Wednesday, June 30, 2010
final menswear bits and bobs
I go back and forth between tepid love and hate for Miuccia Prada. I don't think I could stand her as a person; she's notoriously sizist and Prada's casting is some of the most white-washed in the business. THAT SAID, as far as a show is concerned, she can create one hell of an atmosphere, and her Spring 2011 menswear show was no different. The staging was imposing and futuristic: a giant, elevated runway of metallic grids and concrete columns under hot white fluorescents, an industrial setting that looked like the bunker of a spaceship. And the soundtrack by DJ Frederic Sanchez was extraordinary--as the lights snapped on, the models marched out to a pulsing, mutated remix of Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead" layered with two versions (Jeanne Moreau and Ingrid Caven) of "Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves." Hence the video instead of photos.
Oh, fashion shows are about clothes. Well, it was nice to see some vibrant colors in a season whose palette has been overwhelmingly dark and moody, and I liked the idea of a super-slim, aerodynamically athletic business suit, but...she made scrubs out of denim. Moving on.
Sarah Burton was, ultimately, the right person for the job. Anyone else (I know rumors about Gareth Pugh were flying around for ages) would have been too easily identifiable in their own style, and as Lee's right-hand woman for years, she knew the aesthetic and she was instrumental in putting together his unfinished Fall 2010 collection. Her first runway presentation was a no-fuss, shock-free collection that showed hints of McQueen's most memorable shows--vampire robes and Victoriana--the ever-present photo-prints, and his history on Savile Row. The degradé work was amazing, and I loved the new shapes and silhouettes, particularly in swinging coats. There's still a spark missing... but I have faith.
I've said before that I want every piece of Neil Barrett's Fall 2010 womenswear in my closet immediately. Minimalist, monochrome, a little sexy in skintight leather, and featuring NICK CAVE GRAPHIC TEES, it is the collection I would enthusiastically point to when asked about my day-to-day aesthetic. Menswear is no exception; a little more wrinkled and relaxed than Barrett's previous outings, it was nonetheless punky, sharp, with a great don't-give-a-fuck attitude. The layered sheer tops are a must.
Jarring to start with and clever in the end, Ann Demeulemeester sent out a collection of clinical, pristine white clothes stripped of layers, volume, and any accoutrements that would draw attention away from the body. And the show was over just like that.
Except when it totally wasn't, and the models walked out again sporting detail-for-detail duplicates in black, the cotton of the white half replaced by leather in the black. It was an interesting experiment that toyed with the audience's emotions; one would think that black leather would be far (metaphorically) darker and more imposing, but white is fucking sinister. Demeulemeester's white comes from fencing gear, straitjackets, and Patrick Bateman's raincoat. Intriguingly threatening, but definitely cool.
John Galliano is always fun. He knows how to give the audience a spectacle, and more often than not, it's genuinely enjoyable and thrilling. This collection was genius: part Charlie Chaplin (the super-tight jacket and baggy trousers seem to be a major trend for spring, and the Tramp's costumes brought the shape to its logical extreme), part Death in Venice (lit nerd time: both von Aschenbach and Tadzio are represented: overly made-up models in mosquito-netted boater hats and white suits for the former, Lido-ready bathing suits for the latter), part futuristic Hollywood in the finale's lace and leather...the man knows how to make movie magic.
...oh yeah, there's one glaringly obvious designer missing. It's a given that I loved Rick Owens, because there was tons of black, monster boots, sheer tops, and shrouded leather so hard it looked like body armor. So let's take a deep breath and bid adieu to what's been a fantastic menswear season. Hopefully womenswear will follow suit.