The dA-Zed guide to fashion week AW14

From Ghesquière's debut to our Westwood takeover, this is your indispensable guide to what’s new this season

Fashion dA-Zed guides
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A IS FOR ALL EYES ON GHESQUIÈRE

The anticipation is palpable: this season Nicholas Ghesquière presents his debut collection as creative director for Louis Vuitton. On his shoulders rests a powerful fashion house with a DNA ingrained in ostentation by the sixteen-year tenure of his predecessor Marc Jacobs. Ghesquière is known and loved for the breathtakingly subtle way he reinvigorated Balenciaga with futuristic concepts and architectural silhouettes. What he will do with the extensive Vuitton archives and leather atelier is an exciting mystery. At a recent talk, Marc Jacobs admitted he was “curious” to what Ghesquière would do. So are we, and we wait with bated breath.

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Nicholas Ghesquière

B IS FOR BLOGGER BACKLASH

In an article for T Magazine early last year, Suzy Menkes discussed the "fashion week circus", and the transformation of the front row from "black crows in Comme des Garçons" to bright "peacocks" following an infiltration of bloggers. Last month Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York responded with their decision to reduce show invites by 20 per cent, in an attempt to curb the so-called circus. Inevitably those cut from the guest list will be the peacock bloggers who not so long ago spearheaded the online fashion revolution. Though Menkes and her fellow fashion week pros may find themselves at quieter shows, we’re sure the fashion blogger circus will still rage just as enthusiastically outside.

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Taken from Dazed & Confused, June 2001

C IS FOR CRYPTO CURRENCY FASHION

Fashion is notoriously slow at adapting to new technologies – just look at how antiquated the fashion show is – meaning Marc Jacobs’ virtual currency announcement last week felt like a minor revolution for the industry. The Marc Jacobs’ pop-up Tweetshop will launch in New York on Friday, inviting customers to Twitpic and Instagram the space with the hashtag #MJDaisyChain in exchange for perfume. How soon before bitcoin infiltrates the fashion landscape, forcing designers to think beyond a physical presence for a product that will always be ultimately tactile?

D IS FOR DEMEULEMEESTER WITHOUT THE MASTER

At the end of last year, Ann Demeulemeester – one of fashion’s great outsiders – announced her departure from her namesake brand. The Belgian native and one of the original members of the Antwerp Six spent her career subverting the traditional notions of fashion and operated off the grid without an online presence. This season, the studio of Demeulemeester will presents its AW14 collection in Paris without its master, showing both its menswear and womenswear lines together – a throwback to one of the early things she pioneered. 

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Kristen Owen, Ann Demeulemeester SS92

E IS FOR EAST UPDATE

Joining print-happy and playful Ashley Williams for her final Fashion East show are Lulu Kennedy’s newly appointed ranks of upcoming designers. Helen Lawrence and Louise Alsop provide the antithesis to Williams’ sugary finish, forming a well-curated trio of new London talent. Lawrence’s PVC skirts and raw surgical-like stitches create a jarring dark undercurrent of sexual seediness, while Alsop’s oversized silhouettes and monochrome-heavy, distorted prints riff on London’s famed youth cult aesthetic, and current ongoing sartorial conversation with gender and androgyny.

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Ashley Williams SS14

F IS FOR FUCKED UP FASHION

From Bobby Abley’s mouth gags to the – literally – raven haired vampires that stalked the Alexander McQueen runway, menswear AW14 loomed heavy with dark themes and twisted visions. If mens is a tipping point for what to expect in the subsequent womenswear season then the next few weeks could bring dark waves of femme fatales, mistresses and nightmare concepts.

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Christian Dior AW00

G IS FOR GENERATION TUMBLR ADHD

Warped by the infinite stream of images, GIFs and video available, there is a breed of designers rising through the ranks who not only research online, but source solely from a virtual world. This Tumblr ADHD makes itself apparent in the androgynous future-gender concepts of Hood By Air, the twisted Disney fantasies of Ryan Lo, and Nasir Mazhar’s mega meta branding. During menswear AW14, we asked the LC:M designes to share their YouTube obsessions, and the clips that had inspired their collections. What they unearthed was new to us all, and encapsulated this generation with a world of ideas at their fingertips.

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Taken from the Jogging Tumblr

H IS FOR HORYN-SHAPED HOLE

The departure of Cathy Horyn was been announced with the most sombre of statements last week: "It is with deep sadness… that we announce that Cathy Horyn, the paper’s chief fashion critic since 1999, is leaving The Times." We are already mourning the loss of the hilarious twitter feuds which raged in her wake, her honest and ultimately true appraisals, and a way with words that very few come close to matching. We tracked her rollercoaster career here.

