Sunday, January 2, 2011

Best Spring 2011 RTW Collections!

It's a new year, and even here in Jamaica, we're all looking forward to putting these colder months behind us. What better way to look forward to Spring 2011, than to actually review the collections presented in New York, London, Milan and Paris for that specific season. Designers turned out their stuff for some unusually strong collections rich on colour and bold prints. As with any kind of top 10 list, it was hard to choose, but it had to be done. So here they are, the ten best collections for Spring 2011, in my most humble opinion, of course.

10. Chanel

I'm a huge fan of Karl Lagerfeld, but sometimes, especially for Chanel, his vision is sometimes bogged down by too much... stuff... Sure, this collection really was no different than most of the others aesthetically, but when you strip down each individual look, there were so many wearable, stand-out pieces, you would be hard-pressed to say this collection didn't work. Last season he gave us fur everything, this season he gave us practical everything.

9. Mary Katrantzou

To say I love Mary Katrantzou is an under-statement; I love even more, what she does with prints. For her first stand-alone collection, though, the designer kicked things up a notch, delivering a dazzling, artful, ornate collection that touched on Hussein Chalayan's functionality and Balenciaga's silhouettes.

8. Alexander McQueen

Ethereal, even vampiric, and altogether beautiful, Sarah Burton, now head of the Alexander McQueen label, continues to push the house in a direction it needs to be following the untimely death of its designer. While anyone could hardly make an argument of McQueen's clothes as being anything but state-of-the-art, it can be said that the label sometimes isn't very soft. Not so in the worthy hands of Burton.

7. Proenza Schouler

My fashion-forward friends supposedly view me as some type of heretic whenever I say this, but i'm not a fan of Proenza Schouler. I find their design aesthetic a little too safe and plain to warrant all the hype from the Vogue crowd. But call me shocked when I saw this collection, an indisputably pretty display of truly feminine pieces. It was very First Lady-like, not too edgy, but it hit all the right notes with its muted palettes, abundance of ruffles and emphasis on legginess.

6. Celine

You must be doing something right to get name-checked by the likes of Kanye West, and indeed, Phoebe Philo, designer for Celine, is. With her under-stated minimalism, she's spear-headed a movement in fashion that is all about sharply-edited, non-fussy, stand-out pieces. This collection was no different with its whites, tans and beiges, but Philo knew when to inject the exact amount of colour, resulting in pieces with plenty of pizazz and oomph.

5. Gucci

I'm still pretty surprised how much I loved this collection. But what's not to love about louche jump-suits, and glam crochet? It was a glamorous, provocative collection, with designer Frida Giannini riffing on Guy Bourdin, but forgive me if I detect more than a whiff of classic YSL.

4. Lanvin

At this point in the career of Alber Elbaz, the man can literally do no wrong. His collections for the house of Lanvin, probably the premiere house for sophisticated female fashion right now, are clear, intelligent and oh-so-beautiful. There were gorgeous pleating, lavish colours, the usually-elegant accessories all done with a precise sense of execution.

3. Rodarte

Seems to me the Mulleavy sisters didn't go too far for inspiration for their collection for Rodarte, if one were to go by all the wood-like fabrics used through-out. It was a beautiful collection; my jaw dropped several times, and i'm not even that big a fan of the label. What it proved, though, more than anything else, is that these two ladies are more than capable of stepping outside of their comfort zone (their usual quirky dishevelment) and deliver, truly deliver to a mass audience.

2. Dries Van Noten

Painterly. That's the first word that came to mind when I first saw this collection from Dries Van Noten. I was so impressed by the relaxed feel through-out that at first I didn't even realize how well-made the pieces are. But even more so than the clothes themselves, is how subdued and dream-like everything is thanks, in large part, to the hues and palettes chosen. With Chinese ceramics apparently being the reference point, the whole thing came across more as a display of art and less of a display of mere clothes.

1. Haider Ackermann

Emphasizing evening wear by wear of silk pajamas, the Spring 2011 RTW collection from Haider Ackermann was sensual and divine. With samurai elements thrown in for good measure, neckline plunged, pelvic areas went missing, tuxedos were backless, and everything was accented by bleeding reds, electric blues, or gothic black. It was a daring collection, not one for the casual fashion follower, but one that managed to be very soft and alluring right through-out. Sure, some of the pieces may have seemed a bit studied, but Ackermann deserves to be praised for unwavering vision. Absolutely delightful!


  1. Nice list. Some of these I agree with. S/S was a real interesting and exciting season (remember the livestreams?) To this list I'd add 70's themed Marc Jacobs, his was on point with his 70's references.

  2. I'm always impressed by MJ, but as you know, lists are sometimes very hard to decide on. His LV collection, too, was beautiful. Maybe I should do another list? Ha ha! And yes, last season was VERY exciting! Here's to another great season come Fall/Winter!