Milan Fashion Week Fall 2014: Good and Bad

Oh Milan, how quiet thou were. I get that the Italian collections are always rather drowsy, but this season was a little too invested in nap-time. Still, the good shown through and the bad, well, let’s just say it was a little fuzzy.

Comments follow pictures.

THE GOOD

armani

Giorgio Armani.  Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some Giorgio, but seriously, all he’s been doing lately is going back to the archives and blowing the cobwebs off his greatest hits. They are good, but really, where is the innovation? Having said that, these two jackets are so clean and beautifully designed, I had to recognize them. I love the bound buttonhole details and the cut is insanely flattering. Now, Mr. Armani, could we please move on from this little trip down memory lane?

Blumarine

Blumarine. Overall, the collections in Milan were awash with obvious marketability, but there is something pleasantly fresh about this look. It’s the best, shinyest, disco dress ever and with just enough sex appeal to make even the most conservative dancing queen take notice.

Dsquared

DSquared2. Ignore the hat. I’m kind of in love with the opulence that the Caten boys shove on the runway for fall. I particularly like when they mix the jewelry into the clothes. It somehow works well for them. This look would be over the top on any other runway, but for them, it’s almost understated.  It’s a call-back to the 60’s with the elevated waist, but I could see this gown walking any contemporary red carpet with aplomb.

Gucci

Gucci. I rarely ever give the Gucci collection a second glance, but this season was terribly good. The house focused on clean sophistication and this coat is the perfect archetype of that refinement. It’s smart, flattering and above all, completely wearable. It’s styled beautifully and this is a prime example of how simple does not necessarily equal boring.

Moschino

Moschino. I’ll admit that I kinda didn’t think that Jeremy Scott was a good fit at the house of Moschino when I saw his Ramen noodle evening wear, but then I really studied the “wearable” end of the collection and it finally clicked – Scott is PERFECT for Moschino. The collection was good, not great, but good. There were plenty of hot sellers in the line-up and there were tons of pieces that hearkened back to Franco Moschino’s hey-day. Take this denim strapless number, for example, it could be a direct copy from the archives, but it’s cool, witty and above all, fresh. There were some low moments, as you’ll see in the bad section, but overall, it was a fun romp through reckless abandonment.

Ports 1961

Ports 1961. Rarely does a gray tweed suit make me sit up and take notice, but I couldn’t help myself with this look from Ports. The cut is classic, but updated. The fabric is practical for fall and the pieces, on their own, can be teamed with separates and changed up. Overall, these are great pieces with massive appeal.

Stella Jean

Stella Jean. This collection was rife with glorious prints with an ethnic slant. The lines were bright, colorful and above all, happy. Using color for a fall collection is always a gamble, but hopefully, the stores will see past numbers and invest in clothes that are fun to wear.

THE BAD:
What’s with all the terrible fur?

Alberta Ferretti

Alberta Ferretti. You know what? What? Chicken butt!

And then we all laughed at the fact that this dress looks like a hen’s anus.

Fendi

Fendi. Whoa honey, let’s get you back to the Soviet Union so you can harvest more wheat for the motherland.

Francesco Scognamiglio bad

Francesco Scognamiglio. “And next on the runway, you’ll see the designer’s inspiration was peeked when he watched Gorilla’s in the Mist and wondered why his models couldn’t have arms like that.”

marni

Marni. Somewhere, in the world, a million, skinned Muppets shiver in the night.

Moschino

Moschino. See what I mean about going a little too far over the edge? Scott is the right man for the job, but at one point, you’re charging $1200 for SpongeBob knickers and I guarantee you that no one will be laughing.

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea indeed!

No. 21

No. 21. Somewhere, in the world, a grizzly bear shivers… DAMMIT!

I get that people want fur coats, but honestly, what is the point of wearing a Chewbacca bath mat on your back? Sure, it’s warm, but you’re going to get a ton of people asking you if Han shot first.

Pucci

Pucci. A fashion equation!!

Pucci equation

OK kids, Paris is up next.

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FASHION BONUS: BAD PANTS

As the current fashion calendar rages on like a beige hurricane, I present an alarming trend I spotted at the New York shows – CRAPPY PANTS!

If terrible, bifurcated garments were a disease, the CDC would have quarantined the entire city from the first stitch!

Get your flu shots and settle in ’cause here come some terrible trousers!

Captions follow images.

AdamSelman bad

Adam Selman. Cowgirl. You’re doing it wrong.

Assoulin bad pants

Assoulin. I guess she’s earned her stripes.

Christian Siriano bad

Christian Siriano. Yes, because in the dead of a New York winter, every woman wants the warmth and protection of a nude thong that doesn’t match her skin tone.

Edun bad

Edun. Dear Lord, the sweat pant has evolved. The end is nigh.

