Sunday, 12 August 2012

Pre Collections: The Prologue

       Until recently I ignored pre collections. Until recently I decided that SS and AW shows were more important than pre collections and, as a result, tended to skirt past these mid-season masterpieces. And, in a sense, I wasn't wrong to do so. The SS and AW shows are, after all, the main course of fashion. They are the crème de la crème of the runway, whereas Pre collections are but mere starters. They can be ignored - but, what I didn't realise is, that doesn't mean they should be. What I didn't realise is - I'd been missing out.

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       Pre Collections are essential to modern fashion. Having come to existence as a derivation of cruise collections, pre collections allow designers to attend to their customers' needs all year round. They give their clientèle the chance to wear an array of all-weather pieces at times when the weather does whatever the weather feels like doing. They give their customers the chance to jet-set off to hot places in the middle of winter and look the part. Moreover, they have become so popular now that they now provide much of designers' revenues today.
        However, alongside their practical purposes, pre collections have a more artistic raison-d'être. They are not soulless money making machines - far from it, in fact. Pre collections bridge the gap between each season. They keep our fashion hungry minds fulfilled as they introduce us to new looks and aesthetics ahead of each season. What's more they allow us to anticipate the features and details of the SS/AW collections to come - be they the subtleties of a more feminine silhouette or the down-right obvious clues of an excessive use of the colour purple.
     
Pre Collections add to modern fashion and below is a selection of the most fashionable this season:

Marc Jacobs


       It always astounds me how Marc Jacobs can manage to produce two collections for three brands a year - Marc by Marc Jacobs, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton - let alone find time to create pre-collections as well, and yet he does so and he does so incredibly well. This season's pre collection sees him maintain the waist-cinching, calf-hanging silhouette of his AW collection, whilst injecting it with a lighter less brooding attitude. The result is a success and the PVC/ foil details are the icing on a terribly fashionable cake. 

Alexander McQueen


       Granted I'm echoing the words of fashion journalists and bloggers worldwide but Sarah Burton really does go from strength to strength at McQueen and this couldn't be more evident than in her most recent pre collection for the brand. The ornateness of her previous efforts still remains, as do the statement pieces, however Burton has executed them in her most wearable way to date. From jumpsuits to ball gowns Burton has done McQueen proud and those oversized clasp belts will no doubt become a must have in weeks to come.

Versace


       One of the most appealing features of Versace clothing is its tackiness. In most brands, the prints and overt sexuality would seem somewhat over-bearing and yet with Versace it works. This time round Donatella has decided to go girlish with a Versace edge. The hot pink trouser suits and shirts of the collection are not twee but instead possess a harsh sexuality, just as inviting as it is daring. Moreover, with the studs and black detailing to boot, the Versace girl hasn't looked this punk in years.

Christopher Kane


      Kane's clothing always oozes femininity - but in a modern sense. Be it neon body-cons or floral leathers it is always clear that Kane adores the feminine form; he creates his clothes to compliment it. For his SS pre collection Kane has reinvented old favourites, whilst playing about with print and the results couldn't be more perfect. Whether it's a hooded track pant duo your after or an elegant dress with a splash of paint this season, Kane has designed it and he's designed it beautifully.

Chanel


       It's safe to say that Karl Lagerfeld is the king of Pre-collections. Having designed cruise collections for years, Lagerfeld has perfected the art of Pre. Moreover, in true Lagerfeld style, he has made said collections no less important than those of AW and SS - who else goes to the length of organising fountain featuring shows in France's most beautiful locations for their mid-season affairs? The clothes speak for themselves and be it in a crepe mint dress or a voluminous gold circle-skirt, Chanel will keep you stylish all mid-season long.

       So - are you sold? I certainly am. Pre collections are practical but more importantly beautiful and, regardless of my situation in years to come, I will now make time for them - cos they're worth it.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Sporting Fashion

       At 9PM on Friday the 29th of July  Danny Boyle set off the London 2012 Olympic games with a quirky extravaganza of all things British. From Voldermort and Mary Poppins to James Bond and the Queen, Boyle created a unique spectacle to celebrate London's third hosting of the games. A spectacle worthy not only of our country but of the 10,500 athletes from around the world taking part in this year's event. A spectacle worthy not only of the U.K. but the Olympic games and their legacy.


