We dislike show reviews. We don’t need somebody to tell us that a blue jacket is blue and that it’s made of leather. We are not blind, in fact, we’re pretty well-educated when it comes down to fashion behind the seams. So, after fashion weeks worldwide have come to an end, we wondered what the dead-honest opinions of CSM’s Fashion Design students were. We sat down with a six-headed panel, and looked at some of the best shows of this season on VogueRunway.com, with an iPhone voice recorder on the side capturing praises, discussion and disbelief. Let’s introduce our speakers…
Words and panel leader: Matilda Söderberg
Illustration by Olivia Davies
(1) Silver Fox: In the backstage area, behind the glossy surface of any big fashion event, you’ll most likely find Silver desperately trying to get into a pair of three numbers too small Margiela’s just seconds away from the catwalk. Travelling between the most powerful fashion centres of Europe, this androgynous veteran knows the ins and outs of the busy fashion system from a hard working model perspective.
(2) Pat Ternmaster: After years of education within the complex art of pattern cutting, this dedicated Yamamoto-enthusiast from the classical venues of Vienna knows fashion down to the thread. Obsessed with garments, and with a cutting-edge expertise in fabrics, construction and tailoring, not a sloppy stitch will be safe from this sharp eyed master of clothing.
(3) Purple Rain: As with the sweet vocals of Prince, Purple will become your best friend and stick with you through the hardest of times. With an outcast upbringing in a gangster family, this lonely soul searched for comfort with a far relative that happened to be a skilled programmer. As their friendship went on, this soon-to-be hacking underdog finally made peace with the world through digital enlightment. Purple explored the far and beyonds of this new viral sanctuary, which have made this Purple into one of the most vigorous digital trend spotters as we dig deep into the gutters of Vogue Runway.
(4) Mango Margoushka: This lovely being will enchant you with allurement and fascinate you with intelligence. Behind a sweet surface you’ll find layers and layers of knowledge that are built on a foundation of wiseness and insight.
(5) Steve: Ever wondered who your strange neighbour is that seems to be carving out instruments out of vegetables? Well, look no further.
(6) The pop-up: Popup or pop-up could refer to: Batted ball, a type of hit ball in baseball; Hidden headlamps, also called pop-up headlamps; Pop-up book, or movable books; Pop Up (album), a 2007 album by Yelle; Popup camper, a type of recreational vehicle; Pop-up restaurant, is temporary restaurant; Pop-up retail, short-term sales spaces; Boilie, a buoyant fishing bait also known as pop-ups.
1: I’m usually crazy about Proenza, but I really feel that this collection is quite simple if you compare it with the amazing layering techniques they usually have. They’ve also taken a step back when it comes to print and colour. And the coats! Where are all the good coats?
2: I really enjoy the draping of the folded tops though, and the cow print is just amazing. But, at the same time, doesn’t it feel like everyone is a bit influenced by Céline at the moment?
3: I was actually just about to say that. To me they do look a bit like a little sister to Céline!
4: I actually wouldn’t been able to tell it was Proenza if I didn’t know it from before, it’s almost like they’ve lost a bit of their identity. So, it’s not only that they’ve simplyfied it.
5: Yes, exactly. I mean, I do like bits and pieces and generally it does look quite nice. Some of the materials are great for example, but as a whole it’s not that rememberable.
1: This collection really excites me. Considering the slightly more subtle aesthetics they had before Alessandro went on board, this collection takes a totally different direction. They’re way more interesting now, with all the prints, the variety of textures and even all the different techniques they use. The collection has a strong theme and you can definitely tell they’ve been loyal to their vision, it really tells a story, you know.
2: I’m not so sure I’d agree with that point. To me each look feels like they belong to a different collection, I can’t really see a line running through the whole body of it. Indeed, you can tell there’s some sort of identity in there. He’s brought the 70’s heritage back and I’d guess he’s been working a lot with the archive, which has also brought a different costumer than before. But the garments themselves don’t speak as much to each other I would say.
