Unordered List

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Resort 2013: J. Mendel, Balenciaga, Givenchy, and The Row (AKA the continuing mystery of the Olsen Twins).

Previously: A Beginner's Guide to Resort Season: Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Lanvin, and more.

J. Mendel
These translucent bandage-skirt dresses have been very popular recently, particularly on the red carpet, and mostly I think they look sort of terrible. Usually they tend to be coloured in either beige or black, with opaque areas around the hips that make the wearer look like they've put on granny panties and an underskirt but forgotten the rest of their outfit. HOWEVER. This season's J Mendel has (I think) managed to carry off the ethereal look, if only in the context of this photoshoot.
There's something delicate enough around the bodice and the general draping of this dress that makes it look like a ballet costume as opposed to the weird mess of net curtain that usually occurs with this kind of dress.

My main criticism of this collection is that it's so overtly geared towards the extremely thin. I enjoyed a surprising proportion of this show, particularly the shorter dresses, but I highly doubt that outfits such as these would look anywhere near as good on someone with any body fat.
I'm automatically in favour of anything that looks like power- dressing for a cold-hearted cyberpunk CEO, so I love this grey leather outfit. Charlize Theron's character in Prometheus definitely has this in her wardrobe for days when she needs to look extra badass and/or waterproof.

Half of this collection was taken up by these strangely rigid summer dresses outfits that looked like they'd maybe been moulded out of solid plastic by Lego...
... and the other half included EXTERIOR BRAS. Like, yeah, OK, I can kind of get behind this look when it's Daenerys Targaryen's spangly Tattooine-city bodices in Game Of Thrones, but in real life? Not so much. Especially when it's this peculiar combination of 1940s grandmother pleat-front trousers, bland shirts, and stiff leather bustiers.

Carlos Miele
1960s Star Trek empress gown: LOVE IT. I hope someone wears one to the Oscars in the good ol' tradition of there always being a nominee who dresses like one of the statuettes for luck.

Successful pattern mixing: tricky, but doable. I wouldn't wear them (too fussy and too '70s), but I can't deny that these outfits are eye-catching and way more interesting than most Resort season efforts.

BUT WHAT THE HELL IS THIS. Oh god, just get out. Every year someone tries to pull off pale-washed double-denim and every year I sink further into my swamp of despair because stop trying to make fetch happen, it's never going to happen. (In this case, "fetch" = "any and all attempts at horrible '90s-influenced denim outfits".)
On the whole I think that fashion "rules" are idiotic -- Who are you to tell me I can't wear brown shoes with black trousers, huh? Fight the man! -- but there is one rule that I hold to be true unto forever: Don't Double Denim. In fact, the only denim my own personal draconian law permits is in the form of jeans, jeans shorts, miniskirts, and possibly dungarees if you're really sure about it. No denim jackets. No quirky denim accessories. And for god's sake no denim dresses unless you're hell bent on looking like like Britney and JT circa that tragic period before Sexy was Brought Back.

The Row
The one thing you need to know about The Row is that it's run by the Olsen Twins. As long as you know this (and, I suppose, have some vague idea of what Mary Kate and Ashley look like) then you know what to expect: Granny Chic.
The baffling thing about this show in particular is that the extremely stylish Beatrix Ost was a guest of honour. So, while The Row basically models itself around the wardrobe of a septuagenarian who wears clothes with the same approximate shape and appeal as a potato sack, the septuagenarian they actually invite to the show is a sartorially adventurous woman who would probably never wear any of these clothes in real life. But then, I find the Olsens' fashion success in general to be rather puzzling, because while they do appear to be quite successful businesswomen I still can't quite work out who's buying their clothes. I know that a lot of young women do enjoy the Granny Chic look, but they usually overlap with the thriftstore crowd and therefore it seems unlikely that they'd be shelling out thousands of dollars for Olsen designs. Enquiring minds want to know!


