• Just got lashes @paperself - ed at @openingceremony #openingceremonytokyo 1st year anniversary party
  • Mega cute stuff from new brand @littlesunnybiteyoppy
  • Cute clutch from @peachesandcream_xxx new recommendation thanks to @reishito !!!
  • Sasquatchfabrix S4 pyjama look
  • Pleats Please roses

When in Milan, I like to take an afternoon to saunter around Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga and the like, and take in the glossiness of everything.  Going in and out of the flagship stores of all the biggie Italian houses that seem to be far better stocked than the ones back home.  It's educational window shopping, taking in the merchandising and seeing what's coming and going.  I also like to imagine what it's like to veritably walk into a Prada store and drop x number of ¬£k's just as so many of the Chinese/Russian/Middle Eastern shopper tourists do.  Instead, I'm just a voyeur.  Not an envious one but a curious spectator, who is completely aware of "how the other half live."

This is exactly how I approach the following collections that have thus far bucked the sombre tones of New York, the precise and etched out ideas of London, where even the most colourful of butterflies such as Meadham Kirchhoff toned it right back and the "real clothes" approach of the likes of Prada and Marni in Milan.  More is more and more is never enough.  There's a "We know who our girl/woman is so fuck it!" attitude that I can't help but admire.  Much like my onlooker tendencies in Milan, I like to fantasise for one moment of what it's like to sashay, shimmy and smoulder in these clothes, before snapping back into reality.  Some of this dances around the murky lines of bad taste, whether it's intentional or not.  In fact ostensibly to most fashion poo poo-ers (you'll find them pouring dirge in the comments section of The Guardian) these are exactly the sort of clothes, which sum up the evils of the industry  – ostentatious, brash and hideously expensive.  I'd like to flip it and say that whilst those qualities aren't positive, there's value in gorging on this visual fest of OTT.  Well, I'm certainly never going to have a rat's chance of physically touching the stuff but as an image, it's certainly a guilty pleasure to be stuffing your face full of Tom Ford's dressed-to-the-tens prima donna, Fendi's "If we're gonna do fur, let's amp it up attitude and Donatella Versace's Vunk (that's Versace mixed with punk‚Ķ).  I literally just feel like I've polished off a whole box of Quality Street, just by uploading these images – and I don't even like chocolate all that much.  

I wasn't expecting to get a Tom Ford ticket.  Yes, it was finally a proper show after a few seasons of his intimate, no-photos, no-one-except-editors-in-chief presentations.  Still, a blogger let loose with her DSLR at a Tom Ford show where god forbid, there are non-sanctioned images of the show going out into the messy cyberspace?  I was half expecting to be stopped at the gates of the lavish Lancaster  House (an ex-Royal residence, ya know‚Ķ) only to be told it was a ticketing mistake.  Still there I was allowed to snap away, processing the excess of sequins and beading, the comic book KAPOWs, the kitsch Chinoiserie and the electric coloured furfurfur.  For some, it was a head-scratching moment of "WTF?"  It certainly felt like Ford had allowed something to explode in his womenswear collection, which he called a "Cross Cultural Multi Ethnic", a title not to be over-analysed.  Taken as a whole, it can be a bit puzzling to see where to place this in the context of Ford's meticulous brand carving, something we all know he is capable of.  Unlike his precise and agenda-laden menswear offering, the womenswear has run quite a free-reined gamut.  It felt strange to see him let loose.  Still, looking at the individual pieces and taking them out of their context, I actually felt the urge to try on the weight of all those lavish coats and dresses dripping with sequins work or to see what an all-over embroidered boot would be like to wear.  There were moments of hilarious Too Much Ness that I somehow couldn't resist.  Whether Ford meant for it to be hilarious is questionable.   The joke will be lost on a certain clientele in the world that will be gagging for Ford's offerings.  I'll see them stalking up and down the ritzy streets of Milano or London's Bond Street.  And I'll try and give them a high five if their bodyguards/chauffeurs don't stop me. 

