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Giorgio Armani crafts a colorful narrative for Emporio Armani‘s spring/summer 2014 collection—and reveals a point of view on lightness, inspired by the symbolic modernity of water lilies.

Enchanted by the great gardens of our time, Giorgio assumes the role of a painter, drawing upon floral motifs that allow his creative brushstroke to blur the lines between “realism and abstraction,” according to show notes.

The delicate nature of his designs are powered by technical fabrics, exposing clean lines and subtle proportions that effortlessly drape the body. Key statements take the form of a soft jacket combined with flared-ankle trousers.

Leggings create a second skin and are paired with skirts and dresses to give each look a sense of newness. The colors and shades involuntarily pay homage to French impressionist artist Claude Monet, who was enthralled by water lilies for a large part of his career.

Take your style into full bloom this spring.

Qianna Smith
Photos courtesy of Giorgio Armani

Strong. Uncontrived. Decisively feminine.

“I took activewear essentials as a starting point,” says Frida Giannini, Gucci‘s creative director. “And set out to create a feminine take on technical outfitting crafted with Gucci’s codes. Intricate elegance, enlivened by a refined ornamentalism that takes its cue from Erté illustrations.”

Sportswear is reengineered with opulent materials that include jacquard patterns, laminations and leather inlays. Each look goes through a deluxe treatment, revealing seductive details that come in the form of deep slits, unforeseen cuts, plunging necklines and transparencies.

Tunics crafted from Art Nouveau prints are the new eveningwear for spring ’14.

Below-the-knee lengths, as modeled by Joan Smalls, bring to light a new sensuality.

Watch the movement and ethereal physicality of the 44 looks Frida sent down the runway come to life.

Qianna Smith
Photos courtesy of Gucci

Printmaker Mary Katrantzou examines the fascination and fetish that women have for shoes in her spring/summer 2014 collection.

The Greek designer hones in on her hyperrealist aesthetic by breaking down the shoe and then blowing it apart.

Mary’s mission for spring ’14? To discover “the nature of the shoes themselves [to] determine the identity of the garments.” According to show notes, “Brogues suggest a section of highly polished daywear in structured shapes; sneakers are spliced to create sleek sportswear; evening mules are fantasias of embellishment, cocoons of luxurious texture and vibrant print.”

Sporty shoes quicken the pace of the collection and reveal a form-fitting cut that’s engineered to define and accentuate the female form.

French embroidery house Maison Lesage collaborates with the London-based print mastermind for a second time, allowing her to draw inspiration from their archives, which, of course, are then distorted and amplified.

Dive into the details of Mary’s technical exploration of print.

Qianna Smith
Photos courtesy of Mary Katrantzou

“I love detail, especially some sort of embellishment that can transform a garment instantly. It’s always good to move out of your comfort zone each season, to learn new things and to challenge your senses.”–Christopher Kane

See how flowers inspire the Scotland-born designer for spring/summer 2014.

Qianna Smith

“Shoes,” says Manolo Blahnik, “help transform a woman.”

Born in the Canary Islands, Blahnik began making shoes in London in 1971, and this year, for the first time in his illustrious career, he’s elected to hold a spot on the official London Fashion Week calendar. Blahnik hosted an intimate presentation at the Covent Garden Hotel right in the heart of the theater district, which was fitting, as the designer made his LFW debut via his first fashion film, directed by Michael Roberts and starring actor Rupert Everett and socialite Lucy Birley.

Vivid colors and floral and African motifs defined the look for spring ’14.

HERO

Watch Manolo Blahnik unveil his latest handcrafted designs.

Qianna Smith
Photos from Twitter @ManoloBlahnik

Take a peek at some behind-the-scenes photos from Burberry‘s Instagram page posted yesterday, then watch the full runway show below!

A sketch from the new Burberry Prorsum collection.

The pop-up invitation.

Models get ready backstage.

The sultry Jourdan Dunn.

Cara Delevingne and Jourdan hop in the Burberry beauty booth.

Attendees start to arrive, including British singer Harry Styles.

Model Arizona Muse.

Model Suki Waterhouse.

The show begins.

