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Feature | The Sitting by Patti Wilson

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Fashion and art have always interlaced with each other. Patti Wilson invokes this chemistry in her collaboration with artists Black Soft, in stunning modern illustrations that use key elements of various designers collections. The collaboration labeled The Sitting focuses a diverse group of designs, that included Comme des Garcons, Rad Hourani, Mugler, Marc Jacobs and Celine.  The duo use specific pieces in unconventional ways to demonstrate the beautiful shapes and lines of each item. Using only black to draw the figures, while each designers piece was that singular pop of color the draws your eye in. It is almost abstract in a sense where there is potential for that particular element could be a literal interpretation of the item being replaced. “There are always those pieces each season that you are simply dying to shoot, and each season you find that story to create with them. I really wanted to do something special with these.” – Patti Wilson

 Contributor: Patti Wilson
Artwork: The Black Soft
Editor: Christopher Michael
Creative: Ashe Abbott

Words by Kim Nguyen

Vitor Fall 2012

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Still one of my favourite people and my ‘GFWBF’ (gay fashion week boyfriend) I was excited about the show as I had been told that the collection ‘Welcome to my funeral was based around a rather morbid conversation myself and Vitor had in Lisbon last season…
All in black the collection features stylised holey jersey over sized t-shirts worn with visor nacklaces and black leggings as well as the sponsored Addidas shoes. The headwear was gorgeous veil like hats that maintained the jersey, urban signature style of Vitor. De-constructed knit wear was draped through the back of a stunning knitted jumper and featured in shoulder patch details. Adding a splash of colour was the use of band patches from bands such as the rolling stones and Metallica. Drop crotch jeans and draping also featured strongly in this all black collection. Another gorgeous collection from Vitor!!

White Tent 2012

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The show featured mottled grey jersey basics such as draw stringed drop crotch track suit like bottoms, with contrasted peices such as a more complex deep peplum dress featuring a drawstring waist. Moving from the charcoal colour palette bold colours were added in oversized tees in forget-me-not blue and bright salmon. Another element to note was the use of a sheen fabrics that shimmered and changed from black to gold or blue in the light which also added interest to an otherwise basic range. The entire collection was all very wearable and obviously made well and suitable for a mainstream customer.

Ricardo Preto Fall 2012

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The winter collection for Ricardo Preto began with white silk-satin trousers paired with a cream jacket featuring a high white fur collar. The collection developed through grey and black with casual tailoring, leatherwear and interesting knitwear. While some jumpers featured child-like animal images there were pieces that were simply knitted with the interesting addition of coloured jewels, wider gappy knit and distressed patches. The child-like element was offset with the pairing of feminine, sophisticated knee length skirts.
Gorgeous pleated dresses had a waist coat layer that took the dresses a step away from the pleats we have seen so much of this season. The collection ended with chiffon-velvet with delicate laser cut details and deep, V necks which flashed nipples.

Os Burgueses Fall 2012

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With a-line skirts and wide lampshade dresses the collection incorporated cute girly elements with toughened imagery such as exposed zips and metal poppers. Cape like layers on jackets and dresses has been seen alot this season and this collection also featured the trend on stylish trench coats. Military themes were seen throughout in the black, solid outerwear and through the palette of grey and red.

Miu Miu Fall 2012

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It was clear at the eye makeup alone that he Miu Miu girl simply can’t be moved by your opinion of how she looks.

While this wasn’t a full face of red make-up a la Victor & Rolf, the bedazzled eyes certainly made a statement on the runway.  Introduced with a whie eyelid, that craced down and onto the cheekbone, it’s a look that requires a certain amount of confidence to pull off.

Clothing wise, it looked as if the Miu Miu girl had retreated in her mothers closet, who’d last been in the work place in the 70sand found more than a few hidden gems: there was that set of ties from an old beau that she forgot to return, and of course there was that paisley suit… oh the prints to be had in one closet.  She then packed them all up and took them to be altered to fit her – as any stylish woman should, whether pieces are brand new or vintage.

The result produces a 70s inspired collection with a slightly modern take.  Prints rule the collection , allowed to billow on suit jacket back placards as the matching fronts are tailored close to the bottom. And of course, would it truly be a Miuccia Prada collection had there not been a collection of drool worth footwear to match?

It was the evening wear that was the most startling of the looks.  While it took a little while to see if there were in fact dresses, or bejeweled chain mail smocks atop blouse and skirt sets – it was in fact the latter – the looks were no doubt interesting ones.

Paul & Joe Fall 2012

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Designer Sophie Albou stuck to the classics for Paul & Joe’s Fall 2012 offering. She found herself inspired by her men’s collection, shown in January: “I thought it was cool,” she said, “Why do we need to do something so complicated for women?”

