What you see is what you get at Chloé, and the tactic seems to work with a new fan base, who rocked up to the show in head-to-toe looks. The collection, Ramsay-Levi explained, was divided into three parts: nomadic (a buzzword this season), “old Ibiza,” and finally the goddess dresses that closed the show, inspired by Pasolini’s Medea. Her de-intellectualisation of fashion is interesting in that it’s in no way uninformed or silly, just miles away from the complicated and sometimes wanky narratives in which so many designers love to indulge. It makes for instantly shoppable fashion that needs no dissecting, analysis, or interpretation. Other, of course, than why Ramsay-Levi chose the reference in the first place? “I love hippies and I think it’s a great counter-culture. It’s inspiring still today because it’s people who reboot to a new zero; an idea of how you can reinvent life, your link to sensuality, to community. I think it’s still very relevant and I want to bring it to the city.”
Today’s show was an homage to the mutinists: the non-conformist line-up of faces which John Galliano has appointed to front his new fragrance (Teddy Quinlivan, Sasha Lane, Willow Smith, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Princess Nokia and Molly Bair). But also to the people he now surrounds himself with on daily basis. Contradicting the idea of a designer in an ivory tower, Galliano populates the Margiela atelier with students on work experience placements: the small team of stagiaires who assist on his collections is involved in the entire process of its creation, as well as opening his eyes to their ways of seeing the world. He is a fervid Instagrammer, seeking out young people like Javier de la Blanca to collaborate with – “Obsessed… obsessed!” he exclaims, on his seasonally-released podcast. “The freedom! The shapes he’s throwing!” – and invites them into his world (he flew Javier in from Spain to walk his runway to express the “attitude, individuality and defiance” that Galliano so loves about him).
It is that open-mindedness, that earnest, expressive liberation that permeated this collection so tangibly. John Galliano’s career has been fraught with various difficulties, but since joining Margiela he has reconnected with the excitable spirit of his youth, with the vitality he felt upon arriving at Central Saint Martins and finding his people, both there and in the clubs of Soho. “The whole world changed when I found likeminded people; that’s when I started to connect,” he recalled. “[My mutinists] being who they really are is something that I find really inspiring because for so long I couldn’t be who I wanted to be… That’s why now, when I see such self-expression, it’s a joy for me.”
It’s been 30 years since Jean Paul Gaultier put men in skirts here in Paris, but the image of the male body in a dress is no less stigmatised in the public forum today, even if we like to think so. That’s why the moment when Michele sent out a buzz-cut boy with tattoos and tennis socks in a slinky baroque-print scarf dress and a big backpack felt momentous. In this age of gender fluidity, a man in a dress should be the most insignificant thing to us, but it still got the camera phones going like no other look in the collection. It was great. It helped to fuel Michele’s most sexually loaded collection to date, which had men in super lowcut leotards and leather and rhinestone dance belt cups – in most sinister Clockwork Orange style – and opened with a horror short film that featured a man and a woman torching their tongues with a lighter over a bidet. Must have been Monday.
GUCCI SPRING SUMMER 2019
Gucci moved its presentation to the first evening of the Paris shows to close a French trilogy that started with a pre-fall collection shot in Paris locations significant to 1968 and took out the Alyscamps cemetery in Arles for its cruise show. Alessandro Michele’s choice of venue, the fabled Le Palace nightclub and theatre in Montmartre – so gritty and dusty Gucci had to change the carpet – was a perfectly suitable choice for his underground elves. But it was the noticeable progress of Michele’s plentiful shtick and his bold styling moves that made this collection more compelling than his usual theatre.
It was in homage to Leo and Perla, who didn’t just have the best cat names ever but set Italian experimental theatre on fire with their provocative takes on Shakespeare in the 1960s. Michele’s typically indecipherable show notes came with much ado about Leo de Berardinis and Perla Peragallo, but their impact on the collection seemed to be rooted in the confrontational, the alluring and the highly sexualised. Those tendencies were an unexpected and great move on Michele’s part; more of that, please, sir. “I realised something when I was going back to my room,” he said after the curtain had closed on his theatre and bows were taken.
It was her first time at that rodeo, but not for the fashion industry, which has so often mixed performance art and runway shows to cringeworthy lows. Perhaps that’s what made this one so thrilling. Rarely has any foreign element in a fashion show been so entrancing, or added as much character to a collection as the one Chiuri commissioned from Sharon Eyal’s dance company this afternoon, in a dimmed tent in Bois de Boulogne. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t trying to be poignant. Rather, it was energised, spirited, ravishing and totally transfixing. You could have sat there all day getting shivers watching those racehorse bodies tripping and floating like they were trapped somewhere between underwater weightlessness and on fire, white rose petals dropping from the ceiling in thousand-fold. The soundtrack was amazing and hard to describe.
