“More, More, More – how do you like THAT?” Part II

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Prada proved that for it to be a well and truly bombastic summer, there needs to be colour and plenty of it.  I won't extoll how well and truly powerful that S/S 11 Prada show is just yet as we're about to turn the seasons and go into autumnal leaves and gusty winds overdrive.  However, it does have some bearing on the London designers who went before, particularly these two who also favoured straightforward prettiness and interpreted a juicy summer in their own ways giving me the sort of eye candy where I just clasp my hands and go "I want to wear, that, that and that‚Ķ" and is visual treat to be taken in with a beaming smile. 

In both case's, it's the sort of prettiness that doesn't need asking over its origins of inspiration and in Erdem's it's even simpler.  Poppies, lace and brush-stroke florals and plenty of it – worked and re-worked into ways where because of the proximity of dresses to those seated, you ended up wanting to reach out to touch the lace inserts and the various ways of embroidery.  I've never actually had the chance to cover Erdem up until now and it all needs seeing in person for believing.  It's the type of prettiness where you just can't shun or deny it.  It's achingly so.  So pretty that by the end of it, I may have felt a little unworthy, that only pretty and coltish ingenues (there's no other word for it…) need apply to inhabit such dresses of prettiness.  Still if white and red lace and embroidered skirts aren't to be, then a printed shirt and mis-matched trousers are right up my alley…

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(Some detail shots from Vogue.com – others, my own)

Jonathan Saunders also went awash with abounded prettiness albeit in his own crisp and clearcut way which I think has finally honed his prints as well as commercial sensibilities into one of his best collections yet.  Those camo-prints which could also be light filtering through trees and shrubbery are saturated with colour and then further crispened up with plenty of colour blocked shirting and accentuated with double belts.  I love how the brights have been weighted down with neutrals like beige and grey as well as sensible shapes.  Still however much crispness and sharpness there is, the overall effect is still that of jovial prettiness, and joviality is something that can't be contained next season…

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(Detail shots from Vogue.com, Backstage photography by Morgan O'Donovan for Dazed Digital)

Adding on Atelje

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I'm a little confused as to why none of the 'majors' (Style, Vogue etc…) have covered Ann Sofie Back's 10 anniversary label show considering there's an extra word at the end of the label 'Atelje' which defiantly marks this collection out from the others.  'Atelje' meaning Atelier in Swedish is I guess a way of further distinguishing between her mainline and her Back diffusion line as well as denoting a mode of higher production values which were evidently on display at the presentation.  From last season's tufted chiffon, bleached out denim and ripped tweed, this was a decidedly slicker affair. 

More significantly though, this was a new palette for Ann Sofie Back's mainline.  A blank slate that I thought effectively communicated her ideas better than any other collection I've seen.  Her past commentary on social phenomena that she herself says she doesn't understand such as celebrity culture, reality TV etc have often resulted in collections that cause a bit of a roar but how often did you see the pieces actually filtrating down to stores, save for that 'Boo' collection that was a commercial hit (more chewing gum sweaters please!).  This time round, she was commenting on porn, or rather our acceptance of porn imagery in everyday life.  This was the underlying influence that played out in ways that were far more subtle than the description on the show notes suggested, aided by some clever collaborations.  The twelve look intimate salon show opened with a wet-look dress where the fabric isn't actually wet but created specially with the Dutch textile designer Baert Hess.  It was a punctuating start that made a point and looked incredibly beautiful – wet look without it being wet – someone needs to make an infomercial surely.  This tract continued with weighted jewellery created by Helene Carlson that made suggestions of sex toys or something phallic were delicately placed as weights on the backs of dresses, as earrings or necklaces.  Back also collaborated with architect Julian Hakes on the shoes, hat and sunglasses added smoked plexiglass structures that floated on top of the head as well as the beautiful sandals which were like porcelain feet shackles (meant in the best way possible…).  The actual demure spirit of the clothes were like a cover-up to the little touches that hinted at tension… a plexiglass bra, a plexi pole securing a skirt or running through some folds at the hips or a metal ring encircling a hole in the back or clasping the knee… blink and you might have missed these deets, which if they were omitted would have prevented the clothes from making a point as well as adding a beautiful interest to the overall aesthetic.  It felt  like those plexi glass rods or metal rings were exactly in the right position, not a cm out of place.  It might have been negative commentary on our numbing to porn but the results definitely got some good out of this world ridden with dildos, cock rings and nipples all out.     

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Arch that back! More neck!

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I'm certainly not a model but I've had a few photographic directions that definitely fall under that category of a Blow Up type scenario… "That's it tiger… More, more, more!", "More neck, give me MORE neck!", "Yeah, you're laughing at someone, LAUGH more!", "You're in a bar, you're having fun – look like you're having MORE fun!"

