WTF? Nike over Louis Vuitton? Top10 most searched brands…

…of the second quarter of 2018, of course. Lyst is a global fashion data platform that releases an index of most searched brands every three months. The research itself includes data from over 12 000 websites: department stores or popular online-shopping giants, such as ssense.com or farfetch. So yeah, Susan, the Gucci flip-flops you bought for your Instagram-famous trip to Ibiza count too!

I don’t really wait for these rankings with a glass of wine in my hand, refreshing the website at three o’clock in the morning. To be brutally honest I stopped giving a fcuk about what people buy a good few seasons ago, but it’s still hard not to see these indexes while daily-browsing through websites like Hypebeast or Business of Fashion.

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This time the list really surprised me. The fact that people stopped searching for huge and iconic brands like Saint LaurentValentino or, like I mentioned in the title, Louis Vuitton is clearly a sign. Sometimes designers just come out with weak ideas, release the product that doesn’t sell, simply because it’s nothing special. This time though, we’ve got Nike, which on this list seems like Courtney Love in Buckingham Palace. Something’s not right. Consumer’s choice tells us that either the chunky-ugly trend Balenciaga introduced a few seasons ago finally started boring people (yes, please…) or… the idea of sportswear in high fashion got the point so extreme, people who liked it moved into… real sportswear. Selfridges, which has always been a luxury shopping destination, sells more Nike AirMax 97 than Valentino open sneakers, Gucci ace sneaker in floral or Givenchy basic model trainers. Selecting “best selling” when sorting your list on Selfridges’ website will show you more Nike and Adidas than you could expect. Vicky Pollard look is the new Chanel.

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Prada opens the list at number ten, which is satisfactory. Miuccia’s brand makes clothes for true fashionistas who don’t tend to seek attention and hype on high streets of East London. Versace at number 7 is clearly the result of the popular(and very good!) TV series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story that apart from portraying the madness of self-obsessed serial killer Andrew Cunanan, also showed the passion and craft behind the Versace brand. And apparently, that worked in brand’s favour. It’s nice to see the iconic Italian brands still rocking the list, despite some other little monsters present there.

The Italian duo of Dolce & Gabbana is back. Unfortunately, they are back, I have to say. My queen of shade, Mariah Carey, once asked in the interview about Madonna said: “Really haven’t paid attention to Madonna since I was in the seventh or eighth grade when she used to be popular.”. Dolce&Gabbana, despite their undeniable skills, are like this awkward ghost of 2005 that keeps coming back with even more cringy, unsuitable for fashion industry ideas. I understand the need for rich, golden, baroque fashion, but honey, you gotta do it right(like previously mentioned Versace?). Selling white tees that say: “I’m the new D&G model” or “D&G millennial” is just pure cringe and some wicked version of fashion diarrhea. When other designers make their shows less or more artistic, often political or just appealing and interesting, those two Italian folks send drones or 5’8 popstars who can’t even walk down the runway properly, with, oh god, some David Guetta “that’s what I call music CD” kind of song playing in the background… Bring me that Nike, man…

A closer look at the style of Amy Winehouse

“I don’t think I’m going to be at all famous. I don’t think I could handle it. I’d probably go mad, d’you know I mean? I would go mad.”  Said Amy Winehouse in one of her early interviews. Yesterday would have been her 35th birthday.

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Music stars of numerous genres often appear in fashion magazines. Their outfits are analyzed from head to toe, with almost every single public appearance being a collaboration with a particular designer. The case of Amy Winehouse was different for several reasons. It’s obvious that the number of scandals, tabloid headlines, and digital trash that was thrown all over her was too big for anyone to care about anything else. The tragic day-by-day drama of a girl that loved too much overshadowed not only music but other aspects of that unique career as well.

Brought up in a simple household in North London, Amy remained humble til the end, despite the fortune that happened to credit her bank accounts later on. It didn’t really change her behaviour or style. Charmingly outspoken Jewish jazz princess always loved her dreamy vintage dresses, pencil skirts, big belts, polo shirts and… “fuck me pumps”, obviously.