         Up until the age of 14 my interest in sport was void. Having been forced to engage in the likes of Rugby, Hockey and Cricket as a child - all for which I possess no knowledgeable talent - my realisation as to what sport could be was limited to say the least. Up until the age of 14 I avoided sport in every possible way. I avoided sport like I avoided Crocs. However, aged 14 I was introduced to aerobics and running, and, whilst to this day I still possess little knowledge of the world of sport, I enjoy it. I enjoy sport.
       I enjoy sport so much so that I currently find myself immersed in the Olympic Games. I currently find myself watching and supporting athletes take part in sports I've never heard of, screaming at the television when Team GB miss out on a medal and hoping that, with any luck, the BBC will show yet another clip of Tom Daley and his amazing body ..err - talent. I find myself immersed in a world of which I've never really been a part and yet, like fashion, am inhaling.
   

       Luckily for me though fashion is inhaling sport too. In spirit of the 2012 Olympic games, SS fashion  has been sportier than ever. From the fluorescent jackets of BCBG Max Azria to the glossy track pants of Hakaan the 2012 SS collections were littered with sporting references. In fact, such was the inspiration of the 2012 Olympic games that many designers avoided the traditional catwalk to showcase their designs in favour of more sporting venues - for Versus Versace Christopher Kane had his zip clad models walk down a basketball court. He mixed sport with fashion to great success.
        In the same way, magazines are mixing sport with fashion too. Alongside its Kate Moss, Olympic goddess cover, British Vogue ran a spread on Team GB's best hopes for 2012. What's more the magazine is taking part in this year's closing ceremony. Having enlisted the help of Nick Knight, the magazine is providing images for the much-hyped event. Meanwhile, across the pond in the U.S., American Vogue has captured its own stars in its own sports themed shoot - using Karlie Kloss to compliment its own athletes the magazine has created one of its most humorous spreads to date.

       
        In fact, it seems one need only blink at fashion these past few months to notice that it has been dominated by sport - completely. However, just as the fashion world has embraced sport this SS, the sporting world has embraced fashion. Nike's new Flyknit racers, for instance - the most on demand trainer for London 2012 - take inspiration from Missoni's intricate patterns. The knit structure is incredible. What's more one need only take into account the array of fashion designer's involved in this year's Olympic kits to see that the world of sport is currently fascinated with fashion: Armani, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Hermès...
        In Great Britain itself Stella McCartney has helped Adidas create the perfect kit for our athletes. Having been enlisted to design a kit that would make Britain's athletes stand out from the pack, she has done just that. McCartney has created a kit which not only performs well but looks good. She has adapted the British flag to give it a more modern edge and has designed sportswear for all of our athletes. From gymnasts to swimmers and rowers to runners McCartney has married style and effectiveness in Team GB's kit. She has made Team GB proud and proved herself as a unstoppable force to be reckoned with.

Left to right: Eleaonor Simmonds, triple jumper Phillips Idowu, gymnast Louis Smith and heptathlete Jessica Ennis pose wearing the new Team GB kits designed by British designer Stella McCartney (centre) for the London 2012 Olympic Games, at a viewing in London on Thursday, March 22, 2012.

       And this is why the world's of fashion and sport collide so effortlessly. Not simply because sport is a  visual activity and athletes want to both look and feel their best whilst performing, but because successful athletes and designers are both unstoppable forces to be reckoned with. They are talents that constantly seek to better themselves. They are people who, regardless of what faces them, seek to stand out among their competition. They are both driven. Subsequently, there is an intrinsic link between the two and the unification of sport and fashion reflects that. 

       So be it in the form of sports-infused fashion or fashionable sportswear - take part in the unification of sport and fashion this Olympics. Update your sportswear or update your wardrobe - in the fashion Olympics, you have nothing to lose.