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Eric Wilson’s Front Row Diary: Lanvin Makes the #PFW Paparazzi Circus Tolerable

Eric Wilson is InStyle’s Fashion News Director. Sit front row at Fashion Week with him by following him on Twitter (@EricWilsonSays) and Instagram.

Oh, the indignities we suffer in the pursuit of fashion.

Pardon me. I just need to vent a little bit. Late Wednesday night, right before H&M took us to the moon with a set from space and a collection that included no less than French style authority Caroline de Maigret, author of the recent hit book How to Be a Parisian Wherever You Are, dressed in a silver jumpsuit while walking around tinfoil UFOs (below, right), your faithful correspondent was pushed aside rather rudely so the paparazzi could get a better picture of Solange Knowles. Ugh.

There is never a shortage of reminders of your place on planet fashion, though lately I suspect we are more likely hurtling toward the abyss of Krypton, what with all of the inanity going on at these shows. Push, shove, argue, bicker, grumble, sit, and stew over the latest p.r. salvo in a bid to treat people as inhumanely as cattle. I’ve heard this three times already this week: “You are seated appropriately amongst your peers.”

Have you met these people?

I’m with de Maigret. Let’s all act Parisian and just enjoy the parade of clothes, while simultaneously acting above it all. At H&M, for the retailer’s Studio collection, the Swedish designers of fast-fashion fantasies were caught in the 1960s and ’70s revival that has been sweeping the runways, with flared pants and overall jumpsuits shown in shades of avocado, somehow sweetly optimistic about life and the future.

RELATED: All the Stars in the Front Row During Fashion Week

Thursday was a brand new day, and I decided to get up on the right side of the bed for Roland Mouret, who’s skewing much younger this season with his kicky 1960s skirts, and also for Carven (below, left), which has a young-and-cute new look thanks to its recently appointed creative directors Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that. Just think of them as I do—clever, promising, pretty young guys who have a good sense of what’s fun about fashion—sharp, short skirts, mini dresses and a blue sweatshirt covered in crystal blue beads.

Alas, my goodwill had completely worn off by the time of the afternoon Balmain show, where even Solange was getting fed up with all the pushy photographers. “Can I talk to you?” she asked the person sitting behind her—me!—just to avoid the phalanx of microphones being thrust in her face. I don’t blame her. It was me, or Jared Leto with his white hair and no eyebrows. We had a nice chat before she gave up and hid backstage, at least until Kanye West and Kim Kardashian showed up (Kardashian also with white hair), to suck away the attention of the flashbulbs. Balmain this season was about flashy, glittering fringe, by the way (below, right), the kind of clothes that promise to instantly turn you into a Kim or a Solange. Be warned or be thrilled.

RELATED: A Fancy Pants Ending to Milan Fashion Week

Moving on, affixed to the invitation to the Rick Owens show was a long strip of furry brown hair, which proceeded to affix itself to the breath mints in my pocket. Ugh. The Owens collection this season included several models whose faces had been varnished with gold, silver, or green patina foil, which called to mind the characters of Wicked, which I’m sure was not at all what the designer had in mind. His clothes were the sort of heavily draped, exotically embroidered, caftan-cum-obi-robes that only frail people and Dan Brown villains can carry off successfully, though surprisingly enough, this was actually one of his more accessible collections. At least I picked out a few items for possible personal orders, particularly an off-white coat with gold ribbon streamers woven into the panels (above, left). We can all be street style stars yet.

Thank goodness for Alber Elbaz at Lanvin (pictured, top). I’d hate to go to bed after a temper tantrum, and even though Solange, Kim, Kanye, Kris, and Jared, once again, held up the start of show with their drawn-out arrivals, the intensity and brazenness of this collection left me elated. First drumbeats, like the kind from Whiplash, heralded a thrilling performance of hyper-decorated gowns, coats, and even beaded baseball caps. Then came the a capella voice of Diana Ross singing the lyrics of “I Hear a Symphony.” I’m lost in a world…made for you and me…

While I was particularly taken with the simplest of dresses, a rusty brown sleeveless gown that had been belted and banded with leather that wrapped its way up to the shoulder, like a naughty harness or holster, it was the exotic, gilded textiles and passementerie on peasant blouses, jackets, and dresses toward the end of the show, evoking the landscapes and military attire of northern Africa, that made you want to stand up, see more, and even be happy for a moment that you’re stuck here for the week on planet fashion.

RELATED: Eric Wilson’s Front Row Diary: Dries Van Noten Was In Top Form at #PFW

Eric Wilson’s Front Row Diary: Dolce & Gabbana Design a Love Letter to Mom

Eric Wilson is InStyle’s Fashion News Director. Sit front row at Fashion Week with him by following him on Twitter (@EricWilsonSays) and Instagram.

The invitations to Dolce & Gabbana’s fall runway show today featured the kind of children’s drawings you might find taped to refrigerator doors across the world. A child handing a rose to his mother, saying she is the most beautiful thing in his world. What could be sweeter?

