PFW: Balenciaga FW20 – The Sacred and Seductive Combined

03.03.2020 | Blog , Culture , Fashion | BY:

Demna Gvasalia is one of the only creative directors who manages to find an enviable balance between staying on trend and being political at the same time. The FW20 show presented in Paris last weekend was a show to remember , one that spoke directly to the inescapable doomsday that will brought by global warming, yet offering subtle glimmers of hope throughout the way. 

The show’s set played a major role in the narrative —  a flooded platform with water that bordered so wide that it submerged the first front rows seatings which was a subtle hint to the the primary responsibilities that lie with the decision makers of the industry. The ceilings of the room were screens programmed to produce eerie graphics birds fleeing and dark lighting which felt like a scene from a horror film. 

It was as if he imagined the day of reckoning where humanity would be confronted with all its wrongdoings against Mother Earth, the day where Mother Earth herself wouldn’t wreak havoc upon the race with a menacing chaos. A mass of confusion so dire that it would wipe out whatever boundaries or structures we previously held which of course includes dress codes. Gvasalia dressed his subjects by fusing and recontextualizing dress codes associated with traditional values and desires. The religious was fused with the every day by way of clerical robes interpreted into casual wear ; bodybuilder fitted outfits made oversized for an one size fits all aesthetic and night gown prints made into powerful evening-wear. Sports, religion, obsession  and seduction are a stripped of their functions and symbolisms and melted into one. It was a political statement aimed at climate change but also one that fired shots in the direction of religion and the traditional symbolism of the sacred versus the seductive. 

“I had a lot of clerical wear in my research. I come from a country where the Orthodox religion has been so predominant. I went to church to confess every Saturday. Back then, I remember looking at all these young priests and monks, wearing these long robes and thinking, ‘How beautiful.’ You see them around Europe with their beards, hair knotted back and backpacks. I don’t know, I find it quite hot—but that’s my fetish,” the designer explained. 

“How comes it is acceptable for clerics to wear that, but if I put on a long jacket and a skirt I will be looked at? I can’t, even in 2020! Religious dress codes are all about hiding the body, about being ashamed—body and sex is the taboo. Whereas when you look into it, some of these people are the nastiest perverts.”

Gvasalia created a collection that spoke to climate change, traditional dress codes and perversions of the church all while making reference to the house’s archives and staying in line with the current day trend. Such level of aptitude and interest in social change showcased, only makes one more intrigued for the house’s re-opening of their couture division later this year.


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PFW: Alexander McQueen FW20 – A love letter to warmth, heritage & family

03.03.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

For the past few seasons Alexander McQueen Creative Director Sarah Burton has been resorting to the quietude of poetry as sparks of inspiration for her latest collection. A strategy that has been working quite well in finding the beauty in little things to execute and amplify on a larger scale. The beauty in nature or culture or in this case heritage. Burton’s FW20 references stemmed from a trip to Wales where she grew fond of several aspects of the country’s heritage.   

“The collection is a love letter to women and to families, colleagues and friends. We went to Wales and were inspired by the warmth of its artistic and poetic heritage, by its folklore and the soul of its craft, “ she commented. 

She drew direct inspiration from the Wrexham Tailor’s Quilt was an artefact and one of the most well known patchworks that was crafted over a ten year from 1842 using recycled scraps he had used to craft the uniforms he made during the day. The quilt known for its detailed visuals which stood as a representation of something greater, braver and aspirational knowing that it was pieced together by scraps. The literal and symbolic sentiment of this resonated with the designer.

“The woman is courageous, grounded, bold: heroic. There is a sense of protection in the clothes, of safety and comfort, evoked through quilting and blankets. The hearts are a symbol of togetherness, of being there for others.” 

The collection was a collage of sharp seamed graphic tailoring that incorporated upcycled wool flannels woven in British mills from previous McQueen seasons and set in dramatic geometric blocks, which was also very much in line with the brand’s recent initiative of a fabric donation scheme for future designers. 

