London Fashion Week Mens AW17 – My Highlights

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London Fashion Week Mens (previously London Collections: Mens) recently ended, leaving us with a taste of trends for AW17. Here are my top memorable moments!

#1. The Return of the Queen 

In her debut show on the London men’s schedule (her first in London for years), and in a barely concealed dig at the establishment, Vivienne Westwood had her models in 80’s style pinstripe suits distorted in various ways – my favourite being a pairing with bloomers instead of trousers. All accessorized with tattered crowns and multi-coloured foil sweet wrappers tacked on finger nails. Showing both men’s and women’s, tailoring featured strongly for the men’s whilst fabulous frocks and separates defined the women’s. She’s still got it. In spades.

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Vivienne Westwood AW17 Mens

#2. Craig Green smashes it. Again! 

Craig Green rips up the rule book again as he continues to rework the male silhouette. Somehow he manages to make clothes that are tactile yet utilitarian, cosy yet avante-garde. I want to look at them. I want to wear them (wish I could). And I want to stroke them.

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Craig Green AW17 Mens

#3. Wool for Leather 

I’m not a fan of crochet. However, the crocheting on JW Anderson‘s “Pierce” rucksack (a reworking of his popular women’s Pierce Bag) surprisingly works. Instantly recognizable, it’s likely to fly off the shelves once it hits shops. Mostly because I doubt only the boys will be sporting this. But let me say this people: I am not that crazy about the crocheting elsewhere. And it is everywhere in this collection.

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JW Anderson AW17 Mens

#4. Amazing Grace 

Perhaps lacking the opulence that we’ve come to expect from Grace Wales Bonner, this collection still packs a punch as she continues to challenge ideas of sexuality, gender and black identity. See my post from last Summer “Gender Bending in Menswear – is this the future?” for more on this talented young designer. Destined for great things for sure.

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Wales Bonner AW17 Mens

#5. Hey Boys. Hey Girls

It might have been London Fashion Week “Mens” but several labels (notably Casely-Hayford, Wales Bonner, Matthew Miller, Vivienne Westwood and Sibling) chose to show both their men’s and and women’s collections in combined shows. Whether by necessity (it makes sense financially) or by design (gender-fluid/unisex fashion has continued to grow) this seems to be a developing trend. I quite like the idea but buyers having to rejig their usual buying schedule might not so much!

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Matthew Miller AW17 Womens

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Casely-Hayford AW17 Womens

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Sibling AW17 Womens

So another strong men’s event for London which remains the home of menswear in my opinion.  Next LFWM: June 2017!

Victoria Beckham OBE. Why Not?

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Victoria Beckham at her SS 17 show in New York

A wave of indignation continues to sweep across the land at the news that Victoria Beckham is to receive an OBE for “services to fashion” and for her charity work. I personally don’t attach too much significance to the honours system nor do I particularly consider myself a fan of Mrs Beckham’s (who, before the Kardashians, constantly topped my list of the most irritating and pointless celebrities).  I certainly was among those who scoffed when she launched her fashion label back in 2008.  But over the  years I have come to have a grudging respect for her.  For starters, her product is really good.  Her pieces are excellently crafted, I particularly love her handbags (see below) which are chic, super luxe but practical – essential when you’ve a 5 year old in tow!  Then there is her work ethic. Love her or loathe her, it’s impossible to deny that this woman works hard.

So, here we have a woman who, annoying as she can be, has consistently shown guts, determination, ambition and sheer doggedness, often in the face of ridicule.  And let’s not forget that she has successfully conquered the worlds of pop AND fashion –  no mean feat for someone with “limited” talents. Is this enough to deserve an OBE?  I don’t know but she sure as hell has worked hard enough for it. Sure, I could name several other British designers that deserve to be similarly recognised. However, the fact that they haven’t points to problems with the honours system not Victoria Beckham. Good for her I say.

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“Small City Victoria Bag” (Buffalo/Calf). (As practical as it is gorgeous, this bag is sturdy and compact, with seven(!) various-sized compartments.)

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These sunnies are VB too!

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“Large Zip Pouch” (Buffalo/Calf). (Slim but ridiculously roomy thanks to the beautifully soft leather. With two decent sized compartments, its a perfect day time clutch!)

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“Large Zip Pouch” (Buffalo/Suede/Patent/Calf) (I loved the blue one so much a few months later I went and got this as well!)

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And her frocks are not bad either! I adore the simplicity and timelessness of this dress which I couldn’t resist showing you….

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My name is Addie and I am a brand collaboration addict.

