Tag Archives: Prada

Prada Cruise 2019 Show Landed in New York: Making A Comeback

This year, Miuccia Prada cruised to New York City, staging a spectacular runway show with an impressive number of A-List followers – Selena Gomez, Dakota Fanning, Lily Collins and Ansel Elgort were among the celebrities that graced the front row. The Prada Cruise runway show took place in an old piano factory that serves the brand’s US headquarters. While it seems all fine and dandy, the course of action has us wondering if this is one of Miuccia Prada’s Stunts at the revival of the brand.

Although some argue that the succession of footwear is only established upon temporal relevance, it is the brands that possess classic sensibility and operation know-how that are most coveted.

Prada Cruise 2019 Show Landed in New York: Making A Comeback

The long-struggling Italian house has suffered in sales and profitability due to its numerous misfires. Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas made observations that the dip in Prada’s market competitiveness is mainly due to her misstep in footwear. Prada’s underestimation of the rise in sneakers triggered the disconnection with the market – which was surprising, considering how prominent the sneaker trend has been. Although some argue that the succession of footwear is only established upon temporal relevance, it is the brands that possess classic sensibility and operation know-how that are most coveted.

Across the board of the Italian label, new styles ready-to-wear and leather goods have grown steadily as part of Prada’s overall mix while the sale of evergreen products are rapidly decreasing. Which only shows that Miuccia Prada and her creative team are playing the field right in terms of design and what seems to be missing is at Prada is strong merchandising – a key strategic function to abstain from wasting energy and resources. Another example of Prada’s need for strategic planning is the missed opportunity to go digital.

Prada Resort ’19 Collection

Digital marketing and the e-commerce site is now a priority at Prada’s, albeit with moderate enthusiasm. Slow and steady, Prada is making way to redeem itself. Last year sees the label making a comeback onto the resort calendar. The runway show, however, stayed close to home in Milan. This time Miuccia Prada took her collection to the city that comprises the world’s largest consumer market, seemingly following the traditions of its fellow luxury peers on presenting their cruise collections in international locales – namely brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel whose taken their cruise collection in all corners of the world.

The good news is, the latest cruise show in New York has created significant buzz and the Italian label has shown better results in consumers engagement. According to Solca, to live up to its true potential, it is essential for Prada to further strengthen their entry-mid range offerings for organic growth – and we are not complaining. Despite all that, there is no doubt Prada remains one of the most extraordinary luxury brands. With the consistency of their current tune-up, we are sure the brand is well on its way to making a huge comeback.

Luxury Fashion Brands to Showcase 2019 Cruise Collection

This year the major fashion brands have organised to stage their 2019 Cruise shows in breathtaking scenes all over the globe. From Arles to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Saint-Paul-de-Vence, the month of May will be a whirlwind of spectacular activities to present traditional mid-season collections from Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton to name a few. Here’s a quick rundown of the venues and the dates chosen for the 2019 Cruise shows.

Major Fashion Brands on Transatlantic Tour to Showcase 2019 Cruise Collection

1| Gucci in Arles

Helmed by Gucci Creative director, Alessandro Michele who is apt in translating fashion in a playground that is more about the contemporary population, the past years saw the Italian fashion house staging its fashion shows at Westminster Abbey (2016) and the Palatine Gallery of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence (2017). This year, the show is most likely to be once again dominated by historic references, as Gucci has chosen the Alyscamps in Arles, a Roman era necropolis as the venue to present its 2019 Cruise collection. Held on May 30, the show will no doubt be spectacular, spectacular!


2| Louis Vuitton in Saint-Paul-de-Vence

The Maison Louis Vuitton has made a few big moves this quarter one of the year, including the recent appointment of Virgil Abloh as its new men’s Artistic Director and also launched the latest advertising campaign “The Spirit of Travel”, descending into the Californian desert with actress Emma Stone and photographed by Craig McDean. Last year, the brand presented a collection that blended nature and art with an urban spirit in Miho Museum, near Kyoto, Japan. For the 2019 Cruise collection, Louis Vuitton has chosen the charming medieval town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence in southern France to stage the show, which will take place on May 28 at the Maeght Foundation, a modern art gallery on a hill overlooking the town. Another exciting journey for the French fashion label.


3| Prada in New York

Headed to the Big Apple for its 2019 Cruise Collection, the Italian fashion house will reveal the precise location at a later date. Meantime, Prada is the only major brand to take the presentation of its mid-season collection outside of France. The show, being in the pipeline for May 4, will most likely be held in a spectacular venue. Last year, Prada chose the Osservatorio exhibition space in the historic setting of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.


4| The House of Dior

Last year, the French fashion label Dior put up a magnificent showcase in the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve located in California. To prep for the brand’s 2019 Cruise collection, the Maison has yet to reveal the location to conduct its next photo shoot. Currently helmed by Artistic Director Maria Grazia Chiuri, will Dior opt for a location in France, or will it take its Cruise collection to a far-fetch destination? We will find out soon!


A Classic Gent’s Key Fashion Takeaways from Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018

Pitti Uomo 2018 image rights: Adam Katz Sinding

Around the office, my sartorial ensemble tends to comprise of a collection of garments, jackets, blazers and suit separates that one can easily spot has English and Milanese sensibilities. That said, it doesn’t mean that a classic gent can’t enjoy a fashion show (or ten). Having digested (almost) the entirety of Milan Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018, I am ready to share my regular round-up classic gent’s key fashion takeaways.

A Classic Gent’s Key Fashion Takeaways from Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018

1. Sartori’s creative leadership of Ermenegildo Zegna introduces Slim Double Breasted Suits to Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018

For Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018 Ermenegildo Zegna creative director Alessandro Sartori took inspiration from Oasi Zegna, the Alpine nature reserve near Zegna’s headquarters. It was delightful colour palette of natural tones and vibrant hues from all manner of life and nature including treescapes from Zegna’s neighbouring alps. While a major highlight of Ermenegildo Zegna Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018 collection were sports coats and top coats in double-faced Oasi cashmere, a new fabric coloured with chemical-free, all natural dyes, the other highlight was the introduction of slim double breasted suits. More importantly, Zegna is definitely the leading men’s haberdasher when it comes to suits of the sporting variety.

2. Dolce & Gabbana defines Flamboyant Evening Wear for Milan FW 2018

If one considers that suiting and tailoring are really the less formal offshoots of heritage military uniforms in the Royal armies, than Dolce & Gabbana’s more than flamboyant take on evening wear is merely respectful homage to the ancestor of the modern gentleman’s classic suit. Gold brocade tailcoats and jacquard tuxedos, and other assorted, embroidered dinner jackets and robes paired with tone (in terms of the casual-formal spectrum) contrasting graphic tees and shearling coats make this one of the more exciting collections for Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018. Not one for the sartorially safe though.

3. Giorgio Armani is proof that classic suiting can be trendy

In tailored suiting, there’s not a lot of wiggle room on Savile Row but Giorgio Armani’s Milan Men’s FW 2018 proves exception to the rule of classic menswear. Blue suits with defined shoulders (not approaching English-silhouettes) were cut slim in eight-button, notch-lapel, double-breasted styles. Even when deconstructed in cashmere, Giorgio Armani pulled off the impossible, elegance rather than merely something fashionable, especially when paired with textured leather or exotic skin holdalls. A line of velvet evening suits in blue, black, and green, nothing approaching Dolce & Gabbana levels of pomp but not less splendorous with satin-fronted notch/shawl hybrid collars doubling as built-in cravats.

4. You can trust Prada with fresh takes on classic hits

Industrial-grade “Pocone” nylon, formerly a material reserved for packaging in the luxury industry but with which Prada turned into an fabric statement is back with a vengeance for Milan Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018. Prada interprets the material in a collection rife with Prada’s classic hits – padded workwear jackets, shirts and shorts and even brand staples crafted from iconic prints and textiles. ID tags featuring Prada logos and Polaroid head shots accessorising the catwalk ensemble telegraphed a statement that Prada has returned en-vogue and en-masse.

5. For Milan Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018, Tod’s proves they know fashion

Andrea Incontri, the men’s Creative Director for Tod’s conceived an elegant yet practical ensemble for Milan Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018. Tod’s made its name with its high-quality leather and for this show, they showed their mettle by innovating a waterproof and printed raw denim version of it while adding two more textiles to the brand’s arsenal – wool and moleskin Suits were presented by Tod’s Milan Men’s FW 2018  was dominated by outerwear.

6. Kris Van Assche takes Christian Dior FW 40s and 50s vision and re-interprets them for Dior Homme

For Milan Men’s FW 2018, channelled teen spirit and 90s clubbing culture of Tees over jumpers, masculine power was projected with the two-piece suit. Streetwear is in a bit of a baggy and loose phase, Van Assche is taking Dior Homme in the other direction: more body conscious. Christian Dior FW 2018 is about the 90s cool kids who are all grown up, wearing suits, carrying the briefcases.

