keep mixing colors, both warm and cool, pile on the earrings and headscarves, make use of stripes, and try a graphic print that tells a story.

Sources Used:

“Moorish Heads Ceramics on the DG SS13 Runway.” Swide. Dolce & Gabbana, 23 Sep 2012. Web. 30 Sep 2012. <http://www.swide.com/luxury-magazine/Faces/Artists/caltagirone-ceramics-in-ss-2013-women-fashion-show-dolcegabbana-collection/2012/9/23&gt;.

Morgan, Jo-Ann. “Mammy the Huckster.” American Art. 9.1 (1995): 86-107. Web. 30 Sep. 2012.

Hot Hues

Reed Krakoff $590

Tory Burch $325

Spring is in the air in Chapel Hill and all I can think about is spring fashion! The doldrums of winter are finally behind us and it is time to reawaken our inner fashionistas. One of my favorite trends for this season is electric color. What better way to jump-start our spring fever than to pile on the neon yellows, pinks, oranges and greens? The designers seem to be telling us that we shouldn’t be afraid to go bold with these colors. They are meant to be mixed and matched, and nothing is “too much.” An easy way to achieve this look is to find radiant accessories that can be paired with any outfit to spice it up a bit. Neiman Marcus has a great selection of luminous accessories by top designers (you may want to look elsewhere for items that are less pricey). But these items give you a good idea of accessories to look for when out shopping for your new spring wardrobe. Good luck!

Dolce & Gabbana $2445

Kendra Scott $75

Oscar de la Renta $345

Oscar de la Renta $995