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Detail – Maison Martin Margiela x H&M Tuxedo Jacket – 2012

I love a brand collaboration.  A habit I picked up in Tokyo where it’s a well established phenomenon, I especially love a high street and designer hook-up. Puma, Uniqlo, Nike and Adidas have all been at it over the years but no-one does it quite like H&M.  And I, my friends, am an H&M designer collaboration junkie. The rumours and anticipation leading up to launch, plus the manageable price points and one-off factor of the actual sale, have had me hooked since the first one with Karl Lagerfeld back in 2004. Admittedly, not all of the collaborations are born equal and my lust levels vary accordingly (last year’s Balmain collection just wasn’t for me despite all the hype. I’m not a fan of the “celebrity” collections either).

This post started out as a review of the latest collaboration with Kenzo. However, for “services to Addie’s wardrobe and to fashion in general“, I’ve decided to dedicate it to my top H&M designer collaborations so far*. (*Next one is with Erdem and from the lookbook it looks set to be one of my favourites yet.)

My tips for shopping an H&M designer collaboration are at the end of this post if you would like to join the fray when the next one comes around. In the meantime, well done H&M for spreading the (high-end) love!

#1. MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA (November 2012)

maison-martin-margiela-hm-1One of my best buys to date is from this 2012 collection. An utterly fabulous narrow-shouldered double breasted tuxedo jacket. With all the hallmarks of the label (which has since become just Maison Margiela without the “Martin”), it never fails to get compliments whenever I wear it!

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Maison Martin Margiela x H&M Tuxedo Jacket – 2012

#2. COMME des GARҪONS (November 2008)

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I probably have the most pieces from this collection. This black trench coat – I love the Peter Pan collar, rounded shoulders and A-line cut – and gorgeous ruffled-sleeve blouse plus an assortment of  polka-dotted knitwear and shirts. All still very much in use!

COMME des GARҪONS x H&M Trench Coat – 2008

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COMME des GARҪONS x H&M Blouse – 2008

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#3. STELLA McCARTNEY (November 2005)

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I have literally worn this tailed “boyfriend” shirt to death. Well, it has been 11 years.

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Stella McCartney x H&M Shirt – 2005

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Stella McCartney x H&M Shirt – 2005

#4. KENZO (November 2016)

kenzoforhmI got to this one late but still managed to nab this shopper and gorgeous silk blouse.

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Kenzo x H&M Shopper – 2016

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Kenzo x H&M Silk Blouse – 2016

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Detail from Kenzo x H&M Silk Blouse – 2016

#5. KARL LAGERFELD (November 2004)

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The first of the H&M designer collaborations, Lagerfeld’s entire collection sold out in hours. I got this stiff-collared, long-cuffed slim silhouetted cocktail shirt.  As you can see from the state of that collar it has seen a lot of action over the 12 years!

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Karl Lagerfeld x H&M Shirt – 2004

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And the ones that got away…..

#6. Isabel Marant (November 2013) and #7 Lanvin (November 2010) – So gutted to have missed both of these due to other work commitments. Sigh.

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So, ready for the next one? Here are my tips on how to shop an H&M Designer Collaboration:

One: Plan. It happens in November, so make a note in your diary and tune in to yours truly (who will be tracking events closely) and the fashion press for the exact date that the collection will drop.

Two: Camping outside the shops is not required. Don’t feel you have to queue up all night to nab the best pieces.  I never have and still managed some decent finds over the years.

Three: Avoid the after-sale online madness. By all means shop the collection on line on the official H&M website – sometimes this will be your only option if you are not keen on facing the queues. But don’t be tempted to buy at over-inflated prices on eBay after the sale. It defeats the purpose of the whole exercise and frankly, you  might as well just invest in a high-end piece.

Four: Don’t get carried away. Shop wisely and buy what you will actually wear. Think long term and don’t feel you have to buy lots of pieces. If you don’t love it, drop it.

 

And here are the other collaborators to complete the picture so far:

Viktor + Rolf (2006); Roberto Cavalli (2007) ; Matthew Williamson and Jimmy Choo (2009); Versace (2011 and 2012); Marni (2012) and Alexander Wang in 2014.

It’s ready-to-wear but can we wear it? A spotlight on looks for Spring/Summer 2017 – the best and worst.

In six months’ time, Spring/Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collections from recent Fashion Weeks will be hitting the shops. So, who’s nailed it? Selecting key collections from Paris, because it historically has the widest spread of labels, I’ve assigned each one a WYW “would you wear it” rating, ranging from 10 (awesome, save up and go buy) to 0 (a bit rubbish, best avoid). So, here they are, in no particular order….

