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Fall/Winter 2016 RTW Collections
The Big Picture
All Photos: Vogue.com
The runway shows for
Fall/Winter 2016/ 2017 have just ended after a marathon 4 city tour. As usual,
the themes and trends that began in New York (on the runways of Marc Jacobs,
Proenza Schouler, Joseph Altuzarra, Thom Browne, Hood by Air, Alexander Wang,
etc.) and continued on through London and Milan, became firmly crystalized in
Paris which (with few exceptions) offered us the true fashion
Those other fashion moments were Prada,
which many felt was Miuccias strongest, most powerful collection to date,
and Gucci where Alessandro Michele is continuing on with the quirky, eclectic,
idiosyncratic vision that caught the fashion world by storm.Then again, nobody
has ever staged a show quite like Kanye Wests Yeezy Season 3 fashion show
and album (The Life of Pablo) debut. The bona fide spectacle and
brilliant marketing ploy which took place at New Yorks Madison Square
Garden before a crowd of about 20,000 (mainly fans) was undeniably a first.
But the City of Lights is after all, the City of Fashion, where the
Big Boys (and Girls) play and naturally, there is always much intrigue,
excitement, and speculation leading up to Paris Fashion Week. Among the
questions that preceded this season: What would Dior look like without Raf
Simons, and under the temporary tutelage of design assistants Lucie Meier and
Serge Ruffieux until a creative director is announced? (It was quite
respectable actually. Good job!)
What would happen to Lanvin without
Alber? (The collection shown was not in the least bit identifiable; and not in
a good way). And now that Alexander Wang is gone from Balenciaga, what would
this iconic French label look like under its new design director,
Vetements co-founder Demna Gvaslia? (It was a perfect melding of
Vetements rebellious, antiestablishment high street style with couture
elements of Balenciaga). Will this or wont this be Hedi Slimanes
last show as Creative Director of Saint Laurent? (He was nowhere in sight nor
did he come out at the end of his strong, visually jarring 42 piece collection
and that is still un answered).
It was an uneven
season which was seemingly upstaged at times, by a number of things. Among
1. All the talk about in season
relevancy which promises to result in a seismic shift in the
way fashion will be presented in the future. I suppose you could say the
implication of see now, buy now (which some designers experimented with on
their runways), would give new meaning to the term, Ready-To-Wear. Of course,
it has its pros and cons and needless to say, not everyone is on board with
this CFDA driven initiative (the Paris contingent for one). Still, its obvious
change is coming and theres no question this will be challenging.
And while this may have been the Ready-To-Wear shows, there was an
undeniable focus on haute couture this season. In New York, Ralph Rucci
unveiled RR331, his latest made to order collection (along with his own
artwork) at an art gallery in Manhattan; Delpozo was once again filled with
Joseph Fonts amazing couture like silhouettes fabrics, details and
embellishments; in Paris, Hedi Slimane showed 42 looks for Saint Laurent (which
were are all made in the couture atelier) for Saint Laurent, while Karl
Lagerfeld emphasized haute couture techniques at Chanel (a minaudiere in the
shape of a spool of thread was meant to emphasis the point). Ah yes, man vs.
machine. Just in time for Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of
Technology the Costume Institutes spring 2016 exhibition which
opens on May 5th.
2. The ongoing circus that has come to define
the 2016 Presidential elections (the most contentious in American history). A
bit of partisan politics was injected into NYFW when, during the Marc Jacobs
show, both Marc and Anna Wintour sported the designers custom made
Hillary Clinton t shirts (Anna subsequently wore one in Paris at a CFDA hosted
3. This years highly charged and controversial
But while there might have been an uproar over the
lack of diversity at this years Oscars (which were expertly hosted by
Chris Rock), there was no lack of diversity on recent runways, or in the way
the shows were presented for that matter (they were held in churches, art
galleries, former bank buildings, a former post office, iconic museums, grand
hotel rooms, loft spaces, and showrooms).
Quite frankly, of all the
problems that might plague the fashion industry, diversity is not one of them.
After all, fashion (much like all the other arts) traditionally embraces (and
puts a high premium on) diversity (Viva la Difference!) Different
cultures, religions, ethnicities, time periods, genders, life styles, are
routinely referenced, glorified, and celebrated and many designers seek to
challenge traditional notions of style and beauty by offering alternatives.
