The there is a great deal of buzz surrounding the new Givenchy campaign, due to its early release (summer hasn’t even started and already we get a fall campaign, further proof that the 24/7 fashion cycle thrives on immediacy) but also due to the fact that it prominently features a transgendered person amongst its lineup of beauties. For all fashion’s proclamations of inclusiveness and acceptance, you’d be hard pressed to find examples of trans individuals in editorials and campaigns. Fashion flirts with androgyny on a daily basis, it flaunts sexual imagery whenever it can, but only rarely does it touch on something legitimately topical. Benetton

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The Hyères prize is as good a litmus test for fashion’s future as any design competition can be. The likes of Viktor and Rolf, Gaspard Yurkievich and Felipe Oliveira Baptista have debuted at the innovative festival, so it is no shock that this year’s contest introduces us to some idiosyncratic talents. Among them, winner Alexandra Verschueren stands out as an exceptionally individual voice. Looking at her collection it is easy to see why she won the competition; origami inspired fashions have become increasingly popular in recent seasons, but at their best Verschueren’s pieces eschew the trappings of their paper inspirations. There are strange and intriguing new shapes, but there are also smart updates on classic pieces, like the cocktail dress that looks as though it was reshaped by pinking shears, or any of the one of a kind coats. Their range breathes fresh life into the simple concepts; everyone will be wearing a camel coat come fall, but how many boast geometrical frills remniscent of wearable graph paper? The strength of Verschueren’s work lies in its ability to elevate these normal staples into something magical.

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Sunglasses season is upon us, with designers pimping their wares between the pages of every glossy and stores still pushing those tired Wayfarer knock offs, finding something original is easier said than done. Which is why Karen Walker’s line of always on point shades is just so special - who else is going to provide the perfect circlular shade, the right kooky orange, even a few description defying pairs that look like nothing we’ve ever seen before; you can always count on Karen for the perfect blend of kookiness and chic.

For most people 19 is an age of self discovery and the freshman 15; Pedro Lourenço is just a little different, he was already designing by the time he was a tween and his F/W Paris debut was astonishingly self assured. The fledgling Brazilian designer presented a highly covetable (and heavily hyped) set of little leather dresses, military influenced jackets and latex boots, not the most user friendly lineup but there was something fascinating about the collection all the same. Lorenco’s woman is strong, sexy and just a little bit dangerous; his style reminded me ever so slightly of the early work of another young upstart, Balenciaga’s Nicolas Ghesquière.
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When was the last time an editorial really excited you? Not just, “oh I’m happy to see this model again” or “this styling looks alright” but genuine excitement; the kind of outright glee elicits a reaction. Paging through the latest issue of Vs. I was struck by Simon Procter‘s larger than life editorial, The Fall. I was blown away by the scope of the images – the photomontages with their stormy clouds and crashing waves are truly stunning. Clothing always looks better when it is moving but Procter manages to take the story beyond its high fashion trappings; you don’t think about the season or the designer, you start to ponder the symbolism behind the images. View the full story after the jump.

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