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Balenciaga combining women's and men's runway shows

In the ever changing landscape of the runway show and the fashion calendar, who knows what is going to happen next. The latest fashion house to make adjustments to their show dates is Balenciaga, the Kering-owned luxury brand headed up by artistic director Demna Gvasalia.

Beginning with their autumn/winter 2018 collection which will show at Paris Fashion Week in March, the brand will combine their menswear and womenswear collections to show at the same time. In the past, women's showed at Paris Fashion Week in March and October, and men's showed at Paris Men's Fashion Week in January and June.

Beginning in January 2018, the brand will also launch a men's pre-collection. Balenciaga isn't the only luxury brand to announce a unification of their men's and women's runway shows. Recently, Salvatore Ferragamo announced they will be combining their men's and women's shows, and showing at Milan Fashion Week twice a year. This removes from them the Milan menswear calendar. With so many designers leaving the men's runway show weeks, what's the future of men's Fashion Weeks?

photo:via Balenciaga Facebook Page
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Contemporary Danish fashion brand Wood Wood has confirmed that it is to do a presentation during London Fashion Week Men’s in January 2018, following two season’s successful showing at Milan Fashion Week.

The presentation will take place on January 6 and will mark Wood Wood’s first London Fashion Week Men’s appearance to showcase its autumn/winter 2018 menswear collection, as well as looks from the womenswear collection. In addition, the brand will preview select pieces from collaborative projects launching in 2018.

Wood Wood returned to the international show scene as a special guest invited to do a runway show during Milan’s official fashion week in January 2017. After two successful shows in Milan and a business increase in Southern Europe with more than 100 percent the brand has stated that they feel that the “time is right to seek new challenges”.

In a press statement, Wood Wood added: “With a unique retail landscape consisting of numerous high-end and premium retail locations throughout the country, UK has been an important core market for Wood Wood for many years and since opening our own sales showroom in 2014 we have steadily been increasing our business and presence in Great Britain.

“The established yet contemporary fashion week in London appeals to us as a brand and we hope to be able to both add value to an already strong calendar and benefit from the impressive field of designers and visitors. Furthermore the timing of London Men’s Week as the first fashion week of the season is very attractive and a key motivator for us.”

Berlin's diminishing Fashion Week

London - Even though Mercedes-Benz is set to remain the title sponsor and initiator of Berlin Fashion Week, its upcoming edition in January 2018 is set to be significantly smaller than previous editions.

The bi-annual event, which has been sponsored by Mercedes-Benz for the past 21 years, will include up to 10 shows under the new title Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week instead of the usual 30 or more shows. The new fashion week has also been shortened, as it is set to run for two days to three days, rather than four days, reports WWD.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is set to take place in a new location next season as well: E-Werk, a former power plant in Berlin Mitte, which Mercedes-Benz says "offers ideal conditions for high-quality fashion shows in a central location." The new fashion week will also undergo a transformation to become more digitally driven in an attempt to attract a younger target group. This shift will be supported by a new website which will offer more information on the designers showing.

The changes to Berlin Fashion Week comes after Mercedes-Benz parted way with its organizational partner IMG last July, following a 10-year partnership. Creative and production agency Nowadays is set to develop, organize as well as produce the shows for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which will run from January 16 to 18, 2018.

Photo: Berlin Fashion Week former location at Kaufhaus Jandorf, via Mercedes-Benz Berlin Fashion Week

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FashionUnited's Top 4 Trends from Fashion Weeks

London - With Paris Fashion Week for Spring/Summer ‘18 come to an end, the four main international women’s wear ready to wear Fashion Weeks have officially closed. As the industry’s leading insiders travelled from New York to London, Milan and Paris to see fashion houses and designers vision for SS ‘18, the recent of the world followed from afar. What is shown on the catwalks always influences what we will wear over the next coming season, but what are some of the key trends to emerge from the SS’18 international fashion weeks? FashionUnited’s own editors select their favourite trend from each fashion week and share them with you below.

