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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Spring 2014: The Row, J.W. Anderson, Prabal Gurung and Peter Pilotto.

It's been a while since I did any fashion writing, so for new readers... My unscientific method of reviewing Fashion Week is that I only pick the clothes I actually find interesting, whether it's because they seem genuinely innovative/attractive, or just because they're so goddamn ugly. Sadly the vast majority of Fashion Week shows are so dull that I can't muster the spiritual energy to write about them. So without further ado: Some of my favourite outfits from the start of the Spring 2014 season.

The Row
It was a smart decision for the Olsen Twins to name their label "The Row" rather than, you know, "Mary-Kate and Ashley". By now they've proven themselves when running a fashion empire -- not to mention being famed for their personal style (which was mostly shaped by real-life Cruella deVille and professional eating disorder enabler Rachel Zoe, but whatevs). Any lingering doubts over the Twins' ability to run a fashion label are probably because The Row has now evolved past what the Olsens wear in real life -- which doesn't necessarily mean The Row is not still "theirs".
All images via
Designing for yourself is the easiest way to quickly hone a personal brand, which is why most celebrity designers (whether it's "real" designers like Victoria Beckham, or just glorified fashion endorsements from a Kardashian) tend to go that route, at least at first. The most successful celebrity fashion label is Jessica Simpson's, for the dual reasons that a) you always know what you're getting, and b) her label caters to plus-size women. While they are respected by critics, the clothes displayed by Victoria Beckham and The Row during fashion week are unlikely to reach Jessica Simpson's level of financial success because you have to be rich and thin in order to wear them. Luckily for her, nobody expects Victoria to cater to the commoners, while the Olsens have several lower-tier labels to fall back on.

This show was particularly interesting to me because while I usually have very little tiem for accessories, I really enjoy The Row's hats, bags and shoes. There was no obviously overarching design theme, with individual outfits taking vague inspiration from all round the world, including details such as fabric choice. I particularly liked the slouchy, casual shoulder bags.

J.W. Anderson
There was a lot of skin on show at J.W. Anderson, in that un-sexy fashion way that would nevertheless get you kicked out of most public space if you wore it in real life. Some interesting looks in general (check out the black and white outfits below), but my fave was probably this dress that is literally a deflated car tire:

Prabal Gurung
Not a great year for Prabal Gurung. A lot of the individual pieces looked good, but I just couldn't get over the fact that the show was supposedly inspired by Marilyn Monroe. Guys, if any of you are planning on starting a fashion label anytime soon, take my advice and don't tell people your latest show is inspired Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, or "old-fashioned elegance". The latter is permitted if you're Dior or Chanel, but the first two are 100% verboten. Particularly if a) your show does not actually resemble Marilyn Monroe or her style at all, and b) all your models are 15-year-old skeletal brunettes.
The skirt looks pretty, if you're OK with the clamminess of plastic sheeting on your bare legs. The pink suit is fresh and chic, with prints that look abstract enough to avoid the Spring cliche of randomly dropping flowers all over everything in the hope that it will look topical. HOWEVER. Please stop name-dropping Marilyn Monroe, who certainly wouldn't be wearing these outfits even if she were still alive. It's like traveling to Scotland to stage your latest version of Macbeth. Just don't.

Peter Pilotto
This collection was inspired by a ceramicist named Ken Price, who was a big fan of bright colours, abstract shapes and iridescent glazes. Refreshingly obscure compared to Prabal Gurung's Monroe-free Marilyn Monroe show, plus when you google Ken Price you can definitely see where Pilotto was coming from.
Some of these outfits aren't the most wearable (ie, navel-bearing button-down shirts are not for the faint hearted), but the colours are amazing and I'm really into the idea of modern crinolines. It's not immediately obvious on all the dresses, but pretty much everything here has a flexible frame under the skirt, meaning that it'll sway dramatically when the wearer is walking.

 AMAZING layering on this one. It looks like a stained glass window from the Church of Toothpaste.


  1. I'd definitely wear the skirt part of the last three Pilotto dresses. They're beautiful colours and they have just the right amount of fun in their designs that's what I'd want to wear in Spring. Is there any way mere mortals can obtain such pretty dresses without selling our souls?

  2. oooo, the pilotto skirts... but the dress in the second pic? how fast can we make new look or river island clone it?

  3. What are your feels about Mary Katrantzou's collection? Out of all of the Spring 2014 RTW shows, I felt that hers was the most forward-looking and thought provoking, perhaps because of the trippy outsized prints (apparently her trademark?).

  4. I am not a fan of that final The Row dress. The chest has an unpleasant gaping-chest-wound feel to it (though it could also pass as uncomfortably-vulvar).