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Not many shows have held our interest these last few weeks, but we immediately perked up when the first look was sent down Genny’s runway. This probably had something to do with the gorgeous cerulean colour and impeccable tailoring of the pleated dress and bolero jacket that was smartened up by white topstitching. The stunning opener was followed by separates and asymmetrical dresses in gorgeous hues and tropical-print fabrics. We loved the frilled and fluted top with keyhole opening that she used on dresses and blouses. The middle section of the collection was devoid of colour and the angelic feel of the pale clothes was heightened by the halo style logo behind and above the models’ heads. The script logo could also be found as a print on the dresses and skirts. Asymmetrical jumpsuits, kimono sleeves and obi-like belts gave the clothes an oriental flavour.

A hyper-feminine prairie aesthetic was very popular in the New York shows, but we didn’t see much of it in London or Milan until Louisa Beccaria. Her pretty, frilled and sprigged patchwork tea dresses resembled an English garden. The dress heavy collection featured delicate lace inserts, frills, ruffles, and huge bows at the waist all topped off with crocheted hats and artfully backcombed hair.

Cage-like, repeating elements and grommet linked, flower mesh effect all combine to create a standout collection from Kei Ninomiya for Moncler.

Spring is kite season in Bermuda (and presumably many other places around the world) and Craig Green’s collection very cleverly refers to this fact. He neatly conceptualised the idea of kites, windsurfing and flags to produce these highly sculptural hooded jackets and coats.

Moncler’s collaborations with various designers last season must have been successful because here they are again reprising the collaborations for Spring 2019. Is it fair to admit that we actually prefer this collection to the one Simone Rocha showed in London last Sunday? The capsule collection of 20 pieces was covered in three-dimensional effects which were created by the use of floral appliqués.

It’s always fun when a good collection doesn’t take itself too seriously. Plan C’s offering combines pinstripes and frills with a bag that appears to be covered in a four-year-old’s artwork. The doodle of an anthropomorphic triangle complete with smiling face and stick arms and legs was a nice compliment for the buttery-soft, oversized bomber jackets in colour-blocked leather and argyle sweaters that were combined with floorlength skirts. In fact, the entire collection seemed to be an exercise in contrast: oversized sweatshirts and jackets were paired with sequinned shorts or letterman  jackets with ballgowns. Rope appeared again particularly on outerwear.

Let's start our review  of Milan with these quirky and fun optical and tropical prints from J.J. Martin’s La DoubleJ label.

Vince showed superb outerwear, smart separates, shirt dresses, and smart tailoring. And sometimes that’s all you need.

With colder weather fast approaching, Osklen have made us excited to skip straight to the warmer months that will follow. Here they have taken their cue from the tropics but in a sophisticated way with flowing garments, linen trousers and sleeveless silk tops on both men and women. Tiered, pleated dresses in baby blues and reds were gorgeous and flowing. Osklen have taken the usual vacation shirt trope and improved somewhat by producing one and with soft china blue flower pattern which was also repeated on separates and a kaftan. The nautical feel was reinforced in the footwear, bags and accessories such as belts and necklaces which used marine grade rope.

There were restrained touches throughout this collection but it still managed to be beautiful in its execution. It featured the usual stunning beadwork and creative director Josep Font is still repping his love of all things floral, particularly through his use of wisteria which turned up in headpieces, on garments and as embellished touches.

We didn’t unconditionally love everything that was shown. We felt there were some unnecessary touches like the bows on the trousers and the swaths of cloth draped over the models’ bodices read as overly ornamental. Font is fond of architectural dressing and therefore his clothes are usually quite substantial and streamlined but this collection was a lot lighter (in terms of fabrics) than usual, a result of Font taking his inspiration from the work of Murano glass artist Fulvio Bianconi. 

Perhaps it’s a case of homegrown talent having to go overseas to perfect their craft before being taken seriously at home. Whatever the case, much has been said and many column inches have already been devoted to the fact that this was Victoria Beckham's 10th anniversary show, and the momentousness of the occasion was clearly written all over the designer's face as she took her rightful applause at the end.