“The ethos at Alexander McQueen means that everything we use in researching and designing collections has always been archived and stored”, she notes. “We’ve never thrown anything away.” Mindful of providing access to students who need resources, the scheme activates an imaginative purpose for the remaindered luxury fabrics which have been routinely saved after the sampling and production cycles of women’s and men’s collections over the past decade,” Burton said of the initiative. 

This collection was a further step to this project , pulling on fabrics from the brand’s archive to piece together an impressive collection which spoke to the concepts of warmth, family and heritage all while being sustainable while at it.

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MFW: Fendi FW20 – The Dualities of La Donna Fendi

27.02.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

It is safe to that Creative Director Silvia Venturini Fendi has been hitting her stride within the past few seasons. For FW20-21, the designer explored what it means to be a FENDI woman , or rather FENDI women with a collection that spoke to the different interpretations of what it means to be feminine. It was a collection that was charged with power yet stroked with softness and delicacy. It was a play between between a total dominance and a graceful elegance that was brought out even through the fabrics used. A mixture of cashmere, leather, lace and even fur were the headliners. 

“Tailoring and outerwear is built around nipped waists; flared officer’s coats, burnished perfectos and high-octane blazers are boned through the bodice with shoulders that plane to a flat point or drop into a Juliet sleeve. Voluptuous shapes unfurl into cozy loopback sweaters, a bonded leather accordion skirt and bibbed organdie blouses.”

Each silhouette was defined by its respective story. The FENDI Fall/Winter 2020-2021 Accessories Collection were also optly paired with this season’s boudoir themes, as padded lambskin ‘brace’ booties and satin ‘suspender’ pumps elicit vampish airs.

In three sizes, a new accordion-frame Peekaboo bag opened in a deep ‘smile’ to reveal interchangeable inside pockets in smooth leather and precious skins. It appeared also dipped in gold leather fringes or traced with appliqué lacework and beaded tassels. The iconic Baguette bag in handknit wool was joined in leather shopper bags and charms inspired by vintage FENDI packaging, returning from the last Men’s Collection.

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MFW: Arthur Arbesser FW20 – An ode to Milanese Beauty

23.02.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

The city of Milan was the inspiration behind Arthur Arbesser’s FW20 collection which he presented just this past weekend. The designer was fascinated by the subtle and at times hidden beauties of the city such as the vintage architecture and design.

As a foreigner, living in the city for the past six years, he’s had the opportunity to observe the city’s gems from an objective perspective which he re-interpreted into this collection. Within the that he created strong graphics that were balanced with clean silhouettes and aspects that were to be discovered. 

The collection played with an interesting autumn palette of warm burgundy, milk white , black velvet and different shades of brown that also featured the designer’s signature pattern. He also collaborated with his fellow designer friend Marco Guazzini, who is the creator of a ceramic-like material named Marwoolus that mixes pressed marble powder and wool. In white, but flecked with attractive abstract plumes of color, these were Marwoolus single-button jackets, belts, pendants, earrings and a few skirts, shirts, and pants as well.

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MFW: Marni FW20 – Piecing together the fragments of Alice’s trip to Wonderland

23.02.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

This weekend Francesco Risso presented his FW20 collection for Marni as an abstract reinterpretation of the age old tale of Alice in Wonderland. 

“Where are you, Alice?

I’m not here right now, and probably not there. I am down the rabbit hole, luxuriating in a time warp.

Are you coming back anytime soon?

I don’t know. I feel like I have been here for a while, but probably I just arrived. Who are you?

I am Venus, Alice. Venus of the Rags. Do you recall me? I come with no tags, usually in full drag.

What can I do for you?

Please make sure you make, do, ment, and that you never bend. Take scraps, bits and pieces, never to be shredded in pieces. Be a militant, always vigilant.

Is this your vow?

Aim for the rainbow. But tell me, Alice, what was it like to fall in the hole?

I felt micro, then went macro, as the natural sped up to supernatural.”

The collection saw remnants of fabric collaged to create each look. Coats and tabards were created and worn with mini and maxi skirts made from scraps of leather and the calico that dress toilet were made from. Velvet, fragments of metal and even scraps of cotton fabric that were woven togethers by hand in a factory in Venice on looms that were originally designer by Leonardo Da Vinca.  It was all an exploration of patchwork , a collection of memories, of thoughts, and fabrics, pieced together to create one story. 

