After reading my most recent article, I received an email from Marylou Luther, one of New York’s most celebrated fashion chroniclers, a longtime subscriber, and a dear friend, who said, “I hope there is a Part 2”. FYI, “Bespoke: Revelations from the World’s Most Important Fashion Designers” by Marylou Luther © Rizzoli New York, 2023, has a release date of February 14th. The Foreword is written by Stan Herman, and the Afterword by Rick Owens. Ruben Toledo did the fabulous fashion illustrations.
Coincidentally, I had been thinking about writing a follow-up as soon as I finished the first article because I thought about other images from 2022 that were ingrained in my mind and other points I wanted to make. Isn’t that always the case? It’s easy to get jaded when you’ve been involved with fashion for over 5 decades, but I always come back to the same thing — the joy of exuberant style.
I’m not just referring to special occasion wear but the exuberance of the everyday. After all, not many of us lead lives that require an endless trove of cocktail dresses and gowns.
The festive holidays are winding down, and reality is setting in. We face several months of harsh weather and will need all the help we can get. Nothing is better than fashion that mixes pragmatism with luxury and drama, taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary, or vice versa. A number of designers did this exceedingly well in 2022.
Marc Jacobs delivered a major ‘fashion moment’ with his Fall 2022 ready-to-wear collection presented at The New York Public Library. The show, a continuation of the ideas he put forth for Fall 2021, was a spectacle that was simultaneously broadcast on the screens in Times Square.
His unbridled creativity is the driving force for the collection with its larger-the-life silhouettes, unexpectedly-industrial materials (vinyl, rubber, plastic, foil, glass, paper), and famous models made unrecognizable by matching hairstyles featuring shaved sides and severe bangs.
Marc takes all American wardrobe basics (jeans and jean jackets, vests, cargo pants, carpenter skirts, etc.), blows them up, and gives them the look of French Haute Couture. The exaggerated balloon-like shapes recall Balenciaga and Worth (not to mention Rick Owens and Comme des Garcons). The result is wonderfully protective and armor-like.
While there is something almost comically overstated about most of what was presented, when you consider last weekend’s single-digit temperatures, one can imagine wanting to cover up head to toe in the chunky knits with extra-long sleeves, oversized puffers, face-obscuring giant hoods, and ground sweeping maxi skirts shown on this runway. Why should practicality be dull? Just fabulous!
“We think it is important to merge the archetypes of womenswear and menswear, to fuse delicate and functional, day and night, gowns and workwear: Lucie and Luke Meier, Creative Directors, Jil Sander
Lucie and Luke Meier are the husband-and-wife duo behind Jil Sander, which they have reinvigorated through sharp and precise collections imbued with touches of craft and femininity. The couple infuses their minimalist designs with a unique color sensibility, an underlying sense of ease, and a touch of the eccentric. They search for contrasts and like to find the balance among elements usually considered opposites.
For spring 2023, the Meiers explored the West Coast and California – a journey they began with the men’s resort 2023 line – and the duality between pragmatism and Hollywood glitz. His/hers show, punctuated with touches of sparkly fringe, crystal embroideries, and cloud-shaped mirror appliques, was an ode to the joyful exuberance of the everyday. The fact that it took place in the rain, with models walking under umbrellas, emphasized it.
“Beauty is resilience, not escapism, and creativity is the only means to contrast dictatorial decisions” Pierpaolo Piccioli.Pierpaolo Piccioli
We will all be one year older in 2023, but in terms of fashion, certain things always stay young. Beauty, creativity, and exquisite craftsmanship are just a few of them. All of which can quickly sum up Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Haute Couture collections for Valentino.
Pierpaolo presented his Valentino Haute Couture fall 2022 collection in Rome as the sun set behind the Spanish Steps. This collection looked back upon the personal history of Valentino and Pierpaolo, and it provided an emotional spectacle for those in attendance, including Giancarlo Giammetti, Naomi Campbell, Anne Hathaway, Anna Wintour, Andrew Garfield, Ariana DeBose, and Florence Pugh.
It might not have been my all-time favorite Valentino Haute Couture collection. However, it was still dreamy, inspirational, and remarkable on so many levels thanks to the superb workmanship of the Valentino Atelier, Pierpaolo’s remarkable color sense, and ability to take the stuffiness out of couture and make it look easy and modern, and his innate showmanship. Simply Divine!
What else never gets old? Pucci! I’ve been a fan of Emilio Pucci’s swirling, dazzling, instantly recognizable prints since the 60’s when I bought my first jersey dress, and I am glad to see that the storied label is finally in the right hands. Is there any label more inherently exuberant and optimistic? It’s like taking a quick trip to the Amalfi Coast.
Camille Miceli was named Pucci’s Artistic Director in 2021, and her first collection, pre-fall 2023, was launched in April of this year. Naturally, she chose Capri as the venue. Camile joins the legendary Italian brand after a period of restructuring.
Among the designers who have taken the helm with varying success are Christian Lacroix, Julio Espada, and Peter Dundas. Between 2017 and 2021, Pucci was without a creative director; its collections were designed by an in-house studio team. Women and men have been photographed in the Hamptons and at a number of high profile events in the city wearing current Pucci so apparently something is clicking.
“A New Journey” is how Miceli defines the Florentine house’s new direction. Rather than trying to make it overtly sexy (like Peter Dundas), Camile is energizing it, further amping up the joie de vivre factor already embedded in its codes. The result is spirited, sporty, and quirky with an ageless and timeless appeal.
Miceli, 50, has been described as “one of the most influential creatives in fashion you’ve never heard of, a behind-the-scenes powerhouse .” Her career spans from Chanel to Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton to Dior under John Galliano and Raf Simons before decamping back to Vuitton for Nicolas Ghesquière.
I was taken with the Undercover spring 2023 collection, which marked Jun Takahasi’s emotional return to the runway after a 2 year hiatus. The show was held at the historic American Cathedral in Paris and focused on gender-less everyday wardrobe staples. It perfectly highlighted the rebellious spirit of the brand known for subverting traditions.
Jun’s slouchy pantsuits, bib front tuxedo shirts, and trench coats, some with slashes edged in ruffled organza or pinned with tiny flower corsages symbolize wounds of the past years that have not yet healed. While I’m not usually a fan of rips and tears, they look pretty great — a reminder of the resilience of nature and that spring will come again.
I love how all the dazzling colors punk out that grey Paris drizzle. “Slits everywhere.” Thank you for the trend…
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