Fringing at New York Fashion Week - Jackie Mallon

The reemergence of fringe at New York Fashion Week as a leading trend for Spring/Summer ‘18 seems so undeniably right. Raf Simons’s tangled shreds of Americana for Calvin Klein represent how many are feeling in the U.S. about where the country is headed. His finale dresses symbolized the current challenge of holding it together despite the apparent chaos and good old American optimism.

FashionUnited's Top 4 Trends from Fashion Weeks

Similarly, at Monse, the red, white, and blue was slashed and collaged into collegiate wear. A shower of fringe enriched the back of an Edun trench coat (preempting Loewe’s fringe-hemmed one shown a week later in Paris.) At Diane von Furstenberg, it edged a plunging décollete and swirled from satin, recalling images of the designer’s fellow Studio 54 dancing queen, Liza Minelli, and it turned flapper-ish when swinging from lace and dipped in shades of watermelon at Marchesa, undulating from the slinky curves of a modern-day Daisy Buchanan.

Embedded in American popular culture fringe evokes the suede-clad cowboy, the Bob Mackie-attired Cher, and the white-cloaked Elvis. Its perennial appeal seems to be that it can be unapologetically loud, slightly mesmerizing, always in motion and even politically engaged. Just like the modern American woman.

The Return of Ruffles at London Fashion Week - Danielle Wightman-Stone

Ruffles were one of autumn/winter 2017’s biggest trends and it seems that fashion isn’t done with them yet as they were seen across the spring/summer 2018 London Fashion Week shows, and what I loved is there is no such thing as a subtle ruffle, only drama and romance.

FashionUnited's Top 4 Trends from Fashion Weeks

At Simone Roche, it was all about the dramatic and most romantic of ruffles, with frills so big that they were collapsing to the floor. While at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi ruffles added an edge to asymmetrical gowns in pastel hues that were delicate and girlie, and emerging designer Ryan Lo used ruffles to give his accessories a romantic touch, with frills seen on long-sleeved evening globes and socks.

The most beautiful of all ruffles came at Erdem, with the Canadian-born designer showcasing waterfall ruffle inspired by Her Majesty, while at David Koma the ruffles had an architectural edge, and Roksanda added oversized ruffles to her statement cuffs. There were also dresses and skirts created entirely from puckered ruffles at Christopher Kane that were designed to resemble a mop as inspired by his SS '18 muse, the ‘domestic goddess’.

Milan Fashion Week Rocks the Socks - Vivian Hendriksz

Milan Fashion Week saw a plethora of fashion houses embracing maximalism as designers revelled in all the excessiveness of fashion. One of the leading trends to emerge from the catwalks these past few seasons, this feeling of ‘overmuchness’ has trickled its way into all aspects of fashion - even down to one of the most common and most functional garments of all - the sock. First spotted at London Fashion Week at designers including Burberry and Erdem, the designer sock trend skipped its way to Milan, putting to bed the feared Dad sock and sandal combo for good.

FashionUnited's Top 4 Trends from Fashion Weeks

For Spring/Summer ‘18 designers including Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Gucci, Fendi and Marco De Vincenzo completed their looks with dazzling socks fit for a queen - or king. Although this trend of pairing socks with closed (or open) heels for a lady-like appeal is nothing new, for SS ‘18 designers injected a sense of drama into their sock pairings, which I love as it gives new life to a garment previously overlooked. At Dolce & Gabbana, red carpet dresses and transparent suits were complemented with matching lace knee-high socks for maximum impact.

Over at Prada, who is long promoted the sock and court shoe pairing, creative director Miuccia Prada continued her sock love affair by raising the bar and pairing knee-high socks with striped shorts, pointy slingbacks and fringed brogues. Karl Lagerfeld took sock matching to the next level for Fendi and send models down the catwalk in plaid socks, producing a full-on stripe-on-stripe look. A few socks reached past the ankles and up to the thighs, which offered a touch of playfulness when paired with sheer dresses.