Looks featured textured pencil skirts and printed blouses.

Cara Delevingne

The petal-strewn finale.

Burberry creative director Christopher Bailey with models after the show.

Stripes and polka-dots.

Sienna Miller and Christopher Bailey.

Harry Styles in the Burberry beauty booth.

Watch the full runway show below:

Mary O’Regan

The wet and dreary conditions in Londontown didn’t stop fashion insiders and British scenesters from flocking to the Topshop Unique show space in Regent’s Park, where they were greeted with “a heat rave” of “wild heady days and endless freedom of summer,” according to show notes.

Vogue’s Anna Wintour, Topshop CEO Sir Philip Green and supermodel Kate Moss talk the business of fashion from the front row.

Strappy sundresses in breezy silhouettes were the highlight of the collection and played a major role in Topshop’s POV on effortless summer dressing.

Cracked tile prints give a modern edge to the season’s color palette.

Dior Beauty event DJ/model Harley Viera-Newton goes for a fresh pastel look, wearing a Topshop Textured Sweater.

Cara Delevingne, the face for both DKNY Jeans and Fendi fall ’13 ad campaigns, rocks a sporty printed look accented with slip-on mules, which add to the overall simplistic nature of her spring style.

The trio of sisters behind the L.A.-based indie rock band Haim made a dash across the pond to catch the Unique show. Alana, Danielle and Este Haim, all outfitted in Topshop, won the BBC Sound of 2013 award for their new folk grooves.

ABC’s Revenge star Ashley Madekwe looks runway-ready, donning the Topshop Unique Genuine Shearling Bomber Jacket.

Spring is all about solid colors. Be boldly chic in an all-white monochromatic outfit.

British babe Jourdan Dunn shows how relaxed separates can make an intensely sharp statement.

Let’s get a round of applause! L to R: Starry Eyed singer Ellie Goulding, socialite Pixie Geldof, model Daisy Lowe, Les Misérables actress Samantha Barks and model Suki Waterhouse (girlfriend to actor Bradley Cooper).

Nordstrom is the only U.S. retailer to sell a large assortment of Topshop and Topman apparel, shoes and accessories both in store and online. Stay on top of the trends with new deliveries arriving each week.

Watch the collection come to life on the runway!

Visit our Beauty Blog for the backstage hair and makeup report.

Qianna Smith
Photos courtesy of Topshop

September 12, 2013

MARC JACOBS’ Dark Past

Thursday night’s torrential downpour added a fitting layer of gloom to the already dark, dystopic scene at the MARC JACOBS spring 2014 show. Clad in ornate, Victorian-esque dresses and upholstery coats, models stormed across glittering black sand, past deserted beach chairs, a broken-down bus and a crumbling boardwalk. Each look was loaded with intricate details: appliqué, embroidery, tassels, brocade—you name it, Jacobs worked it in. This resulted in the polar opposite of his spring 2013 collection, which focused on simple, mod factory-girl pieces. But Jacobs has never been the predictable type—and that’s exactly why we love him.

Mary O’Regan

With all the extravagance appearing on the Fashion Week runways, it’s easy to forget that at some point, someone, somewhere is intended to wear this clothing, whether to work, to a party or out for dinner. That’s part of what makes Narciso Rodriguez’s* new collection so appealing. We’d happily welcome each piece into our closet and select one to wear at random, with our eyes closed, taking comfort in the fact that there isn’t a single oddball in the bunch. But despite the quiet simplicity of Rodriguez’s clothing, each beautifully tailored piece maintains an element of curiosity—whether that’s asymmetrical draping, geometric seams or an elegant cape.

*Available in selected stores

Mary O’Regan

September 11, 2013

Naeem Khan in Great Detail

Break out the microscope, because Naeem Khan‘s spring 2014 dresses are some of the most intricate we’ve ever seen. The Indian-American designer looked to traditional Spanish embroidery for his new collection, creating beaded brocade gowns that give new meaning to the word ornate. It’s easy to imagine these looks on the red carpet—and they’d make spectacular wedding wear, too. Basically, if over-the-top isn’t an issue, you know exactly where to turn.

Mary O’Regan