Relaxed trousers, mannish tweeds, tailored jackets and blazers ruled the runway, and an autumnal palette of ochre, hunter’s orange, jewel blues and moss greens dominated. Feminine touches came via a natty leopard print, sublime fox furs and lace embellishment. The whole collection had an extremely wearable, laid back, well-fitting and well-made feel that no doubt will make it a hit amongst women everywhere.

Louis Vuitton Fall 2012

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Marc Jacobs, forever the showman, managed to outdo himself this season with a steam engine built from scratch. Where we have seen many designers become defeated with recession and strip back to showcase very modest collections, Jacobs sets himself apart by reminding us that fashion is all about showing off. It is time to shed the depressing chains and enjoy the spectacle that fashion should be. Things just got interesting again.

Jacobs really celebrated grandeur this season with an exploration of the higher class of living from a forgotten time. Each model had their own porter to carry her well oversized bags. The Sixties inspired lapels and floral trims added a kitsch element to a well tailored collection. Match that with bug eye glasses and Aunt Petunia’s hat (one of Stephen Jones creations) and you have a tall tale “from another time”.

The kaleidoscope prints and jacquard embroidery made up a traveling wardrobe to die for. Beautiful jewel embellishments added to the essence of quality from this show, proving that Louis Vuitton is still a fashion house to aspire to.

Celine Fall 2012

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In order to do a proper dissection to a Celine collection, one must see the imagery handed out at the show to understand the slight and never too literal references from Phoebe Philo. Whether television noise was an influence it sure transported itself in this season’s heavy outerwear that was slightly more drooped. Furs were “patchworked” as well as in a combination of red, white, and blue looked so parisian. Trousers ruled the the looks and almost gave an illusion of backwards D’s that seemed to be minimally decorated with zippers.

Celine collections have developed color usage as important in the new introduction of cuts and tailoring rules; this collection was no different. Pre-Fall 2012 gave us glimpse to Philo’s love of color and interest in a more relaxed women. This could be a mere reflection of her recent child.

For most design houses, the working woman has evolved into a more severe-masculine dresser. Celine rested her totes and opted her day to day task that involve a less casual lifestyle. The iPad cases (influence of technology in business), over size clutches (woman that has to travel from work to an event), boy-ish but still feminine footwear again reinforced who the new woman of 2012 is.

Damir Doma Fall 2012

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Orange set the tone to Damir Doma’s first womens’ collection. While not received as a strong debut or at least in comparison to his men’s established look. The designer has gained momentum and practice. This fall 2012 marks Doma’s fourth season in the women’s wear circuit and a warmer shade of orange has reappeared. A very faint olive, old-plum, and dusty-salmon were all colors that might make this collection his most colorful to date.

The first portion of the collection delivered a boyish outerwear that seemed almost quite English. A U-Shaped varsity jacket was paired with relaxed riding pants. Smashed conductor velvet caps remained slanted on the models’ heads. High collars as well as turtleneck layering reinforced the masculinity that will hopefully continue in upcoming collections by the Croatian born designer. A velvet cape took us back to a very gothic England and the crucifix gave it the seal of old world.

While the cuts are becoming slightly more restraining at the label. The relaxed craftsmanship and heavy-drape layering will continue to dominate the Damir Doma  look.

Givenchy Fall 2012

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It would indeed take a designer like Riccardo Tisci comandeering a house like Givenchy to bring back the spaghetti strap look.

It was a bit jolting to see the handful of slip dresses and their frilly, frivolous manner walking down the Givenchy runway.  With jodhpurs, cropped jackets and capes all done in heavy, sobering materials and color palettes they just seemed a tad out of place.  Albeit these were no ordinary slip skirts.  They seemed more akin to the type of slip dress a fang-banger might wear to Fangtasia in an episode of True Blood, complete with a hankerchief wrapped round the neck to cover any bites that hadn’t yet healed.

While the notion was dark, how exactly were we not supposed to go there? Joan Smalls stomped down the runway in a black leather coat with a blood red lining. Zuzanna Bijoch? Well she had a sheer top and red leather skirt all in that same blood red matched with a smouldering eye. And Franzi Mueller was karkness incarnate wearing a black cape with black leather lapels, black jodhpurs and those black riding boots, that while not the sexiest of footwhere, have certainly become a fetish of Tisci’s.

Nina Ricci Fall 2012

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Classy yet sexy, Nina Ricci Fall 2012 is all about dressing up in glamorous evening wear with a seductive twist. This season we see strong references to vintage french glamour – lavish furs, silky lingerie, tweed suits and disheveled gowns are frequent throughout the collection. The styling played on subtle but very sexy rebellion – smart tweed skirt suits were split to the thigh, furs were nonchalantly thrown over the shoulder, fabrics were sheer slinky, and the dresses were tattered and worn. The interesting use of texture was a beautiful touch to the collection, using everything from silks, ruffles and super fine knits to fur, leather gloves and tough tweed. Pale skin and a rouge lip worked perfectly with the colour scheme of black, maroon red, mauve, and a soft hint of pastels for a stunning finale.

