Home is where Charlotte Dellal’s heart is for A/W 2015, with the accessory designer mining an ornate mid-century abode for her latest line of Charlotte Olympia shoes and bags. Lavish furnishing finishes, marble textures and family heirlooms made up her ‘A World of Interiors’ collection that played bold animal prints and upholstery patterns off Rococo flourishes. The lounge bar took up residence as a Perspex ‘Mini Bar’ clutch, while gilt gold buckles finished ponyskin cheetah platforms. Also new to the interiors mix are the insoles of this season’s shoe designs that have been furnished acid yellow or shocking pink.
‘I want to be the purveyor of a certain silhouette or a way of cutting, so that when I’m dead and gone people will know that the twenty-first century was started by Alexander McQueen,’ the designer, trendsetter and showman once said. His retrospective ‘Savage Beauty’ at London’s V&A certainly lives up to that ask. The exhibition, which opens today, expands upon New York’s Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s initial exhibition of the same name, and now includes 240 ensembles lent by private collectors including Annabelle Neilson, Katy England and the Isabella Blow Collection.
The late designer’s shows were always an invitation into the unexpected and this exhibition, designed by his former production company Gainsbury and Whiting is no different. His 2006’s ‘The Widows of Culloden’ collection that saw Kate Moss floating above the audience like a ghostly hologram has been recreated on site and is a vision of poetry in motion. The romantically ruffled dress that she wore in the finale is here along with a reproduction of the 19th century technique called ‘Pepper’s Ghost’, which involves projectors and mirrors rather than a digitally rendered image.
The lavish exhibition offers a grand tour of McQueen’s key fetishes from the exoticism of foreign cultures to royal regalia, Scottish tartan, the natural world, 18th and 19th century English history and metamorphic female forms. Pop culture is juxtaposed with ancient civilisations as we enter the white tiled set of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ clip for McQueen’s ‘Plato’s Atlantis’ 2010 collection (he debuted her song at his live streamed show), complete with jewelled crystal mini-crini dresses and those iconic armadillo heels. Another career highlight captured here is S/S 1999’s ‘No 13’ finale that featured Shalom Harlow standing on a turntable dressed in a buckled white dress being sprayed with paint by two robot arms.
The son of an east end taxi driver, McQueen’s creativity in cut and construction was derived from his early training on London’s Savile Row as a tailor’s apprentice from the age of 15, followed by tuition at Central Saint Martins. His fluidity with draping and dressmaking, was developed during his tenure as creative director at Givenchy in Paris. Not to be missed, this is one for the history books.
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty runs from 14 March – 2 August, 2015
The cape was once a tepid transseasonal trend piece that seemed more at home in a military march than a front row, but over the last few years it’s become a winter stable… even a classic. The perfect abridging piece for spring and autumn, it has proved itself to be the best way to keep warm while still indulging in a chunky knit sweater that has no business under fitted overcoats. Endlessly versatile the cape is also ideal for topping off eveningwear once temps dip and in a way that a woolen coat would never do. Here’s our salute to the latest caped cool girls on fashion’s circuit doing the style justice in everything from winter white to racy leopard.
For a long time now Ports 1961 has been one of those somewhat misunderstood labels. Although its roots are Canadian it was previously based in New York, and was then moved to Milan, and has since had a revolving door of designers and collaborators. But as of prefall, the brand has a new creative director in Natasa Cagalj who has been quietly reshaping its style and design studio, which is now based within the same East London building that formally housed cult magazine The Face. Now there’s starters cache.
Cagalj, who was formally at Lanvin and Stella McCartney, where she was head of design for seven years, has since set a promising new precedent for the house with her fresh take on contemporary wardrobe archetypes for A/W 2015. Playing with classically feminine materials that have been injected with a nonchalant ease she has given tailoring a literal twist that’s even been extended to her slip-on sneaks, while fabrics like chiffon and prints like leopard have been reworked with a masculine edge. Despite the fact that her first two seasons have been quietly introduced, expect to hear much more about this house, and its designer who seems to be following in the footsteps of what Phoebe Philo has achieved at Celine.