SPRING has only just arrived and already it’s time to start planning your autumn/winter wardrobe. This Spring/Summer 2011 collection had radical changes to the season previous, sporting loud colours, classic shapes, and most controversial of all, flats on the catwalk. But however different it may be, as usual, it works every time. Women pay not only for the clothes themselves, but for the story behind the clothes, for the glamour, and most importantly, for the way it makes them feel.
Even through recessional times, women are still buying their own little bit of luxury and fashion is the perfect way to do that. Fashion can be your own little bit of heaven, and the odd occasion, can even make you forget your troubles (that’s only the really expensive stuff though!). The Autumn/Winter collection will be no different. Although the credit crunch is still here, the desire for fashion and it’s ever changing temperament will only heighten, and design houses like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy, although keeping some key ideas the same, reconstructed their entire collections to suit this covetous attitude.
The unveiling of the Autumn/Winter collections kicked off with New York Fashion Week on February 8-15, followed by London Fashion Week on February 18-23 and finally Paris Fashion Week March 1-9. NY Fashion Week really kicked off the radical look with designers like Vera Wang, Diane Von Furstenberg and of course, the formidable Betsey Johnson. Wang kept it simple with plenty of fur, in a warrior-like collection that was both fun and practical. In contrast to all the Spring/Summer collections, Vera Wang used a lot of black and grey throughout her runway collection, almost prophesying the dullness of the winter ahead. Diane Von Furstenburg was another that kept her line fairly simple, but had some changes. The iconic wrap dress that she created in 1972 was still a key concept but was incorporated into more modern designs like shirts and jackets, using bold prints not only for her dresses but for very en trend items like palazzo pants, that can be carried from the Spring/Summer collection straight through to winter. Most radical of course was Johnson. Her collection was big, bold and larger than life, just like the designer herself, and the use of animalistic prints, fur and neon made her a clear contender for the most memorable show of New York Fashion Week.
Onto London Fashion Week where the more bohemian, relaxed vibe took place and new designers really got a taste of the big time. Erdem, noted fashion designer who has really only exploded onto the scene for the last couple of years, completely changed his collection from the pretty, flowery line he had for the Spring/Summer collection to a new sexy aspect of his clothing that we’ve never really seen before. He made a romantic theme in his clothing by using neon colours on velvet and placing lace and chiffon over this to create an elegant angle on neon. New designer, Mary Katrantzan had a Hua Juan feel to her collection, using patterns from china ceramics and embroidery of Chi Pao. She also created a silhouette shape this season very different from her usual geometric, cube style. Her use of bold prints and flowers will make her very hard to forget and this reporter can see her becoming very big on the London design scene in the next couple of years. The old favourites, like House of Holland and Felder Felder failed to disappoint, using theatrics to create looks that were truly magnificent. Between the two design houses, fur, tweed, feathers, pearls, PVC and metallic made London Fashion Week a hard event to miss.
The Fashion Week season ended on a high note with Paris Fashion Week, which as the fashion capital of the world, is always a highlight. The old favourites such as Thierry Mugler, Louis Vuitton and Chanel were out in force and by Jove, did they deliver. Thierry Mugler’s show marked the debut of Sebastian Peigne (formally at Balenciaga) and new Creative Designer Nicola Formichtti’s first womenswear show. Although having a striking collecting full of statement colours, lines and shoulders, the true focus was taken away by the celebrity model, Formichetti’s new best friend, Lady Gaga. Likewise, with Louis Vuitton’s show, Marc Jacobs took the focus away from his saucy collection of high heeled wellington boots, handcuffs, sheer outfits and fur coats with Kate Moss sauntering down the runway, surprisingly not causing an international incident, but certainly turning more than a few heads. As always, Chanel was the star of the week. Using almost the antithesis of his Spring/Summer line, he went back to using dark power suits, crisp white shirts and muted colours, with a few exceptions. The feminine, frilly shirt has a huge part in next season’s wardrobe and the entire line has an incredibly Parisian feel to it. Karl Lagerfeld has really brought his collection home this season, having designed a beautiful but wearable collection.
The Autumn/Winter collections for 2011 have succumbed to some radical changes but are back to the fluid beautiful art forms that aren’t just fashion but emotions as well. Back when fashion started, they were seen as things of beauty, not just objects to cover our bodies. For decades, we seem to have forgotten that, but now, not only are we prepared for winter, but we’ll be beautiful too! Blair Waldorf said,” Fashion is the most powerful form of art there is. It’s movement, design and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are, and who we’d like to be” and next season, this dream can come true.