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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bibhu Mohapatra Spring 2017 - Parisian Art

bibhu mohapatra ss17
bibhu mohapatra spring 2017
The romance of France was on the mind of many designers for Spring 2017. Bibhu Mohapatra looked to Paris during the Belle Epoque era post WWI. It was a time of artists and exoticism that inspired many creatives of today.

Vintage silhouettes of long skirts and peplums were prominent in the daywear looks. Longer gowns had asymmetrical tailoring and sexy leg slits. The sleeve was puffed with feminine charm. Artists like Matisse were referenced in prints that looked like collages of multicolor papercuts. 

Delicate, sparkling embroidery combined small jewels and pearls on bodices and all over skirts. Long ostrich feathers were also embroidered for a very light fringe effect. Frothy tulle dresses also mirrored joyful birds. In fact, most of the looks listed in the run of show program were name after different breeds of birds. 

Models were styled with elegant French coquette waves. Others wore big sunglasses with brightly colored frames. I liked to think these were symbolic for Mohapatra's sunny outlook for the upcoming year. He experienced loss in the past year and his more somber collections of 2015 and early 2016 reflected that. 

I loved to see Bibhu Mohapatra looking humble and joyous now on the Spring 2017 runway. 
designer bibhu mohapatra
photos by Mariana Leung
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Blogger Love: Looking to Spring 2017

Many of my fellow bloggers this week continued to talk about NYFW but with their insider perspectives. Blog post highlights included getting a job at NY Fashion Week to fashion photography to myself, who worked on establishing the fit of the collection for one of the shows. Other bloggers discussed fall-appropriate makeup and clothing looks while others discussed their full season verdict of New York Fashion Week in general:


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

#LFW: Faustine Steinmetz Denim Mermaids

Faustine Steinmetz is a relatively new fashion label. The designer studied both in Paris and London, then worked with Jeremy Scott and Henrik Vibskov before launching on her own. Her Spring 2017 presentation was a study in different ways you can create crafted denim masterpieces.

When you know a designer is going to do a presentation as opposed to a runway show; it usually isn't that eventful. London Fashion Week has proven me wrong. Steinmetz had her models reclined in giant cubbyholes in the walls, lit with blue light. The effect was like seeing an exhibit of living mermaids in their aquarium. The models' faces were made up in various shades of unearthly blue with body glitter over all different body parts.

The clothing itself had tailored dark indigo denim separates, printed jackets, hand woven, dyed ombre piece. There were embroidered pieces or fringed. The entire collection served to make you think of denim differently.

To add to the captured mermaid theme, some models wore jewelry and shoes that looked like they were embedded into rock with quartz crystals jutting out of it. These were clearly more for styling and artistic expression than for practical wearing, but they were striking nonetheless.

This presentation was at the Old Spitalfields Market, a historical market dating back to the 1880s. It now houses designer boutiques, vintage flea market, indie designer pop-ups and gourmet food stalls in East London. This venue was also home to the up-and-coming fashion designers of London Fashion Week. It seemed to be the British equivalent of the Milk Studios space at NYFW.

Congratulations Faustine Steinmetz on your innovative exhibit. You managed to make me rethink both the fashion presentation format AND denim as a fashion category at the same time. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

#LFW: Mary Katrantzou Spring 2017

Do you want to see color? Mary Katrantzou has more color on her spring 2017 runway than any collection I have shot this year. The designer is known for her spectacular prints. For this season, her intricate prints took on psychedelic patterns, geometric shapes and the wild colors of the 1960s. It looked like my fantasy of London of that era, nostalgic for my Dad's memories of the city at that time during his school days.

The spiraling, twisting patterns not only were printed but were layered and embroidered to create a three-dimensional quality to the look. There were acrylic and mirror bottoms and tops that were made of linked pieces cut to match the shapes of the fabric prints, reminding me of vintage Paco Rabanne pieces.

