At age 10, when asked during class to design a school uniform (not because the uniform was subject to change, but as an exercise allowing us to explore our creativity), I was completely obsessed with the show Cardcaptors so of course my dream school uniform was heavily influenced by the kawaii superhero. However, I did not take the trope far enough as to include a beret, but if I had, maybe it would bear some resemblance to the Vivetta Fall 2016 collection. Unfortunately I no loner have the original sketches to cross reference and I'm being extremely egotistical in comparing my work as a 10-year-old with this beautiful collection curated at Milan Fashion Week, but what I mean to say is that this collection is a thing of beauty, wonder, imagination and charm. The ideas appear to come forthright and free-flowing whilst being exhaustively art directed and each model cast with a specific look in mind. At the very core of its execution, this one collection seems to represent everything which fascinates me about fashion and more importantly, personal style confined within a very well-defined aesthetic.
The Vivetta universe exists in parallel to that created by Alessandro Michele for Gucci which has since reached critical and commercial acclaim. What's most interesting about Vivetta is the use of sheer, cascading in carious tiers to create many stunning, statement hemlines. It's the repetition of these ruffles that make these clothes more akin to a water feature, rather than your standard hemline but I'll take opulence over practicality any day of the week. Despite the fact it's 2016, it still feels rare to see sheer on the runway which wasn't in some way necessitated for the male gaze. Instead these wedding cake dresses are deliciously unapproachable and downright intimidating in most social settings to potential suitors. There's nothing I love in this world more than ultra feminine dresses which double as a kind of armor made for women and won't weigh you down. Bill Cunningham hit the nail on the head when he stated clothing is the armor of everyday life.
Big geeky glasses and a blue power suit instantly reminded me of Bill from Freaks and Geeks, and while it seems slightly reductive to be enamored with a counter culture created in opposition to what is mainstream, I can't help but feel an immense sense of pride when the offbeat girl wins at fashion week. This almost unnatural attraction is only compounded by the stunning embroidery on blue velvet, accompanied by diamond tiles along the hem. If one stares long enough at the blazer, a yellow and white spaniel stares smugly back. And it's now that I realize weird, cartoon dogs referencing pottery are what my wardrobe has been missing all along. The masculine silhouette, along with powder blue cowboy hat are offset by the floral motifs dotted along the trouser legs. Floral appliques on pants (especially jeans) can easily become trashy and are notoriously known as fashion faux pas but here they've been elevated to an instant classic and mainstay within any wardrobe.
Although I can't quite justify purchasing hats to schusszzzh up an outfit, seeing the way they've been used so effectively throughout the Vivetta Fall 2o16 collection has me all inspired. When knitted headscarves made their first appearance, sending Etsy sellers and knitters into a frenzy I wasn't quite convinced by the sudden trend. Approximately seven or eight years later I'm still not queuing in line, shouting "TAKE MY MONEY" but I feel a little closer than I was before, however, the turban appeals to me more in all honesty. Especially when that comes with a free cameo brooch and duster jacket with more ruffles than an exotic sea anemone and painterly florals than you can poke a stick at. Were I not presently confined to cowboy country and restricted to wearing a broad brimmed hat for work as part of my uniform, I'd be tempted to splash out on a pastel Western hat. I must admit, it's not quite my style, and I'd be much more comfortable wearing a faux fur hat and sauntering about like Daisy Domergue were it not so hot. Or (in the words of Iris Apfel) a geriatric starlet who still owns her original furs but displays them next to a world class collection of stuffed animals (teddy bears, not taxidermy).
For those among us who remember the Malcolm in the Middle episode in which everything was bedazzled (or or those who saw it on Tumblr...) I'm pretty sure we were all scarred at that point and in stiff opposition to bedazzling forever. A fraction of the general population might have found this to be uplifting. By now you're probably wondering where I'm going with this BUT my point is that everything is good in moderation, and this actually includes bedazzling as evidenced by rhinestone studded suede skirts and fur coats. It makes me really wish I had bought the bedazzling set I saw at the thrift store last weekend, and you can bet your sweet bippy I'm checking to see if it's still there this weekend. At the time though I was skeptical as to what its practical applications were, and also apprehensive given the number of unfinished DIY projects I have scattered about my room.
It's weird to think that plastic gems were subservient to another form of embellishment, but it rings true, since nothing could better represent this entire collection than the embroidery which adorned so many of the dresses and two-piece suits. Whether it be a simple motif, starting at the waist, and flowing down the length of the skirt forming a visual apron to something much more elaborate, one can only have high praise for the atelier at Vivetta. They breathe new life into the signature hands collar, as well as creating a rich tableau, mildly influenced by nineteenth century European design with a modern twist. It's this celebration of a pain-staking and time-honored technique that sees the fashion world lean towards slow, rather than fast fashion. And I for one cannot think of more spectacular costume and clothing which embodies the very nature of tales such as Alice in Wonderland to act as a proponent for this cause, made in what one can only hope are nurturing, warm, and above all, safe conditions.
In order to conceptualize how one would vicariously live within the Vivetta collection, I look toward the pastels and symmetry championed by filmmaker Wes Anderson, particularly those exemplified in The Grand Budapest Hotel, as well as actress Chloë Sevigny. Arvida Byström was also an immediate reference, opening up an internal debate as to whether dyeing one's hair pink is worth the risk, given the economic and social ramifications. It takes a lot of time and effort to preserve pastel pink hair, and given my naturally dark locks and regional setting I think pink hair is simply out of the question. There are other fun things I can dress up in, i.e. Bill's glasses from Freaks and Geeks which left a lasting impression, falling into the same category as the hats I discussed earlier (fun extras to schusszzzh up an outfit, but low on my list of priorities). If I were to find some fabulous frames at my local op shop then of course I'd jump at the opportunity but for now I'm content to simply sit and digest this fantastical collection.
Were I not such a slob, I'd pretty much scrape together every last penny to own as many of these gorgeous dresses as humanly possible, but I know deep down that tomato or possibly chocolate sauce would become magnetically attracted to these dresses, were I to ever wear them. The fact of the matter is I'm not only a slob, but I'm one of the worst possible kinds of slob; the sort that has very little disposable income. So I may as well give up now on my pipe dream of owning gorgeous, billowing dresses but, as always, the Internet will be my salvation. For there are vintage gems in the same aesthetic of this collection to be found, if you are willing to search high and low. Paying a pretty penny is also part of this game, but the process of discovering great vintage pieces is always a thrill to those who pay no mind and find joy in second hand clothing. Rather than purchase new clothes, the influence of this collection may also permeate my subconscious and subtly influence outfits in the coming months. Given I've already gone over my monthly budget, I'm betting on the latter. Or rather, I'm hoping for some grand burst of creativity to strike me like lightning.