Spring 2016 Couture Part II

Backstage at Giambattista Valli via Vogue Runway

Giambattista Valli & Ulyana Sergeenko


Today I'm talking about two of my favorite couture designers, Giambattista Valli and Ulyana Sergeenko, and their spring 2016 couture collections. Both Valli and Sergeenko have a penchant for the dramatic and over-the-top, which I of course adore. Pastels and flowers figured into these collections, but not in a predictable, "Florals for spring? Groundbreaking" kind of way. 

See for yourself!

Giambattista Valli


For Giambattista Valli, it has become clear throughout the last few seasons that there is simply no such thing as "too much tulle". His finale dresses have become known for their hundreds of layers and fabrics, sugary sweet concoctions made of ruffles. They are perfect for avoiding weird men who are trying to dance with you, because even if you wanted to dance with them they couldn't come within 10 feet of you because your skirt is full enough to fill a small apartment. Just imagine trying to squeeze through a doorframe in one of those babies. And don't even try to get into a car!

But as much as Valli is known for taking exaggeration of figure and form to the limits, he's also become one of the go-to designers for daytime couture looks. If the finale dresses are designed for the Hollywood set, then the first half of the collection appeals to actual couture buyers who are looking to add a gorgeous frock to their wardrobes. Valli has always had a bit of a mod style, preferring simple minidress shapes and allowing the embroidery and beading to do the creative work. 

A duo of balloon-sleeved minidresses read like modern interpretations of Renaissance style, and I'm sure we will see this style of sleeve trickle down into more affordable items (here's hoping, at least!) One standout look was the black cape minidress with intricate blue and yellow beaded flowers (here's a closeup to better appreciate the craftsmanship). The cape appears to be the trend at couture (Chanel featured many of them too) and I think this dress in particular is a gorgeous combination of trendiness and timelessness.

Ulyana Sergeenko


Ulyana Sergeenko is one of the most exciting couturiers out there because Sergeenko herself is a couture buyer. She's both a creator and a consumer, and because of this she understands what the couture customer is looking for. Also, she knows how to have fun with fashion.

For Spring 2016 couture, Sergeenko was inspired by the 1980s as well as the 1880s, and you can see the Russian Imperialism-meets-Boy George influences here, with Victorian corsets done in patent leather and models pairing gownlike coats with punk hats. 

For me, it was the color palette that was most eye-catching. I love a good pastel, but I love how the soft mints and lilacs were interrupted with bright red and bold black every here and there. Also, the occasional masks made me think of an amazing idea: couture-wearing crimefighters. Seriously, The Avengers would be much better if they all wore couture!

Don't forget to read Part I of my spring 2016 couture reviews here!

What were your favorite couture collections? Let me know in the comments!

Spring 2016 Couture

Your favorite "social supermodels" Kendall, Gigi, and Bella backstage at Chanel Spring 2016 Couture

Armani Privé, Chanel, and Christian Dior


Okay, can we talk about how good the couture shows were this season? Seriously, I'm struggling editing down the looks I show because there was just so much goodness! It's a nice problem to have. 

Because there were so many standout looks and collections, I'm breaking my couture reviews into portions. Today, I'm talking Armani, Chanel, and Dior

Armani Privé


Giorgio Armani was in a purple haze, with a stunning monochromatic couture collection filled with lilacs and lavenders. But while monochrome may read as boring, the clothes were anything but. The cohesiveness of color allows viewers to focus on the shape and the texture of each garment, and really, that is the whole point of couture. It's about craftsmanship and quality, and keeping everything in the same color just eliminates things that might distract from our admiration of these garments.

Before getting to the red-carpet-ready gowns that Armani Privé is known for, a full 28 looks of daytime separates paraded down the runway, echoing the modern sentiment that clothes, even couture clothes, should first and foremost be worn. What's a $100,000 dress if it can only be worn once and then never again? A bad investment, that's what it is.