7. Paul Smith brings back high button jackets for Milan Men’s FW 2018

Three jacket shapes were on show for Paul Smith Milan Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018; a high, four-button, double-breasted, and a single- and double-buttoned single-breasted. There was a genuine love for suits on display and desire to wear it in almost every facet of life.

8. Versace vibed the 70s hard (maybe too hard)

We are still not quite sure what to make of it but we loved the bold prints and Versace motifs. That said, it’s not something everyone can pull off. Rock Versace Men’s FW 2018 with caution.

9. If Versace was Eggsy pre-Kingsmen, Dsquared2 is Statesmen on steroids

Dean and Dan Caten was all about the Western for Dsquared2 Milan Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018. buffalo-check Western jackets, rhinestone-set shirting, OTT belt buckles, rodeo gear: silk printed Western shirts, rhinestone jackets, and sequined sleeve inserts – yeeehaw pardner.

10. We learnt Fendi made luggage back in the day

Accompanied by a mix of new Rimowa and vintage Fendi luggage, Milan Men’s Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018 accessories, and the occasional oversize statement piece, the Fendi show was a collection of logo fur tops, shearlings, and transparent overcoats. Also, it looked like someone lost a baby during the show.

Fendi almost made it work for the ensemble on the right. Almost.

Bonus Classic Gent’s takeaway for Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018: If Fendi can’t make those head umbrellas “work”, nobody can.


Prada Spring Summer 2018 Fashion Show Parade

Prada Spring Summer 2018 Womenswear

Italian luxury fashion house Prada collaborated with eight visionary artists: Brigid Elva, Joëlle Jones, Stellar Leuna, Giuliana Maldini, Natsume Ono, Emma Ríos, Trina Robbins and Fiona Staples – and with the archive of Tarpé Mills, creator of the first female action hero, to create new graphic elements for its show space as the fashion models took the Prada Spring Summer 2018 Women’s collection to the catwalk.

With the latest clothing line from the powerhouse, modelled by several of the generations women, each of whom has taken the latest creation to the catwalk in a uniquely empowering way.

Prada Spring Summer 2018: Fashion Show Space

Meanwhile over at the show space to showcase the Prada Spring/Summer 2018 Men’s collection, the fashion house has transformed the venue to display its newest designs in overlapping graphic panels, telling a story within a story.

“The ability to exchange stories makes us human. We live in a jumble of overlapping narratives, some deep and sustaining, others fragmentary, truncated, partially realised or incomplete. If storytelling is the root of all communication, the manner in which we choose to tell them – abstract and complex or simple and direct – is significant.”

Starring the fashion models, showed off new creations for Prada displaying men’s outfit introducing the Popeline cotton jackets, shirts, coats, cotton shorts and pants. To stage the season’s men’s fashion show, the architectural installation highlights the extant structural elements of the building outlined to create frames for seemingly-simple yet evocative picture stories.

The luxury fashion house injects the logic of comic strips and graphic novels to draw guests into the narratives as the models parade on an illustrated surface weaving between the spectator boxes. The depiction of the show space features also the fragments of incomplete narratives covering all the visible surfaces and the black-edged architectural features providing the infrastructure for the storytelling.

The show will be broadcast live on prada.com (and on InstagramLive), and so inject its story into countless other far-flung lives through ubiquitous digital frames linked by global social networks: a story in a story in a story.


Credits: Concept and design, 2×4 New York City, AMO and 2×4

Prada: The Postman’s Gifts

This holiday season, Prada unveils “The Postman’s Gifts” in a series of short movies directed by one of America’s most imaginative filmmakers, Autumn de Wilde. The show divided into two parts, will showcase the accessories collection and highlight the iconic Prada Galleria bag, a sequel to Prada’s first project which debuted in 2015, starring de Wilde.

Prada: The Postman’s Gifts

Inspired by the intimacy of giving and the generosity innate to the holiday season, a series of four brief cinematic vignettes titled ‘The Postman’s Gifts’ will devote to key Prada accessories. Occupying the same aesthetic realm as Autumn de Wilde’s ‘The Postman Dreams 2’, they are nevertheless a new and separate excursion into the fantastical.

The Prada accessories such as totems or talismans will be unveiled in every short, captured in de Wilde’s signature polarised colour spectrum and with her trademark wit and panache. The soundtrack – ‘Sealed with a Kiss’ by singer-songwriter Christian Wargo, highlights the underlying phenomenon of generosity and loving gift-giving for the holiday season.

Starring Hollywood Actor, Elijah Wood as the enigmatic ‘Postman’.

In each film of “The Postman Dreams 2” and “The Postman’s Gifts”, the show features an ever-changing cast of women interacting with their accessories – their satisfying gifts – in unexpected, intriguing and entertaining fashions.

The unexpected is all that can be anticipated.

The Prada Resort 2018 such as James Jean saffiano leather wallet, the Prada nylon wrist pouch, the Prada brass-bound Cahier saffiano leather wallet and the Prada Robot trick charm will play starring roles.

Each of these films promises to offer a moment of fantasy, opening windows into Autumn de Wilde’s fanciful world and affording the viewer the briefest of glimpses into her wild imagination.

To view “The Postman’s Gifts” from Prada’s latest collection, please visit www.prada.com.

Classic Men’s Style and the New Rules of Classic Elegance

if you haven’t yet noticed, it’s quite apparent that most men don’t dress like this anymore

It is my sad duty to inform you that other than on Suits, it’s obvious that classic men’s style is on the verge of extinction (an article to follow soon on this statement which sounds suspiciously like hyperbole but isn’t); that said, if you haven’t yet noticed, it’s quite apparent that most men don’t dress like this anymore. Officially, the barometer for classic men’s style points towards trends where the trending personal style radar tilts past the devil-may-care insouciance of classic Italian sprezzatura to a level of street style more appropriate described in street nomenclature of DGAF, translated: “Don’t Give A Fuck” style. From T-shirts with ties to loud prints, the old rules have been bent if not broken, but there are new rules of classic elegance which still allow a classic gentleman to endure and thrive a new era of style and dressing. Remember this maxim: Good quality and great taste will always survive tests of time (and trends).

Classic Men’s Style and the New Rules of Classic Elegance

It used to be that every gentleman followed a sartorial template of classic men’s style with room for singular flourishes (a pocket square folded differently or puffed forgetfully), a boutonniere here and there – it was as John William’s Star Wars symphony with recognisable leitmotifs and the familiar comfort of string’s of the Jedi’s theme or Yoda’s motif. Today, style is less Williams and more Hans Zimmer’s Dark Knight, jarring, discordant, rough but with oases of Batman’s theme – a point of sole familial comfort in otherwise attention dominating electro-string compositions. Men’s style today is less about fitting in and more about peacocking (without appearing to be).

Classic Men's Style and the New Rules of Classic Elegance - The Gucci Heritage jacquard suit from Gucci pre-fall 2017 is not quite your stuffy old suit but with traditional, tightly packed motifs, it bears a tonal quality approaching what one might wear classically 'cept that it's not. I'd advise on a different pair of shoes though

Classic Men’s Style and the New Rules of Classic Elegance – The Gucci Heritage jacquard suit from Gucci pre-fall 2017 is not quite your stuffy old suit but with traditional, tightly packed motifs, it bears a tonal quality approaching what one might wear classically ‘cept that it’s not. I’d advise on a different pair of shoes though

My recommendation? The Gucci Queercore brogue monk shoe: A double-strap monk style shoe mixes traditional brogue details with a punk aesthetic. Rounded studs and metal feline head embellish the front.

My recommendation? The Gucci Queercore brogue monk shoe: A double-strap monk style shoe mixes traditional brogue details with a punk aesthetic. Rounded studs and metal feline head embellish the front.

Men’s Style: The Balanced Look (punctuated with whimsical accessories)

Because you’re throwing down good money for men’s garments, the financial hawks that we are would prefer that you put money down on “investment grade” trend-proof pieces that would stand the test of time; to ease your transition (and gradual acceptance) into these new rules of elegance, we highly recommend Alessandro Michele’s Gucci Cruise 2017 collection – an eclectic but still very much English inspired collection of bags, accessories and suits but steroid enhanced in terms of colourways and motifs.