“I just love beautiful girls” she once said, asked about her choices when it comes to personal style. Known for hair bigger than my future, often accompanied by a colorful hairband, and amount of black eyeliner and mascara that would last you a year without a problem. Her clothing style – most times described as “pin-up” or just “vintage”, without any deeper interpretation. It’s obvious Amy loved this whole Americana, pin-up girl game, but we need to remember – she was a British girl, oh yeah, she was! Winehouse loved her tacky animal prints from time to time, extra large golden earrings, cropped jackets. I can picture her outside some pub in Stoke Newington in a leopard jacket and red denim skirt. Smoking a Marlboro Red of course.

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Amy Winehouse performing at the Brit Awards, picture from Vogue.co.uk

She didn’t seem to care about the label, but the overall presentation and final effect. She was a perfect curator of her personal style. In 2010 Winehouse collaborated with Fred Perry and created her very own fashion line. Sometimes seen on stage in a gorgeous black Dolce and Gabbana retro dress, sometimes in just a cigarette fit jeans and a Fred Perry polo shirt – Amy created a style that later became an inspiration for other artists like Duffy or Lana Del Rey.

Few years after her death, The Jewish Museum of London organized an exhibition of Amy’s belongings – from books to clothes. The polka-dot chiffon dress from Back to Black album cover wasn’t there, as it got sold for over 40 grand on an auction… But other Amy-looking polka dot dresses were. Together with some gorgeous Fendi heels(pumps, as she would often say) and leopard print denim shorts.

Happy birthday Amy!

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Amy Winehouse wearing Dolce And Gabbana during her Grammy Awards 2008 performance in London. Picture from Vogue.co.uk

Burberry is facing the biggest transformation in its history

When one of the most respected, successful and just simply coolest designers in the world announced his departure from the house of Givenchy, the whole industry was in shock. Brilliant Italian couturier Riccardo Tisci left the iconic fashion house after twelve years.

During that time, he managed to redefine the way we look at modern couture, at the same time creating some of the most iconic fashion pieces of our generation. He is the one behind Bambi or Rottweiler sweatshirts – luxury streetwear pieces we can see people fighting for on eBay every day.

Florals, basketball print, leather kilts (yes), catholic iconography, shark print, Rottweiler, Antigona handbag, collaboration with Nike AirForce 1… I could go on for hours. Even though brilliant Clare Waight Keller has been doing very well as Tisci’s successor(she finally made Givenchy products available to buy via official website), undeniable talent of Riccardo hasn’t been forgotten even for a while. Straight after his departure from Givenchy, there were rumours of him joining the house of Versace as co-director, together with Donatella. If I’m being honest, it seemed like such a bunch of fake news from the beginning.

When Riccardo announced his appointment as Creative Chief Officer of Burberry, iconic English brand known for checked scarves and trench coats, I didn’t know how to feel about it. Unlike all other fashion giants, Burberry remained the same for a very long time. Despite having Christopher Bailey as a creative director for several years, historic house kept its branding untouched ever since the very beginning.

“I promised myself I will leave this house when it’s on top of the top” said Riccardo Tisci in his interview for Vogue few years ago. It’s fair to say that he achieved his goal completely.

In the United States and continental Europe Burberry is still associated with posh and successful Brits attending private media events(The Beckhams or Harry Styles) or Henley housewives wearing pearls and drinking lots of Cognac. That’s why it’s particularly interesting to see how the iconic English brand will develop under creative direction of the guy who stands behind some most wanted(by bloggers, fashionistas, but also posers and fuckboys) streetwear pieces.

Reports state that one cloudy day, Riccardo Tisci saw a ned wearing fake Burberry cap and was like, emmm, I totally have to reinvent this whole English stuff. Well, maybe not exactly with these particular words, but something must have been said, as the new, modern and minimalistic af logo has been introduced to the public, together with new monogram.

New brand logo together with the old one above it, for comparison.
img_1680New “Thomas Burberry” monogram.