Of course, there were a number of gowns that I have already saved in my "Oscars Red Carpet Predictions" folder. I would love to see Brie Larson in the flapper-esque dress with the beaded scallops. Get used to lavender, because I have a feeling a lot of these dresses are going to pop up on red carpets.

Armani wasn't afraid to be inventive with shape for Spring 2016. Dresses ranged from slip-like and slinky to tented trapezes. A favorite look of mine featured sheer pants with ruffle hems. The model's legs looked like elongated jellyfish, and I mean that in the most flattering of terms. I always find pants a bit boring, but I've never seen anything quite so fun! Here's hoping someone is brave enough to pull those off in real life!


Chanel


While it is absolutely impossible to hate Chanel or Karl Lagerfeld, I've made it no secret that I've found the past few collections to be derivative. When working at a heritage brand this is often the case, as designers feel an obligation to study archives and pay constant homage to the founders.

Thankfully, Lagerfeld has returned to form with a couture collection inspired by Japanese gardens and nature. For the most part, the entire collection was light and earth-toned, and everything felt very natural and rounded, even though the whole point of couture is to celebrate man's craftsmanship, the manipulation of nature, if you will. The models appeared like goddesses of the earth, slender and sophisticated in their columnal skirts, but with an otherworldly quality, highlighted by dramatic, anime-like eye makeup and glimmering sequins. Slung around their hips were tiny pouches, beaded with wood or sequins or pearls, and they looked like they could equally be pulling out an iPhone or dispersing seeds onto the dirt.

As always with Chanel, the devil is in the details, and this season was no exception. Materiality is always a concern of Lagerfeld's, and seeing as how the theme of the collection was "nature" he incorporated wood chips, wild cotton, and other natural materials into the clothes themselves. The clothes themselves were alive and natural, a beautiful sentiment in a time of hypertechnology and synthetic materials, especially since just last season the Chanel girls were catwalking down the most fashionable airport terminal ever. But leave it to Chanel to do a complete 180 and celebrate the very opposite of nature the next time.

Also, when I get married I want a hooded couture sweatshirt like the Chanel bride. Seriously, how cool is that!?


Christian Dior


Like all of you, I too was nervous to see the Christian Dior collection after Raf Simon's premature exit from the fashion house. Would it be another post-Galliano Bill Gayten disaster? Please, don't let that happen!

Luckily, countless fashion insiders (and myself) breathed a sigh of relief as the Dior design team presented a lovely collection that continued the youthfulness of Simon's tenure. There were fun, asymmetrical shapes, beautiful beading and embellishment, and an inventive view of color mixing. There were also plenty of youthful touches, from flirty mini skirts to back-from-the-90s anklets (that's right, they're making a comeback). Personally I hated the shoes, but they're in the same vein as the ugly-cool Céline shoes that everyone is obsessed with.

My two favorite looks were the embellished bar jackets with slitted bell sleeves. The bar jacket is a Dior classic, and I love how the designers updated this archival style for the modern day. As we await news on who will replace Simons permanently, we can be comforted by the fact that the interim design heads will turn out perfectly fine collections. But seriously though, who do you think will take the reins at Dior?

Read Part II here!

What was your favorite couture collection? Let me know in the comments!

Style Crush | Jenny Walton

Jenny Walton via J. Crew

Making a style splash one statement earring at a time.


If you look to fashion week street style for inspiration, chances are you've come across Jenny Walton. In recent seasons she's been popping up all over the place, from The Sartorialist to Vogue Runway's street style recaps, and showcasing an incredibly unique sense of style. She's been one of the biggest supporters of fashion's transition towards the maximal and has a wonderful eye for great clothing. Also, the girl can rock a statement earring like no other.

In addition to making a splash on street style blogs, Walton is a talented fashion illustrator. Her website, Markers and Microns, features her illustrations, as well as outfit pics, inspiration posts, and shopping lists. Her illustrations are lovely, and her economy of line is incredibly striking. She's able to create strong illustrations with just a few well-placed lines, a true talent.

