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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

The Wit and Wisdom of Britain’s Women Designers

Mary Katrantzou, Anya Hindmarch and Roksanda all see the bright side of life

24 Февраля 2016

Anya Hindmarch, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Do girls just want to have fun? I’m talking here about women designers who have a happy knack for making funky, funny, and decorative clothes while at the same time running their fashion businesses.

Western Oddity: Mary Katrantzou

The silver balloons that formed the backdrop to Mary Katrantzou’s show recalled Andy Warhol’s “Factory” in 1960s New York. But patterns of stars, hearts, ponies, butterflies and flames suggested a Wild West where, according to the designer’s complex show notes, there are two archetypal childhood role models: the cowboy and the princess. Wait! Did I get that right? Sort of, if only I knew about Warhol’s portraits of cowboys and queens, which she cross-pollinated with Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.


Mary Katrantzou, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Mary Katrantzou, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Mary Katrantzou, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Mary Katrantzou, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Mary’s strength is the light touch with which she handles dense print. I would call her show a frolic, but one that used such pattern-making skill that a semi-transparent dress with a giant butterfly preserving modesty at the bust just looked adorable. A revival of the headscarf as an accessory was a surprise, but it added a folkloric charm. And although I came out of the show with my head spinning, it was from her talent with colour and pattern on skirts short and long. Mary called the show “Love’s Young Dream”. And why not?

Anya Hindmarch: Fashion’s Building Block

If you are famous as a handbag designer, you might be expected to think “Accessories!” first and then clothes. But it seemed that the colourful building blocks that slid out by technological wizardry onto the runway were symbols of the Anya Hindmarch company growing bigger, brick by brick. The transformation was not so much in the famous bags, made in materials from python to leather cut into miniature squares like a board game; it was that the clothes themselves (and the shoes) had become fashion contenders.


Anya Hindmarch, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Anya Hindmarch, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Anya Hindmarch

A tailored, wine-coloured coat edged by blocks of satin; another in grey with an appliquéd white fur flower for a collar; or just a classic camel coat enlivened with a shearling collar, pockets and gloves — all made respectable, even powerful, outerwear. Let’s put it this way: Using her knowledge of what women want and her artistic intelligence, Anya is making brand Hindmarch into a complete wardrobe entity. And the really smart bit is that the bags are as witty, pretty and practical as ever.

Roksanda: Downsizing Roksanda

Ilincic is famously tall, elegant and dramatic. Up to now, the same could be said of her bold clothes, with their geometric blocks of bright colours and elongated lines. But the designer has “downsized” her clothes and softened them, making shoes almost flat and pairing them with a tailored satin dress in vertical shades of burgundy, orange and black. That same idea of inserting panels of colour might bring a wiggling stripe — or a fur tippet at the neck for actual softness. All this added up to a polished sophistication that no longer seemed like Roksanda’s “geometricks”.


Roksanda, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Roksanda, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Roksanda, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

By increasing the number of daywear outfits — say trousers and a cape coat, where full satin sleeves came out of the slits — the designer expanded her range. Yet the eveningwear was also on-message, with silken pleats sliding into a long skirt. It takes a while for a fashion “voice” to find its range. But here Roksanda hit perfect pitch. Whether in fur, velvet or silk, and by using her distinctive graphic effects and ginger and pine-green colours, she refreshed her design aesthetic – in a very sophisticated way.

Roksanda, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

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