New rules of classic elegance dictate that one can get experimental with textures and colours without going the "full Ronald McDonald" - Here, Bally cotton jacket with wool sweater, cotton pants, leather belt and canvas sneakers - coincidentally, this is also a smart casual look

New rules of classic elegance dictate that one can get experimental with textures and colours without going the “full Ronald McDonald” – Here, Bally cotton jacket with wool sweater, cotton pants, leather belt and canvas sneakers – coincidentally, this is also a smart casual look

Playing with colour also means that that striking or even pastel colours transposed on masculine cut garments like this peacoat from Hermes serve to accentuate a classic gents bravado in the rainbow realm

Playing with colour also means that that striking or even pastel colours transposed on masculine cut garments like this peacoat from Hermes serve to accentuate a classic gents bravado in the rainbow realm

With the new rules of classic elegance, it might be time to re-look your travel accessories, starting with brave steps across the airport terminal toting the new Gucci Courrier GG Supreme suitcase. Travel continues to be a source of inspiration for Alessandro Michele. A collection of bags in the GG motif is enriched with a blend of contemporary embroideries-like the UFO-and vintage inspired details, including airmail trims. The appliqués are individually embroidered and then skillfully hand-applied to each piece by specialized artisans. This process ensures that no two items will be alike, giving each a one-of-a-kind appearance.

With the new rules of classic elegance, it might be time to re-look your travel accessories, starting with brave steps across the airport terminal toting the new Gucci Courrier GG Supreme suitcase. Travel continues to be a source of inspiration for Alessandro Michele. A collection of bags in the GG motif is enriched with a blend of contemporary embroideries-like the UFO-and vintage inspired details, including airmail trims. The appliqués are individually embroidered and then skillfully hand-applied to each piece by specialized artisans. This process ensures that no two items will be alike, giving each a one-of-a-kind appearance.

New classic mens style rules also mean going "vintage" - here, the new Longines Legend Diver ref. L3.674.4.50.6, equipped with the unique inner rotating bezel and Longines' L633 movement, now on "shark mesh" or milanese bracelet for a dressy or casual aesthetic depending on your ensemble.

New classic mens style rules also mean going “vintage” – here, the new Longines Legend Diver ref. L3.674.4.50.6, equipped with the unique inner rotating bezel and Longines’ L633 movement, now on “shark mesh” or milanese bracelet for a dressy or casual aesthetic depending on your ensemble.

Getting experimental with textures and colours

Sure, stick to the sombre staples of classic men’s style with a serious palette of blues, greys and browns but do punch things up a bit with bright patterns and motifs like those of Hermes, Bally and Gucci.

A Prada check cotton jacket or blazer with cotton pants pulls equal duty for a smart casual ensemble under the auspices of the new rules of classic elegance. To fulfil the "elegance" aspect of the bargain, I would probably go for something other than sandals.

A Prada check cotton jacket or blazer with cotton pants pulls equal duty for a smart casual ensemble under the auspices of the new rules of classic elegance. To fulfil the “elegance” aspect of the bargain, I would probably go for something other than sandals.

Following the same colour palette of the previous ensemble, I would suggest this pair of Dior Homme ankle sneakers by Kris Van Asche from the Spring 2017 collection - Prince of Wales check embossed grey leather covered with splotches of white or colour paint

Following the same colour palette of the previous ensemble, I would suggest this pair of Dior Homme ankle sneakers by Kris Van Asche from the Spring 2017 collection – Prince of Wales check embossed grey leather covered with splotches of white or colour paint

Alternatively, a Paul Smith wool suit with cotton shirt and Louis Vuitton canvas espadrilles also acquits itself as a dressy while casual ensemble

Alternatively, a Paul Smith wool suit with cotton shirt and Louis Vuitton canvas espadrilles also acquits itself as a dressy while casual ensemble

The new Men’s Smart Casual

The new rules of classic elegance also mean that with DGAF style, your casual weekend clothes can start beginning to pull their weight as parts of your weekday ensemble too. This revolution in classic style has given rise to streetwear which is now luxurious, sneakers which are now artisanal and leather jackets which are less for the motorcycle and more for the office – your weekend uniform now pulls double duty as weekday hallmarks of great sartorialism and stylish panache.

Here, this Prada cotton jacket - like the one Jude Law was wearing in the campaign visuals, is layered on a Prada wool vest, cotton shirt, pants, leather shoes and paired with their three tone leather shoes in brogues. The leather backpack is just icing on cake.

Here, this Prada cotton jacket – like the one Jude Law was wearing in the campaign visuals, is layered on a Prada wool vest, cotton shirt, pants, leather shoes and paired with their three tone leather shoes in brogues. The leather backpack is just icing on cake.

For an even more classic look, try these Jimmy Choo tassel loafers with dandy stripes and tassels

For an even more classic look, try these Jimmy Choo tassel loafers with dandy stripes and tassels

Luxuriously Old School

Fewer devotees to men’s classic styles also means an opportunity has risen to dominate a space in the fashion spectrum where plenty of men have vacated – time to embrace houndstooth patterns and checks again.

Special Thanks to sister publication Men’s Folio for shots and styling.

Image credits for Classic Men’s Style and the New Rules of Classic Elegance – Photography assistant – Alfie Pan, Styling assistant – Henry Boen Lim, Hair – Joanne Er/ Monsoon Salon Novena using Hatsuga, Grooming – Aaron Ng/ Decorum; Photography assistant – Marie Liang, Hair – Junz Loke/ Passion Salon, Grooming – Benedict Choo using YSL; Models – Stefan Fucina/ AVE, Xu Bin

3 Hottest Prints Trends: Spring/Summer 2017

Prints dominated the Spring/Summer 2017 collections and this trend is set to be big for the upcoming season. Ranging from retro to masculine, pop art and even minimalist chic, we take a look at three of the hottest print trends this season.

Retro ChicRetro prints have a 1970s vibe at Chloé. © BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

From Isabel Marant to Chloé (main picture), Dries Van Noten, Michael Kors and even Prada, the retro vibe was out in in full force. Embracing the 70s effect, designers featured prints in the form of large flowers, big bright blooms as well as diamond and check prints. Shown in head to toe looks, the retro prints are set to make a comeback — talk about a blast from the past.

Geometric Prints000_dv2232740-f2a01145433-h0

Lanvin, Paul Ka, Chanel, Fendi (above) and Nina Ricci are keeping last season’s trend of stripes. Inpinstripes, widebands, horizontal and vertical, the pattern was seen on oversized shorts, dresses, overcoats, pants and coats. Another geometric print seen, was polka dots. In classic shades, the pattern was seen in collections for the likes of Dior. Patchwork also made a comeback on the runways with designers such as Marc Jacobs. Sporting bohemian and romantic discreet form of patchworking along with a 1990s version, the pattern proved to still be a hit after more than one season. Ellie Saab, on the other hand, went big on stars, embroidered or printed all over sumptuous dresses for an out-of-this-world look.

Messages Galore000_dv2232432-41b6e150412-h0

Printed letters, numbers, logos, large motifs, quotes and slogans land as wearable messages this season as seen on Gucci (above). While Dolce & Gabbana is clearly a master of the genre, it isn’t the only label playing the game. The current craze for streetwear is buoying the trend, with potential buyers passing all kinds of messages from designers to the public at large. It’s a trend that’s fun, practical and light-hearted, and very much in line with the spirit of the season.

Designer Christmas Trees To Be Auctioned For Charity

The biggest names in fashion, art and design will design 30 Christmas trees to go under the hammer later this month. The ‘Designer Christmas Trees’ charity auction is set to for November 21 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, France, in what happens to be the 21st edition.

All proceeds from the holiday auction will be donated to fund cancer research, under the patronage of Professor Khayat, oncologist, President and founder of the Paris Charter Against Cancer (Charte de Paris contre le cancer). The festive auction event was founded by fashion journalist and producer Marie-Christiane Marek, who still leads the organization of the event. ‘Designer Christmas Trees’ celebrates creativity, design, and high-end expertise – all for a good cause.

This year’s event theme is ‘Gold and Light’. Designers from notable fashion houses and labels will be creating their own unique Christmas trees, based on their personal take on the theme. For the first time, the designers will be invited to also create gifts to place under the tree. Event attendees will be able to take pictures with each designer’s Christmas tree, as well as sculptures, photo prints and works of art.

Chanel, Dior, Chantal Thomass, Christian Lacroix, Elie Saab, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Jean Paul Gaultier, Lancel, Prada, Ungaro, Stella McCartney, Francis Kurkdjian, Christian Ghion, Jean-Jacques Ory, Olivia Putman, Rachid Khimoune and Marlène Mocquet are among the artists and designers signed up to take part in the 2016 event.

This 21st edition of “Designer Christmas Trees” includes three main events. First, the switching-on of the Christmas lights in Paris’ Avenue Montaigne, November 18. Next, the unique Christmas trees will go on public display, November 19 and 20, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, ahead of the gala evening and auction (by invitation only), November 21, also at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.