Here are some of my favorite Jenny Walton street style moments:

Phil Oh for Vogue Runway
A Love is Blind
Citizen Couture
Collage Vintage
Phil Oh
J. Crew
Phil Oh
The Sartorialist
Vanessa Jackman
Phil Oh for Vogue Runway
Tommy Ton's Instagram
Vanessa Jackman
WhoWhatWear

Get Walton's Style:

Theory T-shirt | J. Crew earrings | Vince Camuto scarf | Moleskine notebook | REDValentino skirt | Miu Miu pumps | Saint Laurent jacket

What do you think of Jenny Walton's style? Who are your favorite street style stars? Let me know in the comments!

What I Wore | Grand Central Market

WEARING J. Crew shirt | Madewell denim jacket | Urban Outfitters scarf, skirt, and socks | C. Wonder boots | Kate Spade purse
Sometimes you just gotta dress like a Parisian train conductor, amiright?

On Friday, some sorority sisters and I Ubered downtown to Grand Central Market for dinner, which if you haven't heard of it, it's basically a huge warehouse that's filled with different food stalls and vendors. If you've ever seen someone make a witty Instagram caption having to do with a breakfast place called Eggslut, they were at GCM! I myself went for some artisanal fish and chips from Bombo, followed by some delicious ice cream from McConnell's Ice Cream.

Pro tip: many of the stalls close relatively early, so I would recommend hitting up Grand Central Market for lunch or weekend brunch rather than dinner. Also, they have a deli, fromagerie, and produce stands, so you can get a snack and also stock up on groceries!

After GCM, I went out with friends to some house parties around campus, and my French girl meets midwestern railroad worker look was a huge hit. Some lady at GCM stopped me to tell me she liked my outfit, and you know the ultimate compliment for a fashion girl is when a stranger takes notice of your look. Everyone should own a bandana, a striped shirt, and thigh-high socks so that you too can recreate this winning outfit.

Seriously obsessed with bandanas, everyone should have a few to add pizazz to your outfits
Salted caramel and cookie dough ice cream at Grand Central Market!!!

Shop the Look:


Let me know what you guys think in the comments!

Grace Coddington at American Vogue


If you're at all interested in fashion (which I hope you are, since you're reading a fashion blog, but you might be my brother who so nicely reads my blog from time to time even though he's not interested in the world of fashion, so I'll tell you anways) you probably know that Grace Coddington, the wonderful creative director of Vogue, has decided to step down from her role (or at least scale back). Coddington has been with American Vogue since 1988, when editor-in-chief Anna Wintour also joined the esteemed fashion magazine. Twenty-eight years later, Coddington is ready for a new adventure.

While Coddington is a pretty private person, the world got to know her through the phenomenal 2009 documentary The September Issue (which takes the viewer inside the making of Vogue's September issue; if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it!) and she became somewhat of a celebrity after that.

The September Issue is when I was first introduced to Grace Coddington, and it couldn't have come out at a more pivotal time. I watched it when I was in high school and trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to do with my life. I knew by then that I wanted to work in fashion, but I had realized that being a fashion designer wasn't for me, so I wanted to see what other jobs were out there. After watching the documentary and seeing the visionary way Coddington styles clothes and crafts photoshoot ideas, I realized that creative director is what I wanted to be. And I've been on that journey ever since.

I wanted to share some of my favorite editorials of Coddington's from her time at Vogue. She's just so talented, and has such a wonderful way of looking at fashion that focuses on the fantasy more than the practicality (an increasingly rare worldview when it comes to clothing). Like the late Alexander McQueen or my favorite fashion photographer Tim Walker, Coddington sees the transformative power of fashion and the magic within it. Fashion is not just a means to an end, but rather an important form of self-expression. I'll miss her wonderful work at Vogue, but I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Coddington!

P.S. If you want to learn more about Grace Coddington's career or just want to know a bit more about fashion in general, definitely watch The September Issue and check out Coddington's memoir, Grace.


What are your favorite Grace Coddington-styled editorials?