Sometimes a fashion show isn’t about fashion at all, and the theme of this one was “the mother,” which, as anyone who has ever dated an Italian will tell you, is sacrosanct. I mean, Mamma mia! While moms are an unusual choice of muse for designers like Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, it turned out they had quite a lot to say on the subject in what turned out to be the feel-good moment of Milan Fashion Week. The curtains parted to reveal a tableau vivant of models and children – babies and toddlers, some still in diapers, others old enough to know how to stand still and look adorable. Some of the babies even clapped along! Not one of them was a crybaby, either.

RELATED: Our Fashion TV Guide to the Fall Collections Thus Far

Next came the runway models, carrying little babies in their arms, and one model, Bianca Balti, was pregnant, which means that Dolce & Gabbana managed to combine fashion for women, moms, babies, children – and maternity – on a single runway. They even created gowns printed or embroidered with drawings by the designers’ nieces and nephews, which were surprisingly delightful and also unexpectedly symbolic, a heartfelt expression of acknowledging their roots, or, as the designers said in a release, “allowing fashion to be seen as an extension of where one comes from.”

Even if you have mommy issues, it would have been impossible not to find something charming about this collection, which included quite a number of gilded suits and lacy black dresses, some with red roses appliqued along the hems and trims. One perfect cape, in particular, was beautifully crafted with a three-dimensional embroidered rose on the shoulder, perhaps less saintly than suitable for Mommie Dearest.

RELATED: Runway Looks We Love: Moschino

Moving on from mom, Milan has had its shares of highs and lows this week, but none as high as another M, as in Marni. Consuelo Castiglioni, its designer, stripped down her silhouette to bare lines, and in many cases highlighted the waist to a greater degree than is her norm. The results were super-intriguing, like a long brown jedi-like tunic worn over loose wide trousers that were slit in the back to reveal a flash of leg with each lengthy stride (pictured, below left). Coats were shown with long fur sleeves in contrast colors, and a brick red dress was cinched with a wide belt worn high above the waist, a look both abstract and clean, without veering too far into the territory minimalism.

Speaking of, what ever happened to minimalism? What’s so wrong with distinct lines and a spare palette, or a perfect navy wrap coat over trousers in the same fabric (pictured, above second left)? Or a simple-skin-tight turtleneck worn under a loose jacket or sweater? Rodolfo Paglialunga, the new designer at Jil Sander, has given us reason to reconsider the value of a clean start. His terrific remake of the troubled house is gaining momentum, and fast.

MSGM designer Massimo Giorgetti loves turtlenecks, too, and evidently minimalism also (pictured, above right). He showed something that could be described as a turtleneck dickey – that is, just the turtleneck part, attached to no sweater, and worn with a colorful coat. Not for everyone, I’ll admit, but I’m interested.

If you’ve been following the gossip, you’ll also know that Peter Dundas, currently the designer of Emilio Pucci, is rumored to be heading to Roberto Cavalli very, very soon. You might say it’s in the stars. For what it’s worth, Dundas must have been spending quite a lot of time with his astrologist, his fortune teller, and his tea-leaf reader this season, given that he showed some dashing gowns that were printed with constellations (pictured, above second right). Anyone feel like making predictions?

PHOTOS: Runway Looks We Love From Milan Fashion Week

Eric Wilson’s Front Row Diary: Our Fashion TV Guide to the Fall Collections Thus Far

Eric Wilson is InStyle’s Fashion News Director. Sit front row at Fashion Week with him by following him on Twitter (@EricWilsonSays) and Instagram.

As we have already noted, Milan Fashion Week got off to a serious start this week with cerebral collections from Fendi, Gucci, and Prada. But not everything has to make you think. Sometimes the collections are just fun to watch, like reality television shows in which fashion is the star. Designers here are in the midst of transforming the reputation of their city back into a world-class capital, and that is happening thanks to a growing roster of new and adventurous labels combined with a sense of revitalized energy at the established ones.

PHOTOS: See All the Stars at the 2015 Shows

Marco de Vincenzo is one of the new guard, and his work is as fascinating and mature as even the grown up designers like Donatella Versace, who, by the way, had a powerful show that set a new look for the house while mining its glamorous heyday. But more on that in moment.

The looks have been coming fast and furious this Fashion Week, so scattered and independent of one another that watching the shows almost feels like flipping through the channels on television. If there has been one common denominator, it’s Wes Anderson, whose Royal Tenenbaums has been a stylistic reference for the collections of Bally, Etro, and Gucci, not to mention the Lacoste show back in New York. Something’s just in the air. So get out your tennis headbands and granny’s fur coats and take a tour through our fashion TV guide to the fall collections, thus far:

Versace (pictured, above): On Cinemax After Dark tonight, there was more than a hint of Richard Avedon’s groundbreaking 1990s advertising campaigns for Versace in Donatella Versace’s latest collection that featured sequined dresses embroidered with large letters spelling out the Versace name in a mixed-up logo mania, as if she hit the reset button on a classic this season. Bold green and yellow chubby furs, wild mini-dresses, and thigh-high red patent boots – what else would you expect from Versace than the Red Shoe Diaries?

