June 19, 2011

what menswear tells us about womenswear.

With Men’s Fashion Week in full swing in Milan, we’re getting a first look at the Spring/Summer 2012 trends before Women’s and Ready-to-Wear hits the catwalk later this July and September. 

In the past, menswear has been a good predictor of what we can expect to see in a designer’s womenswear collections: The same bright colors, buckles and plaids in Burberry Prorsum’s A/W 2011-12 men’s line were matched in all their yellow, orange and bright blue glory in the womenswear line, and both Dolce & Gabbana’s menswear and womenswear lines during S/S 2010 featured tapered pants.

Now that day two of Men’s Fashion Week has ended, what can we expect to see in womenswear this year?

                                                     Jil Sander

                      Jil Sander Men Spring Summer 2012

Remaining true to the German designer’s reputation of minimalist styles, Jil Sander showcased straightforward designs in its S/S 2012 collection — square-cut tops, rectangular and cylindrical accessories, clear plastic rain gear and dark colors like grey and black were pervasive throughout the show. Pops of color made their way through accessories and some tops. Marble-knit sweaters, optical illusion-like patterns and snakeskin accessories seem to be the theme of the line, and we are likely to see them reappear in the womenswear line.


                       Prada Men Spring Summer 2012 Floral Pant

Prada didn’t hold back this season with the bright colors that are so synonymous with summertime. Dare I say — obnoxious — florals (no, not the pretty, delicate florals we’ve seen on chiffon dresses every spring) are splattered across pants, coats, button-ups and the like. The neutrals in each look hardly mute or even come close to balancing the in-your-face patterns we haven’t thought to approach since our preschool days, and the shiny patent-leather shoes, each topped off with colorful pom-poms, hardly help. It’s a daring move, and though I’ll admit the pants make me cringe (I will say I like the shape of the trousers this season!), I’m looking forward to how Prada incorporates the pattern into its womenswear line. Oftentimes, women’s lines can get away with being even more creative and outrageous, so who knows what’s next for women? I’m expecting the same colors of footwear and fun, bold accessories, paired with neutral cardigans, much like the ones in the men’s line.

                                               Burberry Prorsum

                      Burberry Prorsum Men Spring Summer 2012 Tribal

Like Prada, Burberry Prorsum didn’t shy away from colors, however the earthy tones made the collection appear much more natural than Prada’s borderline neon hues. This season, head designer Christopher Bailey made an effort to resort back to craftsmanship. As a result, his designs appeared to be tribal-inspired. “I think just the idea of making things by hand immediately becomes ethnic,” he said in a backstage interview with the Washington Post. Though “ethnic” has often meant intricate and complex (think Dries Van Noten S/S 2010), this collection captures the same native feel without extensive detailing. The colors and shapes are clean, clear and geometrical. I’m expecting similar neck-pieces in the women’s collection and tribal prints on accessories. 

Overall, from the designers who’ve presented their collections over the past two days, it looks like neutrals are still in — but are paired now with various colors of all shades. My prediction for the color of the season is orange. As for me? I think I’ll stick with with neutrals and of course, purple, which in my book has been the color of every season since A/W 1993, when I was in preschool and still wearing daringly loud florals.

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September 25, 2011

missoni for target: yay or nay?


On Sept. 13, Missoni premiered its low-budget designer collaboration with Target. Like fashion enthusiasts everywhere, I was excited to see the line in the flesh. Unlike fashion enthusiasts everywhere, I didn’t make the trip to Target the morning it launched — and I’m glad I didn’t.

With prices ranging from $3 to $600, the entire line was sold out of stores nationwide by early afternoon and Target’s website was down for a great portion of the day, with so many orders that many had to be canceled due to a shortage in stock.

But at such prices, what sort of quality can we expect of items that, in the real designer version, ranges in the thousands? 

A friend of mine managed to snag a silk print button-up. Even from a distance, it looked disappointing in person. The silk — if it could even be called that — had a cheap-looking sheen to it and the plastic pearly buttons were a bubble-gum pink. For a budget item, it’s not a horrible purchase, but to have the Missoni name attached to it is, in my opinion, a mistake on Missoni’s part. The zig-zag striped pattern so emblematic of the label was made too easily accessible and while it increases brand exposure, it does so in a way that showcases the brand as something less legitimate and less elite than I believe most high fashion designers may want to appear.

This isn’t to say that I think fashion should only be accessible to a specific demographic or audience; I think fashion is something we can all embody regardless of economic background or social situation. But fashion, particularly high fashion, is an art, and art is something that is made painstakingly, not in mass. Perhaps a partnership with Target was a smart business move on Missoni’s part, but the association with poor quality products and a mass production of its classic pattern is a blow to its brand.

Hopefully, Missoni will be able to detach itself from the collaboration, and its Spring 2012 line which showed in Milan this week serves as hope that the Target line will not stand out as the designer’s image this season. Its bright, eye-catching colors and free-flowing fabrics are stunning this season — so hopefully it’s this true talent that will stand at the forefront of the brand. 


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