At Gucci, socks seemed almost plain compared to Alessandro embellished looks, but a closer look revealed ribbed or ruffled edges, while Marco De Vincenzo colour coordinated his fish-net ankle socks with matching heels. This trend certainly places the humble sock in a new light, reminding us that even the smallest details can make or break an outfit. In addition, it also offers consumers more accessible designer item, something that can be worn every day.

Paris Fashion Week goes 'Full Bloom' - Don-Alvin Adegeest

Decoding Paris Fashion Week can be a little like deciphering hieroglyphics, with designers this season showing a complex narrative of fashion in the digital age. It is as if designers have an acute awareness the companies they represent are facing challenging global times, and the collections this season, when decoded on a product level, were highly wearable and commercial.

FashionUnited's Top 4 Trends from Fashion Weeks

The Spring/Summer ‘18 collections brought a renewed focus on femininity and we saw everything from the seductive little black dress to full floral gowns, the latter a key trend across the Paris shows. Designers appeared to be in full bloom, with Alexander McQueen, Dries van Noten and Nicolas Ghesquiere at Louis Vuitton, all boldly showing floral patterns, top to toe, with prints seemingly borrowed from your grandmother’s wardrobe.

What I love about this trend is its optimism and romanticism. Last season there may have been a mood borderlining on despair; this season designers were focused on bringing us joy, uniting in resilience and looking to the future. For evening, floral dresses were neither frumpy nor too technical - like at Sacai and Louis Vuitton - where the gowns were soft and fluid, often with a cascade of ruffles, also seen at Ronald van der Kemp. Dresses were easy to fall in love with, an achievement not to be dismissed in this day and age of too much product where nobody ‘needs’ to shop.

Dries van Noten embraced the trend most vigorously and was one of my favourite shows of Paris fashion week. There were a plethora of options of the floral variety, from a bold and bright yellow lily print, accentuated with sparkly starfish and checked sleeves to a wallpaper floral bomber that could have been a furnishing or interiors print, worn with abstract printed short and boots. Van Noten himself stated after the show, “We always say that fashion is a reflection of our times. Well, maybe that’s of enough of that!”

Photos: Catwalkpictures

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

With Paris Fashion Week coming to an end Tuesday, here's a look at the five big takeaways from the catwalks.

Frills

The future will be frilly. Sparingly deployed on the diagonal or in a whole flotilla of volant skirts and dresses, frills are back as a major trend for next spring and summer.

Once a symbol of frivolous, even enslaved, femininity, they have been reinterpreted by the likes of Stella McCartney and Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy as symbols of power and confidence.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

While they have been creeping back out of the cupboard for a while, frills ruffled through almost every show this past week, from the punky glamour of Alexander McQueen to the slick styling of Giambattista Valli, from edgy Sacai to avant-garde Comme des Garcons.

Black and white

Black and white isn't so much a trend for next spring and summer as the rule. Although pastels and strong colours traditionally dominate the spring/summer collections, this year many brands have not looked much beyond the two-tone essentials of black and white.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

The list of those who have gone binary is long: sexy Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Off-White, Balmain, Mugler, Lanvin, Isabel Marant, Ann Demeulemeester, Paco Rabanne and Yohji Yamamoto. Silvery greys are also in, with Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne and Vanessa Seward using them to great effect.

Big no longer beautiful

Oversize is over, cut down to size by a sharp return to tailoring. For the last two years the catwalks have been awash with sulking teenagers hiding in their hoodies. But with the enormous coats and trailing-trousers look now filtering down to the high street, fashion is off again in another direction.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week has been remarkable for bringing clothes back to the body, with a much closer cut to shake off the studied shapelessness of the last few seasons. With Rick Owens, the Los Angeles maverick who took oversize to extremes, cutting his cloth much tighter, only Celine held to thinking big.

