>> I feel like these images aren't doing the new Versus A/W 10-11 collection by Christopher Kane any justice whatsoever but I also couldn't really hold onto these images which I had snapped at the sneak preview of Versus on Thursday night.  I'll be adding more official looking images later on when I get them but for now, whilst the presentation is wrapping up in Milano and I'm back in London timing my posts, here are some inklings of the collection. 

Christopher Kane was also there on Thurs himself and I think I may have donned a slightly ridiculous expression where I put both of my hands to my face, widened my eyes and declared "This is all…. 'mazing!".  There you go, word of the day.  I am but a reduced fashion lemming, showering praises of "Hot!" and "'mazing!" on all and sundry.  Or at the very least, all things that Mr Kane touches.  That sounds a tad like a fashion sheep but if I thought the last Versus collection by Kane was spot-on, then this one which is more evolved and extensive, hones in on that spot with micro precision.  It manages to fuse both elements of Kane's own aesthetic and Versace's heritage into exactly how I'd envision the new generation of Versus should be…

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The pics above and the one below gives an idea of the palette… both bright and subdued.  Again, a shade red that I'm not turned off by.  Wonders of all wonders…

And the shapes and fabrics rein in all the things that are apt for the melting pot of Kane and Versace. 

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Bruce Weber prints on tees and bags (Kane of course is no stranger to the power of a printed tee…)

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These are just a FEW of the styles of shoes and it needs to be said, there are many, MANY more… mostly involving straps, lace-ups, satin, velvet and metal toe-caps…

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I thought the flat chelsea boots with a giant Swarovski crystal were the flat boots of my dreams… no, these navy beauties have come swooping in to replace them. 

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**EDIT** I've added more pics here just because my ones are a bit too highly contrasted and in no way do I want to ruin the perfect shades of forest green, plum, orange-based red and cyan and navy Kane has picked out for the collection…

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Generally speaking I don't really use fash-y phrases to describe collections, preferring a long-winded, slightly boring and old fashioned vocabulary.  I descended and completely let my mouth go though when I was very kindly asked to see the Versace A/W 10-11 rehearsal the night before and also see the show the next day both front of house (for the press show) and then backstage (for the buyer's show).  Suddenly, everything was "hot", "'mazing!" (that's a-mazing minus the a, making it even more… well… amazing), "Beyond!", "Intense!" and as we watched the 'mazing cast of girls line up (see below), I descended even more into saying things like "The casting is AWESOME!".  Please… I don't know a bloody thing about casting or girls other than I have my own personal faves (where is Karlie Kloss in Milan?). 

Of course, this might all be the effect of sitting in the Versace Teatro at 11pm for rehearsals, with an empty stomach, riding on a fashion high and having thumping music coursing through you which probably all contributed to reducing the brain, bit by bit.  When I did regain the mind slightly and started looking at the clothes, I was surprisingly quite taken with construction details, not a trait I'd associate with Versace.  Some show reviewers commented that this Versace show wasn't pushed forward enough or it wasn't 'more' enough.  In that case, perhaps I like taking in my dose of Versace where the 'more' factor is lessened.  All I could concentrate on were the biker-inspired jackets, coats, skirts and dresses where zippers and panels collided, cutting each other to create varying spliced proportions.  All I could see was the colours that popped but didn't jam into your face (mustard, navy, brown, periwinkle blue, white and a shade of red I can get down with).  The 'moreness' for me (we so love putting 'ness' after words… see Nowness) was in the slits that went a bit high, the metallic leather panels and of course the strut and overall attitude of the Versace girls.

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I took special interest in the outerwear like the mustard coat where construction was sublime…

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… and the biker jacket where the shoulders had been ripped into //… interesting how Versace did the awkward mid-calf length in their own way…

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This is the only time where I can wax lyrical about girls…. Abbey Lee in this knitted number stood out because a) she's Abbey Lee and b) this knitted dress with the incorporated silver rings and blue metallic chain looked like a one-off from the show. 

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Then of course, the jackets/coats were bunged away and the tight and short dresses and floor length gowns with thigh high splits came trooping out without letting go of the first half's taut construction…

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This will surely be heading out to Beyonce's stage closet very soon…?

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View of a burly security guard with a requisite Versace shirt…

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Finally, there was the finale… where once again, I descend vocabulary-wise, because a giant acrylic mirrored box is lifted up to reveal all the evening looks in a static assembly that is….'mazing…

Susie014 The chronology on this blog will seem confusing to those that are either following fashion weeks intensely or have already seen this Time Out piece which came out last week in the London edition.  It's the blogger's time lag…. or blag….?  Actually that reminds me too much of an odious term that was circulating at London Fashion Week (blogger + ligger = bligger… I'd check up on UrbDict if you're not sure what ligger is…).  So anyway, it's just my tardy posting.  But hey like I said, the season doesn't end on March 11th and in fact it's all only just begun so there is obviously muchy muchy more to come.

