Monday, 26 December 2016

ReSet: ICEBERG


Iceberg’s reset button has been hit again; James Long, the label’s London-based menswear designer, was recently appointed womenswear creative director, succeeding the Austrian Arthur Arbesser. Pre-Fall was the first collection in his new role, which will be followed in February by a show of both lines during New York Fashion Week. “It’s a new chapter,” said the designer.


Iceberg has a substantial knitwear archive, thanks mainly to the genial pop imagery envisioned in the past by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. “Of course I’d like to celebrate its spirit, the cartoons, and the sporty vibe. Yet I’m trying to add true Italian sophistication and luxe, not turning the imagery into a joke,” said Long, whose homage to De Castelbajac was injected with a distinctive punky edge stirred with a quite glamorous Hollywood feel.


The choice of Catwoman as the main character for cartoon prints and knits tellingly refers to Long’s penchant for sexy, powerful women. Yet he’s not thinking of abstract muses when designing a collection: “I have real people in mind, not a fantasy,” he explained, pointing to an oversize scarlet knitted cardigan with fringed details with a smiling Catwoman on its front. Worn with a striped skirt with an asymmetrical hem, it made for a feminine look with a slightly provocative tilt.  


Long is known for a certain flamboyance, which he kept in check here; yet Lurex, which he has often used in his menswear line, added sparkle to sporty multicolor striped sweaters emblazoned with the Iceberg logo. Elsewhere it came knitted into geometric motifs on a luxe tracksuit, highlighting the lineup’s sportswear flair. Denim was stonewashed and distressed, yet lavishly splattered with glittering stars that added a touch of pop Hollywood Boulevard–inspired appeal. Paired with a short jacket printed with black and white comics offset by bright colors, the look was sleek with a dash of fun. Long’s stance seems likely to giving the label the jolt of energy it needs; his ebullient, irreverent style could be further refined by the exacting production techniques that Gilmar, Iceberg’s Italian owner, can provide. “The quality of what they’re able to achieve is amazing. Their headquarters are so pristine and efficient, they look like a Stanley Kubrick movie,” Long said in admiration.

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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Karen Walker (ᵀᴵᴳᴱᴿᴸᴵᴸᵞ'ˢ ᵀᴬᴷᴱ)


Practical magic. 

This collection was heavy on frills, all of Walker’s tops and dresses were ruffled one way or another, with the effects ranging from the heavy-duty froth of her off-the-shoulder dresses and tops to the flirtatious touch of ruffle on a metallic leather jacket or otherwise austere black silk frock. The sweetness of all those ruffles was counterbalanced by the lineup’s homespun elements—its sharply cut, deep-blue denim; ochre-toned chinos; and generous helpings of gingham and plaid. Even the winsome unicorn print got a bit of humility when rendered in heavy-duty muslin.

 

This was one of those Karen Walker collections where you marvel at her ability to make the ludicrous seem, well, mundane. To coin a trendy phrase, she’s very good at normalizing her flashes of madness and far-flung references, distilling them into a sartorial language every young woman can speak. In a world that currently seems a bit mad on the whole, Walker’s clothes make perfect sense.


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Friday, 2 December 2016

ALTUZARRA

Altuzarra's starting point this season was the Pre-Raphaelites and what he described as their “devotion to nature”—not a big leap from the cherries and lemons of his Wild at Heart–theme Spring 2017 lineup, but softer and more sophisticated. A botanical print dress with long, belled sleeves, gently belted, and featuring a fuller-than-usual skirt will be the Altuzarra number you see all the editors in next September. On the tailoring front—an essential part of the company’s business—he made a point of adding newness, either by cutting a blazer and kick flares in a vibrant orangey red or rethinking other jackets with zip closures, rounded shoulders, and kimono sleeves lifted from Victorian-era styles.

 

Another woman-friendly idea: making cocktail dresses and other special event pieces at more reasonable prices. “I think women are feeling that everything has gotten too expensive,” he remarked, before ushering out a zip-front vest paired with embroidered organza kick flares, an embellished tunic-slash-minidress silhouette, and a silver sequin sheath, all of which will come in significantly less than the finale gowns he typically closes his shows with. In fact, there was a pair of floor-length dresses, but they were considered in their own way, with removable sleeves that lent them not just flair but also versatility. 



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