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Into Milan, and I lost my Fendi show virginity.  I'm a bit of a show hermit when it comes to Milan and there have always been some must-see shows that I never managed to get to, with Fendi being one of them.  What everyone was murmuring before and after the show was "Gosh‚Ķwhen/how did Fendi get good?"  Their S/S 13 collection was stonkingly good, translating the graphic mood of the season into some of the best accessories and shoes that I woefully never saw in person.  A/W 13 continued that upwards trajectory.  It was as if the Silvia Venturini Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld sent a mantra out to their team to say "We are a fur house.  Let's not apologise.  Let's run with it, amp it up and just go for it."  The models wore fur mohawks and fur-sided sunnies like an imaginary homage tribe to eighties New Wave.  Electric colours would streak mink coats, skirts and sweaters like flashes of post-punk nostalgia.  Once again, the accessories got people talking with the furry gremlins hung off crazy-coloured shearling bags and the zebra patterned shoes and their architectural heels.  There was a masterful display of the house's expertise in fur – shaved, colour-blocked, woven, plaited and feathered into sculptural pieces that moved with verve to the thump thump thump of Morning Hours by David Mayne.  Again, the impact on the eye was high.  You couldn't help but be bowled over by the boldness and conviction with which everything emerged from the double F Fendi logged box.  

On a furry note, I got into a long comment-thread with people on my Instagram about the tactics of anti-fur protests.  It will disappoint some to say that I don't have a strictly anti-fur policy.  I don't wear the stuff.  But I'm not against featuring it for aesthetic reasons (such as posts like these), but I'm reluctant to do it often.  I don't besmirch those that wear/buy it either.  We need more awareness of what is technically bi-product, whether the animals would survive in the wild on their own accord or how humanely the animals are killed from the designers themselves.  That would ease the argument and prevent blind furor from both sides. 

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Finally we have Versace.  I'll admit, I was slightly distracted by the surreal front row situation going on across from me.  Christopher Kane sitting next to an almost unrecognisable Lana del Rey (her hair is black and her look is devoid of that nostalgia-tinged romanticism) and new Versus guest designer J.W. Anderson next to Janet Jackson.  A few British editors and I swore that Janet made eye contact with us, smiling back and forth.  Well, I'm going to swear that happened anyway.  Once Donatella got her "Vunk" going though, it was hard not to tear your eyes away from the audacious mix of vampy PVC, Clueless-esque checks, giant spikes and pins worn as earrings and as halterneck clasps (a throwback to THOSE giant safety pins preventing Liz Hurley's modesty from escaping) and yes, more fun fun fun fur in blob-patterned canary yellow and black and white.  It's sort of everything you want a Versace show to be.  In a perverse way, you want people to question "Who would wear THAT?" but the very fact that these clothes exist scales up the parameters of extremity.  Head to toe skintight PVC aside (I'll leave that Ms. Del Rey – she seemed to be loving those looks), the Fraggle fur skirts and coats (Muppets and Sesame Street-esque furs – both faux and real – are abound this season as Sarah Mower noted), the mohair-patched-up cobweb knits and the metal tipped collared coats are just OTT bits that I'll be stroking up next season when at the Versace boutique on via Monte Napoleone.  

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Comments (16)

  1. Tara says:

    My favourite collection from the above has to be Tom Ford’s. Not simply because of the sheer, as you say, OTT-ness that pervades its way through every sequin and the Litchenstein-esque, comic-book “KAPOWS!” – which, in light of the Tate’s new Litchenstein exhibit, is ever-so “now” – but because of the way it differs so extremely from the traditional, “suit and tie”, Tom Ford aesthetic. I suppose it was a risk; but, in my humble opinion, it certainly paid off.
    Best Wishes,
    Tara

  2. Michelle says:

    Fab pics, looked amazing!