I am honestly surprised how well this trend for minimal branding(at least when it comes to logos) is doing. There’s no chivalry around anymore. Soon even Ralph Lauren will change his style to Arial or Times New Roman. All the fancy iron letters reminding us of previously mentioned ladies in cashmere cardigans are now available to buy at reduced to clear.

The new monogram, however, seems like a great commercial outreach. People love being covered in monograms. Most of them would die for supreme x Louis Vuitton bomber jacket, just to act like they’re 22 years old and from Hampstead Heath…

Going minimal worked out perfect for Yves Saint Laurent, now known as Saint Laurent Paris. I don’t think it’s gonna work out as well here though. We’re talking about a fashion house most often associated with words British Heritage. Is Riccardo Tisci going to manage to combine fancy streetwear with tradition? We have to wait and see.

Donatella’s a tumblr girl at heart: Versace S/S 2019

House of Versace, kept on the top by the amazing Donatella, never disappoints me during their men’s fashion week presentations. The woman-powerhouse worked really hard over that past twenty years to keep the brand relevant, luxurious and interesting. Versace’s original codes has been kept authentic, appealing and surely stood the test of time, which wasn’t that easy to maintain, for sure. With this year’s MET Gala being a success, brand’s anniversary and a current menswear fashion week in Milan going on, Donatella Versace’s mind must be, just like her entire universe, dominated by work.

During this year’s men’s fashion week Donatella presented a collection filled with pieces we’d definitely expect from the house as well as Versace’s interpretations of current, ugly in my personal opinion, trends that should be avoided at all costs. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see Versace adapting the game’s rules to their own, Italian, golden, iconic Versace universe.

With the first model walking that grey marble floor, underneath beautiful pink flowers hanging from the ceiling, you could feel the Balenciaga’s trendsetting power, that should end as soon as possible – god, please. Opening walks were full of these, extremely popular nowadays, “my dad goes gardening” chunky trainers, baggy jeans and oversized suits and blazers that looked like taken from some Madonna/Blond Ambition cosmos of office porn.

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I loved the professionalism and quality of Versace’s shows. Casting is always on point, full of beautiful individuals, and this was no exception. Hip-hop kinda music in the background made me feel like I’m watching some Versace goes Wang thing, in a good way. After Demna Gvasalia’s wet dream of post soviet imagination, the next outfits – cool, funky, made me like the collection a lot.

As usually there’s a lot of branding going on. Versace’s logo on hip-hop influenced garments is presented in many of its forms. I liked the newspaper-inspired prints styled together with classic leather accessories. Leather coat with a clear snake skin on it(see above) is definitely my favourite piece from the collection.

Whilst fellow Italian designers, Dolce and Gabbana, constantly send their five foot seven “models” (irrelevant celebrities and awkward singers) down the runway to the sound of cheesy TOP40 tunes, superhouse Versace gives us yet another professional piece of high fashion to enjoy. She smokes Marlboro and drinks champagne!

Pictures: Vogue.com

We wore Balenciaga at 10

I remember doing some, so called, modelling in Warsaw in 2013 and ending up in Vitkac one gloomy afternoon. It’s Poland’s first real department store selling high end brands exclusively, opened for these few thousand polish citizens who can afford brands commonly worn in western countries. We didn’t want them(these businessmen, TV personalities and WAGs) to throw money away on flights to London, so we transformed one of depressing, marble buildings in central Warsaw into that, many would say, haunted house, where sad sale advisors on minimum wage hide behind poorly merchandised rails to yawn and check the time.

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So I walked in there with someone, I don’t remember the name, but probably one of my seventy four ex-husbands. After walking past Saint Laurent Paris, back then still known and displayed as Yves Saint Laurent, we took a luxurious escalator upstairs where I saw these unique blue trainers. Displayed in the centre of fucking everything, on some silky, shitty tissues… I moved my hand towards the shoe and felt the earth below my feet shaking, temperature going up, all eyes of sales advisors on me: “don’t touch the holy grail, you poor fuck”. But I did it. Whilst holding it in my hand I started studying it like Prince studied the Bible. Then I noticed the logo printed on the inside. BALENCIAGA. Back then I thought: that’s the real luxury.

