Prada RTW Spring 2015

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Prada RTW Spring 2015 Images & Source WWD

Desert bleak? Space chic? Huge purple sand dunes fading into a brownish carpet and a harsh, dissonant soundtrack kept guests at Miuccia Prada’s show on Thursday night wondering. Yet few wondered whether Prada would awe them, only how.

Prada billed her spring collection as a celebration of fabric craft. “Why are people attracted to antiquity more and more?” she mused backstage. “That kind of quality, the ability of the craftsmen, is going to be lost. I want to do my part.” That meant sourcing and reproducing 30 brocades dating from the 19th century through the Sixties. Lavish, intricate, gorgeous — you bet. Yet even buying into Prada’s artisanal philanthropy, her shows are always character studies, the stage persona revealed through the clothes. Here, that study played out ultimately as a slyly weird good-girl, bad-girl inner struggle.

Prada sought to modernize her beautiful, stately fabrics by extracting their preciousness. She injected a tough element that read Western, Prairie, a little Badlands. A Seventies ring? Yes, but only partly and always the opposite of mundane. An unapologetic appropriations expert, Prada evokes an era, a mood, a concept, and creates around it.

She got into her fabric celebration deftly, with dark tailored looks, seams and faux tailor’s markings outlined in contrasting stitching: trim notched-collared coat; skirt suit; tunic over skirt. Then came a high-collared dress with inset-floral brocade yoke, the first indication of fabric fancy, followed by inventive incorporations of the rich brocades: leather car coat strung with diagonal stripes of fabric; skirt with intricately swirling front panel contrasting the yellow varsity sweater vest with which it was shown. Many of the looks were polished to the point of prim. But along the way, things started to unravel in unfinished hems and seams that floated in distinct contrast to the brocades’ inherent hauteur. The accessories indicated the girl’s inner push-pull: coy color-blocked knee socks and dangerous sparkly earrings.

There was a lot going on, but Prada reminded all of the importance of design with her penultimate look: a plain, raw cotton dress with dressmaker markings in black, a reminder that schtick means nothing without clarity of design. Prada’s girl worked this push-pull to a fare-thee-well, unleashing her own — and her clothes’ — powers of sartorial seduction.

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Gucci RTW Spring 2015

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Gucci RTW Spring 2015 Images & Source WWD

Particularly within a large luxury group, every brand has its role. Gucci is Kering’s commercial anchor; its function and that of its designer, Frida Giannini, is to turn out smart, accessible fashion, “mass luxury,” as it was called back in the day.

That’s not an easy mandate. Nor is it a simple concept to refresh season after season on the runway. The spring collection Giannini showed on Wednesday afternoon offered plenty of appealing clothes, but they came veiled in tried-and-true familiarity. They picked up directly from the precision cuts she favored for fall while harkening back with utter clarity to the early Seventies, a reference era with which Giannini and her customer are well-versed. “I wanted to keep the rigor in the lines and silhouette,” Giannini said backstage, behind her a mood board featuring multiple photos of Ali MacGraw.

The Gucci customer will find plenty to wear in the clean, neat lines of Giannini’s tailoring and the crisp ease of shirtdresses. The former featured military touches, either no-nonsense, as in a white high-collared suit jacket with big brass buttons that opened the show, or more flamboyant passementeried versions. The smart shirtdresses in leather and cotton broiderie anglaise will delight latter-day Ali types, while deep-V shifts looked more overtly provocative.

Giannini showed a softer side, as well, in patchwork silk-print dresses, some under collage furs that fell somewhere between artisanal and messy. She also went big with denim — literally, in wide-cut, low-slung jeans. These were interesting and, by house standards, daring of proportion. Whether the always sexy Gucci Girl is ready to loosen up a bit, time will tell, but it was good to see Giannini nudged out of her comfort zone.

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Tom Ford RTW Spring 2015

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Tom Ford RTW Spring 2015 Images & Source Via WWD

Tom Ford worked up an unapologetic homage to glam rock for spring — with the focus squarely on the glam. Models with Joan Jett-esque shags and kohl-rimmed eyes strode out on towering platform-soled sandals in a lineup of superlean, glitter-and-sequin-spangled designs.

