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judy smith Apr 2015
Fashion show finales follow a familiar rhythm: after the models march along the catwalk for a last hurrah, the designer comes out to take a bow. Their demeanour is often telling, an indicator of their attitude to the collection they've shown – are they a bag of nerves, or grinning from ear to ear?

Also noteworthy is the look they choose to take their bow in. Are they even wearing their own work? One of the most celebrated designers of our time never wears his own designs. Karl Lagerfeld may create the occasional menswear look at Chanel and he designs a whole men's collection for his eponymous label but he has long been a customer elsewhere: Dior Homme.

Lagerfeld started wearing Dior Homme when he was in his late 60s, shedding 41 kilograms to fit into the skinny styles of the label's then designer, Hedi Slimane. Lagerfeld has stayed loyal to the brand ever since, even after Slimane, now creative director of Saint Laurent, quit in 2006. And although the label is known for its emphasis on youth, Lagerfeld, now in his 80s, remains one of Dior Homme's most visible clients.

Raf Simons, meanwhile, Dior's creative director of womenswear, is partial to Prada: his presence in the documentary film Dior & I (2014) is most clearly announced via his distinctive studded Prada sneakers and he often takes his catwalk bow in a head-to-toe Prada look. For his first Christian Dior ready-to-wear show he wore a vintage denim jacket with red stripes by Austrian designer Helmut Lang.

And yet many designers do wear their own work, especially if the brand carries their surname. Editors scan the wardrobe of Miuccia Prada for clues to her latest collection: is she feeling utilitarian, elegant or purposefully off-kilter? When Donatella Versace takes her bow, she often wears a look from the collection she's just shown – for autumn/winter 2015, it was a pinstriped, flared pantsuit. And even Simons has worn pieces from his own label collaboration with Sterling Ruby.

So if the name is on the label, does it mean the clothes will always be on the designer's back? Not necessarily. "I've never been into wearing clothing with my own brand name inside," says Jonathan Anderson, designer behind JW Anderson and now creative director of Loewe. "I find it odd and arrogant."

UNIFORM DRESSING

Anderson's own wardrobe is a familiar uniform: crewneck sweater, faded blue jeans, Nike sneakers. It's entirely opposite to the menswear looks he creates for his own label's catwalk presentations, which have included bandeau tops and frilled shorts. He seems to favour a clean-palette approach: keeping himself neutral so as to not deflect from his experimentation elsewhere.

This kind of wardrobe is common among fashion designers. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler appear to have no desire to create menswear for themselves or others, dressing instead in a similar style to Anderson: crewnecks, polo shirts or button-downs, usually with jeans and sneakers.

Mary Katrantzou, meanwhile, recent winner of the 2015 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, may have built her business on print and embellishment but she is usually found in a black knit dress by Azzedine Alaïa. Alaïa himself has perhaps the ultimate clean-palette wardrobe: for decades he has worn black cotton Chinese pyjamas, fastened by simple floral buttoning.

Each of these designers has a successful business with its own clear signature. So maybe it doesn't matter if they don't wear their own clothes. And yet when designers do, it can be so seductive. Men buy Tom Ford because they want to be like Tom Ford. Women buy Céline because they want to look like Phoebe Philo. Stefano Pilati, creative director of Ermenegildo Zegna Couture, is often said to be his own best model; Rick Owens, in his long draped vests and baggy shorts, is the perfect ambassador for his own alternate universe of otherness.

The style of Roksanda Ilincic is synonymous with her own brand. "I create pieces that embrace the female form," she says of her bold colour palette and silhouette. "Being a woman means I'm able to feel and test those things on a personal level … I tend to favour long hemlines and nipped-in waists, with interesting shades and textures, pared down with simple basics and outerwear." Does she ever wear anyone else? "Of course! Black polo necks from Wolford are an absolute staple and in winter I am rarely without my favourite black cashmere coat by Prada, which is on permanent loan from my husband."

It seems like an industry divided between designers who wear their own work and those who don't. But sometimes things change. Backstage at Loewe earlier this season, Anderson said: "With Loewe, I have a detachment. I wear a lot of it. Now I'm more, 'Does this work?' I've got a bit of a love back for fashion."

Two months on, his interest in wearing his own designs has grown still further. He is the cover star of the new issue of menswear biannual magazine Fantastic Man, posing in a slash-fronted sweater and leather tie trousers. The pieces are both his work from current season Loewe. Womenswear. In for a penny, in for a pound.Read more here:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2015 | www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses
judy smith Sep 2016
Paris has traditionally been the city where inter­national designers – from Australia and England to Beirut and Japan – opt to unveil their collections. However, Karen Ruimy, who is behind the Kalmar label, chose the runways of Milan Fashion Week for her debut showcase in September.

The Morocco-born, London- based designer hosted an intimate al fresco event in a private palazzo to launch her holiday line of fine cotton and silk jumpsuits, breezy kaftans, long skirts, playsuits and off-the-shoulder tops in tropical prints.

Ruimy had a career in finance before moving into the arts – she owns a museum of photography in Marrakech – and has become increasingly involved in fashion and beauty, thanks to her personal interest in holistic therapies.

These are clothes, she explains, that marry luxury and wellness, and are the things she would wear when she wants quality time by herself. The fact that they are made in Italy, convinced her that Milan was the right place for her debut – where she showed alongside the likes of Gucci, Prada, Verscae and Marni.

