THE BEST OF PARIS AND MILAN AW17

Whilst I was drowning in my dissertation work, the grand finale of fashion month was well underway. Paris and Milan are always the creme de la creme of every fashion month. Each established European fashion house attempts to dazzle those lucky enough to be invited to their shows. In Paris, we saw the second collection by Dior’s first female Creative Director,  motifs of astronomy and superstitions made a reappearance and are likely to be a lasting theme under Maria Chiuri Grazia’s reign. Whilst in Milan, Alessandro Michele joined forces with artist Coco Capitán further forging the urban art movement with the fashion world. The trends of the year ahead are shaped in a mere month at the start of Spring. These shows having a rippling effect across the whole industry and the styles presented in them trickle down into high street retail. It will be interesting to see which trends the consumers will take on board.

Dior AW17 Ready-To-Wear – Paris

Maria Chiuri Grazia’s starry second collection continues the legacy of her debut collection. Homage was once again paid to the fashion house’s founder, however this time Chiuri used the colour palette to do so. Chiuri dived into the archives and found that Mr Christian Dior often utilised the colour blue and felt that a navy dress was just as good, if not even better, than a black dress. Is blue the new black? Maria Chiuri Grazia and Mr Dior himself would seem to suggest so.

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Gucci AW17 Ready-To-Wear – Milan

Alessandro Michele invited lucky show-goers to loose themselves in his enchanting Gucci wonderland. Michele literally created a fashion ‘urban myth’ with the help of artist Coco Captáin, merging urban streetwear with the formal wear of the aristocracy creating a beautifully mesmerising hybrid of the two. Michele’s signature 70’s style and oriental prints made their way back onto the runway. There is no doubt that Michele has succeeded in reimagining the way in which the Italian fashion house is perceived and his unique approach and style continues to draw in and enchant the masses.

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 Vivetta AW17 Ready-To-Wear – Milan

Vivetta offered a fiery but equally feminine AW17 collection with delicately embroidered dresses coupled with bold red PVC jumpsuits and leopard fur. Inspiration can also be found in the circus movement of the previous century. On closer inspection dainty circus performers come out to play within the embroidery. Vivetta AW17 provided us with a fun, playful and fiercely feminine collection; traits that can also be found in the best female performers.

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Valentino AW17 Ready-To-Wear – Paris

Piccioli provided enough gowns for the whole year, never mind Autumn/Winter! Valentino’s AW17 collection was gowns galore, each unique and different from the last. We saw a combination of eras, with Victoria full-length skirts, quirky 70s patterns and vibrant 80s colour palettes, to name a few. Piccioli offers a romantic feminine collection that is bound to brighten anyones winter wardrobe.

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THE BEST OF PARIS SS17 HAUTE COUTURE

All in a weeks work…

Last week was an eventful one, globally and in fashion. We saw America begrudgingly welcome its 45th President, Donald Trump, we saw women across the globe partake in the inspirational Women’s Marches, Alexandra Shulman Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue for 25 years announced she was to step down and the ever elegant Paris SS17 Couture week presented an array of stunning and vibrant shows which captivated show-goers and fashion lovers. We were welcomed by Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first Couture show which took on the facade of a glamorous garden masked ball, and was later followed by such. The week ended on a high with Valentino’s graceful Greek goddess inspired collection. Below are some of my personal favourites which I have cherry picked out of all the elegance the French capital had to offer last week.

Dior SS17 Haute Couture – Monday 23rd January

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first Couture show saw the interior of Paris’s Rodin Museum transformed into a lush green garden. The floral oasis and pastured runway ensured the monochrome pieces which opened the show were bolder than if the runway had been a typical dull, white slab. It was the second half of this mystical collection which really caught my eye, with delicate tule and embroidery lining balletic ballgowns. It is clear that Chiuri fully appreciates and admires the beauty and intricacy that goes into the craft.

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Chanel SS17 Haute Couture – Tuesday 24th January

Paris’s Grand Palais was transformed into what I imagine the interior of a mirror ball must look like for Chanel’s show. Karl’s glistening stage ensured every sequin shined brighter, every feather floated further and every ruffle rolled on. Each pop of pastel pink was given an extra pop by this reflective runway. And a Chanel show would not be complete without the brand and founders signature tweed accompanied by a pearl anklet or two. The grand finale saw Chanel’s new it-girl, Lily-Rose Depp, in a cotton candy bridal dress arm-in-arm with Chanel’s creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, providing a very grand and elegant finale indeed.

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Valentino SS17 Haute Couture – Wednesday 25th January

On Wednesday we saw Valentino’s Greek goddesses take centre-stage gliding down the runway in floaty, delicate, embroidered dresses. The beauty and skill of Pierpaolo Piccioli’s first solo collection left the Gods of Olympus yearning for more. Piccioli, like Lagerfeld, chose a subtle pastel colour palette enabling the intricacy of each unique piece to shine through. It is clear why Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri were such a force in the fashion world since they both have a strong appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into making such exquisite pieces.

