What this season's runways trends really mean.
Thought you had fashion’s rules of proportion nailed? Well, this season is about to throw you a curve – a really voluminous one, complete with silhouettes that challenge the natural lines of the body. On runways from New York to Paris, power is the watchword. Follow the thread back and there’s a nod to the 1980s power shoulder à la Melanie Griffith as Tess in Working Girl or Grace Jones on the cover of her album Nightclubbing. Look to the present and you’ll see Hillary Clinton and her army of pantsuits stitched into this latest version of authoritative dressing.
Last fall, Demna Gvasalia, fashion’s newest enfant terrible, debuted his take on Cristóbal Balenciaga’s legendary sculptural shapes. He opened the show with a houndstooth skirtsuit equipped with shoulder pads and padded hips, imposing the hourglass shape. This season, he showed oversized blazers and trench coats, with the emphasis on the breadth of shoulders. A similar silhouette showed up at Jil Sander. Designer Rodolfo Paglialunga borrowed equally from the ’40s and the ’80s for a look that would certainly have appealed to Griffith’s Tess as she battled Wall Street’s male contingent to shatter the glass ceiling in corporate finance.
Phoebe Philo kept her signature Céline minimalism intact while playing with her version of a zoot suit: baggy high-waisted trousers and an oversized wide-lapel blazer. But she also provided a less formal take on the look by pairing her crisp-white boxy tailored jackets with leather culottes and printed maxiskirts – her suggestion on how to wear the jacket of the season outside an office environment. Despite being intimidating at first (as it’s meant to be), the shoulder-emphasizing jacket is as versatile as that boyfriend blazer you’ve been wearing for the past decade and can easily vibe with a pair of jeans for those I-just-threw-this-on days.
From left: Céline, Balenciaga & Isabel Marant Spring 2017 RTW
But the suit jacket is not the only authoritative garment that underwent deconstruction this season. The button-up dress shirt, a staple in every woman’s closet and a universal symbol of professionalism, also took on new shapes. Isabel Marant gave the crisp collarless button-up the same exaggerated shoulder of the power blazer du jour, with billowing rolled-up sleeves. She paired it with shiny high-waisted black pants for a slightly sinister look, but the pillowy shirt can easily be worn with breezy culottes, palazzo pants or a miniskirt on warmer days. Stella McCartney’s shirt/blazer hybrid is another ingenious semi-formal piece, paired beautifully with paper-bag-waist culottes. Burberry, Ellery and Marques’ Almeida gave their poufy sleeves extra oomph (bordering on pirate chic), best worn with slimmer pants or shorts. In some instances, the button-up featured a dropped hemline, transforming it into a shirtdress. But in the case of Rag & Bone and Hermès, it was layered over pants or leggings, keeping that utilitarian office look perhaps a more chill take on the power suit.
From left: Hermès, Marques' Almeida & Burberry Prorsum Spring 2017 RTW
The most surprising twist of the season? Adding a tool-belt-like bag (yes, a fanny pack!) and holster as a statement of convenience and independence. (Plus, they look majorly badass.) For two centuries, women’s mobility has been somewhat hindered by the handbag. While backpacks certainly serve their purpose, the design itself is too cumbersome for all occasions. When Carrie Bradshaw donned a monogrammed Gucci belt bag in Sex and the City, it was greeted with enthusiasm, only to be lost in the sea of It bags that followed. Still, it was bound to make a comeback. The new crop of fanny packs takes a more sophisticated appearance, working well with both formal and sporty ensembles. For Jil Sander, the waist pouch that looks like a miniature bucket bag fits with Paglialunga’s interpretation of the workforce wardrobes of powerful women. Marni’s Consuelo Castiglioni, who, like Paglialunga and Philo, focused on the pantsuit this season, took the idea of a waist bag to the extreme, with large poacher-pocket bags mounted on each hip in a more practical version of Gvasalia’s padding. The Marni woman has never shied away from so-called man-repelling pieces, and there is perhaps no stronger message than creating literal volume around oneself.
