Dearest Third Cousin,
For Motley this month, I took a look at some themes I see in the brand of fashion week and some of my favorite designers that inhabit these weeks.
‘Fashion week’ is a special time of year; not least because it’s a month long, happens twice a year, and spans two continents. At the time of writing the Autumn/Winter 2013 ready to wear collections had just begun, Wednesday the 6th of February in New York to be exact and I imagine London will be in full swing by the time you read this, with Milan and Paris to follow. Now you may ask why is Fashion Week so special, besides the aforementioned discrepancies in the whole concept. Well the fashion world loves a good brand and frankly fashion week is a brand, a great, seductive, confusing, beautiful brand. So what makes this brand so successful that we ignore the countless other fashion weeks around the world and flock to, or aspire to flock to the Big Four. Well it’s all about the brand and the brand of the designer of your choice, who depending on where they choose to show will have an identity that conforms to some sort of theme that we associate with city they are showing in. New York is cool, London experimental, Paris chic and Milan luxurious.
So what are, in my opinion the four brands that help to create and arguably adhere to this branding?
Alexander Wang: New York was made for Wang’s effortless, boy meets girl look. He has built a brand that reportedly makes 60 million a year and essentially created the ‘model off-duty’ aesthetic, which is so integral to his brand identity. Eirn Wasson, partner in crime and his stylist muse (she styled all his shows until relatively recently) is the embodiment of the model-off-duty look. She being one of the top models working today, if you have some time check out some videos of the pair together there is a notable one on style.com, in which, they get a bit drunk and take you on a tour of the New York party scene to celebrate the duo’s collaboration on Wang’s second ever show in 2008. Now with Wang taking over from Nicolas Ghesquiere at the helm of Balenciaga in Paris, all eyes are on the 26 year old and I can’t wait to see what he does with such an established brand.
Simone Rocha: One of my favourite emerging designers. London really is a great home for her brand. She is experimental and tends to push the limits of taste just like the brand of LFW itself. She describes her aesthetic as ‘modern and strong yet romantic’, she has a great eye for fabric and texture and Simone’s brand includes stunning Perspex heeled brogues and simple shapes made interesting by exciting materials and texture. She was a recipient of the coveted NEWGEN sponsorship for Autumn/Winter 2013, other recipients Alexander Mc Queen, Mary Katrantzou and Erdem Moralioğlu. Keep an eye on her and her brand, she is one to watch.
Prada: While Paris has many great houses Milan fashion week, in my mind, is about the brand of the fashion house. Mrs.Prada’s brand is genius. The Prada brand is covetable, crafted and creative. She makes clothes for women who love luxury but still want a product that will push people’s perceptions of style. Like Milan fashion week, there is nothing bashful about a Prada design, it’s bold and confident but always, always simply great. Her designs are made from the best material by arguably the best womens-wear designer. A Prada collection often takes inspiration from art, culture or even something abstract like ‘beauty’ in the face of war’. This mix of the best materials and the design direction of Miuccia Prada creates a monster global brand that perfectly and comfortably complements the brand identity of Milan Fashion week.
Ann Demeulemeester: A member of the famed ‘Antwrep Six’ along with Dries Van Noten and the seventh member, Martin Maison Margiela. She is designer who like Paris has an identity and vision and sticks to it. Trends or celebrities do not bother her. Demeulemeester’s brand will not be seen on a red carpet or copied ad infinitum by the High street. She makes clothes that she wants to wear, in fact she only wears clothes she makes herself admitting in an interview, that she does own one pair of Levi jeans, but she only deigns to wear them while gardening. Her clothing is almost exclusively black and white and always distinctively conscribing to her brand. Paris fashion week and Demeulemeester’s brand go hand in hand, both offering the consumer piece of mind, with both, you know what you’re going to get.