Even Virgil Abloh, the en vogue American designer at Off-White so beloved by rap stars, has embraced the well-cut power suit, sending out Naomi Campbell in a double-breasted white jacket with cycling shorts.

Cycle shorts and polo shirts

Cycling shorts are another mini-trend, with Saint Laurent, Chloe and Y/Project joining the peloton of houses highlighting a look apparently pioneered by Kim Kardashian.

With Lacoste quitting New York for the Paris catwalk, there is no holding sportswear's onward march. Louis Vuitton sent out almost all of its 46 looks in trainers, and matched silk sports shorts with highly embroidered 18th-century-style tailcoats.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

But when the smart French label Koche sent out a series of re-imagined Paris Saint-Germain tops, it seemed like fashion had finally surrendered to the football shirt-wearing masses.

Despite the pearls and the exquisite detailing, there was still something of a sharp intake of breath -- was a style Rubicon being crossed here? Christelle Kocher, the Koche designer who also heads up Lemarie, which specialises in feathers and other haute couture fripperies, managed to stay just about onside by successfully feminising a garment with such a pungent whiff of maleness.

Yet it was another item from the male locker that really got designers' juices going, as Lacoste turned its emblematic polo shirts into trailing and asymmetric dresses, with the neck pulled over to play up a bare shoulder.

Reworked polos popped up too at highly influential Celine, Atlein, Carven and Y/Project where Glenn Martens also pulled Bermuda shorts way upmarket.

Scintillating prints

Summer wouldn't be summer without print dresses and skirts. This year, however, they are particularly easy on the eye. One expects nothing less than the sublime from the prince of prints Dries Van Noten, and the Flemish master did not disappoint. But Akris, the biggest Swiss brand you've never heard of, won still more hearts with theirs.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

But it was Liselore Frowijn's futuristic visions of African wax prints, Junya Watanabe's punky take on Marimekko textiles and Comme des Garcons' Arcimboldo dress which printed themselves on the memory.

And finally... -

Among the ingenious oddities of the week were Balenciaga and Chanel's handbag overcoats, little poncho parachutes to protect purses that can cost the price of a secondhand car.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

Both brands also attempted the seemingly impossible, trying to make Crocs sandals (Balenciaga) and plastic see-through macs (Chanel) objects of desire. History will decide. (AFP)

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.

Homepage photo: Dior S/S18; Nicole Maria Winkler for Dior

Photos in order: Givenchy, Yohji Yamamoto, Celine, Louis Vuitton, Junya Watanabe, Balenciaga - from Catwalkpictures

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW

Karl Lagerfeld built a huge waterfall and flooded the vast Grand Palais for his spectacular Chanel show Tuesday, the final day of Paris Fashion Week.

The veteran designer sent out an army of "water nymphs" and modish mermaids in glittering white and blue-green outfits along a catwalk that snaked over a 85-metre-long recreation of the Gorges du Verdon in the mountains of Provence, where Chanel grows the jasmine and May rose flowers that go into its perfumes.

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW

This was the life aquatic with big raindrop earrings, scalloped skirts, jellyfish and glitterball bags, and dripping mother of pearl dresses that created their own personal rainbows in the shimmering light. Yet what no one could take their eyes off were the thigh-high transparent PVC boots.

If the Duchess of Cambridge or Kim Kardashian need to look elegant the next time they go fishing for pike, Lagerfeld has just the waders for them. In fact the German-born creator went PVC crazy, throwing in enough see-through rain hats, hoods and even elbow-length evening gloves to keep his well-heeled customers dry during a hurricane.

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW

Louis Vuitton's new aristos

But for sheer jaw-dropping impact, the shrewd American avant-gardist Thom Browne pulled the plug on Chanel's 15-metre waterfalls with his first women's show in Paris.

In a week when models' size came under the microscope after Kering and LVMH, the two big luxury conglomerates, banned ultrathin models from their shows, Browne sent out fatsuit dresses resembling the fleshy forms of the ancient Anatolian mother goddess, Cybele, and the "Hottentot Venus".

