By Asma and Reem

Is A Simple Aesthetic Key to Higher Profit?

The very first Saint Laurent show by Hedi Slimane was solely met with outrage if not weak praise; not only from disappointed consumers(us included), but also several figures from the industry itself, mainly comparing the collection to Topshop and categorising some of the garments as a "busboy's" as Cathy Horyn puts it, referring to the brand's classic tuxedo suit.

Surprisingly since Slimane took the reins at Saint Laurent, revenue increased significantly. According to Buro 24/7 Kering reported that sales were $807 million, indicating a 27% increase, which raises the question: why were people purchasing overstated garments  that came with a hefty price tag?

The case at hand also lies with other brands (contemporary and luxury) that all share a similar aesthetic: basics, clean cuts, expert tailoring and vital classics for every type of wardrobe. Theory, founded by Andrew Rosen, announced an approximate amount of $670 million as part of their global sales. Theory, which solely focuses on "clean silhouettes, quality, craftsmanship, and fit" has amassed its own cult following in the past decade, and even enlisted Belgian designer Olivier Theyskens in 2011 to further elevate the brand in several aspects of design. Our take on the matter? Consumers are willing to invest hundreds of dollars on comfortable clothing - modern yet chic when paired with other statement-making pieces of an outfit. 

Off-White By Virgil Abloh: Modern Streetwear

We can't imagine a designer who builds his line on how young women dress based on simplicity instead of extravagance like Virgil Abloh does. The American designer, who has been Kanye West's creative director since 2002, launched his own label Off-White during 2013 with great acclaim from the industry. Virgil Abloh is a man of many talents: not only is he a designer, but he also happens to be a DJ, an architect, and a graphic designer. His tendency to travel frequently serves as inspiration for his line, which makes Off-White more or less a label for youth committed to modern street fashion and statement pieces. For his Spring/Summer 2016 collection, titled "Off-Day" Abloh's offering included the titular trademark off white and denim, which were the key themes repeated throughout the collection. Another repetitive style was striped monochrome patterns and organza panels on jeans, not to mention the collection also included denim overalls. The line is more than just clothes: it's a movement devoted reviving 90's fashion, but in the designer's own interpretations.  If denim ever seemed bleak at one point, Abloh elevated it with a cult-like excellence that emphasises his ability to transform fabric into a dimensional work of craftsmanship. It's not your mainstream New York-based fashion label; it is what can be described as an underground coalition aimed at "embracing the now in a sophisticated manner".

Images via www.vogue.com, off---white.com & instagram.com/margaret_zhang.

Krikor Jabotian Reminds Us That Quality Fashion Still Exists

What happens when you put someone under the hands of Elie Saab? There is no single certain answer to this question, but if you were to ask us, we would say: magic! 

Born and raised in Lebanon, young fashion designer Krikor Jabotian, who once worked in one of Elie Saab's creative departments, proves that age is just a number, well at least in the fashion industry. At a very young age of 23, Jabotian has already established his own fashion label after his success at Starch foundation, a non- profit organisation founded by Maison Rabih Kayrouz and which aims to help launch up and coming Lebanese designers. 

Although the designer's brand is managed with the help of his family, Krikor still needs to juggle between managing both the creative and business side of the brand. 

The first time we came across one of Jabotian's designs was when we were casually scrolling through instagram. See, we both have this notion that if you see something and that "something" makes you say "wow" from the first impression, then go for it. 

And this is exactly how we felt when we stumbled across Krikor Jabotian

It takes talent for someone to create something so dramatic, yet keeps it subtle and fine. Krikor Jabotian's emphasis on design and embroidery is beyond graceful. He diverts all of his attention to the slightest and smallest details in all of his gowns and this is what truly makes him unique. Not only that, but also the cuts of his dresses are so elaborately handled. His choice of colours manifest delicacy yet some are very striking (such as his choice of red). 

What makes him truly successful, we believe, is the fact that he has his very own "touch". You can instantly spot a Jabotian made dress; it's the one that has played with its fabric. The fabric element in Krikor's dresses are so freely draped, yet create its own motif differently in every dress.  

Some people say that fashion is not art. Krikor proves otherwise. His pieces are truly works of art. Trust us, his pieces will soon be displayed in museums, we can tell!

 

 

 

Pick of the Week: Gucci Fringed Loafers

It looks like Alessandro Michele is still making an impact; not only with the fashion industry but also the newly acquired consumers that have cashed out on the silk blouses and print suits. With these fringed leather loafers as part of his offering, we're positive that lovers of prep will come running to snatch a pair. If fringe was ever out of trend, Michele brought it right back in with more than a statement that lasted long enough to be treasured. The mauve colour is an extra; a classic to be worn all year-round with a straight-line mini skirt (preferably another of Michele's creations), and the aforementioned silk blouse. It looks like the Italian designer's romantic outlook has garnered those wearing their heart on their sleeve. Count us in. 

Household Handovers: Fashion's Guessing Game

By far 2015 has been marked as the most eventful year in the fashion industry. While many brands have been through international extensions (think Public School) and financial gain, it seems that the main focus has been on who is going to be steering the wheel at vacant positions in fashion's most important brands. Evidently the mood has been underlined with an unperceived manner - departure met with sadness, while the appointment of unknown designers raised questions. One thing we're not quite sure of: are these decisions made by conglomerates like Kering and LVMH based on the need to increase sales with a new aesthetic or to look for a designer who understands the message required to convey to the consumers?

The news that made the most headlines were these:

-Alexander Wang's exit from Balenciaga: it was told that the American designer did not renew his contract with Kering and left by mutual consent, despite the vast increase in sales by 350 million euros (quite a large sum!) the Parisian house has experienced ever since he has been appointed. It got us wondering: why would he ever leave a company where he's been producing wonderful pieces, especially ones that translated most with the sole aesthetic? Something tells us there's more to the story.

-With Wang leaving his designated job in July, it's been announced earlier in October that Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia would be replacing him as creative director. We haven't seen anything yet from the Georgian designer, but we find it very questionable to appoint a designer who's more focused on a street-style wear aesthetic to a classical Parisian house that epitomises elegance. To us it just doesn't add up. Guess we'll have to wait until the Fall/Winter 2016 shows to see what's in store.

-Although no one has made much of a fuss about Gucci in the past few years, all eyes are now on the Italian brand ever since Alessandro Michele has taken the helm. Michele has tapped into the brand's main elements and proved to the fashion industry that sometimes a not-so-famous designer can equally produce a marvellous collection than one who is. Gucci now has immense demand on Michele's sky-high platforms and the 70's inspired print suits. 

-Another designer who bid farewell to his position at a legendary house is Raf Simons. His decision to leave Dior was prompted by his inability to meet the required deadlines to deliver new collections at such a short period of time. After watching Dior and I we can only imagine the number of breakdowns Simons went through while in the process of developing a new collection. Despite the surprise of his departure, we're thinking of it as the best decision made since he wholly changed the brand's aesthetic and failed in an attempt to reimagine Monsieur Dior's vision of a brand. 

-One thing we never saw coming was Alber Elbaz's departure from Lanvin, a brand that he has been designing for the past 15 years. It was a complete and utter shock since the reason that he left has never been stated. We're just hoping that he doesn't replace Raf at Dior.