It was one those stories that left you asking yourself a question , as Risso noted, “ Are we in a psychedelic world and we need to be more grounded, or are we in a caged world and we need to be freed by psychedelia?” 

Either way the designer’s collection fell into neither the categories of grounded nor caged but in all senses was an exploration of  psychedelia from the details of glitter doused make up and hair to the precision of weaving of all the separate scraps of fabrics in a way which seamlessly harmonized them as the voices on a choir. 

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MFW: PRADA FW20 – A Surreal Glamour

23.02.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Designer Miuccia Prada is no stranger to the movement of feminism. She has not only covered the topic in past runway shows, but her presence in itself as one of the leading female forces in fashion is symbolic for many.

For her FW20 womenswear show the designer tackled traditional standards of what it means to be intrinsically feminine as she challenges the notion of femininity equating to softness, fragility and sensuality and proposing that this tradition delicacy can and should be what defines strength. With this in mind, she dresses her woman with the idea of finding power and strength in such paradoxes. Vents, layered fringes and deconstructed pleats reveal skin, and underscore locomotion.

Movement is tied to the corporeal , to athleticism, hence to sportswear. All these forms of everyday glamour are challenged from practical to aesthetic. Cinched waists of nylon puffer coats create a classic feline shape paired with gum boots for contrasts. The collection is a reflection of the construct of femininity, and an ode to it’s many different shapes, forms , sizes and manifestations. Each pairing , each look acts as a protest against the idea that there is a singular definition to what it means to be feminine, or what it means to be a woman. 

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MFW: GUCCI FW20 – An Unrepeatable Ritual

23.02.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

For FW20, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele paid tribute to fashion shows and the production process behind seen through from the perspective of a magical ceremony.  For the show in Milan, guests entered into a backstage space built to expose all the BTS rituals of of hair , makeup and model dressers working diligently to prepare a cast of 60 faces for the show.

The show itself was staged in an arena like setting where at the centre, a carousel structure rotated 360 degrees. Each model stood still at their respective window where they donned garments which were partially inspired by pinafore dresses and school uniforms, and not long after, the entire production team took their bow as well.  

Michele :

“ I have always considered the fashion show as a magic event bursting with enchantment . A liturgical action that suspends the ordinary, loading it with an excess of intensity. A procession of epiphanies and expanded thoughts that settle into a different partition of the sensible….There’s something though, in this ceremony that usually stays buried; the struggle of the parturient that accompanies the tremble of creation; the mother’s womb where poetry blooms, from shape to shape. Therefore, I decided to unveil what lies behind the curtains. 

May the miracle of skilful hands and holding breath come out of the shadows. May the collective intelligence that takes care of gestation be visible, as shivers rage on. May that wild and crazy hive that I made my home have a throne. Because that is the home I worship; the blessed passage through which beauty comes out of its shell.”

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LFW: Margaret Howell FW20 – The beauty of simplicity

17.02.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Margaret Howell’s FW20 collection was crafted around the idea of a simple elegance. The designer showcased the collection yesterday in South Bank where she stripped back from the glitz and glamour and brought out the essential parts of her maison with class and minimalism.

From box pleat skirts, to knee high socks, to a simple white t-shirt dress which opened the show. Each look was stripped back to it’s core to embrace the true values of the British fashion house. Our photographer Olivia Lifungula gave us a BTS view of what went on at the Margaret Howell FW20 show. 

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PRADA FW20 Womenswear Campaign – Plain Redefined As Daring Attitude

16.02.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Following the buzz of their FW20 Menswear campaign earlier this month featuring Frank Ocean, Prada centred it’s recently released womenswear campaign around the theme of the brand’s fluid identity and flexibility. Shot by photographer Jamie Hawkesworth, the campaign was featured in a similar format to the menswear, playing upon the different types of characters that inspire and define the brand.

