>> It's that time of the year when I get truly excited for new collections coming in. The notion that we're "bored" by the time collections hit the shop floor (Jan/Feb for spring/summer collections and Aug/Sept for autumn/winter collections) is a tired generalisation wheeled out to illustrate, how fast the world is, how much information we have and how we're all digital avid followers of fashion. I'm not sure in reality, much of that is actually true. I'm personally going to be delving into A/W 13-4 collections for a good while yet and so it is that the new issue of Elle Collections – one of the best if not overall best summation of the season concentrated into a bi-annual publication – has landed just in time to whet my appetite for what in my eyes is still the "new" season ahead.
First up, Elle Collections has had a complete redesign under its new editor Rebecca Lowthorpe, as per the main Elle UK publication as well. The fonts are bolder, there seem to be more sketched-out, illustrative elements (the cover is beautifully collaged and drawn out by Ernesto Artillo) and the structure has changed with a newspaper insert housing all the humorous elements that have made Elle Collections stand out when rounding up the season. The issue still pays its dues to streetstyle round-ups (this time Q&Aing not just the obvious people but the likes of Vanessa Jackman and Youngjun Koo), evocative mood imagery (now accompanied by an excellent Tumblr page) relating to trends and collection pages, laid out and annotated with colour swatches and texture close-ups. Then there are special features such as showcasing designers' photocopied hands, putting a spin on the term "petit mains", an enlightening interviews with show music maestro Michel Gaubert and an indepth and quite personal interview with Meadham Kirchhoff, written by the ever-impressive Alex Fury (I hate the term "voice of our generation" but if ever there was one for my generation of fashion lovers, his would be it).
Open up the newspaper insert, entitled The Fashions and it's lol after lol of cute little tidbits – Brit designers sketched out as a Goth band, likening Celine's laundry basket jacket to "corner shop couture", a cheat sheet on how to fake it in fashion, fantasy football pitting Wang vs. Ghesquiere and an obituearies section citing the death of peplums and real punk. R.I.P. indeed. More serious pieces such as interviews with hair genius Luigi Morenu (creator of the coloured rosette hair at Givenchy A/W 13-4) and a round-up of art inspirations in collections balance out the light hearted joshing.
One sole reason though for buying this particular issue is definitely Lowthorpe's entirely imaginary but wonderfully engrossing show report from the year 2033. It's quite the trip and goes to a place that few people in fashion have the foresight nor inclination to go (there are those in the upper echelons of fashion who have barely grasped the concept of the internet let alone anticipate what might happen in a future twenty years from now). Lowthorpe imagines a world where collections are presented on a weekly basis, watched through a device called i-Watch and judged by the public through Google Glasses. She predicts that Lila Moss (daughter of Kate) will be showing her own collection and Teen-A-Porter the collection's backer. It's a tongue-firmly-in-cheeky, yet scarily possible future where designers will create 52 collections a year and subsequently the biggies of fashion (Alaia, Prada, Simons, Kane, Kawakubo etc.) form a backlash to show Analogue style, totally unavailable online and unrated by the public. It's partly a comment on the dystopian possibility of the future for fashion and there are definitely home truths in the piece that could potentially come to life. Whilst cloaked in humour, the piece does make you think about where the fashion structure could go and how it will evolve. I had to laugh though when Lowthorpe decided to add in extra LOL-factor with this sentence here: "CSM, is of course, now run by the inspirational Susie Lau, whose traditional Style Bubble blog contiinues to provide much inspiration, along with her annual coffee-table book, Susie Says."
CSM students, past, present and future, rest assured, I'm the LEAST likely person to be stalking your hallways as a person of authority. You can sleep easy on that point. As for a coffee-table book? Well, we'll see. Never say never…