1: Really? Because I can defenitely see the connection, they’re a lot more focused on the overall style. I would even say think they were quite forced on going back to a strong aesthetic, the identity of the brand was about to lose itself along with the sexy catwoman. There are so many designers doing that already. Like, leave that to Versace.
3: Yeah, they are really pushing their theme, which I’m quite in love with. Clumsy, cute, quirky, so wrong and so right. There’s a nice two dimentional sense to the collars, and the ties are like the best thing ever that happened to this season. I mean who wouldn’t want a sparkly ladybug the size of an overgrown hamster on their chest?
5: I’m having a hard time with the brocade floor. Is that really necessary? Presentation-wise it just seems really confusing.
1: Wasn’t Alessandro the accessory designer of Gucci before? I think there might be a reason why they’ve focused a lot more on details than usual, I mean, there’s no finishing in sight that’s not impeccably made. But, with that said, I also think he hasn’t focused as much on the silhouettes as on the prints and the textures. He hasn’t really experimented with shapes in the same way he’s been working with the materials.
2: Exactly, they are constantly repeating their silouettes. But, that’s not too surprising once you’ve considered the numbers of outfits. Is there really any point to have, like, 70 looks? You are just draining the essential content of the theme until it means nothing. It’s not sustainable for anything really, neither the planet nor the brand.
3: Obviously the casting was amazing on this one, it’s like having a pathway meeting! I love Kate with the little blue hands to go with her fringe.
1: The shoes and all the sequin stuff are gorgeous, but besides from the obvious ”art school night out” references I wasn’t the biggest fan of it to be honest. Like, the shapeless blue plastic jersey mashup, I mean. I get trashbag couture, but this is litteraly a trashbag!
4: But even though it’s really messy and sparkly and trashy, it’s still kind of wearable at the same time. I like that.
5: Is that a thong?
3: I see an American flag, I see a starfish…
5: I really dislike this skirt.
3: … American flag colours…
5: I do appreciate Matty Bovan’s print on this piece, but I’m not really fond of the silhouette. It almost looks like a hoodie or something…Yeah, it’s a hoodie.
3: … Baseball jackets…
5: Ah, no. I really don’t like those jackets.
2: I can’t believe that we have to go through 40 more looks.
5: No, this is really pointless. I think they went for a mismatch thing, but just got it really wrong. It literally just seems like they’ve produced loads of random stuff, turned them into red and blue and called it a theme.
1: Well, they’ve done this one grey dress.
3: … A pair of swans?
2: Must be a different intern.
3: Let’s just leave the last couple of looks and move on.
2: I think the garments are quite strong, and he’s magaged to maintain the identity of the brand while updating the looks. The drapings are actually really amazing. As with the dresses, the shapes, the continuous color scheme that is running through the whole collection. White, blurring into a creame, merging into orange and then back to black and grey.
1: And you can feel that his method is pouring into the whole performance. But, was it more about the fashion or the statement? I was shocked at first, like, how could they actually manage to carry the other women? For a glimpse of a second I actually thought the women they carried were dolls.
5: They’ve managed to make it look really casual, though. Do you think they were trained?
2: No I think they were performers, like the ones they had in the SS14 show.
3: Some of them just looked like normal models though, like really slim and small, I swear I just saw one look and I thought ”omg she’s just a little model carrying a full grown woman on her back!”. And it was also, like, really secure. I think they even had just 2 straps attached to them or something, which was quite interesting conceptually. In a way it reminds me of Comme’s six-armed garments — the disfunctionality in it.
5: What was meant to be the concept behind this?
2: Well, according to Style.com [now VogueRunway.com] it was on showing the strength of a woman, the physical weight of putting on other people’s burdens, or even beings. Carrying children, nurturing others, the difference of a ”strong woman” and female strength. It’s a physical experience, which is quite interesting since carrying garments is a physical experience as well. Fashion is performance!