The fact that both models were in ballet pointes added another layer of magical strangeness. It was the first of many Wow moments in a show that began with "dream weavers", their heads encased in bubbles of tulle, preparing the way for his postmodern mermaids, preppies who might have come straight from "The Munsters" and alieniod creations that gave new meaning to turtleneck.

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW

It ended with a unicorn and a couple of the dream weavers sleeping in a bed next to the rings of Saturn. No such silliness at Louis Vuitton, the label of preference for France's first lady Brigitte Macron. In keeping with her husband's monarchical bent, designer Nicolas Ghesquiere channelled Versailles with ancien regime 18th-century tailcoats which he matched with silk sports shorts.

While these richly embroidered tops were in the palace, feet were firmly in the street with trainer-style shoes to complement the brand's rock-chic sports and evening wear.

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW

That the starry show, with Hollywood stars Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore in the front row, took place under the Louvre Museum in the moat of the medieval seat of the French kings, reinforcing the message that these were clothes for the new elite. (AFP)

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.

Photos: Catwalkpictures

Chanel goes for PVC transparency at Paris Fashion Week

Paris - Karl Lagerfeld built a huge waterfall and flooded the vast Grand Palais for his spectacular Chanel show Tuesday on the final day of Paris Fashion Week.

The veteran designer sent out an army of "water nymphs" and modish mermaids in glittering white and blue-green outfits along a catwalk that snaked over a 85-metre-long recreation of the Gorges du Verdon in the mountains of Provence, where Chanel grows the jasmine and May rose flowers that go into its perfumes.

This was the life aquatic with big raindrop earrings, scalloped skirts, jellyfish and glitterball bags and dripping mother of pearl dresses that created their own personal rainbows in the shimmering light. Yet the thing that no one could take their eyes off were the thigh-high transparent PVC boots.

If the Duchess of Cambridge or Kim Kardashian ever need to look elegant when they go fishing for trout, Lagerfeld has just the waders for them. In fact the German-born creator went PVC crazy, throwing in enough see-through rain hats, hoods and even elbow length evening gloves to keep his well-heed customers dry during a hurricane.

Karl goes for Generation Z

Scared of being caught by a sudden summer shower in your 10,000 dress US dollars? Lagerfeld had just the thing -- plastic see-through crystal-encrusted raincoats and capes, although much more sophisticated and expensive than the ones your granny would slip into her trolley bag on a thundery day.

Like Balenciaga, the other aristocratic brand that this week sought to bring Crocs sandals rapidly upmarket, Lagerfeld too seemed out on a mission to rehabilitate the much maligned see-though mac. Led by Cindy Crawford's 16-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber, Lagerfeld defied talk about his advanced age by sending out 88 looks -- which may or not have been a sly joke about his age.

Chanel goes for PVC transparency at Paris Fashion Week

The creator, who sometimes admits to being 84, was embracing youth in a big way, with a collection aimed strongly at millennials and Generation Z trendsetters as much as Chanel's ladies-who-lunch custom base. Lagerfeld was even thinking ahead to Generation Alpha by putting his eight-year-old godson Hudson Kroenig -- who made his catwalk debut way back in 2012 -- on the runway.

With an eye clearly on Chanel's growing Asian following he had two huge South Korean K-pop stars, G-Drago -- sporting fire-engine red hair -- and actress and singer Park Shin-Hye in the front row alongside supermodel mother Crawford blushing with pride.

