Street style for spring/summer 2020 was awash with Daniel Lee’s square-toe sandals, either intrecciato woven leather mules or strappy sandals that had influencers and editors risking frostbite. In Lee’s second showing for the Italian leather house, the accessories were once again instant hits, with a supersized intrecciato hobo bag taking centre stage. In terms of ready-to-wear, Lee built on his first Bottega Veneta collection, in which he’d delivered strong looks with sharp lines. This collection saw lighter pieces with softened lines, but the clingy ribbed dresses were there, as were the sportier pieces with interesting twists. Leather was given lighter treatment this time round and could be found in the trenches, anoraks and Bermuda shorts.
The parade across Rue Cambon’s zinc-lined rooftops hailed Virginie Viard’s new direction for the House of Chanel. Although grounded in the French maison’s heritage, Viard’s tweed rompers, short hems and all manner of leggy playsuits evoked the Nouvelle Vague. Unlike Lagerfeld’s larger-than-life Chanel girl, Viard’s woman was liberated in contemporary T-shirts, jeans and Breton stripes, which joined tiered skirts and layers of tweed on the runway. Of course, this was the occasion when a comedienne jumped into a line of marching models – security didn’t like it and Gigi Hadid kindly helped direct her off the runway – but audiences came away with a show to remember.
Sustainability is big in fashion, but is it sustainable? At Dior, the answer is a supersized yes. This season Maria Grazia Chiuri worked with Paris-based environmental design collective Coloco to create the arboreal set that became Dior’s catwalk, comprising trees that would later be planted around Paris. If that weren’t enough, Chiuri took inspiration from Christian Dior’s sister Catherine, a botanist and acclaimed gardener. The result was an earthy collection of jacquards, silks and lace interwoven with raffia and denim ombre pieces – a more sustainable savoir-faire.
What does your garden-variety collection look like when interpreted by one of the biggest forces in luxury fashion? If it’s Fendi, think relaxed, languid and psychedelic, and with a leafy floral print made of Lycra and laced with mink the house retained its signature style. Gingham featured heavily, executed on sequin- dipped organza. Terrycloth also made its customary appearance, suggesting that wearability and practicality remain at the forefront of Silvia Fendi’s approach – and for women on the go, there wasn’t a high heel in sight.
Delicately muted colours dominated Giorgio Armani’s collection, titled Earth, although only a handful of looks featured the brown of the soil. The rest were in dreamy palettes of soft greige and pale blues and pinks that pointed to the hues of minerals and vegetation. Tropical-leaf prints grounded the collection in its theme, while organza billowed and furled in a sort of wilderness to convey the uncontrollability of nature’s creations.
For his fifth anniversary at the House go Gucci, Alessandro Michele knew it was time for change. The provocateur, who charged into the fashion scene with his maximalist approach to granny chic, staged his first collection of the new decade in a red-lit room, which then flashed white light against moving walkways as 21 models in straitjackets emerged from behind corrugated metal gates – and that wasn’t the full collection but rather an amuse-bouche. Michele is clearly breaking out from the mould he’d created for himself. His first look was a sheer top with a black skirt – something of a first for the designer whose motto was to use all the colours – and when colour does appear its presence is blocked and graphic. Print is used sparingly, and mostly in the form of the GG logo he’s resurrected from the archives. There were also nods in the pant and skirt suits to the brand’s leaner silhouettes from the ’70s and Tom Ford’s influence in the ’90s. Where there were once layers upon layers of jacquards and tweeds, lightness became the focus. Fabrics are sheerer, slip dresses contained lace inserts and skirts, and sleeves became a playground of how transparent fabrics could go. Sexiness appeared by way of a strong S&M influence, with riding crops referencing not only that but also the house’s equestrian heritage.
Representative of the artisanal trend that overtook the Paris runways, the Hermès collection was replete with tunics, gladiator sandals, and aprons. Inspired partly by the aprons worn in the Hermès atelier, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski gave the humble piece a graphic makeover that was carried through in coats, dresses and shell tops. Having successfully delivered on heritage, she also merged modernity seamlessly into her collection through a series of coats and suits that demonstrate the finesse of craftsmanship that only a luxury house like Hermès can accomplish.
Wang Cheng Tsai-Hsia turned her hand to the underwear-as-outerwear trend, though Shiatzy Chen wouldn’t be so successful without its Chinese twist. Referencing fresh bamboo sprouts, the palette this season showed white, green, tan, red and black with breezy blouson cuts, sheer fabrics and bare legs.