Jessica Chastain Fronts Prada Resort 2017 Campaign

Jessica Chastain, the striking redhead famous for her memorable roles in The Help and Zero Dark Thirty is now a part of the Prada. Her first role as the face of the brand is a breakout performance in the Prada Resort 2017 ad campaign. Set in Milan and shot by Belgian photographer Willy Vanderperre, the campaign situates the actress at various landmarks in Milan, decked out in the brand’s latest threads.prada-resort-17-jessica-chastain-4

Shot both in black and white as well as color, the shots showcase the elegance of Chastain as she channels the Prada woman as well as the contrasting elements of each outfit. The styling captures this clash well by mixing feminine and masculine styles effortlessly which, when paired with Chastain’s old school look, creates a sophisticated campaign.prada-resort-17-jessica-chastain-3prada-resort-17-jessica-chastain-2

Why Top Fashion Models Never Smile

Why Top Fashion Models Never Smile

They wear the world’s most beautiful and expensive clothes yet their faces are the picture of blank boredom. Why do fashion models always look so miserable?

“You don’t smile. It is just not done,” said model Ty Ogunkoya as catwalk stars criss-crossed Paris for fashion week. In his decade as a top model, the 26-year-old Nigerian-born Londoner has never once permitted himself a grin.

“I have modelled for everyone, and no one has ever asked me to smile,” he told AFP. “To be honest, it would feel weird if I did.”

“When I walk I think about something sad, like when my cat died,” added Klara, a 18-year-old Slovakian model. “It was run over by a bus.”

But do models really need to be so glum?

“Never forget it is the clothes they are looking at and not you,” Victoire Macon Dauxerre, a former model for Celine and Alexander McQueen, said she was told.

In her book, Never Thin Enough, she tells how she was warned to “never, ever smile”.

It’s so not done

Her modelling agency’s catwalk coach taught her how to get the perfect “haughty killer look” by slightly dropping her chin and lifting her eyes at the same time.

Rising young star Matthieu Villot told AFP the reason for the unspoken ban on smiling was clear.

“They want to show the clothes and not our faces. If we smile we focus attention on our faces and not the clothes,” said the 22-year-old medical student.

Ogunkoya said he had been never told not to smile but “my whole preconception of modelling was moody guys and girls going down the runway… It is so not done they don’t have to say.”

Fashion historian Lydia Kamitsis said it was not always so.

The vogue for expressionless models is actually very recent, she said, dating from the rise of the Japanese designers Yohji Yamamoto and Commes des Garcon in the early 1980s.

“This was also the period of the supermodels (Cindy Crawford, Imam and Elle Macpherson) who very much had their own personalties, and it was a reaction against this,” she said.

“In the 1960s, when collections were first presented as shows, models often smiled, laughed and even danced to music.

Why Top Fashion Models Never Smile

Walking clothes hangers

“Now they are seen as walking clothes hangers. It’s all about effacing their personality… the clothes are it.”

Anthropologist Leyla Neri, the director of fashion at the New School Parsons Paris, agreed. She dates the first appearance of moody, often scowling models to Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin in the 1960s.

It then sped up with the rise feminism and “women’s need to be taken seriously in their professional lives, so you see women striking strong, unsmiling poses in Armani suits.

“Men have never smiled on the catwalk because they never have had to smile to please,” Neri insisted. “In the 1950s models smiled all the time, in fact they were kind of living dolls,” she added.

“With emancipation and designers like Yves Saint Laurent you get more a androgynous look, and women became more masculine and powerful.”

Contemporary designers have an “even more minimalist vision”, Neri argued. “They want the most neutral faces and bodies possible to show their work. They do not see their models as an ideal of beauty any longer. That is something that the public has not quite understood.”

Every few years, however, iconoclasts like French designer Jean Paul Gaultier send models out smiling. Indian creator Manish Arora also cheers things up by casting his bohemian friends. And several models ended up beaming through British designer Paul Smith’s last Paris menswear show.

“I didn’t tell them to smile,” he told AFP afterwards. “I have nothing against smiling. If the clothes make them happy, go for it,” he said.

Villot, who took part in that show but didn’t dare a smile, said models are often afraid to look too happy in case they end up looking ridiculous.

“The serious face you can do every time, but if you smile you don’t know how you are going to look.”

Ogunkoya agreed. “It’s easier to just walk and zone out. Smiling is definitely more of a challenge.” But would he smile if asked? “Why not? You get asked to do the most random things in this job.”

Game Changers: 5 Bags For All Seasons

This season’s most memorable bags are all about reform (nothing destructive, though). Whether it is newly introduced styles or impeccable updates of icons, our picks aren’t only attractive, they’ll also shift your perspective.

Holographic City Trunk PM by Louis Vuittonlouis-vuitton

We never thought Nicolas Ghesquière could be so… Zen. This little piece of hardware proves that. Yes, there’s a dent in it, and that’s the beautiful reason why we’re rethinking the entire sphere of Ghesquière’s spirituality. Despite its overtly contemporary form, the City trunk emanates wabi-sabi (the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection), which is enlightening, considering how every other brand strives, instead, for perfection.

Tweed Amazona by Loeweloewe

As far as tweed bags go, most of them have been chichi. Thank god for Jonathan Anderson, the holy mastermind of the Amazona reinvention. Now he’s bringing a chic, fringy update that masks the bag’s actual silhouette. With plenty of texture, it’s the one-of-a-kind bag you’ll sport to death. Every inch of it will end up frayed and we reckon that’s the look Anderson wants you to achieve.

MIUlady by Miu Miumiu-miu

Miuccia Prada knows how to spoil her girls: this is the bag for 2k16 aristocracy. Coming from a designer who consistently plays with ostentation in an ironic fashion, you have the license to have every kind of fun with it. Even if you’re not born a Jenner or a Hadid (who are both atypical of a Miu Miu runway), make sure your purchases convince everyone of your royal lineage.

Runway by Diordior

For Fall/Winter 2016, the Runway proved that studio heads Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux are going strong, even without a creative director. Pictured here is a version embroidered entirely with sequinned flowers and fringes – it’s intense. The bag comes in such delicate versions, you’re likely to be engulfed with the fear of getting tangled in everything – but fret not, the workmanship is fantastic.

La Pionnière by Pradaprada

We understand the thrill and prestige of being the first (hence the name) in any field — who wouldn’t want to be associated with innovators and groundbreakers? In today’s world of chaos, we rely on what’s inventive to move us forward. The hunting-inspired cross-body was the first bag Prada offered at the dawn of the “see now, buy now” game, which begs the question: if our lady Miuccia is doing it, will the rest of the industry follow suit?

This article was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.

Etro does stripes - spring/summer 2017 - Milan. © AFP PHOTO/ALBERTO PIZZOLI

5 Highlights from Milan Fashion Week SS17

Spring/summer 2017 of Milan Fashion Week bridged subtle sentiments and exuberant opulence. Even though eyes will be on Paris now, some offerings were just simply unforgettable. Here, we recap five highlights of the Milan presentations.

Frills for days

Like many labels showing collections in Milan, Diesel Black Gold brought frills to its spring/summer 2017 line. © ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP

Just like New York and London, frills were the trend-of-the-moment at Milan Fashion Week. It brings a display of flamboyance with a side of sensuality. Gucci’s interpretation was adorned with golden embellishment, while Blugirl and Diesel Black Gold (above) incorporated frills on their dresses.

Prints plethora

Prints on the Dolce & Gabbana runway - spring/summer 2017 - Milan. © AFP PHOTO/ALBERTO PIZZOLI

No matter the shape and size, prints and patterns are here for the season. Florals in spring may not be groundbreaking, but it is a perfect match – as demonstrated by Blumarine and Roberto Cavalli. Other designers also played with varieties of stripes (Etro, Cristiano Burani, Fendi), spots (Anteprima), geometrics (Versace, Byblos Milano), ethnic prints, and abstract patterns (Giorgio Armani). Dolce & Gabbana (above) stood out with Italy-inspired prints. 

Diverse array of dresses

A long dress by Blumarine - spring/summer 2017 - Milan. © GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP

Dresses were all the rage at the Milan shows. Some were cut short, like at Francesco Scognamiglio, Fendi, Giorgio Armani and Giamba. Longer iterations carrying a bohemian and romantic vibe were seen at Blumarine (above), Gucci, and Etro. Meanwhile, N°21, Anteprima, and Bottega Veneta opted for calf-length cuts

A sporty finish

A pleated dress by Byblos Milano - spring/summer 2017 - Milan. © GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP

The trend was spotted at Fendi, Versace, Byblos Milano (above), Philipp Plein and Francesco Scognamiglio. Even though most collections were naturally feminine and elegant, designers added more color with sportswear accents. Specialist materials, zips, hoods, pockets, and sneakers were incorporated to the collections. Athletic-inspired pleated dresses were also spotted.


etro hot pants from Prada - spring/summer 2017 - Milan. © ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP

The past merged with the present in conversation-worthy attire. Designers paid tribute to the 1970s with tight high-waisted hot pants and sensational prints at Prada (above), as well as Roberto Cavalli’s flared pants. Gucci in particular, fully embodied the retro spirit as it continues its current period.