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Viktor & Rolf SS17 Haute Couture – Wednesday 25th January

Viktor & Rolf paid homage to the entertainment scene of the 19th and early 20th century with a vibrant, theatrical collection. Inspiration can be drawn from the traditional circus movement, with blazing ruffled clown-like collars and a palette of bright red and blue like that of a circus master. The bellowing tule ballgowns, with embroidery that takes on that of cracked fine china, pay tribute to the party-scene of the aristocracy during this period. The juxtaposition of the gentle gowns with the edgier pieces created an exciting, energetic and varied show.

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Zuhair Murad SS17 Haute Couture – Wednesday 25th January

Zuhair Murad was a huge hit at this years Golden Globe Awards with Lily Collin’s stealing the show in a pastel pink Zuhair Murad embroidered ballgown. Its success on the red carpet fuelled high expectations for the fashion’s house upcoming Haute Couture SS17 show, and it did not disappoint. Stunning gowns and evening wear which exploded with glitter, sequins and bold colours were a treat for the eyes. Each piece glistened and shined with every swish and step. We can definitely expect to see more Zuhair Murad pieces making an appearance this award season.

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CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY FOR FASHION LOVERS

Last week was fun filled and fashion packed with The Fashion Awards 2016, the airing of the Victoria’s Secret runway show, the revelation of Chanel’s Pre-Fall RTW 2017 Collection at the Ritz Paris and the 75th anniversary celebrations of the American brand, Coach.

Chanel Pre-Fall RTW 2017

The conscious decision of the current Creative Director, Karl Lagerfeld, to pick The Ritz, Paris, to house this year’s annual Métiers d’Art collection goes to the heart of the brand and indulges in its rich history. The ever-chic founder of the Parisian fashion house, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, was no stranger to the hotel and adored the lavish lodgings so much that she moved into a three-bed apartment within the facility and as Coco once stated “The Ritz is my home”. Therefore, it was perfectly fitting that this year’s show saw the brand return to its true home and heritage. Chanel’s signature tweed jacket accompanied by pedal pushers, flower crowns which rival any found on snapchat and glittering gold gowns were perfectly complemented by the luxurious interior of The Ritz. The sense of homecoming did not end with The Ritz, it also extended to the models as we saw the long-awaited return to the catwalk of Chanel-muse and British-beauty, Cara Delevingne. Whilst homage was paid to the brands past, we also saw into its future, with the likes of rising-Chanel star Lily-Rose Depp and Sofia Richie making their catwalk debut. Overall, Karl’s 2016 Métiers d’Art show was the perfect regeneration the brand needed after a year of suffering sales, paying tribute to the brands history and giving us a sense of what the future has to offer.

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Coach 75th Anniversary – Men’s and Women’s Pre-Fall 2017

Coach ended its 75th year with a star-studded runway show in the brands hometown, New York City. The epic show was housed in a large warehouse at Manhattan’s Pier 94, that was transformed into a façade of a small American town. The 70s inspired collection with a subtle colour palette of mustard, brown and red perfectly juxtaposed the vibrant flashy lights bearing tributes to American culture. Creative Director Stuart Vevers attempted to bring back the sense of hopefulness, optimism and the American Dream into a deflated and divided Country following the recent electoral results.

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FAVOURITE COLLECTIONS FROM PFW SS17

The Grande Finale

PFW ended this lavish season with a bang! With robots and robberies, Paris provided a week like no other that was definitely out of the ordinary. There was a sense of change and progression in the air as well-established fashion houses were not afraid to demonstrate that they are more forward-thinking and well adapted to the times. We saw the first female Creative Director of the 70-year-old French fashion house Dior unveil her first collection full of feisty feminist slogans offering a sense of girl power. And we saw the fusion of fashion, femininity and technology in Chanel’s SS17 show which saw the Grand Palais transformed into Karl’s Data Centre. This week was full of fashion firsts changing the face of the industry that can often appear to be rigid and unaccommodating of the views of the modern millennium. Whilst there are rules and regularities that are here to stay (for now) this week has demonstrated how designers are not afraid to steer away from the status quo every now and again. And when they do they are sure to make a lasting impression.

Dior SS17 Ready-To-Wear – Friday 30th September 2016

This exquisite collection put together (in only six weeks!!) by the established fashion house’s first female Creative Director , Maria Grazia Chiuri, was a tribute to women everywhere. With simple slogan t-shirts that read “we should all be feminists” and princess evening gowns that oozed femininity there was no shortage of girl power. The juxtaposition of the fierce fencing jackets and the dainty flowing dresses conveyed the many guises of a feminist embodying the idea that anyone can be such. Homage was also paid to the founder himself with tarot-inspired and astrological embroidery, both said to have been an interest of the designer. This beautiful collection is sure to inspire the modern woman representing female progression and power in a female dominated industry in which only a third occupy the top jobs.