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Cathy Horyn as imagined by Disney

I IS FOR IN THE SPOTLIGHT

From flame haired Magdalena Jasek who wore bejewelled Tudor-esque Alexander McQueen AW13 for our Dark Arts special issue last year, to Model Behaviour star Daiane Conterato, we have some of Dazed's favourite models heading up our #DazedSociety this season – the gang of girls from Society Model Management taking us behind the scenes of AW14, from New York right through to Paris’ final days next month. We’ll be revealing the full roll call of our #DazedSociety today, in the meantime be sure to bookmark the #DazedSociety hashtag and follow @Dazed_Fashion to keep up to date from day one with all the happenings beyond the catwalk.

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Magdalena Jasek in Alexander McQueen AW13 Dazed & Confused November 2013, photography by Richard Burbridge, styling by Robbie Spencer

J IS FOR J.W. ANDERSON: “I WILL NEVER SEE FASHION AS ART FORM”

AW14 marks J.W. Anderson’s first womenswear collection with the support of LVMH. Big backing often welcomes bigger collections, bolder concepts, and that elusive financial stability to push forward a vision as far as it can go – just see what Kering did for Christopher Kane last season, when we didn’t think Kane could get any greater. In anticipation of J.W. Anderson’s LFW unveiling in two week’s time, we look back at our exclusive interview with the designer whose name is so often mentioned in the same breath as “fast fashion”, and who doesn’t see his work as art. We're excited too for J.W. Anderson's first menswear show as creative director of Loewe this June during the SS15 season.

K IS FOR KICK BACK IN BROOKLYN WITH WANG

We’re grateful for the shake-up, but how the hell do you get to Brooklyn in the snow to see Wang? Alexander Wang’s decision to shift his AW14 show from its usual Manhattan space among the masses to a space in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard almost back-fired this week as editors faced not only fitting an out-of-town location into their packed show schedules, but the prospect of making it at all through New York’s snow, ice and ensuing traffic chaos. For those without a private car – or the model’s favourite, a traffic dodging motorbike – Wang has provided a quick-thinking solution: a 30% discount on Uber, the taxi hailing app. You will go to the Wang ball!

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Alexander Wang SS14

L IS FOR LUELLA'S RETURN

It couldn’t be a better fit: this season marks Luella Bartley’s first collection as design director of Marc by Marc Jacobs, since Katie Hillier selected her for the team following Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy’s revamp of the fashion kid’s favourite designer diffusion line.  Expect an injection of insouciant London youth cool, a girlish underpinning and a generous dose of the Luella charm – as missed by many since her label folded in 2009.

M IS FOR MOSCHINO

In the chaos of this season’s chops and changes – what with the Ghesquiere guessing, Schiaparelli RTW, and the loss of Demeulemeester at the helm of her namesake – the sight of Jeremy Scott’s upcoming debut at Moschino on our schedules reminds us of the excitement to come in Milan later this month. Former Moschino creative director Rossella Jardini exited the brand last season with a fabulous throwback show of archive eighties looks, laying down the deal on the house’s distinct DNA. If his pre-AW14 collection is anything to go by, revealed last month by Scott on Instagram, expect a loyalty to the Moschino gold chain and logo-love.

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Jeremy Scott SS14 Lea Colombo

N IS FOR NEW ERA

Mark the 27th February in your fashion week diary: it’s the day Dazed & Confused enters a new era, as we launch the first issue in our revamped format of six issues per year.

O IS FOR OH MY GIRLS

Girls ruled our world this month, shattering female Hollywood stereotypes and redefining feminist agendas. We started candid conversations between the women with the loudest voices, and the biggest messages, in the world today – including Tavi Gevinson, Stacy Martin and Naomi Wolf. Ahead of her Paris Fashion Week show, we’ll be revealing a head to head between fashion futurist and senses agitator Iris Van Herpen, and Casey Legler, the first female menswear model, who starred in Van Herpen’s SS14 show.

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P IS FOR PLAYLISTING

“I told that bitch, Versace”: Versace by Migos (featuring Drake, Sensato, Meek Mill and Tyga) was the soundtrack to our SS14, ringing in Donatella Versace’s response to the saturation of street in fashion as she turned models into rock groupies dripping in Versace house codes of lame and body chains. For Milan AW14, the Migos trio have created an exclusive playlist for Dazed, with the tracks they think Versace should be listening to this season. For Paris and London fashion weeks we’ll be sharing exclusive studio playlists from Balmain and Meadham Kirchhoff – who, it seems, like a mix of Hole, Cyndi Lauper, and Abba... 

