The rumor mill is churning again today, with a choice bit of unconfirmed gossip: Wags are wondering if London designer Marios Schwab isn’t lending a hand to the famously anonymous Maison Martin Margiela. Margiela himself exited the company in 2009, and ever since there have been rumors and reports of other designers—most recently former Céline hand Ivana Omazic—guiding the design team. The Margiela team’s only comment was that it does not communicate on who its designers are, and, in the words of WWD, “characterizing its studio as a creative collective with members of long standing that it feeds regularly with new contributors.”
While the impetus to unmask single design geniuses is an understandable one, it may be a model that’s falling out of date. It begs the question: Should we always have one designer to point to, or is a more team-spirited approach the better way? Certainly Margiela has been on an upswing these last few seasons.
The Maison is not alone in adopting, happily, a revolving door mentality. When Christopher Kane left Versus, Donatella Versace opted not to hire a single designer in his place, but to invite a series of guests to try their hands. (First up, J.W. Anderson; second, M.I.A.) And in a recent editorial on the fate of Jil Sander after the departure (again) of Jil Sander, Cathy Horyn wondered aloud if the best practice wouldn’t be to build a strong design team. It’s not hard to imagine that being refreshed with new talent as talent arrives.
Something to think about, as several large houses—from Louis Vuitton to Sander—go, for the moment, without single stewards.
Happy National Cat Day! When it comes to domestic pets, kittens are clearly the fashion set’s best friends. For proof, look no further than Choupette Lagerfeld (who starred on her first German Vogue cover this summer and currently has over 34,000 Twitter followers) and the annual United Bamboo cat calendar. To boot, brands including Markus Lupfer, Miu Miu, and Vivienne Westwood expressed their feline appreciation for Spring ’14 by featuring novelty puss prints on shifts, coats, and sweatshirts, respectively. Warning: These pieces may cause a cute attack.
Pucker up, kiddos. Smooches abounded on the Spring ’14 runways, making their mark everywhere from Peter Jensen, where frocks and tops were covered with photo-realistic lips, to Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who crafted a pair of sunglasses with gilded gobs for lenses. The gap-toothed pink and purple pouts that appeared on a series of looks at Giles Deacon were rumored to be an ode to stylist Katie Grand’s grin. Meanwhile, Saint Laurent‘s Hedi Slimane doused an 80s-tinged ruffle top and short black wrap dress with an allover rouge lip print. Inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s 1971 Vichy Chic collection, the smackers were a somewhat surprising embrace of the house’s history. Tucker’s Gaby Basora employed the motif, too. The New York-based designer collaborated with Solange Azagury-Partridge—best known for her “Hot Lips” baubles—on rosebud blouses and dresses strewn with fuchsia kissers.
If mouthy accessories are more your taste, look no further than Yaz Bukey’s Spring ’14 range. The designer served up a patent cherry bouche bag—as well as a pair of lipstick-shaped earrings for touch-ups. And even on the street, showgoers were donning mouth-embellished duds. Tommy Ton snapped one femme in Paris wearing surreal black driving gloves fit for Dali—the wrists sealed with two bright red kisses.
Pleating, in various iterations, unfurled as a keynote trend this season. Alexander Wang, for example, offered boxy swatches on miniskirts in New York. Also crimped in Manhattan: Victoria Beckham‘s peekaboo accordion creases. And, in Paris, Phoebe Philo caused a stir with loads of narrow corrugations at Céline. Yet where these designers skewed toward traditional folding, a trio of labels proposed a fancier twist on the technique for Spring ’14 via intricate pleats that mimicked ruffles.
At Delpozo, creative director Josep Font’s barley-yellow trousers, which boasted an arc of frilled pin-tucks, were a standout in his soft, painterly collection. In Paris, Dries Van Noten opened his show with a quiet white frock, the seams of which were embellished with whorls of gilded fabric. Bottega Veneta’s Tomas Maier, too, employed creased ruffles in his Spring ’14 lineup. One dress in particular—a gray-green number vertically veined in bow-like folds—was particularly striking. “I wanted to add texture and dimension in an unusual way,” Maier told Style.com. “The monochrome color, combined with the movement of the pleats, creates this effect.” To construct the garment, Maier and his team blended cotton with a vegetable fiber called ramie, which possesses malleable characteristics akin to copper. The result was a tactile sartorial sculpture.
Is it us, or do sunglasses just keep getting freakier? Thanks to a bevy of designers this Spring ’14 season, it appears that statement making will soon trump solar protection—but for results this OTT, we’re willing to endure a bit of a glare.
In New York, Jeremy Scott offered cat-eyes striped in “We’re experiencing technical difficulties” color-blocks. Prabal Gurung put his own spin on vibrant cat-eye shades, trimming them with asymmetrical shapes. Over in London, Meadham Kirchhoff showed a gilded, bat-wing pair—part The Matrix, part baroque Transylvania. Meanwhile, the XL shields that hid models’ peepers at KTZ could very well double as ski goggles. Across the Channel were, perhaps, the cheekiest iterations of all: Jean-Charles de Castelbajac sent hilarious pursed-lip specs and frames shaped to read “Glamour” down his Paris runway. No doubt, the look-at-me street-style set will be optically satiated come spring.