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London and Milan Fashion Week Highlights

Topshop Unique

Ever since the store made its way to the States a few years ago, Topshop has blown up among young people. But, its been around in Britain for a while, and their high fashion line, Unique, has been a must-see on the London runways. This season, however, came as a bit of a surprise to anyone who knows the label. Generally, the brand tends to select a theme—one season it was Dalmatian—and styles their entire collection based upon it. But this season it was different; this season felt more chic and grown up than they’ve ever been. They embodied the developing theme of black and white, with sleek lines and fabrics, with only pops of color every once in a while. It was all very soft and easy, everything flowing nicely as they walked down the runway. It was very fitting of Spring, and marked a serious transition for the label.

Burberry Prorsum

Equally as shocking but in a much different sense was Christopher Bailey’s collection for Burberry Prorsum. There was a sex appeal present different than his recent collections. It was more in-your-face sexy, with shapes that fit slim into the body contrasted with more voluminous outerwear. And of course the trench coats. The trench coats remained a staple to collection, but managed to still feel brand new. Unlike many of the collections seen so far for Spring 2013, Bailey incorporated a lot of color. Almost every look was something bright—there was nothing black and white about it. He used jewel tones, pale hues, forest colors, everything imaginable, and put it into one fluid collection. He took advantage of metallics, and ombre, piecing together a vivacious collection that, similar to Topshop’s, seemed to have marked a transition for the classic British design power house.

Dolce & Gabbana

On Vogue.com, Hamish Bowles could not have put Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce’s collection and better: “The collection was infused with a fifties holiday postcard vibe—from brightly printed bandana headscarves to the raffia sandals and kitten-heeled winklepickers.” There was a huge cultural influence to this collection; the Italian and African inspirations were heavily tangible in almost every look. It was a new take on their aesthetic they’ve been exhibiting the last few collections. They created a classy, fifties vibe, with a pin-up sense and a unique flair. Last season it was tapestries, this season it is various prints and patterns from around the world. It really did look as if vintage postcards were screen-printed on dresses, tops, blouses, jackets, bags, everything. And it worked. It looked edgy, not touristy, cool, not over the top. There was an attractiveness about the woman who would wear these garments, a sultry sex appeal with an air of mystery and worldliness. The two did it again.

Prada

Another collection that was heavily influenced by a foreign culture was Miuccia Prada’s. The Japanese geisha influence could be seen from the very start, and took shape in kimono-like dresses, coats, and skirts in silks and with flower appliques. The sandals were particularly geisha-like, with bifurcated socks inserted into flat sandals that had varying degrees of flat platforms. This was another collection that relied heavily on black and white, and almost had a bit of a somber tone to it. It was a more simplistic collection for Prada, not necessarily blowing the minds of its viewers like it can tend to do. But it demonstrated the design house’s ability to take a more simple approach and pull it off quite well.

 

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