There were long, skinny pants, short skirts with A-line or fishtail hems. Singular statement frocks found their sister outfit in long belted skirt and sweater combos. The 1960's "Mod" theme was also accompanied by the theme of Grecian or Minoan Goddesses. The human imagery depicted artwork of people in ancient times with a color palette for 2016. Ladies could be bathing or a battle scene decorated the lower half of a blazer. Oversized birds were embroidered onto tops.

The clutch handbags on this runway were just as interesting. Each Lucite clutch was stylized into a letter of the alphabet. At first glance, the letter may not have been obvious, like the "t" bag which had a profile of an alphabet letter but looked like a marbled surface purse from the sides. Other bags looked like signage.

Whether you are a textile designer, crafter or stylist, you could find a lot of inspiration at this show. Mary Katrantzou works her magic on the loud, beautiful pieces of her Spring 2017 collection. She brought back Britain's Swinging sixties. I love that every person I met at London Fashion Week LFW looks like they would fit right in. I hope to see much more of Mary as the seasons go by.
All photos by Mariana Leung

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Monday, September 19, 2016

#LFW: Gareth Pugh Spring 2017

Exceptional fashion is operatic. Designer Gareth Pugh has combined them both. He designed 60 of the costumes of the recently debuted Eliogabalo in Paris for the Venice Carnival Festival. Written by Francesco Cavalli, the opera tells the story of a tyrannical child emperor who declared himself the Sun God. Aside from the costume work, the production inspired much of Pugh's Spring 2017 collection. "He's an agent of chaos, a crowded anarchist, emerging amid a climate of greed and narcissism. It's essentially about an empire eating itself - which felt alarmingly relevant." With the American political climate the way that it is, you would think he was talking about our election.

How did this muse influence the fashion collection specifically? The first group of looks consisted of dramatic silhouettes around a gold and black sun. The black sun represented a gaping void as a reference to Francis Bacon's Innocent X. According to Pugh, it was the "ultimate symbol of insatiable hunger and consumption". The beautiful gold mosaic embellishments symbolize the fractured idea of wealth and chaos.

The second group makes way for the most commercial looks of the show. Monochromatic  purple, white and black looks were draped and twisted beautifully onto the body. The effect was like a contemporary Goddess. It was relaxed and flowing. I would be happy to fill my entire close with these looks.

The third group saw the gold and black sun evolve into an earthy sunburst. The graphic pattern now stood for the idea of renewal, mysticism, and fertility. The silhouettes here were cocoon-like as opposed to the rigid, structured shapes of the gold mosaic group. The sun's rays worked its way into a stripe on some of the looks.

The Gareth Pugh Spring 2017 was one of the shows I was most looking forward to when I knew I would travel to London. I didn't know if I would see human harnesses, intellectual Goth or a cocktail dress made of straws. I just knew it would be impressive and unexpected. I am happy to say I was not disappointed.
All photos by Mariana Leung

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

#LFW: Julien Macdonald Spring 2017

julien macdonald
Yesss, this is why I came to London Fashion Week. Bold, British Punk. The Julien Macdonald runway show gave me all of the studs, spikes, metal chains and hardware I could wish for. Hailey Baldwin opened and closed the show with her signature strut down a giant gymnasium.

Models' limbs were greased up to show off super long legs and muscled arms. Men were styled with open shirts and jackets. Pants were tight to show off their physique. Military jackets were paired with the shortest of shorts. Beautifully beaded sheer dresses could have beaded or metal chain fringe. Shirts, jackets, and dresses could act as metal all on their own from their embellishment.

Since New York has lost most of its Rock n' Roll vibe, I was very happy to see it here. The guests themselves added to the atmosphere. Equally edgy celebs like singer Elle Eyre and Empire's Serayah were in attendance with model Abbey Clancy along with eccentric characters hoping for street style recognition.

Thank you Julien Macdonald, your runway show brought some punk back into my life!
All photos by Mariana Leung

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