Runway Review: Lanvin Spring 2014

Everybody loves Lanvin! And why wouldn't you? Alber Elbaz's collections are stocked with little gems in stunning colors, flattering shapes and that unmistakable va va voom.

This season it was all about metallics. When the girls were strutting down the runway under the flourescent lighting, they shined like those previously mentioned gems. Elbaz opened his show with berry hued stunners such as pleated, knee-length dresses cinched at the waist with wide belts or, to the opposite end of the tailoring spectrum, drop-waisted flapper-like dresses.

I believe that one of the reasons women are so infatuated with Lanvin is that season after season they're offered total looks that they can incorporate in their respective closets. Some of the pieces that'll be flying off the shelves include gorgeously draped tulip skirts and easy to wear metallic jumpsuits.

For the tamer of Elbaz fans, there was an incredible offering of signature monochromatic looks such as impeccably tailored LBDs each woman should add to their collection.

If you're more of a pants gal, you will be wearing metallic slacks come next spring. Slimmer cuts (a la Hedi) came in mesmerizing textured fabrics that will take you from coorporate meetings to cocktail hour with basically no effort necessary.

Red carpet dresses were also quite diverse. From a pink ruffled piece (with a metallic sheen, obviously) worn by Edie Campbell to the ultra tight and sexy bronze dress seen on Soo Joo Park, they covered the entire spectrum of a woman's sartorial personality.

To make a long story short, Alber Elbaz proved to us yet again that the Lanvin woman - is every woman.

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Runway Review: Balmain Spring 2014

The 80s seem to be a creatively lucrative era for Balmain's designer Olivier Rousteing. After last season's Dynasty inspired collection, this time around he decided to mix 90s Chanel with signature 80s shapes to great effect, I might add.

Although I (perhaps foolishly) considered houndstooth a very wintery print, Rousteing opened his spring show with a kimono-like houndstooth leather jacket and a swingin' skirt in the same fabric.

Adored by many fashionistas for his ultra-cool streetwear, Olivier delivered in that manner as well. The one word I'd use to describe it would be Rihanna. Literally, the woman could get (and by get I really do mean get, not buy) every single piece and rock it as only she can. For example, leather baseball jackets, dungarees and gingham slacks are begging to take the streets by storm.

The aforementioned 90s Chanel influence was visible in pieces such as a blush pink skirt suit and a leather quilted jacket with large golden buttons. Rousteing gave them a personal touch by accessorizing with huge chain chokers and cuffs (Rih, take note).

Nothing says streetwear more than denim and there was plenty of it on show at Balmain. From an off-the-shoulder top with multiple chains applied to the street style magnet that are dungarees. Just take your pick.

Although every single look that we've seen on the runway is more than appropriate for a red carpet outing, the ones that will surely attract the spotlight most had feathers. Because nothing says party time like marabou, right?

This may not have been the most cutting edge fashion we've seen (or will see) this month, but it definitely represented Rousteing's vision for Balmain pretty well. Hopefully, it will move on to another decade soon.

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Runway Review: Balenciaga Spring 2014

Rarely has there been more controversy over a designer taking over a major fashion house than Alexander Wang becoming fashion director of Balenciaga. Last season every editor and buyer was sitting at the edge of their seat at Wang's debut show and left with a smile on their face because the collection was a great success, both creatively and commercially. After an equally acclaimed resort show, those same editors and buyers could approach this show with a certain amount of confidence knowing that Wang wouldn't let them down. And he surely didn't

After the strict fall/winter collection, Wang loosened things up a bit when it comes to the color palette, not so much the tailoring. I really admire his dedication to the architectural aspect Cristobal Balenciaga is most known for. Even flirty pieces that opened the show such as pastel hued crop tops and shorty shorts had this great volume to them that is unlike anything we've seen this season.

Crisp white, the dominating non-color of the season, ruled at Balenciaga too and so did Wang's fabric of choice - leather. Not so long ago, at his New York Fashion Week presentation, Alexander sent out laser-cut leather shirts and gloves. He continued his fascination with this fabric at Balenciaga, in a more demure and chic way. T-shirt dresses with micro laser-ations (get what I did there?) seemed kind of conservative in the front, but the slits in the back made them interesting and, obviously, sexy.

