Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Top Five Best Labels This Year

The longer you love fashion, the more designers start to become like bands to you. You have your favorites. There are the ones you love no matter what they do, you stick by them through even questionable seasons. There are the ones you freak out over for one amazing season, but maybe not the next. There are the ones you just never seem to care about. I definitely have my perennial favorites, but then there are the ones I suddenly am surprised I love, some even that might be older and that I had all but turned my back on. Here are my top five favorite labels for this season - these are the labels that I am busting my you know what to be able to wear for fall.


Kenzo has been around the block, and went from fashion favorite to a little bit forgotten. Opening Ceremony wunderkind Humberto Leon and Carol Lim brought it back to life with a surge, though, thanks to saturated color palettes and retro-tastic details. It’s French cool with an ‘80s-inspired twist and decidedly downtown in a luxe way. Their prints are obsess-worthy, the colors are mandatory for a wardrobe update, and that tiger sweater – enough said. I never thought I'd be so excited about an older brand showing up with some new duds.

3.1 Phillip Lim

3.1 Phillip Lim is a romance that's been blossoming for a while now. I didn't love the line at first, but my affection has just grown every season. For FW12, its signature clean and concise minimalism got the graphic treatment, adding statement-making appeal to the sharply contemporary aesthetic. It's still understated, still so sleek and city, but it's got a dose of modern art appeal. And it didn't hurt that I was even more over the moon for the SS13 collection, with its irreverent prints and feminine-meets-grunge attitude. So, this label will most likely be in my top five for spring, too.


Sometimes at night I can’t sleep because I’m just lying awake crying over how good Carven is. My brain just can’t comprehend how a brand can be so amazing, and I think it’s that thing like how the human mind isn’t supposed to be able to comprehend the existence of God. It’s just so perfectly tailored into sharp silhouettes, so feminine but sophisticated, so French, so understated yet striking, so smart. The colors that are almost ‘70s-reminiscent, the crisp menswear-inspired classics, the structured skirts, the cutouts. And FW12 was just one of the best examples of the label’s amazingness. That Renaissance print? I mean, really. Are you kidding me? You’re just going to let that print loose on the streets? It’s too good. That chartreuse color? I don’t care if it makes my skin look like I’m in need of a Dramamine, I’ll be wearing it. 


You can bet your Darth Vader nun hat that Balenciaga will be jaw-dropping good every season, but FW12 really touched my soul with its contrasting fabric and pattern splices, and obviously those sweatshirts. I don’t even really understand them, but then I guess Balenciaga’s power does somewhat lie in its status as an enigma. Do we always understand why something is amazing? No. We just have to know what it is. And I know I need gorgeously cut minimalist coats, cobalt dresses, and leopard jacquard jackets. 

Dolce & Gabbana

To first understand my obsession with Dolce & Gabbana’s FW12 collection, you must know that I am an enormous history nerd. I’ve been drowning in volumes on Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and the Medicis since I was nine. This collection was like my worlds colliding to the most harmonious results. These pieces are what Catherine Medici would have worn if she were alive today, or perhaps even just in her own time, but with that luxe, fashion-forward twist. I really had given up on Dolce & Gabbana. They were so incredibly mainstream that I thought they’d gone the way of the guido, to be honest. But this line restored my faith in them and then some. It is the line I covet the very most, I would gladly start working my way down a list of organs to sell in order to own it in its entirety. I don’t even care that it’s unrealistic, I’ll make use of every piece everyday, wearing that needlepoint lace dress to work like it ain’t no thang, and choosing the sheer corset dress for drinks at dive bars downtown. I just need to wear it, all of it, in its rich, opulent, baroque beauty. I think this is Dolce & Gabbana either back with a bang or at its pinnacle – however you view the line. The elegance is unabashed and artful without ever teetering on tacky, backed up by the incredible craftsmanship.

* Images from

Handbags and Hugs,


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