Isabel Marant

Long Coats Fall/Winter 2016: Trending Now

Winter is when you can enjoy the warmth of those coats and jackets that are usually shunned. This year several designers have brought out designs that are longer than last year, now falling around the ankle. Though the trend was not embraced by all, there was a handful who made the term “the longer the better” a new motto for the season. We take a look at those who dared to bring back the style that has been languishing in the back of the wardrobe all these years.

We start with Nina Ricci who brought out coats in various fabrics such as fur and vinyl and an array of colors. In khaki, brown, plum, anthracite and gray, the coats were completed in various patterns. Another designer who chose to feature vinyl coats was Isabel Marant. The long coats were seen in red and black, as well as chunky knits and more classic pieces finished with geometric prints.

Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel

From left: Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel

Where some favored the unexpected and loud, other designers chose to feature the long coats in a more refined and sophisticated style. At Giambattista Valli the style was crafted in a way that blended seamlessly over the dresses they covered, still providing evening wear with the elegance it required. Chanel went with a more refined style, that featured a loose quilted coat, complete with a matching scarf. Over at Dolce & Gabbana, the long coat was seen in flamboyant gold. The brand went on to embrace a more feminine feel by cinching coats of all lengths with belts for a more accentuated waistline. This trend was spotted at Lanvin, with a lamé coat, and with Fendi’s fur coat.

Prada and Céline

From Left: Prada and Céline

For the more masculine designs, some fashion houses chose loose and baggy designs in both heavy and light fabrics. With the help of large shoulders, and oversized necks, the long coats such as those seen at Isabel Marant achieved the desired look. The designer chose to combine both vibes by wearing the masculine coats over feminine ensembles and vice versa. Another brand that favoured a masculine feel, was Céline with long coats that were cut loose and straight and worn with baggy pants. With Prada, the long coats were seen in khaki in a military style.

Inside the New Prada Fondazione in Milan

Formed in 1993, the Fondazione Prada has served as a platform to support and encourage the appreciation of contemporary art exhibitions, architecture, cinema, as well as philosophy, much like a symposium in Ancient Greece. Its diverse origins has led to the meetings of more disciplines and languages over the years, inspiring the development of more experimental, inter-disciplinary projects. Various fields of disciplines such as art, music, and even science, have been pursued and examined through a flexible approach, which the open landscape of the Fondazione allows for.

Since 2011, the Fondazione has operated from its Venetian outpost in the 18th century palazzo Ca’ Corner della Regina, which has launched five research exhibitions in this venue until today, concurrently with a preservation and repair programme of the palazzo which is developing in several phases.

The second Milan venue of Fondazione Prada, which opened to the public in May 2015, is located in Largo Isarco, in the south of Milan, and covers a remarkable overall surface area of 19.000 m2/205,000 ft2. Once the site of an old distillery ‘Società Italiana Spiriti’, located in an industrial complex, this building comprises of seven existing buildings with three new structures including a museum for temporary exhibitions, transformable cinema buildings, and a tower. Led by award-winning Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, and conceived by the renowned architectural firm OMA, this new venue in Milan brings together the preservation of old architecture with the creation of newer ones.

The Fondazione’s primary aim is to offer new platforms and opportunities for people from any given field of interest to enlarge and enrich their process of learning. The Prada Collection within the Fondazione comprises mostly of artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries. Despite having a strong focus on the arts as the central instrument of working and learning, the Fondazione often invites different kinds of people to provide new interpretations of undetected ideas from the collection such as curators, artists, architects, but also scientists, students, thinkers and writers.

At the center of the compound is the ‘Haunted House’, a four-story building that hosts a permanent installation by American sculptor Robert Gober, as well as two original works by the late French-American artist Louise Bourgeois. Gober’s curated works, which are located on the higher floors of this building, combines both newly formed installations with his existing pieces. His sculptures are also well incorporated into different spaces, creating new meaning for his work. Best known for his sculptures, his pieces often relate to domestic and familiar objects like sinks, doors, and legs, with recurring themes of nature, sexuality, relationships, politics, and religions.

Displayed on the first floor of the building are two works by Louise Bourgeois: ‘Cell (Clothes)’ (1996) and ‘Single III’ (1996). Similar to Gober, Bourgeois also explored a variety of themes relating to the familiar, the domestic, sexuality and the body in her artistic process. Displaying her works as a central image on the first floor serves as an effective prelude to the other installations in the building.

Bar Luce

Prada Fondazione_PMI_BAR LUCE_002

Located in the entrance building is the Bar Luce, Prada Fondazione’s cafe. Designed by film director Wes Anderson, the Bar Luce is inspired by the atmosphere of a typical Milanese café. The arched ceilings from the original structures, as well as other architectural and decorative details unique to the old design of the place have been preserved and modified to fit the new interior of the café. Preserving these elements in the design recreates a ‘miniature’ version of the architecture of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of Milan’s symbolic buildings. Even the seats, formica furniture, floor, veneered wood wall panels and the range of colours employed are reflective of Italian popular culture and aesthetics from the 1950s and 1960s, reminiscent of the aesthetic choices made in Anderson’s short film ‘Castello Cavalcanti’. Despite being known for his symmetrical tableaus in cinema, Anderson’s artistic preferences in movies did not play a part in his interior design, as his main intention was “to design not a set but a space for real life – but maybe it will be a good place to write a movie.”

Open Concept

Prada Fondazione_PMI_BAR LUCE_001

Fondazione Prada relies on its open structure to facilitate the confrontations between the disparate cultural departments that the building houses. Its programs are coordinated by Astrid Welter, Mario Mainetti and Alessia Salerno, the Thought Council, a group whose members will vary over time and founded by Shumon Basar, Nicholas Cullinan and Cédric Libert, soon to be joined by Elvira Dyangani Ose and Dieter Roelstraete in May, the Presidents Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli and the artistic and scientific Superintendent Germano Celant.

As stated by Rem Koolhaas: “The Fondazione is not a preservation project and not a new architecture. Two conditions that are usually kept separate here confront each other in a state of permanent interaction – offering an ensemble of fragments that will not congeal into a single image, or allow any part to dominate the others. New, old, horizontal, vertical, wide, narrow, white, black, open, enclosed – all these contrasts establish the range of oppositions that define the new Fondazione. By introducing so many spatial variables, the complexity of the architecture will promote an unstable, open programming, where art and architecture will benefit from each other’s challenges.”

The Fondazione’s institutional structure embodies its overall aim towards reinvention. With its open concept, groups of individuals, regardless of their generation and interest, can engage in open discussions on expanding knowledge in their respective fields.

L’Image Volée

Prada Fondazione_L'image volée 9

Since its conception in 1993, the Prada Fondazione has seen a series of solo and group shows, architectural projects, philosophy symposiums, as well as multi-disciplinary conferences. From now till 28 August 2016, a group show titled ‘L’image volée’ (The Stolen Image) will be on display. Curated by German sculptor and photographer Thomas Demand, within an exhibition architecture designed by sculptor Manfred Pernice, the show occupies both levels of the Nord gallery and the Cinema at Fondazione Prada in Milan. This gallery includes more than 90 works produced by over 60 artists from 1820 through to present day. This gallery seeks to explore the evolution of common imagery in art through the years, and how artists often rely on pre-exiting models to build their own ideas. The exhibition presents three possible investigations: the physical appropriation of the object or its absence; theft as related to the image per se rather than the concrete object itself; and the act of stealing through the making of an image. Demand’s vision in curating this exhibition was to provide the visitors with an unorthodox insight into a voyage of artistic discovery and research, as well as to question the boundaries between originality, conceptual inventiveness, and copying.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The Prada Group has also recently launched a corporate social responsibility website in efforts to encourage curiosity, innovation and participation. The site features a collection of stories surrounding art, preservation and legacy, and also serves as a platform open discussions within communities on these issues. The webpage is divided into three main sections: ‘work’ as represented by artisanal workmanship and innovation, ‘territory’ in the sense of the respect for the places in which we work in through a deeper understanding of how architecture interacts with its surroundings, and ‘culture’ in terms of the legacy we leave behind. Each of these themes are found in the collection of stories on the site, which are illuminated through text, large images, full-screen photo galleries and videos. Such an initiative will contribute to the development of curiosity and dialogue, which Prada Fondazione ultimately seeks to insight with their projects.

