>>  I'm waiting for images to come through so I have more meaningful things to say about the shows other than "I-CAN'T-BREATHE-PRADA-IS-TOO-GOOD!" or "I'll take all that leather at Marni, please!" but for now here's a bit of pattern mayhem to give you a Sunday-to-Monday headache.  This vintage geometric floral tiled jacket and box pleat skirt that I found on Etsy got paired up with a set of floral pyjamas by the ever-popular label Equipment, worn with some Emma Cook printed pumps, for a print bonanza that would do most people's heads in.  Fortunately, according to these photos I'm either too engrossed in my iPod or too busy talking to taxi companies in Milan on the phone, to notice the inevitable sniggers coming from bemused Milanese folk lining the busy street of via Luca Beltrami where the Jil  Sander show was yesterday.  The people on the  tourist bus behind me were well confused, suffice to say.        

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Street FSN for Grazia.It

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Le 21ème | Adam Katz Sinding

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You Just Got Spotted

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Gianluca Senese of Nobody Knows Marc

Usually I need to wait a few months, sit on a Prada collection and then go forth with my verbal diarrhea.  This time round, I came out of the Prada S/S 13 show with my brain a-whirring, which was then further revved up when I saw the collection up close in the showroom a day later.  As with most Prada collections, there was much to dissect but for me, as a child shuffling back and forth between the good and evils of both East and West, even more so.  Where to start?  The sixties, feminism, youthquake, obedience of geisha type figures, orientalism a la Edward Said AGAIN but this time with an unexpected twist delivered in pure Miuccia style.  Therefore, I'll just look to the feet first and foremost and figure the rest later.

"For me, shoes are where I can express my fantasy, my imagination. I think you have much more freedom to be outrageous with shoes.  There is more room for craziness, for exaggeration."

The quote above from the Prada Schiaparelli exhibition doesn't seem to ever get old for me.  It's a single nutshell explaining away all of Prada's preoccupations with the feet, as time and time again, she comes up with weirdly desirable footwear that in recent years have been so well-documented through streetstyle photography that by now, you're probably cynically looking at all this S/S 13 footwear, wondering who will be the first to wear them out on the "streets" and how many times you will see them in a Style.com slideshow before declaring them to be "over" within the time period of a month.  Whilst I don't doubt that they'll be shot to death, I'll probably never tire of them as they present such a potent method of culture and style clashing that for me, even if I saw them hundred times.  

If we look at the more complex style – the giant cake-like wedge, dotted with daisies, trussed up in satin and sandwiched sometimes with snakeskin layers – it's a shoe that goes as far and away from elegant as possible.  In fact it's remit is to be awkward.  Geisha may have had to walk gingerly in their geta sandals with the weight of the wood restricting their movement to small and ladylike steps but girls wearing these Prada beauties with the pairing of the tough judo leather socks will go stomping on the streets, aided by the flower power of the simple daisy that graced much of the collection.  he prettiness behind all that pristinely crisp satin, perfectly formed rigid bows and tiny dots of daisies go up against what is a deliberately difficult shape as well as a hard-edged leather sock that masks the foot.   

The simpler flatform styles with their layers of platform built up by building blocks or carved with a hole in the wedge remind me of the Tokyo Bopper, Belly Button and Unbilical shoe styles that are prevalent in Harajuku, Tokyo.  They all share that strange mix between a chunky, ostensibly comfortable shoe to allow movement but have girly features like a naive bow, a lace-up strap or done up in a baby pink just to assert that these are indeed feminine shoes.  They are undeniably kawaii in the hyper cute sense of the word, blending in the new and the old just as the Tokyo Bopper cultish shoes are inspired by heightened flatform styles of Japan's yesteryear.  How strange that the quote on the top of the Tokyo Bopper website "We prefer the flower that blooms on the street" should be so appropriate for Prada's footwear and the collection as a whole.    

With all that said, a gigantic flatform modelled after Japanese geta sandals adorned with daisies and paired with leather tabi socks isn't going to be everyone's speed.  I suspect that's why Prada threw in the more conventional bow-fronted satin heels, to appease the more conservative customers.  I, of course will be determined to get onboard this particular footwear train.  I've already predicted prices of the more ornate styles going up towards the upper end of ¬£1,500-¬£2,000 mark and have anticipated that for production, it's likely that these styles will be toned down in height.  Another mad flight of fancy?  Probably but Prada has been playing this game for so long, she's already pre-meditated the die hards out there clamouring for her visions, however strange, however odd.  She's perfected the art of turning the undesirable into gold.  As for me, I have no choice really but to slavishly follow suit.   

