Let's Talk About Prada

check out the rest of the collection here

With slicked back hair, sharp cheekbones and a silky dress layered over a turtleneck, Natasha Poly opened Prada and ushered in Act 2. Earlier this year the menswear and women's pre-fall show, Act 1, introduced Miuccia's inspirations (works from German creatives) and this season expanded on them. This collection was decidedly less luxe or in Prada's own words, "The opposite of rich." (style). Last season's shaggy fur coats and layers of fur scarves were replaced with patterned coats, brightly colored shearling and a red fur dress. This time around the looks were less put together yet far from disheveled.  There was a sense of ease and effortlessness. Thin silk scarves were intentionally tucked into the collars of sheer thigh-grazing dresses and chevron print sweaters were layered under and over bold prints. Yet under the art-deco prints and red fur lined shearling this collection was darker than the last, which is fitting considering Prada's primary source or inspiration. One of his films which she cites as an inspiration, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, explores the life and relationships of fashion designer Petra. The film's influence can be seen through the collection, from the models' heavy handed clumped mascara to the shaggy carpet the film's protagonist retreats to with a liquor bottle. Then there are of course the theatrical elements, Petra von Kant, originally based on a play by the director and a majority of it takes place in one room decorated with Poussin's Midas and Bacchus, the cast is entirely female. The protagonist is troubled and sadistic but still glamorous on the surface. I think one of the best quotes I found while poring over reviews of this collection was this one via BOF: "This collection felt like a continuation of Prada’s life long exploration of sensuality and subjugation. Her sartorial offerings push her fans to question their limits." I saw the sensuality and subjugation in Fassbinder's characters, and the way he pushed limits in his work and she took that and created her own story with it. What I loved about this collection besides the clothes obviously, was the way it made me think about the clothes and the story behind them, rather than just looking at them. The only issue I took with this was the casting
Petra chillin on a shag rug that reminds me of the Prada coats, Midas & Bacchus in the background


Couture Casual

The word at Dior was lightness, there were perforated dresses that moved freely with the models and structured skirts that seemed to defy gravity. However in the sea of flowing fabrics and architectural heels, there were a few pairs of sneakers. Though the flower appliqued slip-on sneakers seemed completely out of place, it wasn't the only time the footwear appeared in couture shows this week. At Chanel shimmering evening gowns were paired with matching sneakers, white and pastel looks were paired with matching arm pads, knee pads and yes, fanny packs. Lagerfeld has a way of making the seemingly ridiculous, beyond trendy, (if you can recall the Chanel hula hoop bag) and I have a feeling it won't be long before Chanel fanny packs are a street style staple and eventually will exist in some form in fast fashion stores everywhere. Fashion lovers every where may just start swapping their stilettos for high fashion running shoes.

Slip-ons at Dior

Shimmery Evening Wear with Sneakers at Chanel

images va style.com


Fashion & Diversity: Will This September be Different?

Nouk Torsig, Grace Mahary, Yasmin Warsame backstage at Dior Haute Couture

A recent New York Times article by Eric Wilson has sparked more discussion on the topic of runway diversity. While this is hardly a new topic (Wilson cites a 2008 Vogue article that echoes similar sentiments) it is one still worth discussing, primarily because not much has changed since then. In fact the number of black models decreased from a mere 8.1% to 6% according to The Cut. With Fashion week less than a month away, the topic is extremely relevant and it brings up several questions, Will this September be any different? and how can the industry make it possible? The Cut looked into Bethann Hardison's threat of shaming designers for their lack of diversity through social media. Many models speak out about the discrimination they face, just look at Jourdan Dunn's twitter account, but perhaps a well planned campaign with a lot of support could have some impact. The Cut even points out instances where Twitter protests have had some degree of impact, by at least serving to inform people, which would be especially useful where this discrimination goes on without repercussions.

Both articles also cite a Buzzfeed interview from earlier this year with top casting directors. The casting directors stances on diversity and how much the industry has progressed were mixed. While some agreed that runways were less diverse and needed to change, some argued that casting is not based on tokenism but on which girls fit the show's aesthetic. One of the more notable takeaways from the Buzzfeed article were James Scully's criticisms of diversity at major houses, especially Dior, whose shows have been predominately white lately. None of the directors were entirely sure how to remedy the lack of diversity but this July, the casting for Simons' fall Dior Couture collection was his most diverse yet. Wilson writes that this prompted speculation that the casting decision was a response to the comments. Unfortunately there are too many instances where these firsts don't become the norm but maybe the discussions will eventually lead to solutions and then progress.