A few years later I found myself in the middle of the London mess. Together with my friends fashionistas, we consumed Frappuccinos on hungover and spoke about this new guy who started changing the game. Demna Gvasalia, designer from Georgia, who worked at Maison Martin Margiela before, created extremely popular and expensive brand Vetements (read: vet-mo). Just like Amy Winehouse into the music mainstream, he brought nonchalant I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude and image into the pompous world of white shirts and colorful dresses. Gvasalia transformed things unfashionable and common into a luxury business.

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It all started with Vetements. The success of the brand he started, transformed him into the fashion power he is today. His brand became popular thanks to oversized jackets and death metal sweatshirts that were originally meant to imitate clothing worn by people who, well, don’t give a damn about fashion and changing trends. Oh no, pardon me, I think the ironic DHL t-shirts were first, and the irony is the most important word here, apparently.

“Irony is both about making you smile or laugh, but it can also be quite painful because it asks questions. With irony, you can ask questions that are delicate, but there’s a thin line between irony and sarcasm so I have to be careful not to overstep it. I made a bag for my first men’s show at Balenciaga, which was based on the classic Ikea bag. It was ironic but also authentic. I used the blue Ikea bag during my four years as a student in Antwerp, due to its size and its price. Fifty percent of all students had the same bag for the same reasons, When I did it at Balenciaga I recycled leather that the company had on stock from previous collections, and I finished it as a luxury product. I meant it as an ironic gesture in part, taking something really cheap and moving it into the luxury realm. But it’s authentic too, and that’s why it’s been all over the internet by now. People can relate.”

Demna Gvasalia in an interview with Business of Fashion.

Demna’s idea to appropriate clothing used in the late eighties and nineties by working classes of Europe isn’t anything particularly shocking. Designers tend to go through different moments in time, political environments or historic events whilst looking for inspiration. In the case of Balenciaga’s reinvention, the most surprising thing is Gvasalia’s consistency. It’s not like after one season of selling tired, high waisted jeans, he took an inspiration from the Olympics and sent models down the runway in swimming trunks. He fucking didn’t.

Post-soviet aesthetic became permanent for Balenciaga and remained a strong inspiration for Vetements. Designer himself is unlikely to name this inspiration in his interviews, or maybe I just wasn’t looking properly enough. But polish fashion journalist Michal Zaczynski in an article written for a London-based magazine said:

I dislike Vetements and Gosha Rubchinskiy. Same with that new Balenciaga under the direction of Demna Gvasalia. They remind me of everything that was the worst in the 90’s, and they’re unlikely to raise any nostalgic feelings in me.*

I guess you have to be from Eastern Europe to understand the “worst of the 90’s” part. Chunky trainers with ridiculously shaped soles made of many pieces of leather sewn together? Big ugly trainers like that? My teacher in primary school had a pair, worn with an almost square-shaped blue shirt, which looked like someone was making a computer game character that lacked most polygons. Men wearing casual blazers that were way too big? That was all they could get from second hand stores. You couldn’t just order your size online and wait for a DHL courier to deliver your parcel after 10 hours, like Amazon Prime.

I remember the popular Vetements sweatshirt my friend owned in 2016. Long, red with a slogan: May the Bridges I burn light the way. Everyone was obsessed with it. Dark, gothic, Tumblr-alternative vibe Demna Gvasalia created for Vetements is something I’d like to remember. Balenciaga reminds me of old furniture, drinking black coffee from transparent thin glasses, playing Pink Panther point and click adventure game on Windows 98 and wearing ugly grey sport sweaters because there was nothing else. And I’m not even from the eighties.

(*translated roughly from polish. The original English text not available at the time of writing this post, as the magazine’s website crashed)

Remembering Lee: few words about Alexander McQueen then and now.

“You dumb bitch”, I thought while talking to this white, privileged middle class born girl. I met her at one of the London Fashion Week afterparties. After going totally crazy and trying something she’s never done before (drinking beer, like, ugh, working class) she left her 6’5 tall boyfriend inside the pub alone with some Swiss models and went outside with me for a cigarette and a chat. “You know what, Thomas” she started, “I totally love TK Maxx. Once I found a blazer that looked totally like Balmain… I love Balmain…”. I had a quick look at her perfectly clean Gucci Ace Sneakers, brighter than my future, then at Zara uniform trainers I was wearing. “Yeah, I know what you mean…” I answered and slowly exhaled the smoke in the direction of her face.

