After spotting gorgeous runway shoes in New York and London, we're off to Milan to see what labels like Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and Fendi have in store for our feet. From dreamy ankle-tie styles to heels that approach the bondage boundary, you've found a perfect spot to zoom in and study the details.
For Spring 2014, Raf Simons invited us into Christian Dior's Garden of Eden. The neon botanical set promised an explosion of flowers, and on that promise, Dior delivered. When the buds weren't patterned on pretty pleated skirts or embellishing heels, they were seductively cascading, nay snaking, down the models' necks.
Adding extra eye appeal to the collection were stripes: printed on fabric, occasionally cut into fabric, and sometimes speaking for fabric with words like "Primrose path" and "Hyperrealness." The message was clear, but we'd like to add another word to the conversation: paradise!
Roland Mouret cited contradiction as the guiding principle of his Spring 2014 collection, which manifested in a sportier side to his normally elegant tailoring. Bold colours ruled the runway with crop tops, cutouts, and sheer inserts revealing plenty of skin in second-skin dresses and relaxed trousers. Evening brought out a more sensual side with high sheen mixing with printed chiffon in red carpet-ready dresses. Looks like contradicting himself suits Mr. Mouret.
Olympia Le-Tan's signature quirky style went into overdrive for Spring 2014, with a retro nautical-themed presentation that introduced us to fish-shaped clutches, striped cropped tops, flirty little sailor suits, quirky box bags (including sea-themed versions of her bestselling book-shaped bag), and dozens of new marine-inspired prints. Models (including Daisy Lowe) sported huge anchor earrings, Bettie Page fringes, girdles, and suspenders, and posed like Vargas girls for the assembling crowds. If you like pin-up style or anything nautical, prepare to fall in love.
We predicted that retro beauty looks would appear on the Fashion Week catwalks, and Olympia Le-Tan definitely delivered with a quirky take on the nautical trend. The clothes were young, fun, and retro-inspired with seaside prints and nautical details, while the beauty ramped up the vintage feel by harking back to the pinup-girl era. Models wore exaggerated '40s-inspired hairstyles, with mock fringes set off by hair that was rolled up toward the centre of the head. Ribbon-tied ponytails that curled neatly underneath finished the look. The makeup was bright and pretty, with plenty of blush applied high up on the temples, minimal eye makeup and shiny pink lips.
As the first model walked onto the runway of the Nina Ricci Spring 2014 show in Paris, a sheer white curtain began unravelling, following her around the bend. The gauzy backdrop was perfect for Peter Copping's latest collection, which was nearly all white (though in many assembled shades like alabaster, chalk, plaster, and porcelain, to name a few). With a feminine take on suiting, glittering tweed jackets, and refined accessories — we have our eye on the new signature bag, an envelope clutch with a metal at-the-palm handle, and heels with carved mouldings — this offering was modern yet romantic as ever.
You've probably heard the phrase "model's own clothes" thrown around by street style photographers, but at Balmain Spring 2014, models practically wore their own hair and skin. The barest layer of foundation enhanced the complexion with a dewy finish. Mascara was scarce, blush was nonexistent, and the lip look was a rosy pink balm. The hairstyle fell somewhere between beachy waves and poker straight, but the look was low maintenance for sure. With such a bare-bones hair and makeup look, it's clear what Balmain wanted to be the focus of the presentation — the '80s-inspired clothing.
Is fashion rubbish? For Lanvin's Spring 2014 collection, Alber Elbaz created a series of cocktail dresses and pieces for day, many of which were rendered in shiny or iridescent fabrics. But some of the looks came down the runway with bags that looked like, well, bin liners.
What statement this designer was trying to make with those bags is anyone's guess — after all, this is the designer who last season made necklaces and bags featuring the word "Cool," because he "hates that word." Perhaps Elbaz is in cahoots with Ashish, who showed sequinned version of plastic shopping bags at London Fashion Week.
The clothes, however, were truly lovely. Lamé dresses in jewel tones from gold to pink glittered down the runway, and soft silks in coordinating hues grounded those looks and kept the sheen from being too bright.
With an ornate ballroom as a backdrop, Olivier Rousteing brought out the softer side of Balmain with a Spring 2014 that calls for an '80s supermodel to rock it. Heavy chains, denim off-the-shoulder minis, and lots of black and white patterns recalled Peter Lindbergh photos, while sheer crystal-embellished skirts and sexy minis are made for today's PYTs. But sheer blouses and a lightened, in-part pastel palette took the aggressive edge off his signature look, making for a feminine, appealing — did we say sexy yet? — collection sure to thrill front-row fan Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and other A-listers alike.
For Spring 2014, Alexander Wang showed his second collection for Balenciaga at the Paris Observatory. Filled with crisp white and pretty pastels, the much-anticipated collection lit up social media immediately with a live stream, Twitter accolades, and all the Instagrams you could dream to see!