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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PREVIEW: Isabel Marant for H&M

So check this out. Juuust as I'm preparing (for an hour) to turn off my computer and go to sleep, I see a Facebook post about some leaked lookbook photos from Isabel Marant's collection for H&M and boom! - it's like a triple espresso has been injected in my veins.

I can still remember an early morning this June like it was yesterday - I'm doing my mandatory social networking before washing my face or brushing my teeth and stumble upon a tweet from Style.com that Marant is collaborating with H&M. My hapiness was immeasurable. A fashion guy's version of Christmas morning.

Although I had a pretty good idea of what the collection's gonna look like, Isabel still managed to blow my mind and make me start saving money starting now. She basically did her version of Best Of and I sort of want every single piece.



  • Ikat print jeans...for boys AND girls. CHECK! 
  • Oversized jackets...interchangable between sexes. CHECK! 
  • Fuzzy sweaters. CHECK! 
  • And get this! Remember those tasselled boots everyone and their mother was rocking a few years ago? She recreated them too, of course.

How more genius can you get, Marant?

For more pieces, visit Racked.

Runway Review: Anthony Vaccarello Spring 2014

I hope you guys are ready for the fashion grand finale, because today marks the beginning of Paris Fashion Week. After three weeks of either great (Marc, Christopher and Miuccia) or mediocre (I won't name any names - you know them) collections, I am ready to be floored in the City of Light (come on Raf, Karl and Marc again).

Before we get to the greats, let's start with some up-and-comers, the definition of which is Anthony Vaccarello. His designer abilities have been buzzed about for a few years now (thanks to the gorgeous gams of Anja Rubik and J.Lo), but never as much as in the past few days. If you've been keeping up with some fashion insiders on Twitter like I have, you've probably heard that Donatella Versace is rumored to be courting young Anthony as a future Versus collaborator. Considering the talent that has co-designed with fashion's fiercest blonde (Christopher Kane and J.W. Anderson) for this youthful brand, it is quite a covetable position. All I can say is that today's presentation was a stellar audition.

Vaccarello's vision of a woman is, let's be honest, pure sex. Yup, sexy in the way real guys want women to be - with plenty of skin on show. Even though he is such a young designer, his definition of femininity is becoming clearer and, may I say, hotter each season.

The strength that his pieces encompass always came from military references and so it was this time. Just look at the show opener - Anja Rubik (well, of course) rocked a Roitfeld shirt (translation: menswear tailoring, half-buttoned, rolled up sleeves), a micro skirt (slits on the side, obviously) and a navy military jacket (golden buttons and all).

For Vaccarello, buttons weren't just functional, they were also decorative. Perhaps his version of heavy embellishments we've seen on a lot of runways. Also, they totally evoked Versace from the Gianni heyday. 

If you're not as daring as Vaccarello's fantasy woman, there were options for you as well. For example, the slightly oversized, but still perfect looking suit (worn by Zuzanna Bijoch) was paired with a net tank top (sportswear influences are EVERYWHERE) and shackle heels (I coined that; look at the pictures).

Vaccarello took to the streets with his cool usage of denim. Think super acid-washed jeans, mini skirt and jacket (worn all together only for the bravest fashionistas). 

Some of the most interesting pieces were inspired by sailor women. Get this, an asymmetric white vest paired with a sliced up navy mini with white and red leather straps that are basically there to attach the front of the skirt to its back. Haute!

As I said, if this was an audition collection, there's nothing left for us to do but to keep our fingers crossed for Vaccarello × Versus. I believe it would a match made in fashion heaven.

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Runway Review: Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2014

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana love their comfort zone. Coincidentally, their happy place is also the place they come from - Sicily. This time around, the focus was more on the historic aspects Greece had on Sicilian culture in a very fun and quite literal way.

Cue the ruin prints (and I'm not even kidding). The show opener was a classy T-shirt dress with a magnified print of an ancient ruin. Dolce & Gabbana's continuation of playing with prints was an amazing way to introduce the entire collection. What surprised me the most was the literal way the prints were conveyed (digitalized, then printed) on to the fabric. Very Katrantzou-y.

What came next was in complete contrast to the sleek opening numbers - floral applique (hand printed silk, BTW) placed on uber-feminine A-line dresses (preferably with bell sleeves).

Continuing the history references, Dolce and Gabbana definitely had money on their mind. Ancient coins, that is. They adorned basically every single look - whether applied on loose updos, serving as oversize belt buckles or printed on to matching tops and skirts.

I dare you not to think lace and animal print when I say Dolce & Gabbana. Well, the guys (finally) decided to give the old tiger a rest, but the lace and lingerie were on show. Oh, and so were the white dots on black transparent chiffon dresses.

There is always a cinematic feel to a Dolce & Gabbana collection. It's like Fellini directs their every show. From the classical music playing in the background to the stunning catwalkers such as Catherine McNeil and Kate King evoking Italian screen sirens in their seductive slip dresses - some looks were simply dreamy.

Famously, instead of a classic defilé, Dolce and Gabbana send their girls out stomping at the end of the show dressed in a themed look. This time it was gold. It seemed very appropriate, considering it is the color of Olympic champions.

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Runway Review: Marni Spring 2014

There has been some quirk missing in Milan this week. Aside from Prada, the only taste of it we got was at Marni and even there it was very purified and (surprisingly) minimal.

I always find Consuelo Castiglioni's collections for Marni tiny fashion gems that not everyone wears (or even knows) except for fashion's top echelon (read: Anna Wintour). After I've done a little research on this cute, but enigmatic brand (circa their H&M collab ages ago), I found out that the reason why I always love their shows is British Vogue fashion editor Lucinda Chambers who works with Casitglioni styling every show.