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Am I cowering my head in shame here or smising with glee at the fact that I drank the kool-aid on Fashion's Night Out at the Balenciaga store in New York and forked out $1,000 for what is essentially a glorified canvas tote?  I'm going to go with the latter.  Oh the irony of me scoffing at the whole charade of Fashion's Night Out beforehand – "Nobody ACTUALLY buys anything!"  "Who can shop in these manic environments?"  Then I toodle off to the Balenciaga store because it's right by my hotel, just to a) take a gander at those ubiquitous neoprene printed 'rebel' sweatshirts and b) see Grace Coddington in action with her limited edition bag that she had illustrated with her cat Pumpkin wearing iconic Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere looks from the past decade.  Well, I felt up the sweaters, decided they were gonna be shot to death and desisted from buying one.  Then I squealed at the tote, yelped "CUUUUUUUUUTE!" and immediately grabbed a shop assistant to say "Please-may-I-have-one-please-hope-you-still-have-one-left" in a shrill way just in case my senses got to me and I back tracked on myself.  

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Photo by Youngjun Koo for The Cut - Wearing Eugenia Kim hat, Christopher Kane dress, Simone Rocha skirt

I don't know whether it was the cats, the presence of Grace or the champagne slash lack of food in my belly.  Either way, I ended up meekly going up to Grace to ask her to sign the tote after making my rash purchase.  Then I asked her if she would give me permission to colour the bag in and she said "Yes of course!  Make it your own."  The idea struck me when immediately saw the bag in ecru but to be honest I was being a bit brazen and rebel-rebel by saying that I was going to colour it in.  Right now, whilst figuring out the correct sort of coloured pencils and fixing spray to use, I'm actually not so sure about my initial idea.  In the light of day, with not an ounce of buyer's remorse, I'm thinking it is quite perfect as it is.  My favourite cats are the ones that look all rotund and ball-like, unexpectedly wearing the more voluminous Balenciaga seasons such as A/W 06 or S/S 08.  It's interesting how every Balenciaga season harking back to the early 00s are so prominent in my mind, conjuring up a slew of campaign and catwalk imagery but then again that just indicates how seminal Balenciaga shows have become in the course of shaping 21st century fashion.  I'm going to use that heavyweight sentence to defend my purchase should anybody squawk " You paid WHAT for THAT?"  

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>>The Donatella and Me project is in full gear now with the Versace (combined with Versus) taking place tomorrow night and hopefully there'll be a tete-a-tete between myself and Donatella too.  Versace's new e-commerce store is now live too and in the spirit of my incessant analysing of e-stores, I thought I'd give it the once over.  The design treatment is definitely brilliant and undeniably stemming from Donatella's vision.  The usability is pretty seamless with images coming up as big as you'd want them, clear indications of product categories and enough information about the products.  The range of product, whilst isn't vast is representative of the A/W 12-3 collection for both mens and womens with the added bonus of being able to buy your little tots some Versace duds if you're that kind of a parent.  I'm personally well into the homeware section with a Versace plate set high up on my imaginary wedding list (I'm not gonna lie.  There are two reasons why I'm remotely interested in marriage: a) the dress b) all the home-y bits and bobs that I can never be bothered to buy).  There are some options to personalise your shopping experience by narrowing down the categories and shopping by occasion as well as Donatella herself picking out an edit.  These are the sort of e-commerce standards that we've come to expect from many the big multi-brand shops like Net-A-Porter or TheCorner.com but sadly escape monobrand e-commerce, which like I said before often run into clunky design ruts or difficult usability issues.  Versace's new site (and perhaps that's why it's taken them THIS long to launch their e-commerce) fortunately escapes both.      

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It's also good to see that a fair lot of Versace prints are available for your eye's consumption.  Still rather obsessed with the A/W 12-3 mens "flora-flage" as termed by Alex Fury of LOVE magazine.  

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So what did Donatella pick out for me?  She must have been telepathically reading my mind over how much I missed dungaree clips and doing them up because lo and behold, a gingham flirty dress with leather straps and pleasingly shiny Versace medusa buttons came along with a pair of the A/W 12-3 velvet boots with crucifix jet black embellishment.  I'm thus transformed into a weird alter ego of mine that walks with "sass", whatever that means.  This much skin on show would normally freak me out were it not for the presence of the chunky leather dungaree straps criss-crossing over my back, marking me with a giant X as if to say, "Donatella Woz Here".      

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