Kenzo (Carol Lim and Humberto Leon)

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Kenzo SS17

Muted but beautifully cut lines. This “Retro/Modern” collection comes in denim, camo prints and super clean silhouettes. Doesn’t come much more ready-to-wear as far as I’m concerned. WYW Rating: 10 (Because I will happily wear that camo coat RIGHT NOW).

Louis Vuitton (Nicolas Ghesquière)

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Louis Vuitton SS17

Drapey dresses and odd tailoring teamed with uninspiring accessories. Nowhere near Ghesquière’s best and not for me.  WYW Rating: 2 (Because I really don’t think you would want to).

Chanel (Karl Lagerfeld)

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Chanel SS17

I was surprised by how much I liked this collection. A retrospective with a playful twist. Peppered with constant references to the iconic “Chanel Suit 1.0”, it was vibrant and a perfect symphony of old meets new. WYW Rating: 8 (Because not many of us could get away with a florescent baseball cap worn sideways!).

Alexander McQueen (Sarah Burton)

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Alexander McQueen SS17

I love the look and feel of this collection. Tough yet feminine. Edgy but tactile. Gender-fluid perfection and faultless styling. WYW Rating: 5 (Because embroidered tartan and lace is probably not everyone’s cup of tea).

Stella McCartney (Stella McCartney)

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Stella McCartney SS17

With “No Leather” and “Thanks Girls” embossed on key pieces from the collection, the designer’s “considerate and conscious dressing” message was unmistakable and is indeed highly commendable. However, there was just a little too much statement and too little fashion for my liking. WYW Rating: 5 (Because not many of us can afford this indulgence).

Giambattista Valli (Giambattista Valli)

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Giambattista Valli SS17

This is not a label that I’ve historically related to. But there’s some good stuff here. Romantic but not too twee. And the most uniquely styled posh bomber yet (the cocktail ensemble seen here). WYW Rating: 7 (Because that luxe bomber cocktail ensemble really shouldn’t work but it kinda really does).

Givenchy (Riccardo Tisci)

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Givenchy SS17

Spanx-coloured monstrosities awfully styled. Not that any amount of styling could salvage this. WYW Rating: 0 (You can choose to wear it obviously but would you really want to? I mean really?).

Valentino (Pierpaolo Piccioli)

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Valentino SS17

Beautiful dresses, elegantly casual and modestly cut (high necklines abound) but sure to flatter most body shapes. Gorgeously simple accessories and unfussy styling as the dresses spoke loudly for themselves. WYW Rating: 10 (Now if only we could afford them!)

Céline (Phoebe Philo)

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Céline SS17

I have been a fan of Philo’s since her Chloé days but I was disappointed by this. Outrageously oversized blazers (to near American footballer proportions) and mis-matched shoes (yes, same shoes with a different colour on each foot) completely lost me. Not to mention sandals with tights. WYW Rating: 4 (Unless you are a Tokyo hipster, you will struggle to carry this off).

Acne Studios (Jonny Johansson)

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Acne Studios SS17

There wasn’t much in this collection that said Acne to me (and this is one of my favourite labels!). But I may well eat my words in six months’ time when I find myself at Dover Street buying flowing layers of patchwork and scarves. WYW Rating: 6 (You probably would but perhaps just not the pieces from the runway).

Dior (Maria Grazia Chiuri)

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Dior SS17

Another collection with a big message (female empowerment). But unlike Stella McCartney, utterly wearable. T-shirts over sheer tulle skirts with trainers – confident, comfortable, cool. Covetable footwear and some fabulous LBD numbers. WYW Rating: 10 (Because it kicks ass).

Chloé (Clare Waight Keller)

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Chloé SS17

Painfully understated. Beautifully cut and effortlessly stylish. WYW Rating: 10 (Just because).

And then there were others who didn’t make my list but who certainly stood out:

#1. The most fantastically bonkers  – Maison Margiela (John Galliano)

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Maison Margiela SS17

Egg shell caps, spit-toe booties and sweater body suits. What more needs to be said?

#2. The Best tuxedo suit – Olivier Theyskens (Olivier Theyskens)

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Olivier Theyskens SS17

It’s a thing of beauty. Just look at it.

#3. The worst  – Balenciaga (Demna Gvasalia)

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Balenciaga SS17

Is there a name for leggings that turn into shoes? Sheggings? And they came in garish latex and spandex. There were also HUGE bags in the shape of round North African leather foot pouffes. Awful.

#4. The Summer sandals – Isabel Marant (Isabel Marant)

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Isabel Marant SS17

These beauties came in a variety of colours including metallics. I am in full lust mode.

#5. The most surreal – Jacquemus (Simon Porte)

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Jacquemus SS17

Every look was accessorized by a boater. But they all looked good.

So that’s it. Overdrafts and credit cards at the ready?

Addie x