“The paradox and contradiction inherent to Prada make easy categorization or summarization impossible: Prada is simultaneously complex and simple, singular yet multi-faceted.”

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LFW: David Koma FW20 – An Ode to British Glamour

16.02.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Images courtesy of Olivia Lifungula 

This weekend designer David Koma presented his FW20 collection as an ode to some aspects of classic British pop & contemporary culture. From a detailed  “Gherkin” building beaded on a mini dress  to the Union Jack stamped on pump heels to subtle details of the cityscape print brought out in bike apparel, and nods to Princess Di and Dame Viv with emerald jewellery and pannier skirts.  Twin ventured backstage with photographer Olivia Lifungula to get a closer look of all the key details. 

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LFW: Vivienne Westwood FW20 – A Call for Change

15.02.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Images courtesy of Olivia Lifungula 

Many have said that Vivienne Westwood is an exemplar of one of the only rebels left in fashion, and her FW20 presentation this weekend proved just that. No words were minced. The designer crafted a collection directed towards justice, sustainability and Julian Assange.

 “I want to work with Extinction Rebellion and have Julian Assange freed,” she commented at the presentation held at the Serpentine Gallery yesterday.

The clothing spoke for themselves, or rather they screamed and protested with statements aimed towards an ironic yet effective form of fashion activism. Luckily Twin was there first hand to document every bit of it with our photographer Olivia Lifungula who captured all the details of the apparel activism initiated by the designer. 

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TELFAR AT PITTI UOMO: ‘THE WORLD ISN’T EVERYTHING III’

19.01.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

The great calibre of talent and community under the name of Telfar Clemens is no big news. Twin contributor Amanda Ballerini had the pleasure to assist the team and work closely with the Telfar community in realising their latest FW 20-21 show held at Palazzo Corsini in Florence.

The urge then came up for her to write this piece almost immediately, considering her passion for the brands since she discovered them during her studies in 2014.

The Queens/Liberian born creative who launched his eponymous label in 2005 has within these years managed not only to be an oracle of fashion but more so in the way he has shaped how we see performance and the concept of community. A community made of creatives with no boundaries, no preconceptions, the real contemporary democrats coming from all over yet all belonging to the same world.

A brand which screams: ‘It’s not for you, it’s for everyone’ as its bio, which is surely something very easy to perceive when you take a closer look at what the founder has really managed to achieve with TELFAR.

Going back to the roots which brought me where I am now, through a brand from across the ocean conceived by people who had probably seldom seen Florence.

The main highlight of the show was the great emotion created. How the New Renaissance embodied by the brand, his creator and the community surrounding him is what everyone aims to be and see and is an explanation for how we act in fashion in 2020, and why is still makes sense.

I spent 4 years of my young life in Florence and have always complained about its closed minded mentality and the fact that it is such an exclusive community. In Italy, you mainly grow within your circle and stay that way unless you move away. Which is why it is quite ironic that an apparent ‘liberal minded’ state like Italy and its bigger and smallest cities are all marked by the fact that it is actually quite exclusive.

Studying in an international school in Florence allowed me to exclude myself partially from that world, creating my own in the small reality I had available surrounding myself with dreams, parties, music, discoveries and friends. The best years of an 18 year old young woman who was always aspiring to have more in life. Years later, at the TELFAR show and afterparty last week , I finally found that more which I was looking for, and I can be very thankful for that.

As if the beauty of the location itself wasn’t enough, the set was essentially formed by a ‘tavola rotonda’ (a slight reference to the round table of King Arthur and his knights) adorned and created for the occasion by Spiral Theory Test Kitchen in association with Cordon Bleu cooking school based in Florence. It was a satirical roman empire bloodshed table which went under some surgical operation. It was the modern epitome of Renaissance, imagined by the new gods of today: the queer community of New York. Following the actual Vip dinner the night before the show, with queen beds placed in other rooms of the palace for fun & frills, the table was slightly set up but basically left in the same exact condition as the night before (and so were the beds) for the show presentation. The table served as seats for the special guests and as entrance stage for the models, who were mostly friends and family of Telfar Clemens himself who also performed live.