“I’m lucky to open the week. There’s only another show tonight,” Chiuri said, referring to Paris Fashion Week’s special guest star Gucci, who would have opened the ball had Dior not moved its show to Monday afternoon; not that it wouldn’t look as mesmerising on Tuesday at 2.30. “Because during fashion week the shows go by so fast and sometimes you lose the experience. And now, with the new media, you see the show through a phone. So, it’s important to convey the idea of us living in the moment. I hope that with this performance we can create something that people want to experience and get involved with us. Not behind a phone,” Chiuri paused. “Probably I dream!” (Indeed, putting on a mind-blowing dance performance isn’t exactly the way to make us stop Instagramming.) “I try to speak more about experience and less about just clothes,” she said. “We are speaking about the future of fashion. Something more. Fashion is not the same as when I started out. We are living in another moment.”
Watching one of his runway shows can sometimes feel a little masochistic – who actually looks like that on that holiday?
Jacquemus’ brand has been built off the back of his South of France heritage, and through channeling the insouciant sensuality of the women he grew up admiring. This season hardly rocked the boat - he explored his Riviera fantasy, of women “going to the casino on the seashore, dancing, drinking cocktails” – but it made for as lovely a vision as ever. “I’m a South of France boy; I never want to say anything about Paris. I want to say something about the Mediterranean,” he shrugged. “On the Riviera, you can dress the same to go to the beach as you do the red carpet and that mix is exciting to me.”
The artfully-undone beach-to-bar pieces he presented made a convincing case for his sustained interest – and, paired with glitzy earrings and wedges dangling plastic Js from their soles, were Italo disco through and through. Remember that scene in Call Me By Your Name, when an assortment of beautiful Lombardy teenagers lose themselves to Psychedelic Furs? Camille Hurel, dressed in her hot pink hot pants and slinky silky halter could have been pulled directly from the cast.
Marni Spring Summer 2019
There is no better way of describing what has gone on chez Marni since Risso took the reins there some two years ago. Like a mad scientist, he blows our minds on Sunday mornings in Milan, continuing his gothic stories of eccentric, dystopian creatures in garments that look like they were ripped from the tapestries of fabled old houses. He is a master of his own entirely idiosyncratic game, and that’s the best position any designer could find themselves in. (Huge credit to Renzo Rosso, his boss at OTB, for placing designers like Risso and John Galliano at the fashion houses he owns, Maison Margiela included. We need them.) It’s a treat to the eye, from the truly soulful garments to the fanciful sets. This season, the All Too Humanexhibition at Tate Britain where Risso became enthralled with nudes in bedroom settings by painters like Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud and Jenny Saville, inspired a massive communal bedchamber where beds doubled as seats.
“They felt so strong and so visceral,” he said of the paintings, “and that power to the body suggested sculptures.” He worked those in through said prints, filtering in his Frankenstein reference in ghoulishly-stitched leather bustiers and ripped lace numbers. If it sounds literal it’s because it was, but Risso’s canvas can handle it. There’s no such thing as basic in his world, often for the fact that his garments are so openly unravelling anyway. “It’s classicism with metamorphosis still in progress. You have to imagine the painters work on the canvas: it’s about trials and mistakes before getting to the sculpture and the marble. And that becomes the work itself,” he pointed out. “Drapes that are subtracted, shapes that are added, and vice versa. Fingertips that are throwing living tempera onto the pieces; and so these situates, they become alive. They bloom.”
For this spring collection, unveiled in a week when Etro, in celebration of its 50th birthday, is also putting on an exhibition at Milan’s MUDEC museum, the holiday vibe was literal. Etro took the surfer girl - albeit primed for a 5-star vacation - as her muse, and threw some paisley-patterned surfboards down the catwalk, plus a real life champion surfer, the implausibly beautiful Victoria Vergara, to up the street cred.
Surfer girls seem to have seeped into fashion’s collective consciousness this season, most obviously at Calvin Klein, but also at Prada (those knitted surfer bootie/sandal hybrids) and Michael Kors (sunset printed knits) but none was as literal as Etro’s take. Sun-kissed and ready-salted, this was a holiday wardrobe heading on a Pacific jaunt with pit stops in California, Hawaii, and Japan. It comprised racks of zesty-coloured silk pyjama sets and crochet mini dresses, as well as towelling ponchos and patchwork cardigans to throw over sunburnt shoulders. Shells dripped from earrings and necks, wrists and ankles, lingering above little surf shoes and brocade slides. Evening options abounded - embroidered and patterned wrap dresses plus chiffon pleated ankle-grazers. “Good vibes,” was Etro’s verdict.