I therefore wonder what sort of directions the general public can come up with for this interesting interactive film project that Louise Goldin has embarked upon this season.  Instead of having a show, the knitwear designer has instead decided to let her show be flung into the hands of the public.  In late October, over two days together with SHOWstudio, 80 individuals including members of the public as well as other fashion luminaries will be directing a supermodel (I can't say who but it's a BIGGIE…) wearing Goldin's S/S 11 collection, all filmed by Nick Knight via Skype.  Now, the prospect of directing a supermodel wearing sexy tight knitwear might be errr…something of a disturbing prospect for less savoury characters but at the same time, it presents a rather unique opportunity where a collage of model movements in the film will be put together as well as being an interesting experiment to see how do people take to the art of directing.  If you're interested email louisegoldin@showstudio.com with your Skype username and email to register and I think people are picked at random to participate 72 hours before the project.

Now, the lookbook as well as the film is supposed to represent the official presentation of Louise Goldin's S/S 11 collection but here's a sneaky preview of the beautifully constructed knitwear that is a play on opacity and graphic lines using a nylon mesh that creates transparent lines in the knitwear that falls solidly in shades of red, nude, black and white.  There's also a Fair Isle-type pattern as well as PVC panelling thrown into the mix that makes the collection not as stark and purist as it would seem at first glance.  This is probably also Goldin's most wearable propsect yet as the mesh gave the knitwear a fluidity and versatility that sees skirts, leggings and even panelled vests with tabards as beautiful layering pieces.  Still as good as it was to touch the pieces, I'm eager to see how it would all look in movement and whilst a conventional show isn't on the cards (congrats to Goldin for her appointment to Versace's knitwear designer!), the prospect of a participatory two day project with a question mark of an outcome makes it even more intriguing…

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Neutrals and Comfort

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>> If you have seen me in the last few days, I've either been mute, raspy or having a nose bleed.  None of which are attractive and the latter of which would certainly not have boded well with the outfit below.   I must apologise if I seemed distracted, grouchy or looking like I might drop off… I was in fact all of those things and I blame a certain lurgy that has overtaken my body since coming back from New York – still have not got that trick of going straight from plane to shows quite right yet.  My mode of dress reflected my state of mind – dulled with the need to feel comfortable.  So if at London, you expected some exciting outfit japes, alas, it wasn't to be… phlegm, blood and other bodily fluids got in the way…

I do need to talk about some newbies/oldies though that have come in to my life… like this ASOS White coat that yes, adds me to the camel coat camp that people have been so eagerly trend-spotting on the streets.  You can't see but this jacket has some lovely brown suede elbow patches too which somehow makes me feel even more protected.  This also marks the first Crombie-style coat to my wardrobe…

"A Crombie coat is a three-quarter length, usually wool, overcoat. It is named after the company Crombie (also known as J&J Crombie), although not all coats known as Crombies are made by that company. Starting in the late 1960s or early 1970s, Crombie-style coats were popular within the skinhead and suedehead subcultures, although very few skinheads would have been able to afford a new Crombie brand coat. Crombies were also fashionable among some mods, who saw them as a stylish item of clothing that enhanced their clean-cut image."

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(ASOS White Crombie coat, Christopher kane dress, Liberty print shirt underneath, vintage polka dot trousers, Opening Ceremony x Dr Martens boots, Lynn Cockburn belt, Tory Burch bag) Photograph by Phil Oh for Vogue.com

Then there's this Jil Sander chunky chunky one-sleeved ribbed jumper from the A/W 09 collection that is just sculpturally magnificence defined as well as being a bargain that I scored at the Barney's Warehouse Sale for $100.  I read $400 on the faded tag and asked the lady to recheck and she said it was $100 – I had to ask her three times to reaffirm that.  Then I squealed and jumped for joy at the checkout – or was it a skip?  I don't remember… needless to say I'll be back in the last weekend skirmage of the sale next time…

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(Jil Sander ribbed navy one-sleeved jumper, Christopher Kane dress, Heikki Salonen trousers, 80%20 boots)

Finally there's this old military trench that my dad gave me aaaaages ago that I had stuffed in a paperbag somewhere, lost and forgotten until recently when I just lopped off the sleeves.  I'm actually waiting to add new and more embellished sleeves to it but instead I've taken to wearing it in its mid-DIY stage…

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(Vintage sleeveless trench, KZO knit jacket, Balenciaga dress – another Barneys Warehouse sale steal, Topshop tunic underneath, Tabio socks, Acrobats of God shoes, Tory Burch bag, Lynn Cockburn belt)

All photographs above by Phil Oh of Street Peeper

Close-ups of how closely attached I am to my Blackberry and my very new and surprisingly comfortable Acrobats of God wooden wedge shoes courtesy  of Tommy Ton for Style.com.

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