1: I did find it kind of disturbing when putting this in a fashion context though, couldn’t this be read as turning a human into a fashion accessory? In a way the subject is also forced upon you, you can’t really avoid to opiniate about it.
2: In a way I think the whole act challenges the way that fashion is presented in general. While in a presentation you have a much wider opportunity to explore different themes, I’d say there’s a much more limited space to do something different in a show, since it always depends on the models walking. So they’ve really been pushing the boundaries of the fashion show.
1: Somehow Vetements manages to always make it about the fit, without it being about the fit, you know? It’s a calculated, oversized non-fit, that always looks really good.
3: Well, the thing is that you can also get that without actually having to buy Vetements. It’s the same with the writing they do on their sleeves, there is loads of stuff like that already.
2: That’s so Margiela.
4: Yeah, they all worked at Margiela before, didn’t they?
3: You know, Vetements is meant to be like the coolest brand in the world, but I’m not sure they can keep that title for long. It’s began to translate into popular culture so quickly, it hasn’t even been underground for very long. Like, every now and then Rihanna is spotted in their hoodies, and internet exploded when “Bitch better have my money” got out where she’s wearing their boots.
2: In a way it mirrors popular culture, actually. They’ve gone a lot more sporty and a lot more about branding, I think it’s quite short-living.
1: Well, it bears its hype, but after a few seasons it’s a lot more forced. I mean, how many collections can they do before you’ll know exactly what to expect?
3: Oh, well, I think that happened to them last season.
3: This is not how I remembered Sacai at all. They have the exact same prints and the exact same colours in the first five looks. Not even the silouettes are that different from each other.
1: I really like their winter collection though, they’re really good when it comes to coats and stuff. But, I think Sacai has been getting so much attention lately that they’ve needed to focus on the garments that people actually buy. So, I guess they’re definitely getting a bit more commercial. Not that commerciality is nessecarily a bad thing, but as soon as you introduce the idea of capitalising on a product, you’re always facing the risk of becoming more calculating and less risk-taking. And thus, less exciting.
2: We really got it all in the first look, which is not a good thing. The first look should give you a small insight into what you could expect, and make you curious about what is to come.
1: I really think it is just a bad collection, otherwise I really do like Sacai. I think they’re better on fall/winter, I mean their coats and jackets were really amazing last season.
Noir Kei Ninomiya
1: Is this really that innovative? It’s pretty, but it’s ‘obvious’ pretty. It’s doesn’t really surprise me enough, and it feels like they haven’t really explored anything.
3: This is the guy that Comme used to work with, right?
4: The textile manipulation looks really good though.
1: It is a beautiful collection, but it’s not really that exciting. Black and transparency is really safe, it always works, but this is a bit too uniform.
Comme des Garçons
2: For a brand that has such a huge influence on the rest of the fashion industry as Comme does, it’s really great that they only have 16 looks. Every outfit is a story on its own, different from each other, which is a concept Kawakubo’s been working with for quite a few seasons now. Since it’s being so sculptural it’s really questioning the essence of a garment.
3: She’s afraid of nothing, and it’s a cultivated brand as well. She can do whatever she wants, not a lot of big businesses can do that. Even Yohji has to stick to something. I mean, the great thing about Comme’s pieces is that they’re actually sold in stores and worn like actual pieces on the streets, like how they were presented in the show. But I think that depends a lot on their credibility and context, I’m not sure anyone else could convince someone to wear a huge red bow scarf to their office even if they were paid.
1: That’s true, these garments are very theatrical I guess. But what really gives me goosebumps are those pieces that have a strong visual impression, but are more wearable and less theatrical. Like Celine, they’re very good at translating clothes like Comme’s into something more subtle and classy.