On the runways, things often went from one extreme to the other at
breakneck speed (sometimes within the same collection). Everything (and
anything goes) and fashion, like the weather, has become increasingly
schizophrenic and all over the place.(FYI, as I am writing this, we are in the
throes of a record breaking warm day and just about one week ago, there was
snow on the ground). This is perfectly in sync with womens split
personalities and increasingly multi-tasking lives, and its echoed in the
way many of us think about clothes and dress
Fabric innovation and
technology have had a huge impact on the fashion landscape and theres no
question that there has been an emphasis on the reality based, streetwise,
sporty and athletic (which has at times has been elevated to couture like
levels or given a modern, futuristic slant). We are also at a moment when
maximalism (and a quirky one at that) has, well, maxed out, and many designers
have climbed on that A.M. (Alessandro Michele) bandwagon; some more
successfully than others. But thankfully, there are enough other designers
(Narciso Rodriguez, Ralph Rucci, Ashley and Mary- Kate Olsen for The Row,
Rodolfo Paglialunga for Jil Sander, Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein among
them) who are standing their ground as stalwart defendants of a spare, clean
lined, pared down, minimalism which puts the emphasis on cut over surface
decoration. And needless to say, after seeing so much that is ungapatchka, this
could not look any better right now.
There are many ways to go and one
is not necessarily better than the other. There is something for everyone,
except that is, the financially strapped, because none of this will come cheap.
While there are recurring themes that keep repeating themselves, there is
always a proverbial flip side to the fashion coin Then were solids and there
were florals, geometrics, stripes, polka dots, scarf prints, and cat prints.
(There was an inexplicable fixation on cats this season and it also showed up
as exaggerated cats eye makeup).
Celine & Alexander
There were clothes that should be worn only by the very
young (Alexander Wang) and clothes that seem to be especially well suited for a
grown up woman who is comfortable in her own skin (Dries Van Noten, Celine,
Courreges and Comme des
There was the
supremely straightforward, understandable and wearable (J.Crew, Courreges); and
then there was the highly experimental/ conceptual. The down to earth and the
what on earth? (Comme des Garcons, Rick Owens, Junya Watanabe,
Yeezy Season 3
There were dreamy clothes for a rarified
fairytale world (Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana); and reality based streetwear
geared for the harsh, gritty, urban landscape. (Vetements, Hood by Air,
RR331 & Saint
There were evening dresses that were short, taut,
sparkly and hot (Saint Laurent); and evening dresses that were graceful, long
and flowing (RR331, Derek Lam).
There were shows presented in elegant hotel
rooms with chandeliers hanging from the ceilings (Saint Laurent); and clothes
that were decorated with chandeliers (Moschino).
The Row &
There were runways filled with luxuriously understated
clothes that could be considered to be the modicum of good taste (Ralph Lauren,
The Row, Hermes) and others that were so over the top they could easily be
described as the epitome of bad taste (the 80s are baack!). (Moschino,
Jeremy Scott, Balmain). For the record, I adhere to Diana Vreelands
dictum that bad taste is better than no taste.
Ralph Lauren and Thom
There was menswear that was off kilter and surreal (Thom
Browne, Jacquemus), and menswear that was as real as it gets (Ralph Lauren).
There was also menswear spiced up through the juxtaposition of adding something
unexpectedly racy underneath, and letting it show (Bottega Veneta).
times, one would think that jackets, coats, and pants could not get any bigger,
wider, roomier, fuller, or more exaggeratedly overblown (Marc Jacobs) but while
there was the oversized; and there was also the undersized. And all this did
was to emphasize the fact that precise razor sharp tailoring never loses its
appeal (Haider Ackermann).
There was the
body obscuring and the body revealing. Even though the female form was often
hidden and obscured under voluminous layers, it has not exactly been forgotten.
There were pronounced hip molded jackets, hourglass shaped coats, cut outs,
lacings, and bras and corsets worn on the outside. In the case of the latter,
this looked best and most modern when done in a manner that was not overtly
sexy or obvious in a Kim Kardashian sort of way. (Hey Kim,
dont you understand that its far better to leave a little something
to the imagination?) For example, at Loewe J.W. Anderson gave this an artistic
slant, and at Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Guesquiere unexpectedly offset his pieces
with heavy lace up combat boots. He even used knitted cashmere to create a few
skeleton patterned bodysuits.
Perhaps nowhere were the extremes more
marked, than in the category of coats. The wild fluctuations in weather have
perfectly illustrated why coats, the ultimate armor and protective layer,
continue to be key components in a womans wardrobe and one of the best
investments one can make. Unsurprisingly, they were the stars both on and off
the runways this season.
There were trenches decorated to the max, and classic
and not so classic khaki cotton trenches.
Del Pozo & Louis
There were eminently feminine coats and boyish coats.
There were bathrobe coats, dramatic capes and ponchos. There were
coats made of soft buttery leather and those from sleek high shine patent (or
vinyl). There were meltons, cashmeres, and shearlings, the latter of which
looked particularly strong this season. There were enormous oversized
shearlings and those that were cropped and shrunken.