Alexander Wang also decided to resurrect a trend I hoped was finally gone - the peplum. High waisted cropped pants in an interesting black and white print were adorned with a peplum that was a product of intricate folding (a recurring motif of the collection).

I would never describe any of Wang's collections as romantic, but this one came pretty close. Not only did the pastels throw me off (in good, surprising way), but some of the girls had bows in their hair and not to mention the triplet of corset dresses (satin was also involved).

On the completely opposite side of the spectrum, Wang also showed ultra-chic and, dare I say, perfect tuxedo dresses in black and white. As far as minimalism goes, those were the best specimens of the season.

Alexander ended the show on quite a high note. Short white dresses that resembled architectural masterpieces with transparent white overlays to add a dose of lightness. When Daria Werbowy closed the show in a stunning pale blue, off-the-shoulder dress it was one of those awe-worthy moments I so desperately desired. Thank you, Mr. Wang!

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Runway Review: Rochas Spring 2014

Although I do consider myself a fashion connoisseur (kind of), I have to admit that I wouldn't be as aware of Rochas if I wasn't such an avid American Vogue reader. Grace Coddington includes at least one piece in each editorial she edits and Anna Wintour has been known to wear their pieces. Hopefully Marco Zanini and the coorporate heads cut them a nice check...monthly.

Even though I'm not that familiar with Zanini's work for Rochas, I can detect his aesthetic from a mile away. One word that might most accurately describe it would be ladylike. Think knee length pencil skirts and glamorous A-line dresses (you might rember how much they were used in Vogue's September issue). This time around these Rochas staples were done in lighter fabrics, as well as colors.

The color palette was extremely soft and feminine a.k.a. pastel. Butter yellow, sky blue, rose pink and minty green organza seem to have dominated on Zanini's mood board. 50s style T-shirts (tiny collars, buttoned all the way to the top) and shift dresses were predictably paired with three quarter sleeved satin jackets and opera coats, but some of the more imaginative loooks were the ones that included satin baseball jackets (one of my favorite pieces) and shiny plasticized cocoon coats. Additional shimmer was provided by crystal and mirror embellishments on, well, everything.

Rochas is only the third show from Paris that I've covered this season, but I believe I'm picking up on a trend or two confirmed by Mr. Zanini's presentation. First up: brocade. After Dries Van Noten's rich gold, Zanini showed more demure brocade florals perhaps inspired by vintage wallpapers. Can't wait for Anna to rock one of those skirts.

Also on the trend front, after rather sporty collections seen in Milan, French designers are going the opposite direction - a romantic one. And what is more romantic than ruffles? Marco Zanini decided to keep things restrained by applying them on simply cut dresses. Not very successfully, I have to say.

The accessories presented were the real stunners. Oversize costume jewellery necklaces that looked like gigantic crystals and perhaps the quirkiest shoe we've seen this season - ballet flats with marabou feathers applied. When the models walked the runway, all eyes were on their feet.

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Runway Review: Dries Van Noten Spring 2014

The one thing anyone who knows even a little bit about fashion can and should appreciate is Dries Van Noten's consistency as a designer. I've been involved in fashion for about half a decade and I have yet to see a Dries collection I wouldn't deem great (at the least). Thankfully, his winning streak continued for the umteenth time.

I bet the reason so many women adore Van Noten is that his designs always liberate and never constrict. The few opening pieces proved my theory - a roomy tank dresses (with golden leaves on the sides, a motif I'll touch on in further detail), menswear inspired pants and a knee-length flared skirt (gold again).

Always excellent, but never a top trendsetter, Van Noten did manage to touch on something I feel will be BIG for next spring - tasselled ornaments a la 19th century curtains (seen at Marc Jacobs).

Something that I felt was very new for Dries' gigantic opus of work was dainty and vintage-y lace and ruffles. Plenty of ruffles. For example, he closed the show with these (some might say) OTT dresses with exaggerated tiers placed on one hip or shoulder. All I can say is that it will take a very confident lady (Cate or Nicole, ahem) to pull those stunners off with ease.

There was also a subdued luxury about the collection represented most in tapestry inspired tops and rich looking golden brocades. 

Although his pieces may not be necessarily splashed across a million covers and he isn't worn by the hottest young starlets, Dries Van Noten has one of the clearest visions of what a modern 21st century woman should look like. And what I like most about that vision is that it's always based on personality and intellect. Nowadays, that's too big of a rarity.

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