Over the year, numerous fashion events are held, such as fashion shows spearheaded by designer brands, or launch parties to celebrate store openings or anniversaries. It is with excitement, enthusiasm, and elation that a positively growing swell of attendees makes itself heard and seen, not only in the form of voices buzzing with delight, but also very importantly in what the attendees are wearing. Compared to pre-fashion show days, it has become more discernible that guests are going to great lengths in choosing their garments strategically. What better occasion to dress to the nines if not for fashion week? Locally, Malta Fashion Week has become the fashion event of the year, but if you look closely, it has surreptitiously started serving two purposes: the first and most important is to showcase local and foreign designers’ creations, but underlying this is another kind of fashion show, that happening off the catwalk, also known as ‘street style’.
What is particularly effective about fashion week is its duration, because for such a length of time everyone who is involved gets sucked into a colourful world. The attendees more specifically, are immersed in a marathon-like parading of a number of different styles – sartorial peacocking at its best. You do not need to follow the mantra ‘Go big or go home’, you can do a bit of both.
A TREND REPORT FROM MILAN FASHION WEEK
THE PANT SUIT
This type of outfit is easily one of this season’s strongest contenders. It is the quickest outfit you can cook up, so leave it for when you are really rushing or running late. A coloured or checked pant suit is this year’s choice as opposed to the usual black one. Finish off with chunky boots or even white trainers (the white boot is this season’s new twist on the ankle boot).
TWINNING AND WEARING PINK WITH RED, AGAIN
The colour combination of pink and red emerged slowly but surely last year, yet it is still going strong. Additionally, bring in this year’s Pantone colour – ultraviolet – to zhoosh things up. This type of outfit is the epitome of extravagance and boldness, so matching with one friend, or more, may diffuse the attention from yourself if you feel too conscious (p.s. you need not be a twin to do some twinning). For all its pomp and ceremony, what works is the confidence the twins and friends exude, as the ones on the left also seem to have matched the clothes to their hair colour.
In an idealistic scenario, we would all wish to be attending and wearing Gucci from head to toe. However, in the local scene, you can still do something similar.
Pick the fashion show you will be attending, and set something up with the designer so that you may be able to wear something from his or her collection. In relation to the first outfit, the trends that are standing out would be the mix of the military 90s-style jacket together with the athletic-looking pants, with the red and black running throughout all pieces, including the bag and shoes. Call it your leitmotif. Of course, you do not need wear designer wear to look good, as clearly seen in the second outfit – that raffia bag is definitely high street but looks more expensive than its actual price tag. The secret lies in how to wear the pieces together.
You can wear different statement pieces all at once, as long as there is some sort of balance in the colours and motifs. What works in the first outfit is that the checked coat has that red line that blends in well with the red of the teeshirt. The focal point seems to be the striking colour of the pants, yet they are cut rather on the minimal side, thus helping with the balance.
Accessories in this case are kept low-key so as not to detract attention from the outfit’s fulcrum: the harmonious amalgamation of patterns and colours. In the second outfit, bold sunglasses and garish designs in the blazer (left) are counterbalanced with sleek, masculine dressing (right). If women wear ties and look cool, then we could expect to see men in skirt designs – adding more fun and gender-mixing to it all.
BLACK, WHITE, AND STRIPED ALWAYS WORK
Do you want to be more ‘safe’ with a touch of daring? Wear a coat as a dress and choose monochrome alongside the striped pattern. Matching the bag with the coat is a hundred times better than with the shoes, and these see-through boots are ideal with the impending heat. On the right, the voluminous skirt and the black buttons on the shirt are the dramatic focal point.
DENIM ON DENIM / HOODIE UNDER BLAZER
Although in Malta we do not have morning shows, it will probably get dark much later by the time fashion week starts. So there is nothing wrong with going a bit lighter in your choice of colours. The first outfit kicks a soft punch because of the washed-out denim effect that allows the somewhat audacious pattern of the shirt to be more conspicuous.
This is perfect under washed denim because of its pastel base and its sunshine colours that tend to make anyone happy. In the second outfit, the white base keeps the look soft and the interesting combination of the hoodie under the blazer works partly because of the sameness in colour, but mostly because the wearer looks confident.