  1. I am intrigued by the third J. Mendel dress. That's a silhouette I like to wear (though I'm not sure if this dress really allows for breasts) and the contrast of a kinda gaudy fabric with prominent darting appeals but...pockets.

    I will never understand why designers put pockets on cocktail dresses - they just ruin the lines

  2. Damn, Givenchy. If I have to spend ten minutes lacing up my shoes I want them enclose my toes! Seriously, what season are those for? Not protective enough for winter, too hot for summer - oh right, they'll be perfect for "resort"!

  3. I kind of adore that first Givenchy dress. I wouldn't wear it in a million, zillion years, but it's still beautiful. On the other hand, I think I'd actually wear the second one (if it got recut to allow for boobs).

  4. theoncominghope13 June 2012 at 04:56

    I've noticed that the "Granny chic" look is really popular with wealthy young New Yorkers who are going for more of a hippy look. (these people also seem to spend shitloads of money on all kinds of useless crap.) Olsen target identified!

  5. I have a long mostly-transparent dress (though a little different in style since I bought it in 2001). It escapes the granny-panty look by having an asymmetrical shape to the opaque panel around the hips.

  6. I had to applaud the first few collections for looking like actual clothes instead of abstract ideas turned into large wads of fabric, but then Givenchy went with that weird crocheted-afghan-square pattern and the denim thing. What.

    Totally agree on the Olsen Twins' bizarre sense of style. I almost wonder if they keep to the granny-chic thrift-store look as some rebellion against all of the cute, trendy clothes they had to wear in their movies back in the 1990s/early 2000s.

  7. i feel that these posts are an inaccurate representation of the resort season collections in general because i purposefully LEAVE OUT the clothes that look like "actual clothes", my point being that you can pretty much see "actual clothes" by looking at actual people. i tend to judge high-end fashion on more artistic grounds so i found the Givenchy outfits to be quite interesting (for resort season), even though they're not my own personal style/i wouldn't wear them myself.

    re: the olsens -- huh, maybe? also the Rachel Zoe effect. they're the rachel zoe poster children, her message as a stylist being "make everyone look as thin as possible" + the mid 2000s boho-chic trend. so the Olsens spent most of their early 20s wearing really baggy clothes and carrying oversized handbags, wearing oversized accessories etc, all in the Rachel Zoe name of looking as tiny as humanly possible.

  8. the translucent skirt thing can totally work, depending on what parts are transparent, how it's cut, etc. i have a translucent skirt that i wear quite regularly (although it's short, not floor-length), but i'd never wear one of the ones that look like curtains.

  9. OMG MYSTERY SOLVED!!! i mean i know people who dress like this, but not in like DESIGNER GEAR.

  10. peep-toe shoes are the worst. of course, i say this from the perspective of an extremely clumsy person who stubs their toes on absolutely everything.

  11. my theory is the pockets are there so starlets have somewhere to put their hands while they're posing on the red carpet, to avoid looking awkward?

  12. (random drive by person, because i found you via fandom, BUT FASHION, OH GOD, i love fashion but i always feel so awkward around other people involved in fashion because i am a dweeb and not all that knowledgeable about fashion and fashion has never been designed with my body type in mind but I LOVE IT SO MUCH. and somehow this means i hope you don't mind if i creep all over this post because uh, you are amazing and i'm sure you're used to ignoring the creep and alkjdlajdla)

    i hate the granny panties and the sheer dress trend, mostly because i cannot fathom walking around feeling naked all the time, but j.mendel is so, so pretty and the draping so effective.

