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Getting Animal – Getting Warm

agata-mayer-getting-warm-fendi-furs-staying-warmSpecial Review by Agata Mayer, Editor-in-chief

Fashion Weeks came to an end. It’s been a hectic period jam-packed with exciting activities, business meetings and jet lag feeling. The most prominent fashion weeks are held in the four fashion capitals of the world: Milan, Paris, New York and London. But more often, everybody’s eyes are looking at other corners of the world, where countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, China, South Africa, Russia, Singapore, Mexico are going to set tongues wagging, in a very positive way. Fashion Weeks held several months in advance of the season. From January through April designers showcase their autumn and winter collections. From September through November they present their spring and summer collections. This season, furs and animal prints were a common denominator on the catwalks.

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KEEP CALM & LOVE FUR

In the 90s, Italian designers celebrated the return of high-voltage fashion. Their fascination with animal skins and luxurious furs evoked an impression of decadent glamour. Leopard, cheetah and zebra prints that have long provided inspiration for fashion designers are back again. In contemporary fashion, wearing animal skin is interpreted as a desire to convey predatory instincts. A spotted woman in a animal coat might represent the archetypal femme fatale. Italy became an international centre of fashion after World War II. During the 1950s, combining traditions of Parisian haute couture with the Italian aesthetic the Fontana Sisters designed clothes for many Hollywood’s world-famous divas, such as Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor or Ava Gardner. They specialized in luxurious evening wear that contrasted perfectly with the softness of the silver fox stole draped around the arms.
In addition to animal prints, real fur had to finally find a way of interpreting it in fashion without compromising ethical concerns, having the animal rights movement from 1980s and the both national and international legislation from 1973 against it. Karl Lagerfeld, which originally specialized in fur and luxury leather goods, being creative consultant to the Italian Fendi modernized the label and changed the perception of fur as a conventional symbol. Nowadays, over 70 % of recent catwalk shows featured fur, from Marc Jacobs or Louis Vuitton to J. Mendel, Max Mara and Marni.
But there are still anti-fur designers such as Stella McCartney. She has never bowed to pressure to use leather or fur in her collections and has even resisted the lure of faux-fur in the past. But suddenly she has created a cruelty-free collection for Autumn/Winter 2015 with faux fur. Being asked why, she answered: “I feel like maybe things have moved on, and it’s time, and we can do fabrics which look like fur, if we take them somewhere else”, adding “Modern fake fur looks so much like real fur, that the moment it leaves the atelier no one can tell it’s not the real thing. And I’ve struggled with that.”

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Fur, fake or not and animal motifs played a key role throughout this season. It is said, that in fashion world leopard is a color. Animal prints are timeless, chic and always in style. The leopard trend never fades that easily and can be used in almost any form. This year’s catwalks showed more wildness and savagery than ever. For instance, Raf Simons, Dior’s creative director turned to more raw and primal inspirations for the Autumn/Winter 2015 Dior collection. He pushed fashion boundaries again. From floral, romantic, emotional pieces to swirling psychedelic panther prints and strong, contrasting colors. Christian Dior first offered leopard print in 1947, which was revolutionary at the time. Today, it doesn’t bother anyone anymore. Roberto Cavalli’s ready-to-wear collection displayed an array of ombré dresses, fur coats and iconic animal prints. “Instinct? I like that word,” said Miuccia Prada after her show. Her collection was also full of multi-colored leopard and python prints and dense patterns.
Is the fashion industry trying to force it on us or maybe society is finally ready to embrace fur?
Take a look at some ‘furry’ printed fashion statements.