Hood by air bad

Hood by Air. Hot pants on a man without the slightest slice of irony, umm… yeah, I got nothing.

LIM bad pants

LIM. I cant tell if these are the wrong size or if the Incredible Shrinking Woman had a kid.

Rucci bad

Ralph Rucci. These look like the designer flayed he skin from her legs, shoved her on the runway and told her to make it work.

Wang pants bad

Alexander Wang. Yeah, but what about the length of skin between the boot and the hem? HOW WILL HER SHINS AND CALVES SURVIVE THE COLD MR. WANG????

Milan is on the way.

Hooray.

New York Fashion Week Fall 201: The Good

Like I said earlier, It was a lackluster season for the Big Apple, but a few rays of sunshine shown through the dense fog of blandness.

New York: THE GOOD

Comments follow pictures.

GaryGraham_ good

Gary Graham – it was difficult to pick just one piece from this collection. I love how dark and studied the entire line is. The colors are rich and the cuts are inspired. It’s like they were imagined by a futurist’s vision of the past. I know that makes no sense, but take my word for it, the collection is beautiful.

Nicholas K, Ready to wear, Fall Winter, 2014, New York

Nicholas K. – Like Graham, it really isn’t about one specific piece, but rather the totality of the collection. This is the second season in a row that I like the collection, even the weird looks.  This coat/jacket thing is a great example of how a little ingenuity can go far with the cut of a garment. It’s just this side of odd, but still completely wearable.

Assoulin good

Assoulin – I love this blouse. It is not easy to update the basic white shirt, but Assoulin did a fantastic job this season. It is cool, modern and with a couple of trips to the gym a week, very wearable.

Donna Karan good

Donna Karan – This was an anniversary year for Donna and she went through the archives with voracity! The collection was a clean compendium of past seasons’ best pieces, so to pull one look was a bit tough. I chose this dress because it highlights her beautiful work with devore velvet and how wonderfully strong her customer can be. This is sex appeal without being vulgar.

Jill Stuart

Jill Stuart – I love Stuart’s collection season after season, but often it recedes to the back because she doesn’t get that much press. She consistently creates wearable pieces that sell and this season was no exception. I love this dress for its honest simplicity. It is the purest definition of the Little Black Dress, but with a smart twist. I personally think the boots are a bit heavy, but overall this dress is a simple knockout.

JonathanSimkhai good

Jonathan Simkhai – I have a thing for Japanese clothes. I love the rigor that they reflect and I kinda fell in love with these pants that remind me of warrior hakamas. Working forward facing pleats is always a challenge because of how they walk, but the strict lines of the pinstripes paired with the geometry of the top made sense to me.

MBMJ good

MBMJ – LUELLA BARTLEY IS BACK!! OK, I’m calm now. The totality of the collection was good. It was youthful enough to hit the customer base, but approachable enough to entice new glances. This bow wrapped capelet is typical Luella and sure to be a hit in the stores. The dress, eh, it’s a bit simple, but works in the context of the entire line. I can’t wait to see what they are going to do next season.

Philosophy good

Philosophy – LOVE it! It’s the coolest, most updated tuxedo you’ll want to own next fall. It’s a new classic and just different enough to get you noticed without anyone pointing for all the wrong reasons.

Ralph Lauren Collection, Ready To Wear, Fall Winter, 2014, New York

Ralph Lauren – I hate to admit it, but I loved the Ralph Lauren collection this season. It was smart, sophisticated and pulled together.  This opened the collection and frankly, dropped the mic. This dress is a beautiful example of line and cut flowing harmoniously together in a crystal clear river of design. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to turn myself into the creative writing police.

Theory good

Theory – Ignore the skirt because I have no idea what’s happening with it. I love any designer that can throw a monkey wrench into tradition and have it turn out an updated classic. This jacket gives said tradition a new lightness without an over-studied view of design. It’s clean, refined and mostly, interesting.

Zac Posen good

Zac Posen – WHAT THE HELL??? How did he make the list??!?

I REALLY don’t want to admit that I kinda liked this collection, I SAID KINDA!!!!! But, I think this suit is one of the purest looks on the runways this season. It’s classic tailoring with Posen’s ubiquitous seaming. It leans on the side of simple, but this simplicity will never be read as boring. GOD DAMMIT ZAC!!!

Thom Browne good

Thom Browne – No, I’m not inhaling huge clouds of marijuana as I write this. Yes, I know this look is ridiculous, but hear me out.  Thom Browne knows how to make clothes. If you think those sleeves are in any way, shape or form easy to draft and construct, you’re drunk. This suit shows a level of design skill that is VERY much lacking in fashion today. It will (maybe) be played down for the stores, but ultimately, he is selling an idea. My only qualm is that he could stand to do less of this and focus more on approachable clothes with these details, but at this point, I need a drama fix left vacant by the haute couture shows, and Browne is fitting the bill nicely.

