A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Inauguration || Thom Browne Pre-Fall 2013

29/01/2013 § 2 Comments

Thom Browne Pre Fall 2013

I’ll admit it, I’d written off Thom Browne.  My love for his menswear designs notwithstanding, I tended to find his collections for women severely lacking, year after year.  We had knee-length pearl necklaces one year, unwalkable skirts another, and an alarming affinity for shirt dresses that appeared to be stolen from a Dickensian orphanage.  Browne’s designs for women appeared to be more costume than clothing, as if he wasn’t quite sure he could pull off a serious collection — so he didn’t bother to try (see: Fall/Winter 2011; Spring/Summer 2013)  So I resigned myself to enjoying Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers, which takes the inventive, tailored qualities favored by Browne (and me!) but adds a high dose of wearability — it is a Brooks Brothers line, after all — and forgot about Thom Browne.

That is, until January 21, 2013 — the morning of Barack Obama’s second inauguration. I heard murmurs that the Obama women were sporting a set of beautiful coats, but when Eric Wilson of the NYT mentioned something about bespoke Thom Browne, made especially for the First Lady, I made a beeline for the television to see the gorgeous silk jacquard — inspired by necktie fabrics, natch — for myself.  The whole family looked lovely, but Michelle’s coat/dress ensemble was definitely the pièce de résistance.

It was in that moment I began to hope that Thom Browne had finally changed course, and I am happy to say that his 2013 Pre-Fall collection has confirmed it.  No longer bogged down with clever tricks and over-the-top conceptualism, Browne’s 2013 Pre-Fall is actually wearable and smartly tailored, but still retains the tongue-in-cheekiness quality that is classic Browne.  I’m not sure what inspired this sudden maturity, but I’m loving it — to say that I’m excited would be a massive understatement.  My American Express card on the other hand…probably a little less so.  But I’m sure we’ll get through it together.

Thom Browne Pre Fall 2013 Thom Browne Pre Fall 2013

All images via Thom Browne.

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Autumn is Calling || Jenni Kayne Pre-Fall 2012

26/07/2012 § Leave a comment

While I’m not exactly in a hurry to say goodbye to summer, Los Angeles designer Jenni Kayne‘s Pre-Fall has definitely put me in a better mood about it with her well-tailored trousers, jackets and outerwear.  Throw in a spectacular pair of d’orsay flats and a good dose of insouciance, and you’ve almost got me counting down to Labor Day…almost.

Shop Jenni Kayne Pre-Fall here.

And be sure to also visit Jenni Kayne’s great blog Rip + Tan!

An Erté Vision {Alberta Ferretti Pre-Fall 2012}

03/02/2012 § 1 Comment

Loving the jewel toned, art deco-y Alberta Ferretti Pre-Fall 2012 collection.
A real-life Erté vision.  View the entire show here.

All images via Vogue.

The Ivy Coed {Jil Sander Pre-Fall 2012}

23/01/2012 § 2 Comments

Taking design inspiration from the mid-century American college student isn’t particularly innovative these days.  In fact, it can sometimes seem like designers are perennially stuck in those hallowed years between childhood and adulthood, where the most pressing matters of the day are studying for a midterm or rushing the right house.  Particularly if said years are spent in one of the more storied institutions, such as the colleges of the Ivy League.  This was perhaps most recently and significantly evidenced by the recent reissue and popularity of Teruyoshi Hayashida’s 1965 book Take Ivy, a collection photographs of Ivy style, and its appearance in bookstores and J.Crew stores alike.

But here is where we shall take a step back, because we should note that the conversation above is truly about men and menswear (and perhaps menswear-influenced womenswear by extension).  When was the last time we’ve seen the college coed honored, and not as a caricature — not as a girl in boy’s clothing — but truly female?  Honestly, I cannot recall, sadly.  Which is why the Jil Sander Pre-fall 2012 collection is so exciting to me.

For Jil Sander, designer Raf Simons has honored the collegiate woman.  Not content to merely reproduce — the quagmire that menswear frequently finds itself mired in — Simons’s reinvention of familiar forms is refreshing and startlingly well-executed, especially in the case of outerwear.  The presentation of the designs in a campaign that echoes Hayashida’s photographs, in group portraits that recall sororities and ladies’ clubs, is a stroke of genius and I couldn’t resist pulling up a few real ones.  You know me.

SMU sorority, taken by John Dominis, 1951.

Alpha Kappa Alpha at Howard University, Washington, D.C.
Taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1946.

Vassar College.

Bryn Mawr.  Taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt , 1956.

Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at University of Kansas, Lawrence.
Taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1939.

Vassar College.

Vassar College.

Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, University of Kansas, Lawrence.
Taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1939.

Wellesley College, taken by Nina Leen, 1949.

Images via Vogue, the Vassar Archives, and the LIFE Archives.

Victoriana Dreams {Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2012}

19/01/2012 § Leave a comment

I’m not entirely sure what to do with myself. 

My oh my, Sarah Burton’s 2012 pre-fall collection for Alexander McQueen is of the stuff my sartorial dreams are made of.  Elaborate, dramatic and a bit Victorian at times, I especially love the nipped-in waists and full skirts.  While definitely a bit too extravagant for application to my day-to-day wardrobe — hello, can we discuss that ethereal gown with the tulip sleeves? can. we. dis. cuss? —  the inspiration here abounds.  And truly, that’s all I ask from the House of Lee McQueen…

All images via Vogue.

Bicoastal {Boy. by Band of Outsiders Pre-Fall 2012}

20/12/2011 § 2 Comments

I only have two small reservations with the lovely 2012 inaugural Pre-Fall collection by Boy. by Band of Outsiders.  First: What.The Hell.Is Pre-Fall?!  I get that it’s the gap-filling counterpart of the Resort/Cruise collections, but at least with Resort collections I can imagine myself on some amazing trip somewhere warm.  The concept of Pre-Fall is definitely in need of some oomph.

Second: I detest the shoes.  Aside from that, I’m very impressed with the inclusive approach designer Scott Sternberg took here.  Taking style cues from prep schools and elite colleges of the east coast and Diane Keaton’s character in Manhattan while adding a fair bit of laid-back California ease, Boy. for Pre-Fall is a wearable, tailored, yet feminine collection that I hope figures prominently in my closet.

“I wanted to take the spirit of the New York woman of that time
and make it new—that interesting system of dressing.”
Boy. designer Scott Sternberg

All images via Vogue.

Glamour, Iced {Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2011}

20/07/2011 § Leave a comment

Oh my.  Can we talk about the Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2011 campaign?  Aside from the somewhat ill-advised skullcap/visor combo hat, the shots of this collection are simply arresting.  Loving the icy, jewel-toned ladies and their vacation to somewhere cold, yet glamorous.  I also didn’t realize until just now how badly I need to add a beautiful antique Jag to my life…

See the full gallery after the jump.

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