Beckham has returned home and seeing the pictures, we immediately began to covet the elongating, split-front trousers sported by the designer herself. This piece was a noteworthy element in a collection that consisted of thoughtful, eloquent tailoring. We saw trousers worn under skirts and subtle stripes thrown in. Floor-length knit dresses and cardigans provided warmth, and micro floral printed blazers were worn over pleated organza skirts. We were less fond of the handkerchief hemlines but they worked better when they were merely asymmetrical rather than overly complicated. As with Osklen’s collection, rope was used as fastenings on several of her pieces, a definite marker for a trend that will probably take hold over the next few months.

Otherwise, Beckham showed coats for layering rather than warmth, as well as high-necked tops and she teamed net over-shirts and dresses that were elegantly simple in their form. There were no formal pieces in the collection per se, but a navy halter-necked dress near the end of the show could be called upon to do service if necessary.

This see now, buy now Autumn/Winter 2018 collection from Mother of Pearl stayed true to its name with touches of the semi-precious stones everywhere: from pleating on the sleeves of jackets and coats to the buttons down the front of dresses and skirts, and the shoes, slides and bovver boots worn by the models. 

Holiday marketplaces seem to be a recurring theme the season and here, Molly Goddard also references this as her inspiration. Goddard showed gingham and girly dresses in a collection that was heavy with ruffles and frills. The aforementioned gingham was crossed-stitched with Goddard’s initials which help to elevate the look and keep it from becoming too twee. The floral elements included a stylised daisy print which popped up on dresses and knitwear. The overall femininity of the collection was bolstered by corsages that were fixed to the waist or collarbone. Polkadots in unusual colour combinations like mint and pink and purple covered cha-cha dresses that were reminiscent of Spanish flamenco dancers. The volume of the clothes sometimes overwhelmed, but for the most part it was a successful collection.

Stylish, functional and easy to wear. We don’t know much about this brand, but we did like what was on offer for Spring 2019. With a big focus on shirt and coat dresses - often midi length - checks and abstract painterly patterns. There were some pinafore dresses worn over classic white shirts and the collection wrapped up with a fun, red checked raincoat and several classic trench coats. The spotlight here was on wearability for the most part. 

Sweet and sophisticated with just a hint of sparkle, Markus Lupfer showed very feminine dresses and printed denim coordinates. The collection had a very 1940s feel and was rendered and pastel shades of lilac, mint green, blues and pinks.

We were prepared to disregard this collection, but instead were pleasantly surprised by what was offer from Ports 1961, in particular the macramé elements. While this craft has been turning up quite consistently in fashion for a few years, Ports 1961 may have found an elegant - or at least more polished - way to incorporate it into their line. 

We loved the wooden spool embellishments and that the rope was use as both a tie and as an accent on dresses and décolletage where it was knotted to reveal peekaboo keyholes and cutouts and, more traditionally, on bags. Fringe as an element has also been popular for while, but creative director Natasa Cagalj has somehow managed to do the near impossible: make the bohemian trim sophisticated.

While New York continues to tout itself as the world’s fashion capital, the inability of the designers showing there to produce collections that are forwardthinking, imaginative or groundbreaking continues to confound us. Nothing highlights the stark difference between the completely predictable, lacklustre and unimaginative designs we saw last week in New York than this collection from Matty Bovan which was the first we reviewed. Bovan’s clothes were a cacophony of style with witty touches such as the oversized crossbody bag while models wore huge headpieces and corsets layered over statement prints.

It looks like things are literally going to be big for spring if the clothes at Zero + Maria Cornejo are anything to go by. New goddess dressing meant jumpsuits, easy flowing dresses and low slung trousers in a limited palette. It can all be summed up as a sort of beautiful casualness.

Many collections like this one from PH5 have a monochromatic feel or are using black as a grounding colour and have modish influences. Here designers Mijia Zhang and Wei Lin showed simple, streamlines silhouettes, quirky pieces where the only embellishment was go faster stripes and colour-blocking. The fun and flirty pieces had an overall sporty feel. With a mix of power dressing suits and sportier elements in the form of athleisure via the use of stretchy, technical fabrics. They also used thin cashmere in t-shirts, leggings and wide legged trousers. Some asymmetry.