Last but not least, it is important to give space to accessories as well as to clothes. After all, there are jewellery and handbag designers too (cue the bling ring on the left and the flower brooch on the right). This year it is all about the netting placed on hats, from sailor caps to sportier ones like this one.
The leather-like texture of the cap suavely unites with the bag’s sophistication. This outfit works because of its simplicity, yet it feels luxurious enough to make a statement. On the right, you cannot but notice the gloves and clog-like loafers (of course, it will be too hot to wear the former, but it could be an idea for the next winter).
HOW TO SURVIVE FASHION WEEK
As pointed out in the introduction, fashion week can be a whirlwind that takes up a lot of time and energy, so it is important to be prepared beforehand. Here are some pieces of advice; things I have learnt along the way after attending 4 fashion weeks in Malta.
1. Plan your outfits a week or two before (some people I know go the whole nine yards in creating excel sheets and attaching stickers to hangers so as to mark the clothes according to the days). This will spare you the headache of staring at your wardrobe before the day’s shows, and it will also enable you to look stunning and striking. Giving yourself a time frame of two weeks will be helpful in case you need to buy a piece or two to finalise your outfits. If you are planning on making a statement with your outfits, dressing last minute simply will not cut it. Another suggestion is to read something about the collections, and maybe dress according to any ‘themes’ you pick out.
2. Wear colours that suit you, and more specifically, your hair colour. This sounds obvious, but it is simply an underrated piece of truth. There are certain styles that flatter some people but would look rather ridiculous on us. Whilst imitation is the best form of flattery, you would not want to feel or look awkward. Often people tell you, ‘you do you’, which might sound silly but is really not that far from the truth. If you know that skinny jeans suit you more than wide-legged or slouchy jeans, then wear skinny jeans. If you feel that it is too much of a throwback to wear 80s style clothes, then go for something that is more up your alley. The same goes for hair colour, that is, ensuring that colours you choose do not clash too harshly with your hair. There are certain colours that might become off limit when you have a certain bright hair colour.
3. Do not break the bank in order to attend fashion week. Clothes, hair, and makeup all cost money so getting your pieces from the high street, opting for a more natural hair look, and doing your own makeup could save you some valuable Euros. Although outfit 3 mentioned buying and wearing designers’ clothes (it is good to support local designers), you do not have to feel obliged if you do not have any other important occasions coming up. You can easily look grand and fabulous in high street pieces.
4. Experiment with colour by looking at some colour palettes. If most people wear pink and red, go for something different, which means you might be setting the tone for another popular colour combo. It is fun to follow trends, but give them your own twist – who knows, you might be unwittingly setting new ones. People wear patterns and colours together to make a statement, but if you are going down the contrasting patterns route, then make sure to have the same colour in the base.
5. When in doubt, keep it simple and go monochrome/ minimalist. It is good to vary, so on some days you may make bold statements with what you wear, whilst on others you tone it down. If the minimalist, Scandi style is more you, then stick to the formula that works best for you. There is nothing that leads to a lack of confidence more than letting the clothes wear you, just because you want to look like so-and-so.
6. Stock up on basics that one might take for granted, such as water, a battery pack for your phone, and Elastoplast (just in case your heel gives you blisters). Speaking of heels, this year you need not worry as the kitten heel (the comeback kid) should be comfortable enough. It is imperative that you plan for spending time standing up, so maybe stylish trainers or Gucci-style loafers may be more advisable to walk in around easily.
7. Dress for the weather. If you plan a week or two before the only disadvantage is that you may not be able to tell whether it is going to be desert-like hot or surprisingly cold. However, judging from the last couple of fashion weeks, which took place outside, it still could be a bit chilly as soon as the sun sets. Do plan your outfits before, but do also include something you can add on the spur of the moment, such as a light jacket, a trench coat (this season’s jacket), or a cape that is not too thick but just enough to give you warmth. This year, fashion week has been pushed back to the very last week of May, which means perhaps that it might be warmer.
Bonus tip: the most important part is to have a good time, and do it in style!
© 2018 – VIDA Magazine – Stephanie Xerri Agius