 This article first appeared in Art Republik.

Strapped In: Prada Shoulder Straps Collection

Trust Prada to perfectly execute offbeat sophistication – following its quirky robot bag charms, the Italian luxury company dishes out a collection of shoulder straps that is possibly its best bag accessory yet.

The shoulder straps collection, which comes in a multitude of leathers, sees bold floral designs blooming across their entire lengths, which will undoubtedly breathe new life into some of the brand’s classics, such as the Galleria and Giardiniera.

The Prada Shoulder Strap collection is now available at Prada boutiques in Singapore.

Find out more about the collection on L’Officiel.com.

3 Milan Runway Menswear Trends SS 17

All is fair in love, war and fashion. Milan was recently in the grip of Fashion Week as designers showcased what men could look forward to for Spring/Summer 2017. We bring you the three trends that dominated the runways of Milan.

1. AthleisureMilan-fashion-week-menswear-trends

The men really do get it in the style stakes, thanks to Prada’s colorful collection. With the help of neon piping, lightweight parkas and rain pants, sportswear gains traction as an acceptable outfit. Following in his footsteps is Philipp Plein with a collection that took its inspiration from the all-American basketball attire with tailored leather shorts while the sharp blazers add a little formality to an otherwise laid back outfit. Another brand that trekked down the path of athleisure was Moncler. Channelling an outdoorsy theme, the brand showcased a collection that had a boy scout-themed adventurous outwear.

2. DaydreamingMilan-fashion-week-menswear-trends-2

Versace brought out a collection that featured lightweight materials for long parkas of semi-transparent nylon, silk shirts reimagined as zip-up blousons and silk knitwear that was tied around the waist. In a similar manner, Salvatore Ferragamo chose to explore the spirit and the attitude of a “restless adventurer”. The result was a whimsical and imaginative show case that would have made any dream come true. Dsquared2 showcased their artistic side with an androgynous glam rock collection influenced by the ‘quiet rebel’.

3. PrintedMilan-fashion-week-menswear-trends-3

Of course, Dolce & Gabbana chose to go loud with a festive inspired show complete with leopard print trousers that really was the star of the show. Marni featured prints in their collection as well, with patterned jackets and accessories. Taking a softer approach to the trend, was Missoni with their multicolored patchwork knitwear that was inspired by the country of Guatemala.

Prada Gets Technical: Robot Bags Capsule Collection

Prada’s troop of very charming robots have found its way onto some of its iconic bags, and we’re not complaining.

The eight-piece collection sees the robots – crafted out of an interesting mix of leather studs and rivets – on the Pattina shoulder sling bag, as well as the well-loved voile backpacks and totes. Some even have the Prada logos as mouths, creating kooky smiles that would make anyone’s day.

These are available in limited quantities, so you’ll have to hurry if you want to get your hands on one.

Find out more about the collection at L’Officiel.com.

Focus: Miuccia Prada and Fashion Intellectualism

Perhaps the most powerful woman in fashion is Miuccia Prada. You know the story: the Italian-born woman went to mime school, got a PhD in political science from the University of Milan, then joined Fratelli Prada (the family business) out of a sense of obligation. Serendipitous commitments sometimes produce the best results and Mrs Prada has since led the brand towards its status as a global fashion powerhouse, luxury icon and, for industry devotees, an endless source of powerful and intelligent collections.SS04_28

Rare is the designer who shows us things we recoil from yet feel drawn to. Prada collections are famously called ugly-chic, and it’s interesting to explore the connotations of “ugly” where high fashion is concerned. The ugly Miuccia Prada proposes is polarizing. “When I started, everybody hated what I was doing except a few clever people,” she says, in an interview with Alexander Fury of the Independent. Indeed, dissecting a new season’s catwalk offerings are a challenge. The styling, by Olivier Rizzo, never plays on the commercial safe-side of New York, the cerebral avant-garde of London, the glamour and sex of Milan, or the refined romanticism of Paris. Instead, what one commonly gets from Prada is a whoop of confusion and the inexplicable draw of desire.

Unlike the sometimes threatening, maddening and manic genius of creators like Alexander McQueen or John Galliano, Prada produces with a silver-spooned rebelliousness that stems not from the gut but the mind. A lifelong understanding of luxury combined with her nonconformity results in collections that challenge the here and now and offer us what could and should be. Therein lies her power and talent: to discomfort you and confront you with ideas not yet conventional, though bound to be commonplace, give or take a season or two.


A primer into Prada’s career is incomplete without a history lesson. It’s best to consider Mrs Prada’s start and her early days at the brand to understand how she is the forecaster today, psychically almost, of our changing definitions of beauty. The famous start came not with ready-to-wear, which is now the creative engine of the house, but with bags. Then again, Prada was in the best place to design bags – the company was a legacy Italian house, supplying the royal family with luxury leather goods. The ironic and telling twist to the legacy was in Prada producing a bag in functional black nylon with minimal leather trimming. The reductive and austere style seemed to fight back against the excesses of the ’90s. Miuccia was offering us a new beauty in 1989: that less was more, and cheap could be beautiful.


’90s Prada

Determining Prada’s core philosophy starts with the early work in the ’90s. Considered a golden period in fashion, the greats like Delacroix, Galliano, Gaultier, Saint Laurent were in full creative renaissance with their overblown romanticism, fantasy and dramatically evocative collections. The ’90s were also the pioneering era of Jil Sander, Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo, Martin Margiela, Helmut Lang – the leaders of cerebral, austere and conceptually-driven clothing. Miuccia fit the equation of the times almost perfectly. “I always loved and still love [to dress myself]” she said, in an interview for Document Journal. The clothes presented were intelligent, created with concepts as a thrust, and captured the imagination of the woman, who like Miuccia, wanted to be clothed beautifully without verging on vanity.

The work of Prada in the ’90s is, in this writer’s opinion, the finest. The attitudes offered were contrary to the times – rather than cutting dresses on the bias, attaching superfluous flounces, or creating with dazzling palettes, Prada made simple clothes in blacks, whites, greys – neutrals that quietly emanated elegance. When Armani and Jil Sander did consistent minimalism and muted tones, Prada overturned the aesthetic every season and jumped into a wider colour palette. She was challenging both decade’s leading notions of beauty by suggesting we keep it simple: thoughtful clothes that look great.


’00s Prada

Incremental changes suggested, from the year 2000 onwards, that Prada was enjoying putting more on her models. We began to see embellishments, embroidery, sequins, paillettes, ruffles, lace, volume – the kind of pretty things that characterize feminine dress, but rendered with piercing precision. Making their way into the wardrobe were colors like burgundy, lavender and green, cast in heavy reflective fabrics (as in SS07) that form the backbone of Prada’s color play.

Unrelenting focus on luxury and fabric meant more outings of silk, fur, brocades, velvet etc. Difficult materials, surely, but ones that were melded and combined to Miuccia’s exacting eye, ensuring saleable desirability. Observe, too, how the propositions of Prada’s soft suiting, layered coats and emphasis on cardigans influenced the dress of women in this decade. Her influence was not lost on the rest of the industry. Alexander Fury famously called her ‘the most-copied woman in fashion’ and the strength of her vision lent itself to the same kind of emulation by other designers and fashion students, that only Azzedine Alaïa’s, Martin Margiela’s and Nicolas Ghesquière’s (at Balenciaga) work garnered.


’10s Prada

Much of the pining for ’90s Prada is hugely ironic and a great laugh if you consider this: the clean lines and mono-tonality she introduced in the past is now the dress of the day. Minimalism has been the buzzword for the first half of this decade, and Prada’s early influence has appeared to catch on en masse. Because Prada is and Prada does, the response is, then, to go the opposite way. FW12 saw the increased use of beauty on the runway shows. Previously, the look had been simple: no-makeup makeup, essentially. For FW12, heavily lined and painted eyes; for SS13, punk kimonos with mussed up pixie cuts and vivid lips; for SS15, desert women with a scalpel-like graphic eye and stringy hair; for FW15, babied-up Lolitas with the nubile flush of youth; and most recently for SS16, pallid gold-lipped beauties.

In total, Prada has produced 58 women’s collections since the Spring of 1988, and we are fortunate to continue to watch her fight the tide of convention’s dictum of beauty. Most recently, we saw the culmination and creative peak of her contemporary work for her FW16 collection, parts of which were presented as PF16 during the MFW16 runway show. The set: modelled after a public square, the purpose of which was forum and viewing by the people; spoke volumes in its inanimate silence about the over-exposed nature of the industry. The clothes: windswept and tattered shirts layered under sophisticated coats, outerwear for those needing protection, and trinkets piled and chained to bags. The concept: troubled times reconfigure our priorities and sweep (quite literally) away antiquated notions of beauty; the Prada woman is putting herself back together and holding on for dear life while seeking the aesthete’s hauteur.

