The Top Ten

In Fall/Winter 2010, Tastemaker on May 14, 2010 at 12:13 am

Okay, enough with the introductory posts.

Let’s get down to business, OKAY!?

The shows for Fall/Winter 2010 wrapped two months ago, and they were, I think, some of the most promising in seasons.

The mood, I felt, was less about pushing boundaries and more about working well within them.

The designers that succeeded did so because they played up their strengths and forewent gimmicks. This was no time to be reinventing the wheel.

Pre-recession, I feel like the question hovering above the industry was “What does fashion need?”

Fall/Winter 2010 marks a triumphant return to “What do women want?”

My top ten favorite collections of the season, yes, in order…under the cut.

10. Matthew Ames

Newcomer Matthew Ames’ most recent outing was a rigorous study of both the comfortable and the pristine. His unique brand of minimalism is, rather than stern, quite fluid and gentle. He is a champion of smooth edges rather than pointed ones; his work feels modern, even defiant in its quiet way. Buttery fabrics, a zen color palette, and discreet leather loafers rejected edge for purism.


9. Pringle of Scotland

Oh, Clare Waight Keller–you must know me. You must know how rabid I get over big ‘ol slouchy gray pants…over cable-knitting… over bitchy post-minimalist sheaths. Clare–Clare, darlingwe are on the same page. Pringle of Scotland this season (under the capable direction of Waight Keller) was an achievement of some unattainable, unnamed cool. These clothes, to me, signify an old soul in a young lady–this woman who has been through her phases and has come to finally know, after all, simply what works. It’s a little grunge, a bit preppy, and 100% intellectual. A gray day on the highlands never looked chicer.


8. Calvin Klein

Okay, yeah, I know–I swear I’m almost done with my minimalist-nineties-nostalgia fap. This season, Calvin Klein was the living end. Francisco Costa sent out some of the most pure and simple clothing I have ever seen: dresses, separates, and coats that, rather than wear the wearer herself, are to be worn by her. I watched the show stream live and was initially underwhelmed, wanting “more” somehow (whatever more meant.) I had to process this collection, to think about it on clothing racks and on the bodies of real-world clients (43-year-old Kristen McMenamy in the mercurial silver evening gown was a revelation.) Less mightn’t be more, but it is surely important to have around.


7. Balenciaga

Elegant and fun, Nicholas Ghesquiere’s vision for Balenciaga this season was nothing short of singular. I am pretty used to rolling my eyes at the fashion-babble designers tend to rattle off in their backstage interviews, but hearing Ghesquiere talk about his inspirations brought his work, this time, to a whole other level for me. He was inspired by manufactured products and consumer packaging; something about that is so excellently strange and cool! Cereal boxes, TV’s, cookies…the domesticity is provocative in a way.


6. Celine

Critics are saying that Phoebe Philo at Celine designs for a woman as a woman, knowing what a woman wants. While I’m not much of a woman myself, I can plainly see the graceful, covetable, and clean desirability of the work she has done for the French house. It’s impeccable, it’s discreet–it’s remarkable. Architectural, graphic silhouettes were married, in this collection, to unorthodox textiles and discreet colors, making for something genre-less and distinctly magnetic. This is clothing meant to be worn. Is this the woman of the new decade?


5. Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten does cool like no one else can. A bit of masculine slouchiness, plenty of simple prettiness, and his usual international chic (those painterly prints could be a close-up of a Monet painting or a blurred Kenté pattern) evolved his niche brand just enough to keep things interesting. His beaded cocktail frock and floor-length gown/T-shirt combo were standouts. Dichotomies like the latter, so strange on paper but effortless on the runway–these are the genius of van Noten. This is high fashion that translates, that can be understood and appreciated beyond an esoteric mob of stylists, editors, and connoisseurs. Each look of this collection, to me, represented a different vision of a woman who knows exactly who she is.


4. Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs is New York. His effort for Fall/Winter was like a love-letter to the city itself. The women on his runway were diverse yet uncompromisingly urbane–aloof SoHo waifs looked right at home next to luxuriant Park Avenue madames.  It was a welcome descent from the gimmicky nature of his recent collections: a return to elegance and intellectual cool. The Power of Jacobs is his ability to exist outside of trend or “moment”–he’s cultivating relevancy, not following orders. He’s never been shy of themes or characters; it’s nice to see a modernist drama rather than some vivid farce. This show was moving…bravo indeed.


3. Marni

God bless Consuelo Castiglioni! I just need to shout it. Through unwavering dedication to her madcap, arty instincts, she has developed the house of Marni into a tried-and-true niche brand. No one else is making clothes like these, nor touching upon this kind of quirky brilliance. In an unsurprisingly smashing turn for Fall/Winter, Castiglioni married her unmatched sense of color to an aura of non-sequiter whimsy that, in its utter kookiness, evoked a strange sophistication all its own. Throwback prints and rare fabrics thickened the plot. The Marni woman, to me, is an eternally magnetic mystery–who’s that girl?


2. Chloé

Hannah MacGibbon gets it. Though critics and friends alike would be quick to dissent me, I believe the cerebral, conservative sophistication she’s injected into Chloé has made for a fabulous evolution. This is sharp, powerful, and mind-numblingly sophisticated fashion. The Chloé woman has maintained an element of her coquettishness while learning, now, to conceal more than she discloses. The tailored, Seventies-era silhouettes of the Fall/Winter collection were pitch-perfect…and the collection itself was a beige-lover’s heaven. If I were a woman, this is how I would want to dress. There is no element of salable sex or prettiness–only power and independence. I am not saying these two sides of fashion can’t ever intermingle; to say so would be ludicrous. There’s no denying, however, that this purified vision of the latter is riveting.


1. Alexander McQueen

This was the final collection of a genius. The death of Alexander McQueen, my favorite ever designer, shocked and depressed me when I heard about it a few months ago. I wept for him. There was so much I wanted to know, so many questions to ask, so much untapped beauty never to be created by his hands. Looking at the showpieces from his final collection now (they were shown in Paris about a month after his death), I can see the work of a man who knew he was going to die. There is none of his characteristic aggression or edge–only pure, unfettered beauty and romanticism. They are the closest thing we have to a goodbye, and I need not even extrapolate upon the flawlessness of their execution. No one does, will, or can do what he did. He will be sorely, sorely missed…I will never stop mourning him.



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