The 20 best fashion shows in the world in September 2017
After a tame opening week in New York, a hyper efficient season in London and some real fireworks in Milan, Paris, again, claimed the honours with the majority of the great collections in the 29-day season that began on Park Avenue on September 6 and climaxed in the basement of the Louvre with Louis Vuitton on October 3. Here’s our ranking of the top 20 shows after a runway caravanserai of some 450 catwalk events.
They say fashion designing is a young individual’s game, but the great fashion moment this season was staged by an octogenarian. Karl Lagerfeld's immense Gorges du Verdon set; dazzling collection; high-speed delivery and obsession with plastic all made for a unique experience. Plus, the materials were a reminder that when it comes to fabric research, no one can top Chanel’s Korean expert Kim Young-Seong.
Staged like an art opening – with remarkable photographic tapestries throw the gallery walls inside UNESCO, the latest collection for Loewe by Jonathan Anderson was a brilliant display of sensual daywear, wacky logomania and the season’s most intriguing bags. And a remainder that Anderson is achieving his stated long-term goal of turning Loewe into a cultural maelstrom.
Kering and LVMH have been in unspoken battle for a couple of seasons: who can stage the most awesome show. This season, the joust went Kering’s way, with Saint Laurent. A football field, concrete catwalk built on top of the fountains of the Trocadéro Gardens, and illuminated by the Eiffel Tower. For a bold, super sexy collection from Anthony Vaccarello, very much in the YSL DNA and a fitting show, just two weeks after co-founder Pierre Bergé died.
Piccioli’s assemblage of active sports, menswear and grand romance made some beautiful clothes, and a fresh fashion statement. No other designer manages to create brilliant menswear, women’s ready-to-wear and haute couture within the same fashion house.
18th century courtiers met dashing sportswear in a brilliant display by Nicolas Ghesquière in a show that surely trumpeted the end of Athleisure, in a show staged deep inside the Louvre. The message: baroque is back in a big way in fashion. Call it Rococo'n'Roll.
One could barely see the clothes in the latest show by Alessandro Michele, since his brilliant set, the detritus of a city from the Ancient World, was lit like the inside of a Berlin bunker nightclub. Yet this was a the latest refinement of Michele’s uber mixologist’s cocktail of wacky grand dame, Renaissance noble and rock star aesthetic which has taken fashion by storm. Nowhere more so than outside this show, where the fans, bloggers and fashionistas were dressed head to toe in Gucci, looking like they had met for a magnificent fete on Venice’s Grand Canal.
A triumphant return to Paris by Joseph Altuzarra, with a show inside the same sort of lycée he attended in his youth in Paris. Hyper fluid dresses, Mongolian lamb quilted jackets and the best draping in Paris made this a very winning statement.
One had to fight through scores of snarling animal rights protestors yelling and waving posters of bloody creatures at the guests to actually inside the Old Sessions House to see the latest show by Burberry. It was more than worth the effort: with inverted regimental coats made into skirts and jackets. And all sorts of aristocratic military looks made into wonderful mutant tailoring. Royalism rules again on the London catwalks.
Erdem Moralioglu did his latest research in the Queen’s own private wardrobe in Windsor Castle. And the result was a brilliant collection, based on the fantasy that Her Majesty had a second career as a Jazz singer in 1950s Harlem. Backed up by Duke Ellington’s The Queen’s Suite, the collection featured royal ball-gowns embroidered with thistles, leeks and roses working them into marvelous ball-gowns; and dramatically flared coatdresses in wild jacquards in a brilliant Fashion Restoration.
Graphics, lettering, images of Dennis Hopper, Warhol’s car crashes and logos marched across many outfits – Simons’ second reinvention of the American Dream. Simons drop-kicked the minimalism out of Calvin Klein and the result was one the most influential collections seen anywhere in years. Watch as his wool plaid, chesterfield coats; denim jackets; jeans overprinted with Warhol superheroes all inspired high street knock offs all over the planet.
Creatures of the Wind
Has to be seen as the best “young designer” show of the season. Artisanal psychedelic style at Creatures of the Wind, a dynamic Chicago-based duo who climaxed their Hudson River show with a pair of sensational re-sewn vintage, 60s psychedelic coats. After showing two-color wrap coats in contrasting hues and fabrics; like vintage leather combined with khaki cotton; or a black patent leather trench finished with jet black Swarovski – in a very rare statement of artisanal panache by an American brand.
An impressive exercise in pure draping: with simple blouses, wrap skirts, and tiny cocktails in mono-color cottons and jerseys all lovingly swept around each torso. Delicate yet hyper sexy, this sensual collection by Jacquemus staged inside the Picasso Museum was dedicated to his beautiful mother Valérie. And a savvy and sensual opening to the Paris season.
From her opening look: a fabulous tent shaped white cape with flaps – echoing the racing yacht sails that were made into a giant tent in which to stage this show - that enveloped a model in a perfectly cut khaki lapel-free, linen suit, this was all about Phoebe Philo defining a new silhouette for Céline. And again staging a hugely persuasive show, which lesser talents will follow.
A loving conceived homage by Donatella Versace to commemorate her brother Gianni’s 20th anniversary with a collection that referenced her brother’s designs in every look. Remembering his moments of glory and not his cruel ending. Epic fashion climaxed with the season’s greatest finale. A standing ovation as Donatella marched out with five legendary supermodels – Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen and Cindy Crawford, attired in the slinkiest dresses imaginable, all in Metal Mesh.
Tomas Maier rather ripped up his own understated elegance rule for Bottega Veneta, and the result was his best collection in years. Swirling marbles, neo-classical architecture and snazzy ostentation made for a racy, vivid fashion proclamation.
Voluminous tropical versions of classic Jacobs cuts and styles, topped by remarkable Stephen Jones headgear combined for the designer’s best show in years. The LVMH boss stunned the fashion world by announcing last year that he was more worried about Marc Jacobs than Donald Trump, but on this evidence he should sleep soundly. Jacobs has still lots of great fashion up his sleeve.
After a few seasons of respecting the codes of Balenciaga, designer Demna Gvasalia poured in his own dashing, arty street version of the famed house. Money print dresses; screensaver print leggings meets boots and multiple layer trousers – in a show staged inside a giant warehouse outside the Paris ring-road. A million miles from Cristobals’ old haunts.
Cartoon images, all by women artists, were the key to the latest Prada show. They were plastered mega-large all across the walls of Prada’s via Spartaco show-space, and made up the prints of a whole series of looks, notable the superb goatskin coats. On their backs, girly romantic cartoons of shy young women saying, “I love Prada.” Many will love these clothes too.
Every second look featured Paris Saint German’s jersey, or emblem or their sponsor logo – Fly Emirates, in the ultimate meeting of active sportswear and street chic. Mixed up, morphed and reassembled into an avant garde statement, with just the right touch of genius from Christelle Kocher, France’s most rebellious fashion thinker.
Last but very much not least, Sarah Burton’s ode to an English garden with a punk rock twist was an exhilarating way to finish a chilly Paris evening. Her ever edgily romantic vision of fashion for Alexander McQueen makes her one of the key innovators in fashion, and the true scientist de la mode capable of conjuring up new visions of beauty.
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