Chanel and Armani evoke old world and new

Updated 04 July 2013
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Chanel and Armani evoke old world and new

Fashion is the only thing that can travel ... from the old world to the new, proclaimed Karl Lagerfeld. And on the second day of haute couture shows, Chanel’s showman couturier made his point with aplomb: He delivered the words from the stage of an old, decayed opera house standing next to pop star Rihanna.
As ever, the master designer stole the show, with Tuesday’s most impressive couture display. His creations glittered in dramatic contrast with the broken-down theater, recreated inside Paris’ Grand Palais. Faded grimy curtains, old wooden stalls, and some classic clothing styles mixed alongside futuristic streaks of silver embroideries and cosmic-looking hats. Fashion, it seemed to say, lives in the past and the future.
A similar message ran throughout the day of shows, with Italian designer Giorgio Armani delivering a stylish collection that evoked the sensuality of old Hollywood while still remaining modern. Stephane Rolland, too, cited old masters such as Velazquez as muses for a strong show, but pulled off looks with a modern elegance.
Haute couture itself dates back over 150 years and is steeped in history. But the hurdle for designers is to keep the looks fresh while also keeping the artisan-based method of making clothes alive and relevant.
The setting saw Lagerfeld carry off a dark, expressionist-tinged fall-winter 2013 collection, which began with an image of a futuristic metropolis beamed onto the old, nostalgic theater wall.
When the models appeared, the contrasts continued: the first chic series of A-line skirt suit-styles were twinned with Grace Jones-style space-age hair. Intergalactic square hats that were attached at the back of the head seemed to float like a geometric halo, in a great anachronism.
The 67 very wearable looks had some notable features, such as wide, often shiny, belt bands that strapped across at the hip, and mosaic patterns. Instead of boots, Lagerfeld put legs inside “stocking shoes,” attached up the leg with a garter like lingerie. Jackets sometimes had strong, menswear shoulders which contrasted with tight feminine dress sleeves. And skirts were layered upon skirts to produce different directions of movement.
One fantastic tweed-style gray coat was constructed with one long piece of material, half of which went down, and the other half hooped back up to create a voluminous silhouette.
At the end, a creation perfectly showed Lagerfeld’s expressionist mood. A long, black diaphanous silk dress was streaked with shards of fractured and glimmering silver. Was this musing inspired by the dark landscape of legendary filmmaker Fritz Lang?
“You know,” Lagerfeld said. “My whole life is a Fritz Lang moment.”
The Armani Prive show made its statement in skin-colored fine organzas, lace and tulles. At times, the material seemed to simply melt into the models’ flesh.
But the show, for the most part, remained relatively classical, and several creations had the refined look of old-school Hollywood glamor.




Loose, pleated pants combined with high shoulders in marabou feathers cut a striking 1930s silhouette along with the models’ short wavy hair. One look that had a soft floppy bow tied on the top of high-waisted trousers could have been worn by Katharine Hepburn.
“Austere, but sensuous,” were the words the program notes used to describe Stephane Rolland’s dark and luxuriant couture display, which continued in the elegant footsteps of last season.
Deep midnight blue produced a classy silk crepe jumpsuit with a billowing black satin module that evoked the fuzzy brushstrokes of a painter.
Indeed, the Spanish royal court’s master painter Diego Velazquez was one of the inspirations behind this collection.
Thirty-three creations saw Rolland using black, flowing capes to get this regal message across, as well as hanging lengths of rippling silks that conjured up the idea of nobility or time-old queenliness through the material’s simple, natural luxury.
Though the collection was not ground-breaking, it confirms that the normally glitzy and glam designer, who’s known for dressing red-carpet celebrities, is moving in a welcome, more elegant direction.


Instagram fashionista Miquela Sousa casts no shadow

Updated 22 May 2018
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Instagram fashionista Miquela Sousa casts no shadow

  • Lil Miquela posts selfies on Instagram “wearing” labels like Diesel, Stussy and Prada and “hanging out” with various musicians and fashion industry figures at restaurants in New York City and LA.
  • She has given interviews — via email — before, though her PR people, a New York City advertising firm, declined to make her available to the media to explain exactly what is going on here.

LONDON: Miquela Sousa is a success story for the modern age. She is a 19-year-old fashion-world influencer from LA with over 1 million followers.

She posts selfies on Instagram “wearing” labels like Diesel, Stussy and Prada and “hanging out” with various musicians and fashion industry figures at restaurants in New York City and LA, and has released a handful of popular singles.

However, she doesn’t cast a shadow in any of her photos, because to have a shadow, you have to exist. And Miquela doesn’t exist.

Lil Miquela, as she is known, is a computer-generated image, the work of an LA-based artificial intelligence firm called Brud.

She’s been in “photoshoots” in magazines like Interview and Highsnobiety, but it’s not clear how those images are created.

She has given interviews — via email — before, though her PR people, a New York City advertising firm, declined to make her, or Brud, available to the media to explain exactly what is going on here.

Is it an attempt to manufacture an influencer, someone with a lot of social media followers who can spruik brands’ products? Is it a branding exercise for an AI firm?

To Ryan Shelley, a social media expert from the firm Pepper IT, the fact that interest has piqued recently around Miquela’s existence suggests the power of this particular piece of storytelling.

“Some people tune in and watch the Kardashians on TV,” he said. “People are tuning into Instagram and they are watching the self-realization of a robot.”

Instagram trades on the idea of authenticity — you follow someone because you want that behind-the-scenes insight into their life, but the arrival of Lil Miquela has resulted in a redrafting of the script.