Contact

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mary Katrantzou

0 comments
One of the hottest names in London's fashion scene is Mary Katrantzou, a young Greek lady whose dramatic use of hyper size prints and overall sense of explosive color has given her an influence well beyond her age. Katrantzou was born in Athens in 1983.
In a very real sense, Katrantzou's brilliant use of print design has been a major influence on modern fashion, especially in the current spring 2012 season, where bold arty florals, dazzling hues and patchwork prints have been the single biggest trend. This made her latest runway show, staged on Tuesday, Sept. 20, in London, something of a mega event. Indeed, every editor, critic and buyer of note showed up to see Katrantzou's latest collection, unveiled in the decayed modernist splendour of the former Eurostar terminal in Waterloo station.
Underlining her theme, the designer's invitation was a collage of volcanic and abstract images, as if sent through a blender, while the catwalk was divided by a tennis court long field of carnations. And, when it comes to printing, Katrantzou has few rivals, even this season when she appears to have influenced half the industry. Her collages of expressionist parts, space nebulae and abstract ethnic smears all looked intriguing, but a bit too overpowering. It was almost as if her colleagues had not just caught up with Katrantzou but surpassed her.
Moreover, while her sense of color is unique, her cutting is problematic. Far too many of the clothes in this show had an angle too many, jutting out almost dangerously, so much so one wondered whether a woman could actually sit down when wearing them.
Her other big idea in terms of silhouette was adding a train everywhere, so yards of fabric looped off the back of chiffon blouses, mini skirts and cocktail dresses.
This season in New York and London has been a testament to Katrantzou's reach and importance. It was not, however, a triumph for her own collection.


Sensibility and Sense for Spring

0 comments

Speaking with designer Charu Vyas, one might be struck by her frankness, down-to-earth nature, and easygoing humor. Her clothes are not altogether different from her demeanor.
Straight lines, bold colors, and fabrics that flow all convey a graceful practicality and ease. Her spring 2012 line includes everything from a wedding dress to casual looks that are meticulously constructed to be light and airy. Even her less conventional pieces like the "salwar" inspired pants seem eminently wearable. Vyas' interest in design has roots in her childhood in India, when her mother would make clothes for herself and her daughter. So it followed that when Vyas grew up she would make her own clothes as well.
"I started Charu Designs after realizing that the clothes I made for myself were getting a lot of attention and people were asking where they could be bought, so I began first making clothes for friends and as time went by I got more and more clients," Vyas explained in a recent interview. "I began visualizing this collection during the past harsh gray winter in New York. I dreamt of light dresses full of bright summer colors, but it all coalesced when one of my models and a dear friend announced she was getting engaged. I knew right away how her wedding dress should look and with that the whole collection came to life." Vyas delivers a strong spring collection whose sensibility is driven by beauty, color and movement. Her designs evoke a sense of playful possibility for seasons to come.


Italian designations aim for foreign buyers as Milan opens

0 comments

Milan Fashion Week kicked off on Wednesday with celebrity-filled parties and dazzling displays as top brands look to sales in emerging markets to overcome a slump in Italy from Europe's debt crisis.
Seventy-three fashion houses are taking to the catwalks with their spring-summer 2012 collections this year and several leading names including Gucci are opening new hi-tech stores in Italy's main fashion hub.
But industry leaders say the sector faces a period of uncertainty.
"We have to respond with vigour and optimism to the situation of uncertainty that characterises the current economic juncture," said Mario Boselli, head of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, which organises the event.
"The problem of Italy and of Europe as a whole is growth and since countries that are growing are now those that are far away, our maximum attention will be on promoting Made in Italy exports to the whole world," he said.
"The month of August was as bad as the one that came before that terrible September 2008" -- the start of the global financial crisis, he said.
The Italian fashion sector had been banking on eight-percent growth this year but investor pressure has forced the forecast down to four percent -- still a major improvement on the drop of 15 percent seen in 2009.
The show opens its doors with Gucci and Rocco Barocco on Wednesday, followed by Prada and D&G on Thursday, Versace and Moschino on Friday, Jil Sander on Saturday, Missoni on Sunday and Roberto Cavalli and Giorgio Armani on Monday.
A series of boutique openings in the city started off on Tuesday with an inauguration party attended by Naomi Campbell for tyre maker Pirelli -- famous for its nude calendars -- which is now launching itself into fashion.
Despite the glitzy openings and the buzz of fashion week, the main brands make no secret of the fact that they are mainly looking abroad for growth.
"This first half has been fantastic for our labels with foreign sales rising 30 or 40 percent, particularly in Asia, in Kazakhstan and in Russia," said one participant, Gaetano Marzotto, head of the textile group Marzotto.
Exports of Italian women's fashion were up 17.4 percent between January and May compared to the same period last year. While France and Germany remain the top export markets, Russia has now become the third largest buyer.
"In Italy, where consumption has lowered, sales have been supported by tourists. In the Milan fashion quarter, where the most prestigious brands are concentrated, 60 percent of purchases were by foreigners," Marzotto said.
He still noted a slowdown however in the past two months in sales even to foreign buyers "due to uncertainties linked to Europe's debt and a lack of clarity from the (Italian) government, which undermines consumer confidence."
Prada is one label that has made a successful switch to emerging markets.
The company listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange in June and announced a 74.2-percent jump in first-half profits this year, due mainly to Asian buyers.
Prada's sales in the Asia-Pacific region except Japan were up 35.4 percent -- by far its sharpest rise in the world -- and the group said that by 2013 it aims to have 550 stores worldwide, with around half of them in Asia.
Others like Missoni -- with its "Missoni for Target" range for the US supermarket chain Target -- have launched themselves into cut-price ventures and many have taken to the Internet with online boutiques to lure foreign buyers.
Giuseppe Angiolini, head of the association of Italian fashion buyers, said: "We can no longer think about fashion developing in Italy. In terms of sales, we are no longer number one. Our market has reached its ceiling."