Agnes b, an institution of a more understated idea of French chic who also has a huge Asian fanbase, stuck to dry land in her show. Her spring summer collection featured a line of highly practical safari suits and striking print dresses, trousers and shorts suits to lift her classic black and white combos which this time included a black, white and sky-blue print wedding dress. (AFP)

Photo: Chanel SS18, Catwalkpictures

Chanel goes for PVC transparency at Paris Fashion Week The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.
Shock as platform Crocs step out on Paris catwalk

Paris fashion was reeling Sunday from Balenciaga's latest outrage/stroke of genius -- platform Crocs. The luxury brand, which hit the headlines in April with its 2,000 USD (1,700-euro) blue leather "Ikea" bags, has raised eyebrows again by sending out five pairs of the comfortable, indestructible but undeniably ugly sandals in its spring summer collection.

"I'm sorry am I hallucinating or did I just see platform Crocs from Balenciaga?" tweeted Tyler McCall of the Fashionista website. Another Fashionista critic, Alyssa Vingan Klein, added, "There are platform Crocs at Balenciaga. This is not a drill..."

Balenciaga's iconoclast designer Demna Gvasalia is known for seeing the beauty in the banal, with some critics accusing him of "poverty chic" -- remaking the clothes of the poor for the rich. But he has a formidable track record of making hugely hot clothes -- and particularly shoes -- that taste forgot.

A post shared by Balenciaga (@balenciaga) on

His thigh-high Spandex boots have become a style sensation, worn and adored by celebrities and fashion mavens alike. The wunderkind has, however, a job on his hands with Crocs, which as one joke goes, have holes in them "so your dignity can leak out". "Ugly" shoes like Crocs and Birkenstocks have nonetheless been quietly coming up in the world.

Last year the Scottish designer Christopher Kane produced a 500-euro (590 USD) line of fur-lined and crystal-encrusted Crocs. While Vogue adored their comfort, critic Julia Hobbs said there was no getting over that "Crocs are ugly".

'Unrivalled ability to repel'

"They have nostril-like pores, and an upturned snout... When worn by grown-ups they have an unrivalled ability to repel onlookers and induce sneers," Hobbs added. Not content with attempting to rehabilitate Crocs, Gvasalia, the man behind the uber-cool Vetements label, also transformed fringed sun umbrellas into skirts and shop awnings into trousers in his Paris show.

This collection, however, was more slick than shocking, with very smart use of tartan in trousers, and tops and skirts often paired with chain straps taken from souvenir and duty free shops. "The inherent possibilities" and the "exaggeration of everyday styles... is the design impulse" behind the show, he wrote in his show notes.

Pants made from three different trousers spliced together made a reappearance, suggesting they are on their way to becoming a Gvasalia staple alongside thigh-high boots and buttoned-up charity shop shirts.

A post shared by gypsy_gypzo (@gypsy_gypzo) on

Alterability too was built into several garments, with parts of the pants interchangeable like modular tracksuits. His new punky "super-spiked stilettoes" also seemed to go down well. Other trousers printed with screensaver shots of the Alps may have been a nod to his new home in Zurich, whose hardcore unfashionableness he seems to relish.

But there were also small hints that Gvasalia's notoriety and the hilarity sparked by his Ikea tote -- and another that closely resembled a cheap Thai shopping bag -- might be hemming him in.

Givenchy's new elegance

In one look, a sweater was tied around a newspaper print blouse like a straitjacket. Yet the Georgian-born creator remains impossible to pin down and as full of surprises as ever. The man who likes to borrow, tweak and hijack seemed to be paying backhanded homage this time to the print king Dries Van Noten in some of the rich palate of colours he used, which oozed a class befitting Balenciaga's aristocratic roots.

All eyes Sunday were also on the debut of designer Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy after her move from Chloe. In the end her transition was very much like the lady herself, low-key and classy.

"Seduction is key," she the British-born creator. "The most selective things are not seen, but merely imagined." And that subtlety of thought made for a collection that seemed to give the brand back its quiet but assured elegance. Fellow Brit Phoebe Philo at Celine, another designer whose lead others follow, came up with a trenchcoat that doubled as a cape under which you could keep your bag dry.

Shock as platform Crocs step out on Paris catwalk The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.

Photo: Balenciaga, Catwalkpictures