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Thursday 19 January 2012

Pre-Fall 2012: Alberta Ferretti, Balenciaga, Issey Miyake, Alexander McQueen, Emilio Pucci, and Viktor & Rolf

Alberta Ferretti
Alarm bells immediately began to ring when I set eyes on this collection. FIRST JAZZ-AGE INSPIRED SHOW OF THE YEAR! The first of many, since one of this year's unavoidable manufactured trends is going to be faux flapper styles, all thanks to the already overhyped Great Gatsby remake. Do you know when Gatsby comes out? December. And considering the fact that the quality of Baz Luhrman's films seems to be inversely proportional to the amount of money and star-power pumped into them, it's probably not even going to be a very good movie.
pics from

No doubt my tone already sounds unreasonably irritable, but despite the fact that I liked several pieces from the Alberta Ferretti show I still view it as a harbinger of annoyances to come. A rehash of 1920s fashion is almost guaranteed to be dull and tired, and by the time December rolls by every actor in the Great Gatsby will be so overexposed that even the most fashion-apathetic of us will be sick of speakeasy-themed photoshoots. I guess I'm just the type of person who tends to rain on your parade when you say things like "I wish I lived in the 1920s so I could be a flapper!" -- because you don't. The 1920s sucked. It's like someone in a hundred years saying, "I really wish I lived during the economic meltdown of the 2010s!" and then dressing up as Kim Kardashian. Except the 1920s were worse because women didn't have autonomy and everyone had syphilis.
Yeah, I'm harshing the vibe. 1920s fashion is so pretty! I enjoy going to retro cabarets and speakeasy costume parties (so long as you acknowledge that they're a total fantasy)! I love Art Deco as much as the next guy! But, oh yeah, one other problem with the whole flapper-style... it's a trend that fits perfectly into every terrible body-image issue the fashion world currently dictates. What's the perfect figure for this type of style? The "boyish physique" -- ie, thin, flat-chested, and toned. Which in a way is worse than we've got right now, since mainstream fashion tends to favour "thin but with big boobs" (unlike catwalk fashion's love of the size-zero), meaning that "not thin but with big boobs" is still... you know, half-OK. It allows a little wriggle-room within the restrictions of our unreasonably specific beauty standard. But the original flappers used to bind their breasts, so this type of drop-waist, box-shaped dress pretty much only suits someone who weighs 120lbs, is wearing a sports bra, and lives on a diet of cocaine, lindy-hop, and illegal hooch. If the neo-flapper trend brings with it a new interest in radical feminism, I'll be psyched -- but something tells me that won't be included in most of the style-page articles.
So, now I've got my inaugural 1920s fashion rant out of the way, I'd like to add that I actually rather liked all three of the dresses pictured here. The last one most of all, since it's suitable for women of all ages -- so long as you're the wife of a pre-Wall Street Crash manufacturing tycoon, of course.

Included for comedy value. This show essentially amounted to the dregs of 1980s fashion, the sort that only the most dedicated of ironic hipsters and retro-fanatics could bear to wear today.
But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? -- Oh, it's just the reflection from my fluorescent trashbag trousers.
Issey Miyake
Miyake is always a favourite of mine. This season isn't quite as structural as his designs often are, but I was glad to see the return of the patterned tights from last season. In much of this show, the tights were very clearly a component of the outfit as a whole, rather than a mere backdrop or accessory.

Alexander McQueen
Not as out-there as Couture season, of course, but recogniseably McQueen nonetheless. The collection opened with some gothic Little Red Riding Hood dresses, complete with the wide corset belts that have been a staple of the last couple of McQueen shows.
McQueen designs are famously luxurious and detailed. The head designer, Sarah Burton, often helps detail them herself, and I always feel like that kind of obsessive love and work-ethic shines through.
The high necklines and full skirt/narrow waist silhouettes had aspects of the Victorian to them, but not Victorian to the extent that they seemed like recycled period costumes. It was, however, Victorian in temperament. The colour schemes were subdued, almost to the leven of mourning dress, and there was restrained lack of the fangs, claws and hooves McQueen has often been known to include.

Emilio Pucci
The name Pucci makes me think of sensible wraps for rich ladies to wear to the opera. It's ordinarily not to my taste. But recently I began watching Avatar: The Last Airbender (ie, the Nickelodeon cartoon which I am quickly learning is -- no jokes -- the best television show ever made. Including Firefly.) and these thick, ice-blue patterned capes and dresses remind me of the costumes of the Northern Water Tribe. Real-life Princess Yue, anyone?

On a less frozen-kingdom-of-the-North note, Pucci also produced more normal-looking dresses such as this one, which I couldn't resist posting because of the beautiful pattern.
 Viktor & Rolf
A claustrophobic, gothic, but ultimately uninteresting show from Viktor & Rolf this season.
Weirdly, more people find this blog searching for Viktor & Rolf than for anything else, including the phrase "Hello, tailor". More even than all the people googling my bafflingly popular post about the wallpaper of BBC Sherlock. Google is so mysterious.
The sides of this dress reminded me of the gills of a fish.


  1. Yeah, I'm dreading the deluge of 1920s silhouettes we're going to get this year. I'm sure they'll be infesting H & M and Topshop soon. I can appreciate these dresses from a distance but, like most modern women, I can't wear that style.

    Now, if someone did a collection for women inspired by Jazz Age menswear? That I would be interested in. But no flapper dresses, please!

  2. Oh. My. GOD the Balenciaga. I snorted tea all over my screen, so 10 points for funny.

  3. I keep waiting for the New Look to come back around, because I have no shoulders, a relatively small waists and big hips, and all the stuff that's currently in stores looks like crap on me. But no joy.

  4. I seriously know nothing about fashion (it's more "what do I like" versus "what actually looks good on me") but this blog gets better with every post. AND I feel like I'm learning, so we all win!

  5. i would LOVE a jazz-age menswear inspired womenswear trend. i'm skinny & flat-chested so i'd fit into flapper shit ok, but i love narrow waists too much, and have a snobbish dislike of looking too much like a topshop/H&M mannequin. ://

  6. the WHOLE SHOW was like that, it was..... impressive.

  7. THE NEW LOOK IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE. Actually, there are always several New Look-inspired womenswear lines in each season, but Pre-Fall collections are always kind of dull. You'll probably get some in a couple of months, come Fall Fashion Week! ;D

  8. Thanks! :)) I love comments like this, it makes me feel so ~~educational~~ ;D

  9. I <3 your fashion posts so much. Baz Luhrman has my undying love for making Moulin Rouge, which is probably my favorite movie of all time, but he is kind of hit or miss.

  10. Thank you! I love Moulin Rouge and Strictly Ballroom, but he seems to be going downhill now. I didn't see Australia, but it got pretty dire reviews as I recall.

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