    balenciaga (going by your pictures because i keep up with fashion sporadically) kind of reminds me of rodarte's 2011 fall stuff a bit: it's probably the bodice, i think? which i didn't hate at the time! mostly. i think the textured fabric rodarte used, and having a collection of long skirts and long coats softened everything down a lot. i fence sat a lot re: rodarte fall 2011. on one hand, the wheat and sky print dresses were beyond gorgeous, on the other, unless you are 7 foot tall or a rake, practically everything in that collection except for the wheat and sky print dresses was designed to make you look silly or was attacked with felt squares and a glue gun (also, i made a lot of pained noises at the jumpsuit? pants and vest? things)

    the givenchy dresses are amazing. i would totally wear them everywhere. to be fair, i love pretty much everything givenchy do. (i would not wear the shoes, though. when it takes longer to put the shoes on than to do hair and make up, you need new shoes)

    from what i recall of the row when it first began, people first bought their crazily expensive basics -- apparently they did a basic white t-shirt so amazing it cost what? 150 bucks a pop or something? and it sold really well and set up the row for all other endeavours? who knows. i'm sure, in some way, being famous, known for being interested in fashion, having a Style and having the right connections really helped establish them in a way that had they not been in the public eye, it would have taken a whole lot longer for them to get to well, this level of fame (conversely, it could work the other way, re: kanye or victoria beckham. victoria's first few attempts at fashion failed miserably, though admittedly, they were pretty bland and uninspired for the price she was asking. at least now she has a Theme and the less said about kanye's attempt, the better)

  13. SOB DON'T BE ASHAMED OR WORRIED ABOUT LIKING FASHION. the reason why "the fashion world" is so intimidating is because it's populated exclusively by the grown-up version of the popular crowd in every teen movie ever, except they've all been to art school and are therefore super confident about using meaningless art-school jargon. DON'T WORRY, I'M INTIMIDATED BY IT TOO.

    your mileage may vary re: nudity and transparent clothing, TBH. everyone has their own comfort zones regarding what they can and cannot wear, and i don't so much object to transparent and/or skimpy clothing so much as object to those designs when they seem to actively disregard and/or counterract the things that we're supposed to think are attractive.

    rodarte kind of make me take a nap. pretty much the only thing i really care about them is the fact that they apparently created their first fashion line in their kitchen with no sewing experience, and then just like... became phenomenally successful.

    yeah, i know that obviously being famous helps enormously when it comes to launching a label. like, you know that jessica simpson has the most successful celebrity fashion line EVER? she's ridiculously successful, despite the fact that AFAIK all she does now is sporadically show up in tabloids (that i'm only peripherally aware of because i'm not american). a lot of that success is probably because her clothes are plus-size friendly, which most celebrity designers' are most emphatically NOT. most designers ever, tbh.

    i think victoria beckham is a really good designer in her own right, though! her label is awesome. it may not be groundbreaking, but it's legit GOOD, like more consistently high-quality and appealing and aesthetically pleasing than tons of mainstream established designers of the same paygrade.

  14. i think my mileage re: sheer stuff in fashion was fine (i give lady gaga props for seriously committing to an outfit, despite the fact that her shoe choices puzzle me a lot) until people started to turn up to places sans bra and in very small knickers in a dress that was sheer all over and then it felt like i saw a little more of them than expected. i mean, i probably wouldn't mind if there was more variation involved and they weren't always so dead set on wearing granny panties

    aljdljkadla the fact that jessica simpson fashion brand is worth upwards of 500 mil or something equally ridiculous is MIND BOGGLING. i didn't expect that! but apparently her shoes are really comfortable and in a price range that's not the fashion definition of 'cheap' so they sell well?

    i actually like victoria beckham's stuff (and i like her a lot, too). her really early stuff were really really expensive jeans and sunglasses and fashion hated on it so hard (it was super trendy and super dating jeans and super expensive). she took a break, started again from scratch and then launched her '08 collection. i like her even more for being persistent and trying again. it takes guts to go for it after the fashion world hate your first designs.

    and well, she really likes that one silhouette a lot, but she does it well, everyone raves about her construction and how involved she is in the designing process and i like that she's designing exactly what she feels like wearing. i mean, if i could design a collection exclusively for myself, i would totally do so

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