Unsurprisingly, this collection is bound to sell well. It has successfully carried on the codes of the brand from the ’90s that made it so beloved: smarts, austerity, and a silently defiant luxury; while representing the anti-aesthetic of today: over-rich detailing, audacious layering despite concerns about global warming, and a refusal to go easy on its audience. That is to say Miuccia Prada will succeed again because she has captured exactly what beauty isn’t yet, but will soon be.

“In total, Prada has produced 58 women’s collections since the Spring of 1988, and we are fortunate to continue to watch her fight the tide of convention’s dictum of beauty.”

Story Credits

By Gordon Ng

This article was originally published in L’Officiel.

Met Gala 2016: 8 Favorite Looks

Getting invited to the Met Gala is like receiving the golden ticket to the world of fashion. I will assume that my invite got lost in the mail, much like my letter from Hogwarts. Apart from being a gala for a good cause, it is the one opportunity for Hollywood to throw caution to the wind and embrace their inner Lady Gaga (Spoiler Alert: It was like any other Sunday night for Gaga really. Keep reading, you’ll understand.)

With a theme such as Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology, the fashion favorites seemed to have a one-track kind of mind with lots of metal and sequins. From Prada to Balmain, we bring you 8 of our favorite looks from the red carpet.

Claire Danes — Party in the Dark
Image from AFP

Image from AFP

This dress was like a mash-up of Cinderella and Frozen in all the right ways. On the red carpet, this Zac Posen number looked like any other powder blue gown. But once the lights are turned down low, the dress becomes a beacon of light — no, really it does. The organza creation had 30 mini battery packs sewn in to power up the custom fiber optics that took our breath away. Suffice to say, it would have been difficult to lose track of her even in the dark.

Katy Perry — The Fifth Element
Image from AFP

Image from AFP

If you’re a fan of the sci-fi classic The Fifth Element, then you might see a connection between Chris Tucker’s DJ Ruby Rhod here. The award winning singer walked the carpet in a custom-made Prada gown embellished with charms and gadgets and jewelry from Fred Leighton. When we say gadgets, we mean Tamagotchis. With a walking battery pack parading around nearby (we mean Claire Danes) Perry was far from bored during the night.

Kate Hudson — Futuristic Bridal
Image from Runway Manahttan

Image from Runway Manahttan

If there is one person who can make cut-outs look sophisticated it would be Hudson. Her bridal gown-inspired Atelier Versace number, was made of several different materials and intricate construction. She was probably one of the few who managed to stick to the theme, though it also meant that she couldn’t sit for the rest of the night (we presume).

Kylie Jenner — Battle Scars
Image from Runway Manahttan

Image from Runway Manahttan

The youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan truly suffered in the name of fashion for her Met Gala debut. Unlike her sister Kim, she aced it on her first try. While her heavily sequined gown from Balmain was beautiful to say the least, it seems like the makeup maven now has scars to remind her of the night. The sequins, which balanced out the sheer panels in the dress, left her legs scratched up and social media star that she is, all the pain was captured on Instagram.

Kim Kardashian-West — Worst Accessory
Image from Runway Manahttan

Image from Runway Manahttan

You have to admit, the reality TV star looked good and not just because she was finally out of one of those odd-looking nude body suits. With bleached eyebrows and slicked back hair, the muse of Kanye West looked pretty fierce in a Balmain number that was a mix of metal and sequins.

Image from Runway Manahttan

Image from Runway Manahttan

The sexy robot look however was ruined slightly by the White Walker she dragged off the set from the Game of Thrones — oh wait, that’s just Kanye.

Emma Watson — Sustainable Fashion
Image from Runway Manahttan

Image from Runway Manahttan

Not only did she bring pants back to the red carpet but she also ensured that her gown made a statement of its own. Collaborating closely with Calvin Klein and Eco Age, the actress chose to wear a five-piece ensemble that can be re-used in various styles, giving Kate Middleton a run for her money. The corset that sat over the off-shoulder top with a Bardot neckline was crafted from three different fabrics woven from yarns made from recycled plastic bottles.

Beyonce — Second Skin
Image from Runway Manahttan

Image from Runway Manahttan

The Internet entertained itself with jokes about how the latex Givenchy creation was in fact Becky’s skin as the singer walked the carpet. Jokes aside, the gown was one of the few that did not feature metal and looked somewhat comfortable – or so you would think if you’ve never worn latex for extended periods. This gown is probably one of the best outfits Queen Bey has worn to the Met, yet.

Lady Gaga — Just another day
Image from Runway Manahttan

Image from Runway Manahttan

I expected more of Mother Monster. She seems to be reusing several Bowie inspired looks of late and it would be nice to have seen Gaga go gaga (pun intended) with the theme. Wearing a sparkly purple rubber halter-bra, high-waisted corseted shorts and a gunmetal jacket from Atelier Versace, the singer and actress seemed to have left the rest of her outfit back home. But understandably so as pants of any kind would have taken the attention away from those Sky-high platforms and blonde bouffant hairdo.

Focus: King of Pop Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was a leading figure in the pop art movement, which dominated the contemporary art scene from the 1960s. His legacy is enduring. In 2012, the Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted the exhibition ‘Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years’, showcasing 45 Warhol works together with 100 works by 60 other artists created in response to or influenced by his works. On display were works from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Ai Weiwei, which spanned the gamut of media from paintings to photographs.

It is not only in the realm of fine art that Warhol’s influence is significant. In 2014, Diane von Furstenberg worked with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts to create a capsule collection celebrating 40 years of her iconic wrap dresses featuring prints of Warhol’s works, such as the ‘Flower’ series, which he began in 1964. Earlier in 2013, Prada had used the same series for motifs in its Spring/Summer collection. Here is a look at Warhol’s contributions to pop art, and why he remains relevant and popular to this day.

Triple Elvis (Ferus Type), 1963

Triple Elvis (Ferus Type), 1963

The Birth of Pop Art

Pop art is an international art movement that began in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The term was coined by English art critic Lawrence Alloway in 1958 to refer to popular art forms, such as advertising and film. In Britain, artists such as Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton became associated with pop art as an art movement. Hamilton’s famous work, ‘Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?’ (1956) featured a sitting room made of cut-outs from various magazines and photographs.

It was in America, however, that pop art as we know it today exploded in the early 1960s, with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Tom Wesselmann quickly establishing their pop artist identities through artworks that re-appropriated everyday objects into works of art.

In addition to using consumer products as subject matter, pop artists also adopted the style used in their production or marketing. For instance, Lichtenstein used Benday dots – coloured dots that were placed evenly in a particular area, often utilised in newspaper and magazine advertising – for his blown-up frames of comic strips.

For Warhol, his repeated silkscreen printing of images replicated the process of the mass production of consumer products. The artist had quipped in an interview, “The reason I’m painting this way is that I want to be a machine, and I feel that whatever I do and do machine-like is what I want to do.”

Warhol’s work as a commercial artist paved the way for his pop art style, which bore the polished aesthetic of advertisement campaigns that he was used to working on. After graduating from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Warhol moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he was born and raised, to New York in 1949. He had a successful career as a commercial artist in the 1950s, creating fashion illustrations for Harper’s Bazaar and other magazines and window displays in department stores such as Bonwit Teller.

Marlon, 1966

Marlon, 1966

Indeed, Warhol had his finger on the pulse of what appealed to the masses, and democratized fine art with his easily understood works. Warhol once asserted that the viewers took to pop art because “it looks like something they know and see every day”. Due to its accessibility, pop art appealed to a wide audience traditionally not interested in art, and received coverage as early as 1962 in mass-media magazines such as Time and Life.

Iconic Works

The most recognizable of Warhol’s works are the ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ (1962), featuring 32 canvases depicting hand-painted renditions of the 32 different soup varieties Campbell’s Soup Company offered at the time. These were first displayed at Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in 1962 by the gallerist on a ledge as if they were on a shelf to be bought.

The multiplicity of an image in Warhol’s work brought attention to the ubiquity of the chosen object. ‘100 Cans’ (1962) is another early work featuring Campbell’s soup cans. It was painted by hand with the use of stencils. ‘200 One Dollar Bills’ (1962) from the ‘Dollar Bill’ series, featuring a 20-by-10 grid of dollar bills was created based on the same idea, and using the same method.

Another household item that achieved iconic status in Warhol’s hands was the ‘Brillo Box’, among other cartoned goods, which Warhol reproduced as wooden sculptures, screen-printing their packaging onto plywood blocks. These were exhibited at Stable Gallery in 1964.