6: This collection is really interesting, but I don’t think it’ll stick with me. To be honest, I’m not quite sure one can produce collections with such heavy visual impact each season. Not because it’s not beautiful or anything, but because of the actual creative content in it. Within the frame of half a year, you’re not given the proper space to research and explore as much as you’d need to reach those new creative heights, as Comme des Garcons are experts in visualising. If you’re forced to adapt your work according to the hectic fashion-scheme, you’re eventually making garments with the same ingredients as always – and the variations aren’t endless.
3: This is very Thom Browne, I would never have thought of it being someone else. The installation, the shapes, the silhouettes.
5: Oh, is that a fish bag? Is it a fish? I like the bag!
1: I love the Kill Bill soundtrack, and I like the proportions and overall look, but I’m not that excited by the show to be honest. Does he really bring anything new to the table? Like, these kinds of suit things he’s been doing for seasons and seasons. It is a bit expected.
5: I really do like these fish bags.
3: Oh they have these little stumpy things on their shoes!
2: And what are those things on their heads?
5: Are those fishes on their heads? Please say yes! Are those fishes? Oh, no. They’re braids. I thought they were fishes.
1: I really like Valentino. I think they’ve changed a lot from their RED period and have something really romantic about them, it reminds me of old paintings and I just like their poetic atmosphere. But that’s not everyone’s cup of tea of course. I also believe that the styling and the kind of music they pick for the show is a really important part of it all. It puts it in a context.
5: I think the silhouettes are repeating themselves a bit, everything’s just long!
1: They do have very many looks. But I think Valentino is becoming a brand that is being bought a lot more, so they’ll need a huge variety of options. At the same time I can still see it as one collection, where there’s one team working with it during the whole process. They’re quite strong at the moment. I also believe they’ve stepped up their game when it comes to prints. Generally I really enjoy when the designers let their aesthetics pierce through their whole body of work, like in the case with Rick Owens. I’m not his biggest fan but I can still appreciate that he has his own little world that appears in every single collection. And I think it’s the same thing with Valentino now.
1: I think Miu Miu will always be about the young 60’s lolita. They’re chic, cool, and their show is always so exciting, every single time. They’re really strong when it comes to prints, the silhouettes are beautiful and the layering is just amazing.
5: They do have a really strong team. This even makes me like cute little flouncy things.
2: But aren’t they a bit off proportion?
1: Well, then again, styling is a really strong part of their show. They’ve done a lot of research on the presentation. If you were to see each piece separately they wouldn’t have that big of an impact I think, but when you see all of them together it’s just amazing. Like, you can really see the little sister of Prada in this.
5: Oh wow, that looks like a backpack. I love those buckles. And this one, it’s like a blazer, on a shirt, on a backpack. I kinda wish that someone would walk into uni like that.
3: The sleeves are great as well. I think Undercover makes most of its money out of leather and bomber jackets to be honest, which means there’s always gonna be a good bomber in there.
4: Even though Dries van Noten did them last season I still love those tulle half skirts.
1: Doesn’t this seem a bit like a fucked up version of Vetements?
1: Is this the collection with that amazing pink coat?
6: Or is this the feminist collection? Oh, no, right, that was the men’s. Have you seen it? They had like sweaters with patches that said ”Radical Feminist” and ”Gender equality”. I literally thought that was such a strange thing to do. They put an important social movement into a fashion context, and turned it into a trend more than anything else. It washes out all the actual content.
3: Yeah, it reminded me of Karl Lagerfeld’s fashion demonstration.
1: But you can’t really think of it like that, eventually trends normalise ideals.
6: I don’t think moving forward is the same thing as turning politics into a fashionable gimmick and commercializing on it. It’s not that I don’t approve a feminist approach to fashion, but you can’t really expect any substantial change to occur during the time span of a single season. If fashion really supported feminist ideals, it would require for the whole system to change radically from what it is today.
1: But they’ve made a really good job casting with diversity this season though. Way more coloured girls than before, which is also something we can see happening with many brands at the moment.