Q IS FOR QUITS SUCCESSION

Jil Sander menswear AW14 was a quiet, purists affair, with no members of the design team appearing to claim leadership of a label left without its namesake designer once again. Jil Sander announced her leave from the label she founded in 1968 in October last year, shortly after her womenswear SS14 show. This was her third such exit since 2000. The impact of her absence is subtle, as the continuing design team follow the codes of minimalism she set out so strictly. Yet, for the sake of Jil Sander going forward, we hope to see a confident leader step out to take their bow at the womenswear AW14 show in Paris later this month.

R IS FOR RUMOUR MILL

It’s almost impossible to keep up: as each passing season brings with it exit announcements and appointment announcements, reshuffles and revamps, the question on everyone’s lips is, who’s next? Though the rumour mill may grind with whispers, be sure to follow @dazed_fashion for all the happenings and announcements the moment they break.

S IS FOR SPEAKING OUT

Donatella Versace gave the quote of the menswear season when she spoke out for civil rights and the freedom to love who you please at her gay-code heavy versace mens AW14 collection last month - check out our interview with her here. The stage is set for womenswear with threads of socio-political commentary – like Miuccia Prada’s feminist face-off of powerful female graffiti portraits for SS14.

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Versace menswear AW14 Lea Colombo

T IS FOR TRUTH BEAUTY BAILEY

“It’s all right, I was arrogant and they were the dimwits.” In a candid film interview with Dazed, legendary fashion photographer David Bailey turns his sharp tongue and piercing gaze to filmmaker Jamie Roberts to talk “silly feminists” and the “dimwits” of the 60s fashion industry. Bailey’s Stardust – an exhibition of photographs spanning his 50 year career – opens today at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

U IS FOR UP IN YOUR FACE

Expect to spy a sea of paint-daubed faces across this womenswear fashion week as Miuccia Prada’s bright, graffitied coats of SS14 reign as the hit piece of the season. Her painter box furs are an appropriate sartorial shield from the bitter weather looming over New York, while come Paris the crystal dripping face-prints will catch the magpie eye of every street style photographer and obsessed blogger stalking the Grand Palais.

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Prada SS14 Lea Colombo

V IS FOR VIVIENNE TAKEOVER

Protest provocateur and grand dame of British fashion, Vivienne Westwood, will stage a takeover of the Dazed Digital site during LFW, as her Vivienne Westwood Red Label show hits the runway. Westwood’s politically driven agendas shape her collections, with last season’s Red Label show featuring a ritualistic dance performance by Lily Cole and call-to-arms postcards left on seats. For her Dazed Digital takeover expect manifestos, never before seen imagers, and exclusive footage.

W IS FOR WHO’S NEXT

The Central St Martins MA Fashion show closes day one of London next week, in an annual show so highly anticipated and over subscribed, fellow students are forced to gatecrash Somerset House in a desperate bid to catch their mate’s collections on the runway. And no wonder, when Louise Wilson’s roll call of protégés include the likes of the late Alexander McQueen and his successor Sarah Burton, Christopher Kane, and Stella McCartney. Students are having somewhat of a revolution in the eyes of the industry too, as Dior made the unprecedented move to open its couture atelier doors to wide-eyed fashion students during Haute Couture last month.

X IS FOR X-TREME TRANSFORMATIONS

Edie Campbell’s naked body painted with black Stephen Sprouse Louis Vuitton graffiti, black crystals painstakingly glued across her skin, will remain vivid in the memories of those at Marc Jacobs final show for Vuitton as one of the most hauntingly beautiful fashion transformations of all time. Dark transformations were the highlight of menswear AW14 too, like the oily slicks of alien hair at Comme des Garçons Homme Plus created by hairstylist Julien d’ys, a long-time collaborator of Rei Kawakubo. When we caught up with him post show he revealed his transformation inspirations as the Elephant Man, gas masks and David Lynch movies. The unveiling of his creation for Kawakubo this womenswear AW14 is sure to be a magically macabre high point of the season.

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Comme des Garçons Homme Plus AW14 hair by Julien d'ys Julien d'ys

Y IS FOR YESTERYEAR

From gatecrashing Gareth Pugh’s debut show to becoming the ‘fashion week satellite’, witnessing anything and everything but the show, this week the Dazed fashion team will share their early fashion week experiences. The memories that shaped their passion and sparked a love that endures even today through the hectic, sleepless schedules of fashion week.

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Gareth Pugh AW08

Z IS FOR ZZZ STREAMING

Fashion week is no longer the exclusive reserve of those with an invite in hand and a butt space on the front row as live streams mean you can watch the show unfold immediately online. Watch the Proenza Schouler live stream exclusively on Dazed Digital next Wednesday 12th, the penultimate day of New York Fashion Week. The show starts at 1am UK time: trust us, it’ll be worth waiting up for.

See all our latest features, interviews, and show reports from SS15, as it happens

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