On a less monumental scale, Stella McCartney’s casual brown faux-leather belt pouches pair seamlessly with a leisurely spring wardrobe, be it an oversized pyjama-like ensemble or a pair of jeans. For a nighttime option, Barbara Bui’s shiny leather fanny packs will go splendidly with a little black dress – or any fancy frock, for that matter – like an ultra-modern wallet on a chain. Interestingly, it’s the female designers appropriating a stereotypically masculine gadget who concocted most of these tool bags.
A shift in fashion silhouettes isn’t going to solve gender inequality in the workplace. But it does take confidence to pull off these looks, whether worn in a full look as seen at Marni or opting for one dramatic garment at a time. And perhaps that’s the key: The power in these shapes emanates at least in part from the wearer, as she dons her armour and heads into battle.
Miaou's "Brigitte" jeans.
Prepare to gain a new appreciation for grommets.
The story of Alexia Elkaim's new denim label Miaou (pronounced "meow," in case you were wondering) is a bit like the plot of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. "I wanted to make a pair of jeans that fit all of my friends," says Elkaim, who was inspired by a pair of jeans she picked up a flea market in Paris. "I thought 'let me see what I can do with this pattern.'"
Elkaim, who previously worked as a music editor at CR Fashion Book and then as a casting agent, is quick to admit that she's not a "denim girl," explaining that her jeans are meant for someone who prefers to wear dresses. "My jeans are novelty pieces, maybe you could wear them everyday, but you don't see jeans like this everyday."
Elkaim photographed her friends for the lookbook, and struck gold when her first design, the Brigitte – a high-rise, tight fitting jeans with rope and grommet embellishments – were spotted on Bella Hadid. "Celebrity seeding is everything," says Elkaim, whose Instagram DMs blew up after photos of Bella in the jeans appeared on The Daily Mail in November of last year. "She's the only celebrity I sent my jeans to, and they look great on her. I'm glad it was successful."
And what about the jeans' most prominent feature, those strategically placed grommets? Elkaim's answer is simple: "I think grommets are sexy and cool." The other standout feature of Miaou jeans is the lack of a waistband. According to Elkaim, this allows the denim to hug the body without pinching.
Elkaim is slowly working her way up to a full collection. For now, she's released the Tommy, a jean with a looser fit through the leg as well as a pinstripe pant that's very Wall Street-meets-Clueless. Each pair features those now-signature grommets, through which you can thread a glittery chain or a colourful satin tie.
When asked to give advice to anyone dreaming of starting their own line, Elkaim emphasizes focusing on one product: "Make it the best product you can, so when people look at it they will associate you with your product – that's when you know you have a brand. A brand is known for something, always."
Source: Getty Images
Remember paper-bag pants?
Stylish star Sienna Miller was spotted out in London in a somewhat forgotten trend, the paper-bag waist.
While a trend inspired by a paper bag may not sound like one you'd ever want to bring back, when styled with the right ensemble they make for a major street style moment. Before getting Sienna's stamp of approval, the pant was notably revived on the runway at Stella McCartney, who paired the pant with fitted, corset-like tops. It's the first time in several seasons that the cinched silhouette has entered the fashion conversation.
Pants like these can't help but take the spotlight, so we love how Sienna rocked her dusty rose pair with a simple sweater and matching peep-toe shoes.
Here are some options to get the tapered trouser look:
Ann Demeulemeester Cortez Trousers ($661), at farfetch.com.
Angelina Jolie is the face of Guerlain's latest fragrance. Image by: Getty
Here's what we know so far.
Angelina Jolie has a new gig as the face of Guerlain's upcoming fragrance. The name of the perfume and details about the notes have not yet been released. Here's what we do know: According to the press release, the partnership was decided back in December 2015 while Jolie was directing a movie in Cambodia. Her first exposure to the brand was through her mother, who loved their powder. Perfumer Thierry Wasser was inspired by the actress/director to create a scent that expressed "the notes of a woman." Jolie donated the money she made from the campaign, which will launch in March, to charity.
We will update this post as we learn more.