The ‘Death and Disaster’ series is a less innocuous set of works, which includes works such as ‘Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times’ (1963). Warhol photo-silkscreened images of tragedy from newspapers repeatedly across a canvas. This was done through the transference of images photographically to the screens, a commercial printmaking technique he adopted from late 1962. The result was sharper images than the hand-painted ones he had previously produced.

The series was first exhibited at Ileana Sonnabend’s gallery in Paris, and was the artist’s inaugural European solo show. Incidentally, Warhol’s most expensive work sold at auction to date is from the series, with ‘Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)’ (1963) fetching a hammer price of US dollars 94 million at Sotheby’s in November 2013.

Warhol also deployed images of celebrities in his work, such as Marilyn Monroe in ‘The Marilyn Diptych’ (1962) and ‘Gold Marilyn Monroe’ (1962). The lasting appeal of the pop artist’s works can be seen in the prices they have fetched at recent auctions. Christie’s New York offered, in November 2014, ‘Triple Elvis [Ferus Type]’ (1963) featuring a life-sized Elvis Presley in triplicate and ‘Four Marlons’ (1966), a reproduction of a still from the cult 1953 film ‘The Wild One’ featuring Marlon Brando. The two pieces fetched US dollars 73 million and 62 million respectively.

In making his artworks using readymade images and a conveyer belt system of printing and application of colour, there was controversy about the authorship of his works, with their mechanical production relegated to the hands of his assistants in his studio, aptly called The Factory. This foreshadowed the practice that many contemporary artists adopt of employing artist assistants to make their artworks based on the ideas they come up with.

Photographing and Filming Life

In another prescient move, Warhol meticulously documented his daily life on an audio tape recorder and a camera, long before the advent of social media such as Instagram and the creation of social influencers. Warhol had explained, “A picture means I know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.”

Among the pictures he took with his Polaroid camera, which he carried with him from the late 1950s, were hundreds, perhaps even thousands of still shots of everything from the minutiae of his daily life at the Factory to the time spent in places such as Studio 54 in the 1970s. It is no surprise that he once said, “My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person”. Many of the Polaroids were headshots of celebrities who worked in music, fashion and film, and included people such as singer Dolly Parton, fashion editor Diana Vreeland and actor Jack Nicholson.

Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962

Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1962

Not only were Warhol’s works iconic, he had become an icon himself. For instance, instead of putting a Warhol artwork on the cover of the December 1964 issue of ArtForum, which featured the artist, there was a photograph taken of him by actor Dennis Hopper tessellated on the cover, attesting to his celebrity, and his signature pop art style all at once.

While Warhol continued to create works in his instantly recognizable style, such as the painterly silkscreened ‘Mao’ series in playful colour combinations in the early 1970s, he had begun to move into the realm of filmmaking from 1963. He produced films such as ‘Sleep’ (1963), which features footage of a friend sleeping for over five hours, and the similarly static eight-hour-long black-and-white film ‘Empire’ (1964) which shows the empire State Building from light to dark.

It was with ‘The Chelsea Girls’ (1966) that Warhol enjoyed commercial success for his film work. Different footage was played on two screens simultaneously featuring conversations and monologues with his muses, or people he found interesting. They were called Warhol superstars, and hung out at The Factory. Based on the belief that “everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes”, he recruited them to participate in his works, such as in this film, which included the likes of singer-songwriter Nico and model and actress International Velvet.

Gold Marilyn Monroe, 1962

Gold Marilyn Monroe, 1962

Leaving a Legacy

Warhol was revolutionary in coming up with new ideas to capture his life as art. From illustrating to painting to silkscreen printing to film-making, he sought at every turn to try innovative ways to capture the beauty and strangeness of life in equal parts. His circle of celebrity friends belied an introverted nature that afforded him a keen sense of observation of life, which comes through in his visually impactful works that remain sought after to this day.

During Singapore Art Week 2016, the exhibition ‘Andy Warhol: Social Circus’ will be on show at Gillman Barracks, made possible by The Ryan Foundation, set up by nature enthusiast and art collector Ryan Su in December 2012 to promote nature conservation and arts education, including the organisation of art exhibitions for the public.

The exhibition will feature the biggest collection of the Polaroids to ever be shown in Asia. Some 30 Polaroids, drawn from Ryan’s collection and another overseas private collection, will highlight the who’s who of the New York celebrity scene from the 1960s to the 1980s, including Warhol himself, as well as the likes of Bianca Jagger, Paul Anka and Keith Haring.

Curator Khim Ong, who has worked closely with Ryan to put together the show, sees the opportunity to encourage private collectors to similarly share their collections with the public. Speaking about the value of the Polaroids that will be on display, she notes that as they were not made expressly as artworks but possibly as archival or source material, they can provide valuable insight into the artist’s practice, which to a significant extent was about making his life his art.

Art Republik speaks to Ryan Su about his collection of Warhol Polaroids as part of his wider collecting interests, his work with the foundation and what he hopes to achieve with the exhibition.

Race Riot, 1964

Race Riot, 1964

How did you come up with the title ‘Andy Warhol: Social Circus’?

Warhol was flooded with images of pop culture in his early, formative years. He loved magazines, witnessed the introduction of television, the high-street shopping boom and collected photos of stars. This visual culture was targeted at consumerism. However, coming from a poor family from Pittsburgh, he could not participate in it. As an outsider, he was an observer peering in. Later in life and coming full circle, celebrities, artists and fashion designers surrounded him as his fame as a pop art artist soared. At The Factory and Studio 54, his social circle expanded nightly – to include socialites, silver screen luminaries and denizens of the New York underworld and counter-culture, such as drag queens and drug addicts. But with their shenanigans, LSD, alcohol, debauchery and art-making, it soon became a ‘social circus’.

When did you begin to be interested in art?

For a long time, I found the type of art I was interested in intimidatingly hanging against white walls guarded by cold gallerists. I am sure many people interested in seeing art would share the same sentiment. My reservations have proven to be true to an extent. Nevertheless, I have met some of the most warm, kind, generous and fascinating people in the art world. Part of what I see myself doing with The Ryan Foundation is breaking down boundaries between the art world and the ‘public’. Doing a show like this would do just that!

When did you begin collecting? Does your collection have a specific theme or focus?

My art collection started by accident in London, where I went to study art law. I am inspired by nature and collect a lot of works that depict nature, even in abstract form – but sometimes I do deviate. I collect works from only a small number of artists. I like doing my own research and digging deep into their oeuvres, and building a meaningful collection from there. I also like to explore parts of their oeuvres that have received scant attention or are forgotten. It is this pursuit that keeps me going.

How did you come to own your first Andy Warhol’s Polaroids?

Warhol’s Polaroids are compelling. The social relevance of the Warhol’s self-portrait Polaroid is difficult to miss in this world of selfies – where narcissism, self- adoration, perfection and self-image pervade.

I acquired my first Polaroid when in was studying the UK. But very soon after, I tried to get rid of them and sell them because I could not keep them properly. At that time, I did not have a proper art storage facility, and I knew that taking them back to Singapore would destroy them as the tropical climate was not the most ideal. Several years later, I deeply regret my decision to get rid of them as I had some fantastic ones. Now, with a proper storage facility, I have built up the collection again. Better yet, they now have an audience!

A portrait of art collector Ryan Su

A portrait of art collector Ryan Su

What do you think makes Andy Warhol such an important figure in contemporary art and culture?

I believe that the more relevant and important argument as to why Warhol is such an important figure is that he is a visionary. Warhol had tremendous foresight. He dabbled in things and styles that would ultimately become trends. Who knew that camouflage prints would take the fashion world by storm, selfies would be the craze, or that people would be famous just for being famous?

What is favourite Andy Warhol work?

Among my favorites in this exhibition would be the Bianca Jagger Polaroids. They are rare in the sense that they form a triptych. The beauty of the Polaroid is that the only way to ‘reproduce’ them was to snap multiple shots – and each Polaroid is unique and special, having been taken split-seconds apart. They show the observer what Warhol himself sees throughout the multiple frames as his celebrity subject poses, almost like an animation. The high-contrast images created by the Polaroid camera left out blemishes and imperfections – furthering Warhol’s pursuit of perfection and glamour. The Bianca Jagger Polaroids encapsulate his signature styling and technique. She is at ease – her hair, face and neck are absolutely stunning.

How did this exhibition take form?

I had the idea of organising a private dinner party to go along with a private show that would include the Warhol Polaroids during Singapore Art Week 2016 for my special guests who would be flying in for the art fair and various events. I later decided to make it a public show instead. It would be amazing to share with everyone these Polaroids taken decades ago and for people to make a connection with selfies today.

Story Credits

Text by Nadya Wang

This article was originally published in Art Republik

All Polaroids courtesy Ryan Foundation. All other artwork images courtesy of the Andy Warhol Foundation