The new Show Notes pages offer a glimpse into what I jotted down during each collection. Every editor’s notebook is different, but then that’s why each magazine has its own mind, character and way of seeing the world. Here’s mine, now an open book, for you.
Spring/Summer 2019 Show Notes From the Front Row
Spring/Summer 2019 Show Notes From the Front Row
Reflecting on the shows, the sets and the word on the street.
As well as being the creative director of an Italian house, Izumi Ogino is excited about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The collection leans towards the athletic with stripes and sport-friendly fabrics taking centre stage.Each piece is made for layering and stripes — straight or crooked, fat or slim — are used exuberantly throughout. Ogino is likewise unafraid to play with Anteprima's wirebag. Adding a smiley face to the intricate beading gives the accessory a modern touch.
Celine with no accent was definitely the topic of the season. First it was the bag drop — one of them is shown below with its simple rectangular hardware replaced by an archival double-C revival. Then the collection followed. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, everybody can look forward to skinny, sharp tailoring and some very short dresses. After a good number of seasons rocking the midi, it’s definitely a switch back to the breezier side of things.
The little black dress, the French Riviera breeziness, lace and power shoulders all feature in the late Karl Lagerfeld’s Sur La Plage collection. Transforming the Grand Palace in Paris into an in-season beach resort on a frigid October morning was a welcome start to the day for many. Models walked out barefoot, with either two purses slung across the bodies with strands of pearls — à la Coco — or shoes in hand. If we had to pick, the ’80s tweed jackets and vests were the stars of the show.
Trust Maria Grazia Chiuri to translate contemporary dance into this season’s must-have collection. The show was itself a spectacle, beginning with a performance before models filed out in sheer gossamer skirts. Mesh is in and in a big way, layered atop leotards or under structured tailored pieces. Perhaps inspired by the tie-dyes that washed across catwalks, Grazia Chiuri also gave the trend her own spin, turning to the kaleidoscope for inspiration. Transforming the optical wonder into dresses and bags, the technique is exquisite and the hand-stitched skirts are works of art.
Dries Van Noten appears to have taken pop art to heart, with primary colours canary yellow and cobalt blue being especially firm favourites. If any one collection could convince Miranda Priestly that florals for spring are it, it’s this. Every working woman’s wardrobe need is answered — but with the signature Dries spin. Last season it was the fringe; this season it’s all about feathers and stripes.
Utility was in full force this season for Fendi. Interpreted by the house through leathers and PVC, bags such as the Peekaboo and garment pockets all featured small compartments akin to the workman belt. Fendi also relaunched its Baguette bag this season, jumping aboard the It-bag revival bandwagon and rendering the classic shape in new variations with intricate embroidery, sequins, furs, leathers and fabrics. Although localised for each market, the key slogan in all the brand’s campaigns was “It’s not a bag, it’s a Baguette” — suggesting that a noughties revival is about to get into full swing.
Giorgio Armani took us underwater this season, with a show featuring soft blue lights that mimicked the depths and shallows of the sea when bathed in sunlight. Spectacular pieces in translucent fabrics were sent parading down the catwalk, where a particularly striking look took the colours of living coral reefs and translated them on to a spaghetti-strap top. Mesh has also made its way into the Italian house’s designs. Bags reinterpreting the fisherman’s net came in bright pinks — a nod to the industry’s current penchant for colour.
Claire Waight Keller gave us utility and femininity in equal amounts this season — and no one’s complaining. The woman striding down the catwalk was as comfortable with her sexuality in leather Perfectos tucked into belted army trousers as she was in Hollywood-style pleated gowns. The key to both was movement.
Although Alessandro Michele’s virtuosity has already been proven, this season shows even more facets to the designer and his borderless mind. Yet even a genius can have heroes: several pieces were homages to designers of yore, such as Yves Saint Laurent and Issey Miyake. Taking inspiration from theatre and disco, the looks were outré and decadent in that just-right way. There was a nod to the ’70s and ’80s disco scene where by night youngsters raved in cascading fringe and unending bling, with contrasting granny vintage influences. Various insignias within the collection include the flying pig and the strawberry print. Strass details were added to shoes for that extra something.
Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski outdid herself this season, with a collection that pulled inspiration from the clothes of stablehands. Phoebe Philo’s departure from Celine left a gap in the market for working women’s clothing that’s yet to be replaced. If this collection, with its discreet yet intricate leather-work, is anything to go by, Vanhee-Cybulski’s Hermès might just fill that gap. And has a bucket bag ever been more chic? Hermès has been creating iconic leather accessories ever since the Birkin and Kelly made it to the bag hall of fame and this one’s a definite contender.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see classic brands with a very distinct customer in any other light, but Loro Piana has really reinterpreted its DNA for a younger crowd. Take this season’s dresses, in midi and maxi lengths. Cuts are more youthful and relaxed with a variation of necklines and, taking on board the need for flexibility, pieces can also be worn inside out. A new bag of note is one on which the stripe has been recreated from trunks in the Loro Piana archive.
Collections do best when they pull from a designer’s own passions. Having renewed his contract with Louis Vuitton this spring, Nicolas Ghesquière has dug into his own penchant for space and created a futuristic collection that features moulded rubber, space-suit details and dresses of sequin-embroidered mesh. There were also summery splash prints set against boxy astronaut-inspired jackets with peaked lapels and sci-fi inspired jumpers with couture details. Favourites include an egg-shaped monogram bag that’s sure to do well with space geeks and astronauts. Also of note: a space-capsule evening bag and various top-handle boxy creations.
The Mary Jane shape is in full force at Prada. Taking the curve and strap of the otherwise plain-Jane shoe, Miuccia Prada designed body suits that can be worn on their own or layered over other tops and dresses. Alongside vintage prints, the designer has fashioned a series of street-couture pieces where tennis-shirt elements are worked in with satin haute couture printing techniques.
For its 50th anniversary, Ralph Lauren unveiled a collection that spoke to its roots. Military influences with sharp tailoring contrasted with flowing palazzo pants, and it was truly heritage inspired. Main colours were white and black with touches of gold — we’ve joined the US Navy!
Strong shoulders, tailored blazers, teeny shorts, frayed denim, see-through tops, deep-Vs, leopard and nipple pasties — all the aforementioned were present in Anthony Vaccarello’s collection for Saint Laurent this season, announcing that women everywhere should wear what they want without fear — anywhere, anytime.
Pantone was off the mark when they proposed living coral as the colour of the year. On the catwalks it’s blues that are running amok, such as Stella McCartney’s satiny take on the cool hue. Hitting all the right notes with this collection, the free-spirited McCartney woman is embracing tie-dye in muted pastel tones. Casual tops and bottoms with the print are the order of the day.
Pierpaolo Piccioli is a maestro at creating whimsy and fantasy for women while remaining firmly in the best of taste. Taking inspiration from tropical exotica, his collection for Valentino references birds of paradise with luscious use of feathers and saturated hues of orange, purple, golds and greens. The collection began with more restrained beige, black and burgundy, but in myriad cuts from a voluminous black cotton off-the-shoulder dress to a mini confection. It then grew to encompass colour and a nod to resortwear with midi-length skirts and relaxed shapes, but retained a strong couture element by experimenting with hues and silhouettes. Although inspired by escape, Piccioli wanted to bring dream to reality and the results are stunning shapes such as this season’s hottest tiering looks and spray collars.
Donatella’s excursion into heritage was a tough act to follow, but this empowering collection was a bold attempt that saw Shalom Harlow strut the runway alongside the Hadids, Binx and Campbell. There was a mix of black satin dresses, some cut so short it was as though the ’90s were back, and others strappy and slit. For colour, different patterned florals were pieced together for flowing dresses — a collection for all women rather than the one particular kind of Versace female.
This season Vivienne Westwood took her collection off the runway and into the showroom. Made with organic cottons and linens, it featured jackets and drop-crotch pants that incorporated messages such as “Dame Vivienne” and “Green Economy” — declaring the brand’s longstanding commitment to sustainability. Looks like these highlighted the evils of consumer culture, but all elements of the pieces — from knits made from hemp and bamboo to skirts cut so that minimal cloth would be wasted from its bolt — reflected the ethos of total sustainability.