Viktor & Rolf Fall 2012

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Viktor & Rolf’s Fall 2012 collection evoked dark romance. A moonlit backdrop casting shadows of the models in elaborate poses set the scene, whilst a midnight-hunt inspired collection demanded our full attention.

The show began with heavy fabrics and thick silks covering every inch of the body in an almost gothic manor. PJ inspired trouser suits and jumpsuits with excess material and pussy bows and extra long, glamorous nighty’s  in a colour scheme of chocolate, navy, white and champagne made up the first half of the show. Then out came thick, heavy furs which lined suits, dresses and jackets, eventually developing into show stoppingly extravagant fur coats. In opposition to the covered up, reserved looks at the beginning of the collection, the second half showed a sexier, seductive side. Stockings, short hems and sheer fabrics combined with leather and fur kept us hooked and wanting more, rounding off a beautifully developed collection.

Junya Watanabe Fall 2012

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Many designers had the wardrobe of the working woman on their minds for Fall 2012. We’ve had Donna Karan, Nicholas Ghesquiére for Balenciaga, and now we have seen Junya Watanabe’s vision. It is a vision that encapsulates two very different aspects of Watanabe’s singular aesthetic: the dandy and the romantic.

The dandyism made itself apparent throughout the first half of the show, in a range of exquisitely tailored trouser suits, overcoats and cape hybrids that drew their inspiration from heritage British menswear. Pinstripes, Prince of Wales checks, Oxford shoes and camel coats dominated the presentation initially.

But then came the romance. A succession of rose-print, dévoré velvet dresses in vibrant jewel tones appeared to help the collection strike a harmonious balance between hard and soft, masculine and feminine. The cumulative effect being that Watanabe’s woman herself has two sides: fiercely independent and willing to go toe-to-toe with the boys, but not afraid to embrace her own femininity.

Balmain Fall 2012

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Twenty-five year old designer Olivier Rousteing is now in his second season at Balmain, having taken the reins from Christophe Decarnin last year. And he has wasted no time in bringing his opulent, over-the-top vision to the venerable old house.

For his Fall 2012 outing, he has found inspiration in a Fabergé egg. To be specific, a Fabergé egg that was given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton. Some of this inspiration was interpreted very literally, in a series of heavily brocaded pieces, the loveliest of which bore an embroidered floral cameo. Boxy silhouettes abounded, the Balmain signature jacket now slouchier and somehow cooler in a multitude of permutations from crushed velvet to quilted leather. Rock and roll elements from Decarnin’s days at the label still remained intact however: skinny trousers and biker-style jackets were some of the collections more wearable elements. All in all, a study in ornate, luxe chic by an impressive young designer.

Haider Ackermann Fall 2012

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What exactly do you create when the person that everyone expects you to best is yourself?

It’s a question that Haider Ackermann undoubtedly must pose to himself since creating his emotional Fall 2011 collection and the timely demise of John Galliano. And while Spring 2012 didn’t quite do the job, the Colombian-born, Antwerp-trained Frenchman, went back to the cutting room floor and injected a bit of stability into the collection.

Stability not like that of another designer, which corresponds to consistency, but instead stability as it relates to structure.  While not completely gone, for Fall 2012 Ackermann chose to remove some of the fragility from his woman and instill her with a bit of fortitude by way of boxy blazers, thicker materials and cinched waists – cinched not with a soft and supple sink but instead with strong leather bands and obi belts.

Leather actually seemed to rule the collection, coming manifest in gloves, skirts, belts, boots and even jackets.  The asymmetrical motorcycle jacket nods back to the lover from last season, who is no doubt pleased by the flash of leg snaking out from the slit of the skirts, all anchored by beautifully done high heeled boots.  Haider’s talent for creating pieces that are so effortlessly layered, evoking what can only be explained as the most organic, and possibly even Dada, of tones.

Lanvin Fall 2012

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Alber Ebaz’s Fall 2012 collection, his 10th anniversary for the label, read like well set out meal; a little procession of appetizers, by way of monochromatic power punching dresses followed by a group of black and a few earthy tones, for our main meal, with just as long of a desert by way of colorful, fun and flirty cocktail dresses.

To leave an analysis of the collection at that could be likened to holding one’s nose, and negating condiments, seasoning and drinks during a meal; the accessories of the collection, as always, were stand outs. With relative simple footwear, skinny heeled, with the foot situated more horizontally than vertically – which of course aligns with Alber’s wearability maxim – the focus turns to the bag. Well that of course is when the heel hasn’t been one upped by one of the various boots presented in the collection, with their silver bottomed heels and one wrap ankle cinch.

Bags come varied, some as small discrete packs, while others, with their wide leather handles, seem fully involved in the look. Still others, like the animal skin clutch, take notes from their brethren in appearance, bracelets and necklaces, and add a bit of opulence to the looks.