Appearances included the likes of  Boy Child,  Bobbi ( a part of the Spiral Theory Test kitchen trio) and even Solange whose aura glowed around the table. All these characters overlapping with journalists from very big fashion magazine and all the people who count. It was the most interesting organic mix.

The stage saw the performance of Standing on the Corner ensemble, the heart breaking voice of the young star Hawa and the angel-queen’s musical performance of Ms Carrie Stacks. The Palazzo smelled of meat, fruits, and any other possible leftovers and it somehow still had a fragrance which you wanted to carry home with you. Perhaps it simply smelled of deep love.

What I can say about the after party (set at Super Studio founded Space Club in collaboration with Stefano Pilati) is that it was the perfect ending of the whole shebang . It was the cherry on top.

The soul that each person, friend, lover, fan, family member and new friends put in all of this screamed authenticity and gratitude from each and every corner.

Speaking as an Italian myself and on behalf of the city of Florence, we are the ones who are most grateful. Grateful and filled with the biggest tears of joy in our eyes for the whole, black, queer, all inclusive and incredible vibe of community that TELFAR brought to all our hearts.

It is not for you, it is for everyone of us, and it is the future.


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MFW Men’s: Alexander McQueen’s FW20 Sartorial Romance

14.01.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

For the first time, British fashion house Alexander McQueen presented it’s menswear collection during Milan Fashion Week earlier this week. 

For FW20, creative director Sarah Jane Burton, created poetry, and no, this is not in referral to the violinists who welcomed guests into the space with their ever so elegant strums, but rather in regards to the symphonious binding of fabrics and tailoring carried out throughout the collection. 

Many may argue that classic menswear in its purest form is a straight line, a linear scale of techniques and patterns that must be followed and abided by at all costs. Yet with this collection, it is as if Burton breaks up the parts of a puzzle, and pieces them back together in an entirely different way no one knew was possible. 

With inspiration from Northern landscapes , the designer crafted a collection of razor tailored razor sharps suits , and doubled breasted overcoats  inspired by minerals rocks and stones. Coats and jackets were rendered in grey sharkskin mohair and black wool are spliced and slashed, echoing the lines of military harnessing. Panels from classic military coats cut into signature tailoring and camel overcoats. 

Each look was made and styled with an intricate level of artistry. An added touch were are the silk suits and coats that were printed with an engineered artwork of Henry Moore, Three-Quarter Figure 1928, reproduced courtesy of the Henry Moore Foundation. 

A few pieces were created in reference to the house’s SS20 womenswear collection like some of the shoes and a few accessories. Nonetheless, the designer’s approach to menswear is a breath of fresh air for the industry. Serving as the perfect example that there is no one way of creating elegance, no one way of creating menswear, the options are not limited to classic or street but is open to a vast variety of undiscovered proposals. 

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MFW Men’s : Marni’s FW20 Dance

14.01.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Let’s dance.

Let’s dance ’til the end of love.

Let’s dance our best days away.

Let’s dance to keep the abyss at bay.

Let’s dance until everything changes.

Until fashion flows, in a blow.

Let’s dance.

Like a body of work,

To the rhythm

of a hymn.

Was an excerpt from, “ A call from Prince Prospero,” a part of Marni’s FW20 men’s press release. This season creative director Francesco Riso escorted  his audience into a psychedelic trance of poetic movement. With the help of choreographer Michele Rizzo , the designer curated a performance which seamlessly crafted garments as a creative collective. Clothing was given new life by matching pieces which were crafted from once useless scraps. Trousers were composed of multi coloured fabrics, trench coats bisected and reassembled from a variety of textures. Left sides were asymmetric to right, hems scaled like waves and pants bore holes just small enough to appear eaten.

Every look was deliberately curated to fit too wide, or too long or too big. With a unconventional approach to tailoring, each piece fit so wrong yet so right. A side from the magnificent performance, the clothing spoke in a way that was paradoxically trendy, with a voice that only some could hear, appealing to a customer that understands what it means to be entranced by  fashion with a capital F. 

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