On fashion calendars, Milan has conventionally been the place where the runways confirm the trends and themes hinted at ­earlier, in New York and London. However, this season, the Italian designers did not speak with one voice, making Milan Fashion Week all the more refreshing for it.

Often, there might be an era or style of design that dominates the runways during a particular season, but for spring/summer 2017 in Milan, there was a standout showing of techno sportswear and techno fabrics employed in updated classics such as coats and box-pleat skirts, or with references to north African and Native American themes.

The Italian designers sent looks that would appeal to everyone, from the haute bohemian and athletic woman, to the cool sophisticate and the art crowd, as well as – as in the case of Moschino – to the iPhone generation.

Only three seasons ago, Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele was lauded for his complicated maximalist styling. Yet in Milan, Gucci channelled a dreamlike vibe with Victoriana, denim, athletic apparel and oversized accessories, thrown together in delightful chaos, making it difficult to predict the direction Michele is taking Gucci in.

Currently he seems to be in a holding pattern, hovering at once over 1940s Hollywood glamour, 1970s flared pantsuits, and ruffled party dresses from the 1980s, in a cacophony of ­colours and fabrics.

The feeling of joyous madness continued at Dolce & Gabbana, where street dancers emerged from the audience to start the party in the designers’ tropical-themed show. The clothes used some of their familiar tropes, such as military jackets, corseted black-lace dresses miniskirts. New, however, were the baggy tapering trousers redolent of jodhpurs, and the lavish and detailed embellishment the designers used to sell their story.

Wanderlust dominated the moodboards at Roberto Cavalli – rich patterns, embroidery and patchworks inspired by Native Americans – and Etro with its ­tribal themes on kaftans, duster coats and Berber-style capes.

Giorgio Armani, Agnona Tod’s, Bottega Veneta and Salvatore Ferragamo – with its stylish twisted leather dresses and crisp athletic sportswear designed by newcomer Fulvio Rigoni – all answered the call of women who want stylish but undemanding clothes.

Marni would appeal to the art world for its graceful, pioneering ideas. The label’s finely pleated dresses displayed a life of their own, and its micro-printed dresses were gathered, folded and distorted to walk the line between stylish and quirky.

In contrast, the sportswear at MaxMara and Donatella Versace targeted the dynamic generation of athletic women, with sleek leggings, belted jackets, power suits and anoraks. Versace has made it clear that she thinks this is the only way forward. She may be right, but there’s always room for the myriad styles displayed at Milan Fashion Week in all our wardrobes.

It was feathers with everything at Prada. Silk pyjamas, boldly coloured and mixed checks, cardigans and wrap skirts with Velcro fasteners show Miuccia Prada reinventing the classics. Most glamorous was the series of evening dresses and pyjamas with jewelled embroidery and feathers, worn with kitten heels that married sporty straps with heaps of crystals. Prada’s must-have bag of the season is a bold clutch with a long strap fastener, that comes in a multitude of geometric and daisy patterns.

Versace

Over the past three seasons, Donatella Versace has been carving out a new image for her brand – a shift from the luxe glam of red carpets and superyachts, although the inhabitants of that world will be sure to buy into the new Versace vibe. Donatella’s girls are both glamorous and empowered. The sporty look is tough, urban and energetic, judging by the billowing ultra-thin high-tech nylon parkas and blousons, stirrup trousers and dresses (the shapes of which are manipulated by drawstrings). Dresses, skirts and tops are spliced at angles and studded together. Swishy pleated dresses and silky slit skirts gave energy when in movement, and were as soft as the look got.

Bottega Veneta

Model Gigi Hadid and veteran actress Lauren Hutton walked arm in arm down the Bottega Veneta runway, illustrating the breadth of the Italian maison in Tomas Maier’s hands. This was a double celebration of the Bottega’s 50th ­anniversary and Maier’s 15th as its creative director. Menswear and womenswear were combined, and the focus was on easy, elegant clothes in luxurious materials, such as ostrich, crocodile and lamb skin for coats; easy knits and cotton dresses worn with antique-style silver jewellery; and wedge heels. Fifteen handbag styles debuted along with 15 from the archive.

Fendi

Silvia Venturini’s new Kan handbag was a star turn at Milan. The stud-lock bag dotted with candy-coloured studs, rosette embroidery and floral ribbons couldn’t help but charm every woman in the audience. It was the perfect joyful accessory for Karl Lagerfeld’s feminine vintage romp through the wardrobe of Marie Antoinette, with sugary colours, bows, big apron skirts and crisp white embroidery juxtaposed with sporty footballer-stripe tops – effectively updating a historical look.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses
ROA Apr 2014
the devil wears puppy-print pajamas and waits outside his vacant house for you to come,
the devil calls you only by the first syllable of your name and tells you your hair is the most attractive thing about you,
the devil gives you water in a coffee cup the first time you sit on his bed and accidentally spills it on you when he tries to kiss you,
the devil has eyes like the murky lagoons he told you he would visit with you,
and a scar the shape of a crescent moon on his forehead.

the devil leans up against the wall and asks, "why are you doing this to me? you're making me feel so guilty."
the devil doesn't pay his phone bill and ignores you when you say you need to talk,
the devil calls once, twice, a few times, once at 12:45 when you swore he wouldn't call, and never again,
the devil moves houses and forgets to warn you that he lost his heart in the process,
the devil doesn't care that they drained the lake near his house,
the devil doesn't notice that they took his ******* heart with it when they did.