Proenza Schouler's standout pieces included high-necked dresses with an inverted tulip shape, black denim with overstitching and an acid washed jean jacket that was combined with pale, worn denim. There were more than a few touches of silver leather in the form of skirts and waistcoats.

The easy, breezy, flowing, universally flattering, strappy dresses shown at Milly were the personification of her theme: Metamorphosis. This collection also featured another designer who has wholeheartedly embraced rainbow dressing as the theme for the 2019 Spring season. Here, artfully oversized graphic sweatshirts were combined with foil-like silver lamé used in skirts, jackets, parkas and 1980s-style double breasted suits.

Michael Kors considers what American sportswear means today. Years ago, this might have meant a New England preppy ideal, one based on WASP traditions and culture, completely aspirational in its examination of what it means to be an American.

 Today, the intersectionality and appropriation of other popular cultures has become the norm. Once traditional tropes have fallen away or become diluted. American sportswear now borrows heavily from streetwear and urban influences and while Kors may recognise this fact, he does not fully embrace it. Instead he has gone for a fairly literal interpretation of the best parts of a beach vacation taking inspiration from surfer culture and such far-flung locations as the islands of the South Pacific. In fact, the proliferation of bright, abstract floral prints have a Gauguin-esque quality about them. When paired with surfer imagery, beach motifs and starfish embellishments, there can be no question about the source of inspiration for this collection.

Twins Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are known to be fond of volume, and this love has been translated wonderfully for Spring 2019. This monastic collection sees the twins communing with fashion on a higher level with a collection of body-skimming clothing rendered in silks of various fabrications. The high necks, sloping shoulders, pleating and ethereal shapes of the collection add interest as do the elongated sleeves, and all are presented in a limited palette of black, charcoal and cream. 

Here, a sort of modern, streamlined sexiness was on offer from Phillip Lim who has seen fit to take up our beloved monochromatic mantle (although there were touches of ochre, burnt orange and yellow thrown into the mix). Waists and shoulders played off against one another as he bared both midriff and shoulder. More longline, minimalist clothing was on offer including beautiful, flowing kaftans, bodysuits and a fringed Crombie coat. There were several metallic elements including heavy, chainmail tunics and kaftans.

The looks were topped off by Sou'westers pulled low over the models' faces, a practical foreshadowing of the raining weather that has plagued the week. 

Gabriela Hearst is dressing the modern woman. This is not a collection that panders to the male gaze but from flowing skirts to pantsuits her clothes were still very feminine with a simple, minimalist aesthetic.  Hearst hasn't skimped on luxury though. Her muse knows what she wants and isn’t about to compromise.

A completely wearable collection from Marissa Webb who, like several other designers, seems to have gone there inspiration from Mexico this season. With her off-the-shoulder dresses, sweetheart necklines, frills and gently flared skirts, the collection represents market stall dressing - not clothes bought at a market stall, but those you’d ideally love to wear while browsing an open air market somewhere exotic like Morocco or Marrakesh... or maybe even Bermuda. Her signature high waisted jeans, floral print dresses with ruffle skirts and corset tops with balloon sleeves and belted shorts all rounded off her collection for Spring.

Dion Lee showed new nudes and super sexy styles for spring where layered one armed jackets and lace were paired with shorts and trousers in the most flattering shades of brown and camel. One-armed trench coats, shrugs and shrunken sweaters were cut to expose the body, and wraparound trousers exposed the legs.

Tory Burch’s muse was on safari in Africa this season but she harkened back to the colonial era, full of mid- to full-length skirts and dresses, frills and flowers and just enough tribal touches to be on the right side of the cultural appropriation debate. There was an overwhelming lack of formality this season with a predominance of cotton, twill and jersey paired with safari jackets and knits. Coats were cinched at the waist with casually tied belts. Dresses were worn with sneakers for less precious feel and there was a lot of verticality in the elongating stripes that were predominantly featured.