House of Holland show, Autumn Winter 2015, London Fashion Week, Britain - 21 Feb 2015

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Image source: www.vogue.co.uk

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From Paris with love – Parisian Chic

agata-mayer-megan-hess-illustrationIllustration by Megan Hess, www.meganhess.com

Special Review by Agata Mayer, Editor-in-chief

Paris – the city of love, the cradle of European style and elegance. The city of light has inspired poets and artists for centuries, with its iconic art and architecture, cafe culture and air of romance. Paris is always a good idea in Audrey Hepburn’s opinion.
And whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant – said Honoré de Balzac.
The definition of female elegance differs depending on where you live. For instance, Italians are very fashion-conscious. They follow the trends religiously. The English are more extravagant. Americans are exaggeratedly perfect.
In a book „Paris Street Style: A Guide to Effortless Chic“ by Isabelle Thomas and Frédérique Veysset, French actress and singer Emmanuelle Seigner said: „American women are pulled together perfectly from the moment they wake up in the morning: perfect hair, varnished nails, high heels … as if they were bound for a cocktail party or some red-carpet affair. French women don’t bother their heads so much.“
Parisian style with the image of a tall, aristocratic Inès de la Fressange silhouette, sipping a glass of red Pinot Noir, smoking Gauloises, and walking down the street as if strutting down the catwalk, turned into myth.
Nowadays, French women are very practical. It is all about looking ‘naturelle’. Their golden rule is moderation and minimalism.
As we already know „Only great minds can afford a simple style.“
This rule was noticeable on the Parisian streets during Paris Fashion Week, which has been more of a marathon than a sprint.

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Source: Pinterest

FASHION IS NOT SOMETHING THAT EXISTS IN DRESSES ONLY

This famous quote belonging to Coco Chanel, legendary French fashion designer and style icon who ruled over Parisian haute couture for almost six decades, was perceptible on the catwalk during this year’s Paris Fashion Week SS15.
Chanel was a woman of many wise words and her influential quotes could fill an entire book.
A little more than a decade after her death, designer Karl Lagerfeld took the reins at her company to continue the Chanel legacy.
In the past Lagerfeld has been criticized for his negative comments about women.
He always courts controversy with his fashion shows as well. And he surprised again. Karl Lagerfeld created a fashion demonstration.
Cara Delevingne, Joan Smalls, Kendall Jenner and Georgia May Jagger, as well as the world’s richest model, Gisele Bündchen walked in his show holding a megaphone-wielding and a banner reading Women’s Rights are More than Alright, and a sea of placards reading Ladies First, History is Her Story, We Can Match the Machos and Boys Should Get Pregnant Too?
Media was flooded by titles and headers: Karl Lagerfeld’s new look for Chanel: feminist protest and slogans; Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld turns the Grand Palais into a feminist protest; Lagerfeld under fire after staging mock feminist protest at Paris Fashion Week.
In my opinion Chanel wasn’t making a political statement, especially when the apolitical designer famously said, „I’m in fashion. Politics is not my job.“ It is also worth remembering that one of Lagerfeld’s quotes is: „Everything I say is a joke. I myself am a joke.“ So what was he trying to say? They were just attracting attention by making noise and fuss, shouting about all that what is wrong with the world. Following this scent and continuing Coco Chanel’s quote we all have to admit that „Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.“

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Marie-Helene Arnaud with a fish in Paris, 1957. Image credited to: Georges Dambier

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STYLE & THE CITY

Leaving all feministic stuff behind, let’s concentrate on the real Parisian chic. The synonym of timeless classic, elegance and comfort. All this, we could see on the catwalk at the turn of the September and October 2014. The Paris Fashion Week was the finale of the „big four“ fashion weeks. From Louis Vuitton, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Hermès, Dior, Givenchy, Balenciaga to Miu Miu, Avelon, John Galliano, Valentino, Yiqing Yin, Kenzo, Junya Watanabe, Gareth Pugh, Comme des Garcons or Guy Laroche.
The world’s best designers have always operated from Paris, which is currently home to the headquarters of some of them.
It is worth remembering that the concept of Haute Couture (‘high sewing’ | ‘high dressmaking’ | ‘high fashion’) also was invented in Paris and began in the 18th century.
Are you ready to see my favorite Spring / Summer 2015 Ready-To-Wear samples? Enjoy.

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Gareth Pugh Collection, Source: Vogue.com

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