  3. Nice article. I love your outfit. (-:
    Love, unicorns and glitter on you. <3
    Florian,
    http://www.like-enchanted.com

  4. This show was to die for!
    A new post on OSCAR FASHION is up on Local & Opulent.
    http://localandopulent.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/and-the-oscar-goes-to/

  5. This show was to die for!
    A new post on OSCAR FASHION is up on Local & Opulent.
    http://localandopulent.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/and-the-oscar-goes-to/

  6. This show was to die for!
    A new post on OSCAR FASHION is up on Local & Opulent.
    http://localandopulent.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/and-the-oscar-goes-to/

  7. Marta says:

    I love that colorful clothe sfrom Tom Ford!
    http://martabarcelonastyle.blogspot.com.es
    (a rainy outfit)

  8. Emma says:

    Those fur shoes are gorgeous!
    Emma
    http://www.style-splash.com

  9. milex says:

    It had to be a little bit crazy.
    I hate the fur Fendi acessories and I am a fan of wearing fur (fake)
    http://milexblog.blogspot.co.uk

  10. alex says:

    I loved Fendi show. The use of fur is innovative and impeccable but I wonder why they didn’t use fake fur instead. Is it a problem of quality of fake fur fabrics? Then can’t factories make better fake fur? I don’t think it’s a matter of prices. The added value of a designer piece doesn’t rely on the price of the raw materials.
    Fur has been widely used in many fall collections and we can’t ignore the cruelty involved. I know this opens a lot of questions like “can we use leather then?” but without going this far I think it’s time to make some steps towards a cruelty free fashion.

  11. tokyo up says:

    i wonder how many sleepless night and caffeine/cigarette breaks it took to make those garments. so…much…opulence…WOW.

  12. Lola says:

    I had to go through the versace pics twice, I too was distracted by the front row situation, the photos are beautiful, great coverage

  13. Golden says:

    I love your coverage of Tom Ford’s show – the pictures are fabulous and it all looks so fun and glamorous!
    http://goldendreamland.blogspot.com/

  14. christine says:

    I LOVE how you don’t always conform to the well known brands, and express yourself through your own individuality. So smart, so amazingly beautiful.
    Going to check out your blog all the time!
    I’m a new blogger, so far so good but would LOVE to achieve your level some day. You are a TRUE inspiration. If you ever read this dont forget that! I would love to model some of your clothes.
    x
    http://sparklemefree.blogspot.co.uk/

  15. I could go on for years about the fur argument, so I am going to try and keep this short. First of all, Susie, I think your policy sounds quite reasonable, but if you ever have the time, do look into some of the fur initiatives taking place in North America and Europe, I think you’d be surprised how ethical and sustainable the industry is.
    What happens when you treat an animal like crap? If they aren’t fed well and aren’t happy, the first thing to “go” will be their fur. You can treat a chicken like crap and it will still produce a sale-able breast, but if you treat a fur-bearer badly, the pelt won’t be any good. So I can assure you that in regulated countries, animals farmed for fur are extremely well taken care of, I have seen this first hand in mink farms in Canada. Wild furs from North American and Europe are always species that are in abundance, and in Canada, the trappers are aboriginal people who have been trappings for thousands of years, and the animal numbers are higher than they were 400 years ago. So there’s clearly not issues of sustainability, and when it comes to cruelty, approach it like you would chicken, coffee, clothes, etc.. Buy from countries where regulation is strict and you know your product has been well taken care of, isn’t depleting resources, is paid a fair price, etc…
    Lastly, fur is biodegradable, long lasting, natural, and in Canada, local. Why would ANYONE want to buy fake fur? It is made from petro chemicals, which is made from petroleum (duh) which is totally un-sustainable, and the cause of countless wars and massive environmental damage. One of the reasons fur is coming “back” is that people are realizing that from an environmental viewpoint, fur is actually quite green. Personally, I’d much rather wear an animal I know was humanely killed, and will last me 30 years, than buy a fake fur product made in a factory out of non-renewable resources.

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