Castiglioni's amazing design was again enhanced by Chambers' styling talents as was witnessed with the first look that walked on the runway - gigantic white palazzo trousers and a simple black tee sound really basic (and let's face it - they are) but the amazing accessories they were paired with are everyhing but. Get this: a freakin' visor (in love with those, for some weird reason), an architectural necklace (sunglasses and lipsticks were involved) and, I kid you not, platform flip-flops. Quirky perfection.

Prints have always had a huge role in Marni collections (especially spring/summer ones), but this time they took the backseat. The specimens we did get a glimpse of were stunners, though. Abstract tulips and orchids climbing their way up sleek, belted silhouettes were ultra-modern and are sure to wind up on Anna's shopping list.

The last bit of the collection was in full bloom - literally. Painted little flowers were applied on classic shaped tops and skirts. Oh, and if that wasn't fabulous enough, guess what they were accesorized with? Jewel encrusted visors. A fashion hole in one, I say.

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Runway Review: Emilio Pucci Spring 2014

After the more-than-minimal Jil Sander show, the time came for something completely opposite - the maximalism of Peter Dundas for Emilio Pucci. Since he took the helm of this famed Italian fashion house, he produced great collections season after season and according to the one I saw last night - he's showing no signs of stopping.

Sexy being in his M.O., the first look (worn by Joan Smalls) came as no surprise - high voltage tapestry print skirt and a leather version of a rock T-shirt. Hot music festival somewhere in the Mediterranean?

The 80s rock'n'roll vibe of the collection increased with each new exit - wildly colored harem pants (it is Pucci, after all), inevitable crop tops and gigantic buckled belts proved to be garments of fashion champions.

I also detected quite a lot of street influences which was a great change of pace considering last season (sexy collegiate girls). Mesh, jersey-like tops, sporty short-shorts (in visually screeching silver) and even freakin' raincoats. What was great about them was that I could imagine girls and women alike clamoring to get their hands on them.

One of the main characteristics of this show was that it's perfect (and I do mean perfect) for the young starlets of Hollywood. Exhibit A. A dress consisting of a tiny bodice and a beautfully draped silk skirt in a vivid color. Exhibit B. A fabulous sequined mini in rainbow shades. Exhibit C. A black column gown with silver, couture-like sleeves is made for the Golden Globes or even the Emmys tongiht.

Peter Dundas is kind of known for his rock'n'roll, party boy lifestyle and it apparently serves him, and the house of Pucci, extremely well.

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Runway Review: Jil Sander Spring 2014

Let's face it: Milan is not a minimalist fashion capital. It's best known for high voltage glamour (a.k.a. animal prints chez Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana) and luxury to the fullest (Gucci and Fendi), so today's Jil Sander show felt like a fish out of water...in sort of a good way.

Ever since she took back the helm of her fashion maison, I've been waiting for Jil Sander to really wow me. Don't get me wrong, the past two collections were lessons in crisp minimalism, but there was no kick to them. Unfortunately, the same can be said of today's presentation.

Firstly, I was kind of ticked off when the official site broke down so I couldn't enjoy the show how I like it - in real time. I had to take to my Twitter account and refresh over and over again for new Instagram shots from the show. Now that I've vented, let's talk about why you're really here - the clothes.

Sander confirmed one of the major trend by merely opening show. Oh yeah, you guessed it - the crop top. The look was put together in a cool way - a fitted cropped blazer covered the top paired with borrowed-from-the-boys capris.

It should come as no surprise that the color palette was monochromatic, aside from a few nude colored coats. Clean? Yes. Crisp? Yes. A tad boring? Yes. A jolt of color was provided by (only) three looks with a wild camo-meets-collage print in primary colors.

Sander stuck to the silhouette most in her comfort zone - the belted one. After last season's statement buckles, this time it was a tad more streamlined (if possible) and 90s inspired.

Minimalism is well and fine but after seeing this show, I can't help but wonder if minimal is at times just code for not enough?

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Runway Review: Roberto Cavalli Spring 2014

Just as I was beginning to think that the fashion world was over with 20s as their go-to decade, in comes Roberto Cavalli with his latest show and messes up my entire theory. The Gatsby era is apparently alive and well on this designer's inspiration board.

The show didn't start out with flapper inspired looks, though. The first girl that stormed the runway was dressed in an exotic skin metallic leather jacket paired with low-waisted embellished pants. The craftsmanship that went into both pieces was quite impressive (as per usual).

Cavalli's versions of Daisy Buchanan came soon after and were nice enough renditions of this, by now, overwrought theme. The looks I loved the most were the smokey embroidered slip dresses with a fur stole in the same shade casually thrown over the model's shoulder.

I feel that an item that is sort of becoming a Cavalli staple is a really smart and skinny pantsuit (worn by the likes of Solange Knowles and Karolina Kurkova). Plenty of those were on show, only done in much calmer shades of green, blue and pink with the inevitable impeccable tailoring. Some of those tuxedo jackets could be considered investment pieces, because you can wear them with basically everything you have in your closet.

The looks that really evoked summer for me were the billowing caftan dresses in muted prints which gave them a vintage-y feel so perfect for lounging somewhere in the south of France.

Tuxedo jackets and cigarette pants aside, the reason most women look to Roberto Cavalli is his eveningwear and boy, they will have a lot to choose from for next spring. The gowns shown were pretty mild and tame for Cavalli - pastel hues, simple construction (a.k.a. no slits) and full coverage. What I feel were fresh additions were black and white crochet dresses that appeared as easy and light as lace. Needless to say, I'll die if I see one of Cavalli's muses rocking one of the gowns with a fur stole...preferably in July or August.  

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