Monday, 28 January 2013

Menswear 2013 Autumn/Winter: Prada

So what do you think?

My perennial favourite, Prada, has just shown its 2013 Autumn/Winter menswear collection. Subtle, but as usual, impeccably tailored - Prada once again surprises.

Too plain or excitingly simple? I'll leave it to you to decide...

brandmaker (SC!)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Two centuries of European Fashion!

Europe has arguably always been at the heart of high fashion - and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is celebrating with the exhibition, Fashioning Fashion, recounting two centuries of European fashion from 1700 to 1915, and the outbreak of World War 1.

This is a rare opportunity to see up to 100 vintage female and male outfits in chronological and thematic order - all telling the story of a rapidly evolutionary (and revolutionary!) time.

The exhibition is open through to 14 April.

Visit for more.

brandmaker (SC!)

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Sea foam anyone?

Is 'sea foam' the new black?

Jessica Chastain certainly pulled it off at the Golden Globes in this gorgeous Calvin Klein dress!

Watch out for it!

Resort 2013 Refresher: Prabal Gurung

Three weeks ago I began revisiting the best 2013 Resort collections with the amazing Valentino! After a small hiatus (I have been travelling - a lot!) I am back to continue my 2013 Resort Refreshers - and what better way than looking at exciting designer, Prabal Gurung. 

After being born in Singapore, raised in Kathmandu, working in New Delhi and studying in New York, Prabal Gurung brings to his designs his own eclectic mix of culture and influence. Gurung's designs are exciting and appealing, and most importantly, accessible and original in a ready-to-wear market flooded with mediocrity and over design.   

Resort collections embody a sense of freedom and relaxation, all while being benchmarked against an expectation of flawless style and utter sophistication. It is a difficult balancing act and one that can encourage innovation or lull one into uncertainty. Thankfully, Prabal Gurung's 2013 collection was a clear demonstration of the allure of the Resort philosophy - innovative, feminine, uninhibited and ultimately, completely stylish. These are pieces to be envied and pieces that every woman wants to be seen in. 

Empowered with clear, strong lines and bold design, the Prabal Gurung woman enjoys a sense of self-esteem and desirability.

The look above is tailored and edgy while remaining feminine and individual. The red and black complement the feeling of strength and power, while the contrasting addition of the off-white cut on the skirt softens the overall palette and draws attention across the entire look, rather than emphasising a single focal point. This is important in a look that has many dynamic features, such a the triangle cut in the skirt, the black lining and slithers of exposure on the top, or the dramatic above-elbow cut sleeves - the amazing killer heels also compete and demand attention!

Can I just say, the looks above and below I love in every way, shape and form? Well, I do. Never one to shy away from pattern or print, Prabal Gurung is able to use shape and colour to create pieces that one wants to wear and to feel sexy in, all while not losing that sense of refinement and poise that one wants to feel when wearing clothes of eternal beauty and style. 

The above look is one of conflicting opinions - black versus white, yellow versus black, playful peplum versus edgy strappy heels - yet, managed together, the look produces a striking reality of fashion consciousness. The mesmerising contrasting pattern on the skirt lifts the skirt from the plain and simple and injects enthusiasm into the bottom half of the look without overdoing it. There is a lot going on in the look - the colours, the patterns, the prints and the shapes - but somehow, it works beautifully. The softness of the yellow and the white above allows the more adventurous design in the heels and skirt below, and once again, Gurung has created a platform for individual expression. 

Who doesn't love shortie shorts? What's more, who doesn't love shortie shorts with killer heels? The answer is, nobody. Certainly not Prabal Gurung. The looks above and below ooze Resort appeal, and once again, Gurung has used prints to add punchy exuberance to the overall feel of the look. Each look is youthful and dynamic, yet retains that expensive, impeccably tailored narrative that runs through the Prabal Gurung collection. And once again, Gurung's pumps are clearly to die for. Hot. 

Ok, perhaps not each of Prabal Gurung's pieces are immediately destined for 'ready to wear' as you stroll to the Resort bar on a beach in the Cayman's on a warm summer's evening - but a little creative licence needs to be afforded! As I mentioned earlier, Resort collections allow and encourage innovation. The above look ticks all the right boxes. Original, bold, refined and elegant. It's Little Red Riding Hood meets Heiress. Love it. 

Don't let the black pants fool you. This Prabal Gurung girl is bringing sexy back - albeit in a fluffy cutesy girly way. The simple white blousy top, accented with the red outline and the oh so in peplum and the oh so cool above elbow sleeves is totally working for me (as is does for Prabal - it features more than once in the collection). The perfectly tailored black pant is an ideal platform to showcase the top and showcase it it does. A skirt could also work if the need arose!  

Once thing you may have noticed is the cohesion that Prabal Gurung demonstrates throughout his collection. No two pieces are the same, but there is a story to be told. This is true of most collections, but sometimes the story becomes too complicated or doesn't have a happy ending. Gurung's 2013 Resort story, to me, is a best seller. Each chapter represents a fresh new take on the plot and leaves the reader on the edge of their seat, wanting for more. In the looks above and below, Gurung has again used a familiar canvas (pencil skirt, high neck top, peplum etc) to express appealing prints, yet each look is new and fresh.

The look above, devoid of colour, represents something new. Although simple, the look embodies a sense of elegance and purpose. Summer nights are calling and it is time for a night on the town. I particularly enjoy Gurung's addition of the pockets on the skirt, which keeps the look from becoming too rigid, and the cut of the skirt just above the knee, which keeps the look from falling within undesirable territory (for which there is a time and place!). 