3: I actually like this collection.
5: I don’t know though, some of these prints just look like a dodgy tie-dye, or a foundation student learning pattern placement in photoshop. Most of it just feels a bit random.
1: It’s kind of sad though, I would actually wear those looks if it weren’t for the guitars.
5: And it’s a dick head guitar as well!
3: Somewhere I might think that they did that on purpose, I think they’re pretty aware of what’s cool and not. So they just choose to be really uncool. (Since that’s very cool.)
1: They always have very good set design. And the cropped knits remind me a bit of Margiela’s knitted sweater in his oversized collection, it’s very raw.
6: I don’t know, in general I think it’s not that substantial. Like, they have this lace thing that is really overused in the whole collection. There’s really not that much in it.
3: Yeah, it’s so Zara. Just products really.
3: But still, I’d look good in a Dior suit.
1: Yeah I mean it is a sellable collection. Like, I love this coat. But why? Because I can wear it. Or sleeping in it. ”Just gonna put on my Dior pyjamas!”
Hood by Air
3: Look at the faces, they’ve put on all the contour without blending it! Oh, everything I’ve learnt from those Youtube tutorials. What good are they now?
1: But they did that the last season, it’s always the same cut ups. But I guess a brand needs to have their codes as well.
3: Oh, is that like a pillowbag? Like a bag, in a pillow? That’s so clever, why has no one ever thought of that before?! I can’t even begin to think of the numbers of hard working fashion students that would benefit from that invention.
5: I like these last kind of Backstreet Boys-looks.
6: Doesn’t everything feel a bit health goth?
3: I think that their sportswear is a lot more authentic than anybody else’s though, now when everyone’s been starting to make this sporty shit. Like, HBA did actually start up as a t-shirt brand.
3: Who’s doing Jil Sander now?
2: Some guy in weird shorts.
6: I’m not sure if it’s just because they are the first prints that actually show up, but I think they’re quite interesting. I’m having a hard time making peace with those hats though, I don’t really get them. Maybe it’s because of my life long feud with the fedora hat.
1: I think everything would get a bit boring without them though, no?
2: I really like the cut outs and the garment construction. They have some nice and subtle details, they’re not too obvious. You slowly discover them one by one, and they make you become even more interested. It’s not that they’re trying to force themselves onto you or anything.
1: That’s true, it’s very sophisticated. Everything stays really true to Jil Sander. Like, it’s not gonna be the most exciting or spectacular show you’ll ever see, but it’s the standard of it. You can really see that there’s some good quality in there.
2: In that sense they’re definitely more exciting than Hood by Air.
5: Pfft, nah. I’m not that into quality.
1: Doesn’t this remind you a bit of when you forget one of your nose tissues in the washing machine?
3: I love the fact that it looks like they’ve bought all of their fabrics from Shepherd’s Bush Market. And I think they’ve done well in not using that much denim anymore, once you’ve gone there you’re in a pit that’s hard to dig yourself out of.
2: But at the same time everybody’s still wearing it. Although it’s true, it’s hard to get away from that reference. If you’re wearing a piece of frayed denim there will always be someone going ”ah, Marques!”
3: I would hate to intern there though. Day in and day out with all that fraying?
2: I think the fraying’s been done with a machine. Wave and say hi to 2015!
1: I’d say it has some Ann Demeulemeester over it. The hair, the make-up, the style. Ann-Demeulemeester going a bit more crazy, with a touch of Valentino.
2: I’d definitely say there’s some Belgian influence in it. It also felt a bit more humble than usual, they even played ”Thank you for your love” by Anthony and the Johnsons after the show.
3: I’m not that sure about Valentino, in that case you could say any designer that’s ever done a tool dress.
5: I don’t know enough to make any comments. Literally I don’t think I’ve seen this many garments at once as I’ve seen in my whole life.
1: Well, if the first looks were about leaving one tissue in your laundry, this is me when I have the flu.