Monday, 3 September 2018

five things to look forward to this fashion month

Fashion month overwhelms the senses. We are bombarded with images on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vogue, BoF, Elle, i-D...the list goes on. There is an oversaturation of content. This makes it impossible to engage with anything unless you have a strategy for sifting through it. This season I decided to note down five things I am actually looking forward to. These are events that make me excited about the future of fashion and making this list will save me from spending hours clicking through samey, predictable 90-look collections and wondering whether fashion will ever be interesting again.

Nowadays a season rarely passes without a major industry shuffle of creative directors. This September we are anticipating two of the most unpredictable appointments yet. Hedi Slimane will make his debut at Celine; his first collection since exiting Saint Laurent in 2016. Riccardo Tisci will unveil his new vision for Burberry on 17th September. Both are expected to cause seismic changes to these classical brands.

The constant rearranging at prestigious brands sometimes takes the spotlight off young talent. Yet there is no doubt that the newest labels offer the most memorable collections. It will be exciting to see how these changes at the top will influence the industry, but there is much more to look forward to than what the established labels have to offer.

Saint Laurent SS16

Hedi Slimane for Celine

"Current evolutions make me want to focus, commit and engage even more. There is a really inspiring generation coming out."
Hedi Slimane

The first taste of Slimane's Celine appeared last week on Lady Gaga at the Venice Film Festival. The black handbag carried by Gaga looked versatile and classic, but forgettable. Every wardrobe needs dependable pieces but I am hoping for more of the rock n' roll swagger Slimane injected into Saint Laurent. It will be interesting to see whether the L.A. based designer will reinvent Celine to the same extent as he changed YSL. It certainly sounds that way so far. Slashing parts of the brand name have become de rigeur for Slimane. Yves went at Saint Laurent and now the accent has gone from the 'e' in Celine. An exciting taste of things to come or meaningless frivolity? We will have to wait and see. Other changes planned by Slimane include introducing menswear and haute couture.

Gaga's bag gives us a glimpse into Slimane's Celine that is perhaps purposefully ordinary. When the full collection debuts at Paris Fashion Week later this month it will truly be a surprise. The invasiveness of social media and a neverending internet newscycle makes a surprise in fashion a very rare thing and it is all the more exciting for it.

Alexa Chung's third collection by Darren Gerrish

Alexa Chung's London Fashion Week Debut

"I'm interested in aesthetics, in the way things look, in finding something in an image that maybe people haven't seen."
Alexa Chung

From rock n' roll designers to rock n' roll influencers: it's fair to say the most anticipated celeb fashion week debut is Alexa Chung. Chung will put on her first LFW show on 15th September. Teenage me is internally screaming. I am still eager to see how my lifelong style icon will collate her various influences into one cohesive show. Of course, it is not entirely unpredictable. I own several pieces from her M&S Archive collaboration and her eponymous brand has produced and launched collections before. 

It will likely be '60s and '70s inspired clothing that would not look at all out of place on Chung herself. Whilst I like how wearable those clothes are, her designs feel very Topshop and therefore overpriced. For what she is producing it would make sense to have more of a midrange, high street designer price tag. If I'm honest, I'm more excited about the soundtrack and direction of the show than the outfits themselves.

Burberry pre-AW18, shot by Jeurgen Teller

Riccardo Tisci for Burberry

"Openness and breaking down borders have always been very important to me."
Riccardo Tisci

Burberry has had a tumultous few decades with fluctuating sales, changing show schedules and controversies. The brand has made headlines a lot recently. Not all of them positive. It was reported in July that Burberry burns its unsold clothes, accessories and perfume worth millions. Then the new logo was released in August and it kind of just looked like pretzels? For such a painfully British brand, the appointment of Italian designer Riccardo Tisci came as a shock. Pretzel logos aside, it will be intriguing to see how Tisci brings his own background to the brand.

It is not as though Tisci has no links to London. He graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1999. He told Sarah Mower, "It's great to be back in London again! There's been such an evolution since I studied at Central Saint Martins nearly 20 years ago- I really feel the change. But one thing that always remains in this city is its diverse energy and incredible spirit." Let's hope that this incredible spirit will shine through in Tisci's first Burberry collection.

Halpern AW18, shot by Lillie Eiger for Dazed

Central Saint Martins Graduates 

"It all feels a bit surreal."
Richard Quinn on having an audience with the Queen

Though it's impossible to ignore the shift of famous names to superbrands, it is the young designers who always produce the most provocative collections. Among them, recent graduates from Central Saint Martins take centre stage. A slew of successful CSM graduates has descended on London Fashion Week in recent years; a trend that is particularly exciting as I look forward to joining their Fashion Journalism MA in January. 

2016 graduate Richard Quinn took centre stage last season when the Queen sat front row at his show. Known for swathing experimental fabrics in bold prints, I wonder which direction the first recipient of Her Majesty's British Design Award will take his vision next. Halpern S/S19 collection will likely be dominated by the irresistable mix of Studio 54 '70s inspo and sequins. Meanwhile journey to a postapocalyptic world of shredded knits with Matty Bovan. Known to reimagine everyday patterns and materials, similarly unique shapes are to be found in Richard Malone's collection. Each young designer offers such a different aesthetic, but each collection is no doubt one to look forward to.

Phil Oh's Best Street Style Photos from Paris Fashion Week for Vogue

Street Style

"Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."
Coco Chanel

Innovative young people with fresh ideas about fashion do not exist as designers only. Fashion month is the time to get excited about street style. After all, what people are actually wearing is equally inspiring and arguably more relevant than what is on the runway. 

We can expect to see animal prints, leather, statement coats and- if the weather permits- the continuation of the summer trend for detailed white blouses. We will also find out whether the streetwear and ugly trainers trend is still dragging itself along or whether it has finally died. However, the most refreshing style comes from those who don't follow the trends. Street style inspires me on a daily basis, but fashion week always brings out its most interesting incarnations. 
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