For Carly Cushnie’s first solo show under the newly revamped Cushnie label without her former partner, she sent a veritable rainbow down the runway. For inspiration, Cushnie Drew on her Caribbean culture and heritage. The cohesive or unifying force was that they were all of a slimline, body-conscious silhouette with an emphasis on the upper body and shoulders. Woven, crystal-embellished mesh added a modern take on tassels. Flowing trousers with a long slightly flaring leg and sexy knits in strong, primary colours, leant a boldness to the show. 

Lisa Perry riffs on her usual simple, mod and streamlined silhouette with the addition of felt floral appliqués in bold, primary colours that were, in part, inspired by Martial Raysse’s 1965 neo-realist painting called ‘Tableau Simple et Doux’. Her usual a-line mini skirts and brightly coloured dresses show up, but these are interspersed with flowing trousers and soft cashmere sweaters. Denim, a fabric that is not commonly found in Perry’s collections, makes an appearance in the form of an oversized, appliquéd jacket and a funnel necked vinyl bomber jacket.

We’ve featured Valentino’s diffusion line pretty consistently for the last few seasons, and each time a new collection is released, we expect to be disappointed or underwhelmed by the offering but have yet to be so. 

That is not to say that this latest collection doesn’t have its problems. It’s neither groundbreaking in style nor trendsetting, yet Red Valentino continues to do well that what it does: interpret the latest designs and styles smartly and well and it aligns itself to compete with other brands making a push towards a younger markets like Coach. This time that meant bibbed bodices, boxy shapes, and pleated or frilled skirts, embroidered sheers and tulle. There were some off-shoulder looks and gorgeous warm outerwear, but for the most part it the youthful collection was strong in its folksy vibe and Mexican influences. The strong, punchy colours used (blue, red, black and white) combined well with floral patterns and highlighted both strength and creativity with its hard and soft elements which were intended to reflect the many sides of a woman.

You will note that we have wilfully disregarded the horrendous ballet shoe-cum-sneaker the poor models were required to wear.

A navy and white colour scheme was the shorthand used by Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia for the nautical theme that ran through Monse’s spring 2019 collection. This theme was extended by the rope motif which could be found dangling from belt buckles or were used as ties on halter neck dresses and even turned up as a repeating pattern on the clothes.

Unusually for the house, both men and women showed on the runway. The unisex clothes included mismatched rugby shirts, A short/skirt hybrid made from grosgrain ribbon, slouchy fishermans’ vests and oversized coats, cardigans and jackets, but our favourites included a raw-edged, deconstructed, asymmetrical shirt dress and a half denim jacket parka.

Rainbow bright and vibrant colours can only help to elevate one’s mood. And while such colours can often come across as juvenile, the stripes and hand drawn graphic prints found throughout the spring collection from Novis are anything but. Luxurious fabrics like silk helped to elevate the clothes as did the wealth of detail which was obviously given to each piece. This included dots on pleats, billowing tulle and tiered dresses. The collection consisted mainly of dresses in very springlike colours and also featured gingham as this shows no sign of waning in popularity. The favourite skirt length shown was that of the tea dress, hitting the mid- to lower-calf. The collection closed with some gorgeous, detailed gowns which were little Delpozo-like in their construction but nonetheless created a very beautiful statement.

Let’s kick off our coverage of New York Fashion Week’s Spring 2019 ready to wear collections with a look at Ulla Johnson whose show was one of our favourites so far. 

Delicate flowers and bold stripes characterised Johnson’s collection. High necklines and modest hemlines show our preoccupation with discordant times and a more pragmatic outlook. This is not to say that there weren’t any fun pieces: flirty miniskirts were paired with mutton leg or balloon sleeves, while prairie dresses found a counterbalance in modern, streamlined styles. Johnson showed patchwork pieces on bodices which managed to be both graphic and feminine. The clothes were imbued with a folksy, ethnic spirit and for Spring Johnson called on both Namibian and Victorian influences and placed an emphasis on craft.