I really wanted to buy my first designer pair of shoes, but I simply couldn’t afford it. I’m also not good at saving money – sorry, but I’m a boy who goes to Asda after work to buy a £40 champagne just because the work was tiring… With a price tag of good few hundred British pounds I knew I had to come up with some idea. I decided to quit my job then, as I wanted to get extra money for all the earned and unused holidays, in order to be able to purchase… £400 trainers.

Well. That job was shit anyway.

Alexander McQueen is a brand founded by Lee McQueen, Stratford boy with Scottish roots, accepted into Central St. Martins thanks to his unbelievable skills in cutting clothes. Son of a taxi driver, boy who dropped out of school to work as a tailor in Mayfair, later got accepted into one of the most prestigious fashion schools in the world, became the artistic director of Givenchy and after leaving above mentioned house, created one of the most relevant modern fashion brands, owned by “The Gucci Group”, Kering.

One of the tutors at St. Martins, for the interview used in documentary “McQueen and I”, admitted not treating McQueen seriously at the time. No wonder, guy was the same age as students of the school. He got offered a place though, and started his new journey (hate that word) as a MA student of fashion design shortly after.

His first fashion shows were brilliant in their own rebellious and chaotic way. Often organised in old Warehouses or once, even in the actual church, left everyone shocked or even disgusted. Models with their boobs hanging out, sanitary towels, blood – a bit of hardcore porn, a bit of high culture…

Alexander McQueen was never a brand created just to make money. Lee’s collections, with time becoming more and more spectacular and theatrical, were always an honest representation of designer’s feelings, personal demons or views on certain things. With brand getting more recognition (and financial freedom), as much as fashion shows becoming more expensive, McQueen’s label got associated with its own permanent aesthetic – dark British romanticism.

After designer’s tragic death in February 2010, just few days before his own mother’s funeral, Sarah Burton who had worked with McQueen over the years, became brand’s new creative director. Keeping the influences more or less where they were and should stay. Post-McQueen McQueen includes a lot of royal embroidery, sharp tailoring, death symbolism and melancholic references. All of that served with a decent dose of punk energy.

Plato’s Atlantis, which is the name of last collection Lee McQueen designed, is often described as his absolute best. Armadillo shoes that Lady Gaga wore in her Bad Romance video, together with bell dress are two of many pieces that will stay with us forever.

McQueen once said that he’d like to be remembered as the one who started 21st century in fashion. In my opinion though, with his disappearance, the artistic, wild and rebellious part of the game also faded away.

God save the Queen

God save McQueen

5 best collaborations between H&M and a luxury brand

Let’s make this clear: you didn’t sleep well, work was exhausting, then it started raining on your way back. Pressure in your left tyre was really low, or you missed your bus… Coming home after all, sad, tired, annoyed. Looking at the mirror, you think, oh. Oh no. I’ve just spent another day of my life not wearing designer brands!

Who knows that feeling? Hmm? You don’t have to worry though. You can keep sleeping like a baby on your £19.99 Ikea bed, because your old friend H&M comes with a mission to spread love, positivity and sell clothes produced in Cambodia that are meant to be like Versace, Balmain or Kenzo, and what’s most important here – make you feel like you’re really wearing these brands. We all want to look cute, attractive and cross the town square with confidence while hot football loving boys stare at us wearing these breathtaking outfits.

Not feeling like buying your white t shirt in Valentino on Bond Street, where you can’t even afford to breathe? Thank god Swedish chain, which on a daily basis sells Justin Bieber hoodies, £5.99 t-shirts, Justin Bieber hoodies and Justin Bieber t shirts(what a variety) once a year makes a collection with a popular (in most cases) fashion brand. It all started over ten years ago, with names as inspiring as Lagerfeld or Comme Des Garçons. After many years of success, which in this case means people literally killing each other on the launch day, spending long long hours queuing, and then reselling clothes for at least twice its price on EBay, H&M keeps riding this profitable bike.