OK peeps, I’m fastidiously working on my Forgotten Traditions piece and will do an update In a few days.

London fashion week is up next, but I’ll probably skip it unless there is a riot or something, then Milan and finally Paris.

See you then!

New York Fashion Week Fall 2014: The Bad

New York fashion week is a thing of the past and It was terribly mundane it its delivery. I know New York is all about marketability, but I’m a staunch believer that simple doesn’t have to be boring.

This round, I did find more positives than negative, so there may be hope for the city yet.

Having said that, let’s start with the crap!

NEW YORK: THE BAD

Captions follow pictures.

MPatmos bad

M. Patmos – It looks like she lost a fight with a raccoon, but snatched some of its fur in retaliation.

Vfiles bad

Vfiles – She looks like the suicidal mascot of an inner tube factory.

Herrera bad

Carolina Herrera – Oh dear. I love Herrera’s individualism, but honestly, this is just sad. The print is jarring and the cut looks like something Maude gave away in a garage sale.

Hilfiger Bad

Tommy Hilfiger – Somewhere in the Hilfiger studio:

Design assistant: “Hey Tommy! We ran out of yarn for that runway poncho. We have some gray yarn, but it doesn’t match.

Tommy Hilfiger: “Use it anyway!”

Design Assistant: “Well OK, but I don’t think we have enough for the pockets. There is some old black yarn, but I know you don’t want us to use that, right?”

Tommy Hilfiger: “LIKE HELL! Knit that bitch up now!!”

J Mendel Bad

J Mendel – This is what happens when you let too many people work on one dress. I have no idea where to start on it. This dress has more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie novel.

Marc Jacobs bad

Marc Jacobs – This is a banner year for Jacobs. He lost Louis Vuitton, turned over Marc by Marc Jacobs to Luella Bartley and now has to focus all of his attention on his eponymous label. I guess he needed a palate cleanser, but honestly, this collection was BORING. Most of the pieces looked like pajamas Rhoda wore on the Mary Tyler Moore show. It was all salable, but this ruffled nightmare made it through the cracks. It looks like she is being slowly devoured by Painted Desert quicksand.

Sass and Bide bad

Sass and Bide – Sometimes a look is such a train wreck, no words can describe its lack of grace, design or fluidity. Unfortunately for Sass and Bide, they just sent that kind of dress on the runway.

Suno bad

Suno – This looks like a half-assed attempt to win over the Superbowl crowd with a dress that slightly resembles a football. Sadly, this lump of a garment fumbles in all the wrong places.  What’s the penalty? Bench it.

ostwald helgason

Ostwald Helgason – What the Hell was it with designers and bananas this season? At least three designers used the motif on the runway. Pair the print with a lumpy-cut T-shirt and a skirt made of curtain sheers and you have a Banana’s Foster recipe for disaster!

Wang bad

Alexander Wang – Well, if Star Trek: The Next Generation ever gets relaunched, they can use this look as the blueprint for the Romulans’ outfits. Seriously, this thing looks uncomfortable, hot and stiff.  I don’t have a problem with futurism in fashion, but when your design looks like the pixels on an original Game Boy, you’ve missed the point.

OK kids, the good is on its way!

Stay tuned!

Teach me a lesson!

Looks like I’m going to be teaching at the 2014 International Quilt Festival, this October.

 

This will mark my fourth time teaching at this amazing event. There are going to be 125 teachers this year; it’s the most they have ever had! I Know Judy, Kim, Jill, Marcia, Barbara, the Vickys and the entire team do an outstanding job of keeping everyone organized, so here’s to another spectacular year!

Here are the classes I’ll be teaching:

Wednesday, October 29th – Fascinating Fascinators

We’ll be making a small fascinator type cocktail or day hat. I’ll give you all the supplies and instructions you need. I’ll post some pictures of examples for this year around July, but you can look at the examples that I made for last year in the GALLERY page of this blog.

Thursday, October 30th – Mixed Media Miscellany

This is an open-studio type setting where the students who enroll can wander around the room and visit with various teachers doing on-going demonstrations. I think there are around 20 teachers in the room, so you can spend as much time with each as you please. I will be demonstrating some fun tassels that can be used to adorn anything.

Friday, October 31st – Effective Embellishment Basics

This is going to be an introduction class to working with embellishments. I’ll cover all of the materials and set up that go along with embellishing your projects. I’ll show you how to work with various beads, sequins, trims and some basic embroidery skills.  I will give you tips and tricks to working with already quilted pieces and un-quilted tops. You’ll leave with a ton of instructions and a stack of samples that you can adapt to your own projects.

I’ll be posting lots of examples in the coming months.

If you have any questions, please ask me in the comments section.