Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Best Spring/Summer 2010 RTW Collections

As we prepare for the fall collections next month, and sift through pre-fall, let's look back at September and October of '09. Here are my choices for the top ten best collections of last season. 

10. Balmain

There's a reason Balmain is your favourite celebrity's favourite label. Christophe Decarnin's padded, over-priced shoulders is now a phenomenon, but thankfully, for his S/S 2010 RTW collection, he gave us much more than trends. Goddesses in huge-shouldered, metal-epauletted military tailcoats, dominated his runway; their T-shirts tattered, bullet belts slung around artfully destroyed, stained, and holed jeans.

 9. Viktor&Rolf

It surprised, even annoyed me a bit how some of these so-called authorities on fashion were quick to pan Viktor&Rolf's collection. When has a runway show (emphasis on show) been about accessibility? With that said, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren's collection succeeded. The use of mountains of tulle was ingenious to say the least, and the shoes were quite gorgeous. I'm waiting feverishly to see how this will all transfer to retail.

8. Versace

What has gotten into Donatella Versace lately? With each new collection, the clothes have just been getting better and better! With vivid pastels, geometric prints, baroque curlicues and slinky chain mail, it was all very commercial, but no one should complain when it's this tastefully done.

7. Karl Lagerfeld

In a dying industry, sometimes going back to basics is necessary. And that's exactly what Karl Lagerfeld did with his RTW collection for S/S 2010. The black and white motif reflected the designer's own personal style, but it was the use of couture fabrics that proved the collection's pedigree. And those dresses at the end with overlapping silver filigree? Gorgeous!
 6. Burberry Prorsum

With the trench coat as his canvas, Christopher Bailey reshaped and remade the staple over and over again with one not-so-simple technique- ruching. In a collection that could have killed itself from repetition, it is testament to Bailey's talent as a designer how very seamlessly everything came together.

5. Givenchy

Remember when Riccardo Tisci's shows weren't given the seal of approval? My how times have changed. Every editor and fashion industry insider worth their salt now claw their ways to attend his shows. But really, nothing has changed about his approach to design.
His collections continue to fuse religious, couture and cultural influences. If that sounds like nonsense on paper, look at how beautifully the clothes turned out: the graphic jackets; tiny kilts; attenuated drop-crotch harem pants; cool, multi-layered, modernized tutus; and draped, wrapped, and swathed tulle dresses. I suspect Tisci is somewhere having the last laugh.

4. Lanvin

Decadent. Sumptuous. Regal. Fitting words to describe Alber Elbaz' drape-tastic S/S 2010 collection for Lanvin. Opulent fabrics in a candy-store array of pink, salmon, peach, and vermilion was paired with a dash of extraordinary fine leather and a buildup of encrusted gold sequins and jewelry.

3. Balenciaga

In a collection that seemed as much informed by as designed for the streets, Nicolas Ghesquière collaged  elements of recycled fabrics and natural-looking hemp weaves, into tribalistic clothes completely ready for the concrete jungle.

2. Gareth Pugh

Has Gareth Pugh started to lighten up? No. He's started to tone down. Garnering some of the best reviews of his very short design career, Pugh's usual elements were still there- black and white, dark androgyny- but the collection also proved how meticulous he is with experimenting with fabrics, micro-pleating, weaving and slashing crepe and chiffon. Pugh has talent, there's no doubt about that, but this was the first time anyone could call his creations beautiful.

1. Alexander McQueen

What a hubbub this collection caused! Kanye West blogged about it. Lady GaGa caused the live stream to feed what with debuting her new song at the time, "Bad Romance", at the show, before she wore some of the fashion in the accompanying music video. Even Daphne Guinness was photographed in the 12-inch shoes. But all that aside, McQueen's vision of Darwin was the singularly most brilliant stroke on the runway last season for its creative execution alone. The clothes, though, speak for themselves- sea-reptile prints, nipped waists, belled silhouettes, I don't even know how to describe the fabrics themselves. All I can say is each dress was a work of computer-generated art crossbred with McQueen's couture signature. And that's a compliment if ever I gave one.

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