This made the highlight of today’s Tod’s show - a roomy, paper-thin leather shirt dress on the Italian Vittoria Ceretti - an altogether more impressive feat. Leather shirts don’t exactly scream “warm weather staple” but in the handling of the Tod’s team, specifically rendered in a peachy pink and worn with flat sandals, it looked just the thing for the front row, many of whom have been surprised by the sweltering heat this week in sunny Italy.
Elsewhere, the design team majored in a preppy, Italian-who’s-switched-Capri-for-the-Hamptons aesthetic that combined practicality with a modish luxury. Leather pants were cut slim and cropped at the ankle. Suede jackets with energising stripes sat neatly above politely slit pencil skirts. Most of the shoes were flat, acessorized with exuberant sprays of tassels, which lent a no-nonsense air to the collection. Shirt dresses were tailored and cinched at the waist with an attractive Tod’s signature, the double T belt, or wrapped from the waist down. The bags had silver slicks of hardware and plaited loop handles, sometimes in raffia, that perfectly summed up the season’s swoon for handicraft.
What sounds like it could be a recipe for chaos actually appeared thoroughly cohesive: rather than going full Carmen Miranda, Koma simply integrated a new dynamism into his modernist aesthetic and applied top-stitched flounces to scuba-style dresses; explored fishtail silhouettes and plenty of peplums. He is a very good technician, and some particularly good dresses, formed from vertically striped silk tulle, swung at the skirt with remarkable grace; the application of hand-stitched disks offered twinkling glitz to the show-stopping numbers (it’s a skill to make that much embellishment appear so ethereally light).
This season was Koma’s first segue into full-length gowns, and surely his customer base is simply wondering what took him so long – his woman is the sort who has plenty of occasion for them. While they might be more likely to wear them atop a yacht than to a juerga, his dresses packed plenty of punch – and their flocked polka dots will make for a good conversation starter at the inevitably abundant trunk shows to follow.
Vivetta has created a technicolor dream for its SS19 collection, pastel tones with fairytale, visionary fantasy, infused with an eccentric and enchanting glamour, painted in delicate hues with irony and grace.Candid swans rest on small tunics in painted inlay macramé, or on long romantic crocheted dresses; knots of blackberries in Swarovski crystals, glisten on impalpable cape dresses like clouds of degradé tulle; pretty butterflies seem to palpitate on fragile tulle bodices embroidered by hand with fringes of beads and feathers, which bloom on taffeta skirts thickly pleated as corollas of flowers grown in a fabulous greenhouse, or accompany denim trousers richly decorated with precious jewel-like embroidery.A pop rainbow, inspired by Peter Max’s 70s psychedelic graphics, illuminates suits in Nappa leather, inlaid with eccentrically Western flavour; wide skirts in sumptuous taffeta or dust coats with Elizabethan sleeves veiled by a puff of tulle are studded with magical galaxies of shiny stars.Bouquets of hydrangeas bloom on mini-dresses draped in technical organza with a liquid effect, enriched with frills and rosettes, seducing in their theatrical yet simultaneously naive glamour; fanciful blooms decorate fluffy pouf skirts worn with candid poplin shirts or balloon dresses light like meringues.
This collection is an invitation to play together - says Vivetta Ponti, founder and designer of the brand - In my illusory and smiling world grace and fantasy triumph. As if a spell transfigured the reality, making it magical. A surreal short film that never fails the happy ending.A warm, childish sense of humour lies like a breath on the striped poplin dresses in sweet macaron shades; draped tunics are created by transforming classic men’s shirts, whose sleeves become pleated skirts or whose cuffs are wrapped around necklines - as well as contrasting bows on clean poplin blouses or cut-out inlays on palazzo trousers revealing the outline of a face.Vivetta invites us to take part in this game of illusions and smiles, in this world where grace and fantasy triumph, in a reality that, transfigured in some spell, becomes magical and surreal as in a film with a happy ending.
Styling by Georgia Tal
Production & Direction by RANDOM
Casting by Caterina Matteucci @CM Casting
Hair by Beppe D’Elia using l’Oreal Professional for Beautick
Make up by Beautick
Nails by MH artist
Music by Dorian Grey
Sunglasses by Poppy Lissiman