The look below, although essentially similar to previous looks in terms of structural design, again represents something fresh. The sherbert yellow colouring and the lacework on the top are soft and warm and ensure that sense of femininity that every woman wants to feel. The pencil skirt, with the blue floral prints, keep the look from becoming too demure and assists in keeping with the rest of the collection (the skirt is also ultimately very flattering - another essential!).  

Prabal Gurung is obviously an exciting designer. There is a clear sensibility in his design aesthetic - original, innovative, wearable, sophisticated - the adjectives could keep on coming. One thing is for sure, Prabal Gurung designs clothes that woman want to wear, and that is surely the greatest indicator of success! 

brandmaker (SC!) 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Resort 2013 Refresher: Valentino

Finally, summer is here (in the Southern Hemisphere that is!) and I am excited.

The days are long, the nights are warm and everybody is happy to be alive. With Christmas only a few short weeks away, everyone is going from party to party, finishing up work for the year and getting ready to take a well-earned break. The anticipation and excitement in the air has me thinking about the 2013 Resort collections shown earlier this year.

I LOVE the Resort collections - they are a celebration of the impeccably chic and a pleasant reminder that summer has arrived! 

Jovial and fresh, the Resort collections are designed to encapsulate one's feelings when away from the demands of everyday life. They are a chance for a designer to show creativity and imagination in a less pretentious, more casual environment. Don't get me wrong though, the Resort collections are still big business. With year-round relevance, and the opportunity to appeal to those living in warmer climates (and of course to those of us who like to travel to such destinations to escape the confines of the winter season - and looking superbly stylish while doing so), the Resort collections are highly anticipated. 

To celebrate the coming of the season, I am going to spend the next two weeks sharing my highlights of the 2013 Resort collections. And to start off, I am going to revisit my number one favourite collection for 2013 - Valentino.

In my humble opinion, Valentino was utterly flawless. The colour palette, the silhouettes, the fabrics, the patterns - Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri truly embodied the Resort philosophy - fresh, casual and light. Each piece was totally unique and sublimely stylish - and a distinct departure from the edgy, leather inspired mood seen in their autumn collection.

Valentino's 2013 Resort collection was simply stunning in its execution and quite breathtaking in its beauty. Below are a few of my personal favourites from the collection, although I could have put them all in without question.

What self-respecting lady would not want to be seen in the Valentino gown above? Embedded on the most delicately sheer lace, the seasonal colour palette and the intricate floral pattern is full of life and optimism for the prospects of a new year. The gown sets the tone and mood for the entire collection - a collection that is built around a sense of understated individuality and bourgeoning irreverence, the hallmark of the late 1960s.

I LOVE the look above. The punchy pink is magnetic to the eye. Valentino's collection is defined by pieces, such as this one, that are demure and feminine yet bold and adventurous. Accented with the starkly contrasted white collar and cuffs, the dress has the ability to lend itself to any number of situations, whether formal gatherings or an evening under the stars on a balmy summer's night. The sheer arms, the thin line belt and the über cute low-cut heels only add to this looks style supremacy.  

Valentino's collection is cleverly built upon the use of the perennially beautiful citrus colour palette. Lime greens and soft yellows are a gentle reminder of youth, femininity and the genesis of life - and are a perfect current to run through any Resort collection. Valentino has taken these hues paired them with delicately embroidered lace to add a real porcelain quality to the collection - like a whisper, each piece is preciously soft and light as a feather. The look above the two below are prime examples - and I am totally loving the matching clutch bags.

There is no denying that an all-over print can drown the wearer and end up looking unflattering and très occupé! But once again, Valentino has pushed the boundary and has created something truly inspiring. The softness of the print and the demure colour palette has allowed this dress the opportunity to come alive. Again, the collar and cuffs define the direction of the look, and the golden belt helps to break the print and give the dress a natural focal point. Love it.

Above: SUPER CUTE! The Valentino girl leaves no prisoners - everybody wants to be her!

Below: The lacework again may be the winner, but the Valentino girl wearing this amazing dress is truly the star.

Above: Loving the injection of leopard print. Valentino = always surprising.

Below: I can't be the only one who thinks this look is super special. The black sheer top, again defined by the collar and the cuff, is provocative and enticing. Team that with the pink pinstripe skirt, the pink bag and heels (rocked up with the jewels), the look is transformed from merely provocative to inherently individual.

Above: do I have to say anything? Ok, I will. Love it. The floral, the belt, the lace trim - all of it screams the advent of flower power and the rise of individual freedom, all while still being disguised within the confines of current yet crumbling social inhibitions. Valentino channels the mood of the sixties and transforms the mood into something that is totally current and utterly enviable. The Valentino girl has two faces - you never know which one is facing you.

Below: Hot.  

The injection of the forest green, backless lace dress above is bringing sexy back and bringing back in a big way - the Valentino girl is always evolving.

Above: Victoria Beckham - is that you? Surely you can't squeeze any more sophistication and sexy into this look? No, no you can not.

Valentino is continually surprising. The Valentino girl is feminine, self-assured and desirable. She takes great pride in not only the way she presents herself, but in the way she thinks and feels. She likes to feel pretty and delicate as well as exude confidence and a sense for seasonal fashion.

Piccioli and Chiuri have developed a Resort collection that not only inspires, but one that challenges. It challenges because it ticks so many boxes. Where to from here? That is an exciting thought.

brandmaker (SC!)