The newest collab between tasteful Swedes and a high end giant will drop this November and we can definitely expect something interesting as this year’s brand is Moschino. To mark this occasion, I chose 5 of my favourite H&M collaborations so far.

5. Erdem for H&M

The first one on my list is the collection from last year, that happened to be so interesting, it reached out to a lot of my friends, even though the brand itself isn’t that famous and operates only in the world of womenswear. Canadian-Turkish-English designer (oh god, this guy must have a lot of passports) designs pretty vintage looking garments with flowers on them. To promote the collection, H&M made a short film directed by Baz Luhrmann, that tells a story of two gay boys who hooked up at a dinner party in the old castle while old lady was watching. Sounds chic.

Despite the ridiculous idea, I enjoyed the whole concept of working with a brand that’s both luxurious and relatively unknown to the general public. It was also the only chance to ever get your hands on Erdem menswear, as the brand only sells womenswear as mentioned before. Silky pyjama looking floral outfit is definitely my favourite here.

4. Balmain for H&M

Balmain’s creative director, young and beautiful Olivier Rousteing knows how to play the game. Few years ago, when his brand was on top of the game(it still kind of is, though), they announced the release of a collection with H&M and world went absolutely crazy. Favourite brand of all the Jenner-Kardashians, that sells clothes looking rich, expensive, covered in heavy golden embroidery, tons of pearls and other sparkly shit like that – it all made people wait for long hours, just to get a t-shirt saying “Balmain London” or “France” or just “Europe” if you’re from an irrelevant city, which of course is a cheaper copy of £185 Balmain logo top.

The collection is the typical Balmain rich and famous show-off style we all want and love – leather joggers, biker jeans, evening double breasted blazers, heavy embroidered bomber jackets, leather jackets, military style overcoats… With a campaign starring Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, and a strong TV advertising that in fact, started after the collection officially sold out, everyone was talking about this, well, beautiful mess.

3. Alexander Wang for H&M

Sex sells best. Things that lead to it sell almost as good. Sportswear is one of these things. Guys who look like they’re going to the gym will always seem sexier than ones that look like a fucking Christmas tree. Period.

Alexander Wang is one of the smarter designer of our times. His garments often black, inspired by hip hop culture, are very wearable, appealing and versatile. His love for synthetic sport and Activewear related fabrics can be seen in his collection for H&M

Who wouldn’t like to see guys running around in designer leggings and neoprene sweatshirts? Or girls dressed like they just came back from a casting to the newest Tomb Raider movie? This collection gave us something fresh and attractive and filled The blogosphere with overwhelming amount of WANG hype. Yasssssss.

2. Maison Martin Margiela for H&M

Just a moment before John Galliano took over the Margiela fashion house, the brand created an artistic collection, some sort of throwback Thursday selection of what the legendary Belgian designer introduced to people in the past. Full of crazy, typical for Margiela ideas, such as painted shoes, painted jeans, reversed jackets, sweaters made of football scarves, fur coat, crazy necklaces, duvet-coat (amazing). I remember buying myself a sweater illusion long sleeve top and a pair of Chelsea boots painted in white, that I never wore in public, because at 16 years old, I was too scared of people’s reaction.

Avant-grade collection wasn’t a commercial hit, but gave us some of the most remarkable pieces ever created in a designer collab. The quality was amazing and online hype for a camel coat that Kanye West wore to the launch event – mental.

Versace for H&M

Some people just play by different rules. I’m rich bitch, I’m the upper class sings Lady Gaga, in her 2013 song about Donatella Versace – woman who takes kitsch to such Italian, such fabulous level that everything can be forgiven.

Donatella first refused to work with a high street chain, which made the whole collaboration even more exclusive when the project was finally announced. Collection full of pink, sparkling dresses worn by blond runway heroines and men’s patterned suits and leather jackets made an amazing glamorous impression. And come on, Prince performed at the after party, everyone lost their shit.