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8 Spring Summer 2017 Buys That Make Great Conversation Starters

Would we call this fashion season directional? Not really. What words would be more appropriate? Familiar. Functional. Friendly. Fun. Does this mean a shortage of things to talk about? Far from it. Demna Gvasalia’s still provoking, and Alessandro Michele’s gotten kookier – but it’s not just these revered industry disruptors who are creating a buzz.

What about the shock designer swansongs? The “cool-fication” of some traditionally uncool looks (no, nothing to do with Gvasalia here)? And is it just us, or do a lot of brands seem to be paying tribute to Issey Miyake? Whoever said that a (generally) safe season means a quiet season?

#1: Is this actually a nipple sticker?
That was everybody’s first thought when model Binx Walton strode down Saint Laurent’s runway with her left boob covered in nothing but this heart-shaped jewel. It indeed was, but it was a one-off piece that debuting creative director Anthony Vaccarello made especially for the show. Shock tactic aside (it worked, didn’t it?), he’s created a more practical, but equally statement-making brooch modelled after it. What’s no fun for pastie-loving advocates like Miley Cyrus and Rihanna will speak to women who heart ’80s glamour. Festooned in crystals, it comes in three different cuts: brilliant, pear and emerald. Metal with crystals, $1,700, Saint Laurent #2: Are these pants? Or boots? Or both?
Demna Gvasalia has repeatedly raised our threshold for radical, what-is-that fashion, but we still can’t help but scratch our heads with his shoe-pants hybrid called – wait for it – Pantashoes ($4,030) at Balenciaga. Essentially Spandex leggings sewn onto stiletto pumps with a zip down each calf (for easier access), it makes us wonder: How are we going to wash it (the official recommendation’s not to – serious); what’s the sizing like (how to get the right pair – it’s the same as your French clothing size, plus or minus one); and what’s going to happen when we’re entering a place that requires us to remove our shoes? We don’t have an answer to the last question, but with Gvasalia, not having one is the best part. #3: Excuse me, is that a pleats please?
The dress on the right ($490) is from the S/S ’17 collection of the famous Issey Miyake line celebrated for its innovativeness (everything is lightweight, travel-friendly, machine-washable, dries within hours, and requires no ironing). The one on the left? Nuh-uh, it’s from Jil Sander. And you’ll be playing the same “is it or isn’t it” game with Marni, Salvatore Ferragamo and Loewe this season. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not complaining or calling them copycats. Nothing gives austere pieces a modern, sculptural elegance like plisse pleats. And while none of them can compare with Miyake in the tech department, they still score on the artisanal front. Take Sander’s: Every pleat is created by hand-pressing the fabric between wooden sticks.   #4: Is this the new hourglass silhouette?
From left: Ellery, Jacquemus, Isabel Marant On top: a crisp yet romantic blouse with strong, oversized shoulders. On the bottom: slick pants with a high cinched waist and tapered legs. And the most popular interpretation on the runways: in foolproof white on black. Fashion’s ’80s redux goes intellectual to sex up the modern minimalist’s uniform.   #5: Have you heard of Antonio Lopez?
You oughta. Because he was the fashion illustration alternative to Andy Warhol in the ’70s, cavorting with the Studio 54 crowd and channelling its flamboyance into drawings that would revive the art form. Because designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent were said to have been influenced by him. Because he helped style icons like Jerry Hall and Grace Jones break into the scene. And because his sketches and Polaroids of the era’s It girls grace tees, shirts and paillettes on minidresses in Kenzo S/S ’17, making the collection one of the brand’s best, and season’s most party-perfect.   #6: Don’t these remind you of what power mums used to wear?
From left: Michael Kors Collection, Altuzarra, Chanel We’re dubbing this look “neighbourhood chic” because that’s how the real housewives of Singapore did sophistication back in the late ’80s and ’90s. The clothes are functional (lots of separates), ladylike (pencil skirts, belted waists), and make serious attention grabbers with their lively hues and graphic prints. If you’re wondering, “How the heck do I pull off something so ‘retro cool’?”, just remember that not too long ago, we thought the same about mum jeans.   #7: How many times can Stuart Vevers reinvent the leather jacket?
Outerwear is the man’s thing. Look at his track record since joining Coach as executive creative director in 2013 and it’s obvious: multiple permutations of shearling coats, varsity jackets and bikers, often within a single collection. The last category is his obsession this season, with 15 different interpretations to go with Coach 1941’s rockabilly-meets-Native American theme. Cropped with cap sleeves and bottle caps for pins? Check. Swathed in prairie lace and ribbons? Check. Given a poncho cut and tassels? Check. The best part? Despite the more-is-more approach, every style doesn’t feel gimmicky, which might explain why they are coveted as collectables by the fashion set. That leaves us with just one question: How is he going to top this next? Embroidered leather with metal, fringe and shearling (left), price unavailable, and with lace, $5,000, Coach #8: What is this new form of layering?
The patterned cuffs and flared hems in this look aren’t cuffs or hems, but the sleeves and bell-bottom legs of a tulle jumpsuit peeking out of a boxy suit. Phoebe Philo was thinking of the complexities of a woman’s everyday life when creating Celine S/S ’17, so for intellectual types, it might explain this out-of-the-box idea. For those simply looking for a way to dress practically yet beautifully, it also scores – part romantic, part no-nonsense cool, and all occasion-ready. What’s a little trouble when you have to use the bathroom? Tulle jumpsuit, $3,500, cotton-blend jacket, $2,950, and matching pants, $1,750, Celine This story first appeared in Female’s March 2017 issue.  Like this? Check out how Maria Grazia Chiuri is remaking the house of Dior, the 80s workwear uniform gets a modern update for Fall 2017 and how Alessandro Michele staged his most audacious collection yet.