There were body obscuring quilted puffa coats that are
guaranteed to keep you warm in subzero temperatures; and teeny tiny puffas that
you could wear in Los Angeles. There were puffas in velvet and trimmed in
feathers for the grandest of evenings. There were also quilted jackets layered
over one another. Quilting was such a pronounced recurring trend, that at
Chanel, where quilting has long been a signature, the models eye make-up
Fendi & RR331
There were furs both faux and real (and not only was it
often hard to tell the difference, who cares?) There were wild long haired furs
(sometimes artfully collaged) and furs that were sheared to resemble fabric.
Shaggy furs and flat furs. There were furs shown in their natural state, and
furs that could not look any more artificial.
Leopard, a perennial favorite for customers and designers
alike, has been revived this season. Dries Van Noten mixed it with, among other
things, traditional regimental stripes, piped crested schoolboy blazers, gold
lame, snakeskin, and feathered chokers.
At Givenchy, a psychedelic
Egyptian inspired print was added to the mix.
There were rugged flat
boots, thick strapped flat sandals and soft ballerinas that looked so
comfortable I wanted to sigh; and shoes and boots with platforms so unwieldly,
and uncomfortable, I was tempted to say ouch. Oxfords (flat and
heeled) complimented menswear styles. While footwear has generally speaking,
gotten heavier and more clunky, there were also sightings of classic, elegant,
single soled pointy toed pumps. But lets face it; this season, it really
is all about the boot (with every imaginable heel) for both day and for
evening. Lace up boots, ankle boots, knee high boots, over the knee and thigh
highs (some fit like second skins and others were as wide as waders).
What else stood out?
quirky, unique, and statement making accessories such as Miuccia Pradas
oversized charm necklaces (and belts) decorated with mini leather bound books
and metal skeleton keys, J.W. Andersons oversized necklaces featuring
primitive faces and cats, and his chokers fashioned from large gold rings.
Speaking of chokers, in case you havent noticed, its all
about chokers as of late. There are chokers made from metal, Plexiglas, velvet,
wool, beads, and feathers. They could be streetwise and sporty or quite
fanciful. They came narrow or so wide they literally obscured the neck. Quite
frankly, theyve been so ubiquitous both on and off the runways, unless
theyre really great, Im almost sick of them at this point
(isnt that always the case?).
But in the end, what I take away
from the runway goes far beyond the actual clothes and accessories being
presented. It could be an overriding tone and mood, proportion, silhouette, or
styling trick (like wearing boots for evening, or simply tying a long narrow
scarf around your neck) that I can easily adapt and apply to my own wardrobe
(because lets face it, who goes out to buy a new wardrobe each season?).
One designer who is always fertile ground for inspiration is Dries Van
Noten. Many of us have leopard coats and schoolboy blazers in our closets. But
you might not have thought to combine them the way he did, adeptly playing
masculine off feminine. (adding rep stripes, feathers, faux furs, snakeskin,
pearls, and gold leather). He adeptly played masculine off feminine and made it
all look womanly, sophisticated, and believable.
Miuccia Prada is
always another great source, with her inventive layering and unexpected off the
cuff mixes of high and low, practical and fanciful, day and night, masculine
and feminine, ordinary and extraordinary, hard and soft. I also loved the way
that similar mix played out on the runways of Valentino and Louis Vuitton.
Another good idea was the way Phoebe Philo layered full trousers beneath
dresses at Celine.
Its been said that fashion is all about
proportion, and boy were there ever interesting proportions being proposed on
runways. While most of us generally want to look as toned and svelte as
possible, its fun to change it up and experiment from time to time.
Its another option and it was all over the runways. So, why not just take
pieces that are a bit too large (but which you never had tailored), and put
them together in a new interesting way?
Or how about raiding your
husband/boyfriend/significant others closets? My husband doesnt
know it yet, but Im planning to share his khaki Armani and
Burberry trenches in the upcoming season.
Of course, nothing changes a
silhouette as efficiently or as instantly as cinching the waist of a coat,
jacket, dress, or sweater, with a belt. Statement making, sometimes corseted
belts were all over recent runways. I will get plenty of mileage out of my
amazing gold buckled Celine belt from pre-fall 2013. And considering what I
paid for it, thats a good thing lol.
Bernadine Morris "Ten Best
Looks" of the Spring 2006 Season
Bernadine Morris's "10 Best
Looks" of the Fall 2005 Season
Morris's "10 Best Looks" of the Spring 2005 Season
Morris's "10 Best Looks" of the Fall 2004 Season
Morris's "10 Best Looks" of the Spring 2004 Season