This all seems like distant past as it was pre New York but one lovely day, Dan Jones, style editor of Time Out London and photography Elisabeth Blanchet took me out in a cute old Mini and we went shopping for a feature about my favourite stores in London in the mag that came out for LFW last week.  A shorter version of it is online but sadly doesn't include the wonderful profile/article Jones did (an article with no misquoting…yay!).  I initially wanted to include more stores in the list but the actual trip was slimmed down to these…

Merchant Archive – 'nuff said seeing as I've said it all before but this time round, I have some far clearer images of all the beautiful things that this Kensal Rise tucked-away gem has… the peach Edwardian velvet jacket and 1930s black lace gown were awfully hard to leave behind…

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…and this Edwardian mantle with these delicate steel threads… I regret letting Sophie make me try it on.  I may be smiling here but actually inside, I was berating myself for having a bereft bank account at that time…my pauperdom is further emphasised by the plasters on my shonky camera.

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Hiding sorrow behind a smile here…

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Then off to Bang Bang, a regular regular haunt and one that I BANG on about all the time… maybe too much.  I've even taken to going down to the menswear basement on Berwick Street to see what else I can dig out…

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Finally, we stopped by up the road at Machine-A formerly known as Digitaria which I also wrote about long time ago.  It's come a long way though and I'm hoping they become a LFW fixture for showcasing awesome new designers as they had an event celebrating Asger Juel Larsen and Gabriella Marina Gonzalez's new collections on Monday.  I'm loving these Cher de la Cruz x Mauricio Stein glasses

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Getting to grips with Gabriella Marina Gonzalez's current collection shoes and THAT Charlie le Mindu mouse headdress…

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I'm having a QVC moment with a Romina Karamanea dress and my ermm….assistant Steve.

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(All photographs by Elisabeth Blanchet)

If I was going to review the Prada A/W 10-11 collection in a sensible and intelligent manner, I might make commentary on the the relationship between Miuccia's off-kilter/unpredictable sensibility and sex, the uneasy coexistence they share in Prada's melting pot but somehow, they managed to make peace with one another for a collection that retrogaded without being burdened too much by the past.  

Instead though, I'm going to tell you a secret that will make you guffaw to no end.  I'm going to tell you about how I was deeply unhappy at the age of 15-16 with my 'fried egg' flat chest. Despite any 'alternative/indie' notions that I thought I had in my head, at the end of the day, I confomrmed and contributed to the present day stats about teenagers being unhealthily unhappy with their bodies.  A double AA cup was pretty depressing in PE changing rooms when everyone talked about annoying bra fits and I could only look sheepishly at my C&A crop top.

Let's not descend too far into bygone eras of teen angst though and get right to the point here.  On the surface, I could have rejected this collection entirely on the basis that the 50s/60s shapes Prada was pimping out isn't my body's cup of char.  However, despite the casting throwing in some 'fuller figured' girls into the Prada mix, the models seamlessly trooped out with 'curvy' not being the issue here.  I've illustrated this with a lot of my slightly pervy side-boob shots that I took below but basically, with the help of Prada's tiered balconette ruffles, flat or full-chested needn't really matter.  I could have fretted like I did back in the changing rooms but those ruffled chests quietened me down.  If like me, you're never going to fill the pointy padded bras of the past, then a cluster of unabashed frilliness in signature Prada patternations around the chest is one of many solutions and a strangely refreshing one at that.

On a non-body shape note (feels odd to be writing about body issues in a post, no?), aesthetically speaking, of course the Mad Men references escaped nobody and it was good to see that with some outfits, Peggy Olsen and Joan Holloway were sort of battling it out sartorially-speaking.  The chunky cable sweaters and skirts, the double collared jackets in patent and the front frilled socks seemed to be geeking out in harmony with the under-boob cut-out (my new favourite cut-out position), the painterly prints and the sashaying hips that some dresses (and the one pair of capri trousers) prompted.  

I've been thinking about this first season where I'm going the full hog and doing all four weeks of fashion week and the way that I have happed onto the shows that were full throtal refreshing points – Marc Jacobs in New York, Christopher Kane in London and now Prada in Milan… it all reads like a blatantly obvious manuscript… but I'm not going to fight it.  The good are good because they're well… good.

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