Moschino (pictured, above left): On the Cartoon Network, it’s a Looney Tunes marathon, in which Sylvester, Daffy Duck, and Bugs Bunny go to to a hip-hop rave party. Worth watching for the soundtrack alone, but the clothes were pretty amusing, too.

PHOTOS: Runway Looks We Love: Moschino

Marco de Vincenzo (pictured, above middle): On today’s after-school special, an up-and-coming designer who made his name with precisely pleated rainbow-lurex skirts and fabulously textured coats takes a walk on the wild side, showing a tougher edged girl in hiking boots trimmed with velvet braids. She looks dangerous in a laser-cut camel suit woven with ribbons that dangle darkly from her skirt. “I love decoration,” says de Vincenzo. “But also balance. It’s easy to do too much.”

Giamba (pictured, above right): A double-header on a similar track – Giambattista Valli creates sweet, sweet dresses in micro floral prints and acid-light colors for his newest, younger-skewing collection, only to cover them with leather harnesses. Is his customer naughty or nice? Or is she going to wind up on 16 and Pregnant?

Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini (pictured, above left): On the History Channel, Serafini, Philosophy’s new designer, making his ready-to-wear debut, opting for prairie dresses and knit capes with an old-timey feel. Particularly charming are his separates with tomboy-appeal, like high-waisted tweed trousers worn with a delicately ruffled blue shirt.

Bally (pictured, above middle):  On Showtime on Demand, it’s a Wes Anderson marathon, featuring great new ready-to-wear with a 1960s vibe, including, rather unbelievably, a pair of crocodile pants. More probable for daywear were the Tenenbaum inspired looks, including some delightful tennis headbands à la Richie Tenenbaum, worn with a practical yellow blazer and white tunic over brown trousers.

Max Mara (pictured, above left): On the Biography Channel, the designers at Max Mara have uncovered a trove of early pictures of Marilyn Monroe, channeling the actress in her most vulnerable period through the form of outerwear. That’s right, multiple variations of deliciously cozy cocoon coats, which the models wrapped around themselves as cover-ups, as if they had just dashed out of the frigid ocean from a skinny dip. Gigi Hadid, the reality TV star turned model-du-moment, made a convincing Norma Jean, with her mouth posed in a wide-open pout as she made her way down the runway.

Stay tuned for what happens next.

RELATED: Gigi Hadid Channels Marilyn Monroe on the Runway

Jamie Chung’s Bridal Fashion Week Diary

Whether we’re swooning over her flawless style or taking note of her beauty must-haves, we’re always admiring the gorgeous, sweeter-than-pie Jamie Chung (note: she really is the nicest, coolest girl ever).

So when she invited us along to experience Bridal Fashion Week with her in New York City while she hunts down the perfect wedding dress, we slipped on our finest swingy spring skirt, freshened up our bold red lip and hopped in a cab to go hang with her.

The actress, who is planning her wedding to fiancé and fellow actor Bryan Greenberg (have you seen her stunning engagement ring?), and is also starring on NBC’s new J.J. Abrams-produced drama, Believe, is quite the busy little bee. But finding a couple of afternoons to squeeze in bridal gown perusing? No problemo.

Day one kicked off with a private visit to Monique Lhuillier’s Madison Avenue showroom, where the designer took Chung through her breathtaking new collection. After meeting Lhuillier and taking one glance at a room full of romantic statement gowns, Chung realized choosing a wedding dress might be harder than she anticipated. “I turned to Monique and before I could even say anything, she said ‘don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of time to figure it out,’” said Chung.

By the end of the afternoon, Chung came to the conclusion that perhaps playing princess for the day is exactly the kind of wedding look she had in mind. “Growing up I was the tomboy, playing sports and getting dirty,” Chung shared. “I never daydreamed about my ‘big day,’ nor did I ever want to be the princess. It wasn’t until this very moment, standing in Monique’s showroom, I realized I do want to be the princess in a fairy-tale wedding…This is really happening!”

 See the photos of Jamie Chung at Bridal Fashion Week

“I took a step back to look at the collection as a whole and I found myself in a glorious cloud of silk, satin, tulle and crystals. This must be what heaven looks like!”

The next morning, we met Chung for coffee (a lot of coffee) and croissants before dashing off to the Marchesa Spring 2015 Bridal collection show at Canoe Studios, where she sat front row in a gorgeous bold red blazer by Reese and Riley and skirt by Elizabeth and James, which she accessorized with the perfect red lip. Her seat mate? None other than film honcho Harvey Weinstein, playing the good hubby (he’s married to Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman).

Jamie Chung

Courtney Dudley

So, after seeing all those gowns sashaying down the runway, what will she wear on her big day? The verdict is still out, but our new favorite girl-next-door says she’s now rethinking what she wants in a wedding dress in the first place. “I’m really loving the colored dresses,” she says. “I thought I wanted a white dress but now I’m considering a bit of color!”

Take a step behind the scenes with Jamie as she attends fashion shows and visits designer showrooms in our gallery, Jamie Chung’s Fashion Week Diary.