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Miu Miu SS17 Ready-To-Wear -Wednesday 5th October 2016

Groove is in the heart! This retro inspired beach babe show, which was the final show of the season, was bound to make show-goers feel as though they had been transported back to the 70’s and yearn for the return of summer already. We saw glossy swimwear grace its way down the runway accompanied by flamboyant floral rubber swimming caps. Popping with vibrant colours and full to the brim of groovy floral prints and patterns this was sure to make any 70’s hippy feel nostalgic.

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Chanel SS17 Ready-To-Wear – Tuesday 4th October 2016

Karl Lagerfled likes to ensure his shows make a lasting impression jumping from one extreme to the next with his themes. And this season did not fail to disappoint. Karl provided an insight into the future conveying the relationship between fashion, femininity and technology in his SS17 collection unveiled in the Grand Palais which was transformed into his very own Chanel Data Centre. This collection blew the fuse with cable woven tweed, neon laser beam prints and edgy urban snapbacks making an appearance on the runway. Robotic models opened the futuristic show strutting their stuff in Coco’s renowned tweed ensemble, this ensured that this classic piece was viewed in a whole new light making it timeless and immortal. Karl clearly had the next generation of Chanel shoppers in mind and it is clear that the German designer recognises the need for the industry to adapt to the demands of modern society.

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Kenzo SS17 Ready-To-Wear – Tuesday 4th October 2016

Miu Miu wasn’t the only collection that offered a blast from the past. Whilst the 80’s was full of fashion faux pas this season has seen the return of many of its finest trends. Kenzo’s SS17 collection was full of puffed sleeves, boiler suit jumpsuits and a metallic pallet. There was also a hint of the 90’s with military wear, oversized tees turned into dresses and the parka coat all making a return to the runway. This retro collection is bound to appeal to any 80’s/90’s kid looking to channel their days as a teen.

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Alexander McQueen SS17 Ready-To-Wear – Monday 3rd October 2016

Sarah Burton never fails to embody the late Alexander McQueen in her collections, ensuring homage is paid to the talented designer and founder in each and every stich. This gothic/punk inspired collection with grungy mini-kilts, delicately embroidered evening gowns and leather jackets skilfully painted with floral motifs merged Parisian and British fashion to create a beautiful hybrid. Tribute was paid to the founder’s origins with the lavish grounds of the Jardin du Luxembourg littered with symbols and references to the Scottish Highland with woven and taatit rugs lining the bumpy runway. Each and every piece seemed to contain a hint of McQueen’s heritage with Shetland lace, Fair Isle knits and chunky steel toe capped boots making their way onto the runway. This collection full of attitude, elegance and high-end craftsmanship stood out among the seemingly conventional Parisian fashion houses.

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I haven’t singled out a collection from this week that I would like to see grace the red carpet this coming award season as no single collection stood out as such. Rather, I felt there were exquisite pieces from multiple collections which would be suitable attire to any red carpet event including ones that I have discussed above such as Dior and McQueen and ones not mentioned including Valentino. Below are some of the pieces I would like to see strut down the carpet:

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Paris provided a seemingly splendid end to what has been an exciting and eventful fashion-filled month. So the fashion frivolities may have come to an end until next season (Jan/Feb 2017) but in this constantly evolving and fast-paced industry we will not be short of new developments keeping us on our toes in the meantime.

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DOES SOCIAL MEDIA SURRENDER OUR SOCIAL SECURITY?

Following the horrendous attack on American Reality TV star, Kim Kardashian, in which she was held at gunpoint and robbed of £8.5 million worth of jewellery I couldn’t help but question how such a famous and highly protected –albeit clearly not that well protected – individual’s security could be violated in such a way. I was inclined to think that maybe social media was partly responsible for this breach of security…

Kim Kardashian is known as being a social media queen with over 100 million followers on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Her every movement is documented and put on display for the whole world to see. The very night she had been held at gunpoint and prior to the violation she had posted five tweets, three pictures on Instagram and numerous Snapchat stories, all revealing her current affairs and locations. I can’t help but think this aided her attackers, enabling them to map out her every move leading to the later infiltration of her security. Whilst none of her post revealed the location of the Parisian mansion she was staying at they provided pin-points for her attackers who could just have trailed her transport from the lavish Givenchy show to her next destination eventually arriving at the scene of the crime.

We live in a digitalised age where it has become the norm to share your every move on various online platforms and whilst this should be a wake-up call for A-Listers like Kim to better there on and offline security, let it be a warning to us all. Next time you think about revealing your current location online just have in mind the risks associated with doing so.

Photo Credit: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images