According to his show notes, Ford mined his own designs from the late Nineties for inspiration — though some of the looks also were a nod to Hedi Slimane’s rocker take at Saint Laurent. And while the spray-on, kick flares and sequined tops were reminiscent of the velvet hip-huggers and satin shirts from Ford’s hit Gucci collections, there was a harder, more rebellious edge to this outing.

Among the high-octane designs was a long-sleeved black minidress sewn with chainmail-like bands of silver leather and a thigh-skimming dress that shimmered with gold sequins, with cutaway tulle panels at the waist level.

Even when Ford turned down the volume, the looks were still provocative, as in a black ankle-length skirt, slashed to the thigh to expose sheer black stockings. Meanwhile, a finale of evening looks had a subversively seductive feel, inspired, Ford said, by Carlo Mollino’s photographs. A transparent black chiffon top was sewn with bondagelike black sequin bands, while black tuxedo pants were paired with a sheer mesh top, embroidered at the bodice with strategically placed metallic wild flowers.

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Burberry Prorsum RTW Spring 2015

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Christopher Bailey donned his rose-tinted glasses — and beetle-green, cornflower, and mimosa lenses, too — for a collection that drew on the joys of a country spring. There was no sign of mud, manure or mosquitoes in Bailey’s Eden, only gossamer fabrics, iridescent surfaces — and decorative bugs.

Runway music was on theme with a live acoustic-guitar performance by James Bay playing “Clocks Go Forward,” among other songs. It was a whimsical, sensual — and ultimately wearable — collection from the brand’s chief creative and now chief executive officer, who said he was drawn to the idea of rebirth — and to the contradiction between the fragile and the strong.

Those ideas played out in hard and soft pairings such as wasp-waist denim jackets— some edged in shearling or ostrich feathers, others adorned with glossy leather patches — and skirts made from swirls of pastel tulle or paved with iridescent yellow paillettes the size of silver dollars. Jackets done in cropped fur the color of mimosas or in beetle-green suede were layered over diaphanous pleated dresses — some strapless and tiered, others with high waists. Bee- and butterfly-print dresses had fluttery tulle panels at the front, or at the shoulder, while printed trenches, their designs inspired by vintage nature illustrations, were cinched at the waist with soft swathes of tulle.

Shoes — not fragile by any means — were foot-friendly in the form of flat, Birkenstock-like sandals with chunky, multicolored straps, or bright patchwork sneakers.

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Fab and chic

Friday Favorite Finds

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Friday Favorite Finds one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten // eleven // twelve // thirteen //fourteen // fifteen // sixteen

Looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend? This Kenzo’s signature cotton-jersey sweatshirt has been updated in navy for the new season with an embroidered Eiffel Tower motif. Wear yours with a leather jacket and boyfriend jeans at the weekend.

Flares are super flattering and on-trend for this season and next. Frame Denim’s ‘Le High Flare’ pair in mid-weight stretch-denim is streamlined through the thigh. We love the light-blue wash against a crisp white shirt.

3.1 Phillip Lim’s ‘OMG’ clutch will add a playful element to every look. The gold leather has an iridescent finish that changes color as it catches the light. Use this compact style to carry your cell, compact and cards.

Accessorize your weekend outfit with these semi-rimmed Tory Burch sunglasses have a touch of gold-tone shine along the cut-out arms, this Moon and Lola necklace spells out your initials, perfect for becoming your signature piece and a wonderful pair of Pomellato Nudo Earrings in Blue London Topaz.

Make an indelible impression with Le Métier de Beauté’s Indelible Ink Eyeliner, drawing long-lasting, intense lines, this highly pigmented, no-budge liquid eyeliner features a waterproof, fast-drying formula that’s made to last. Smudge no more—water, tears, torrential downpour, or anything else the day brings—Indelible Inks Eyeliner boasts serious staying power. Finish your electric blue touch with this Nars “Night Out” color polish!