Feeling fashion fatigue? After a month of blindingly brilliant shows we’ve compiled an edit of the best collections, most prevalent trends and overall mood of the season from the Big Apple to the cobbled streets of Paris.
By Christopher Prince
This autumn/winter 2015 season was all about a seventies revival – flared jeans, boho prints, pussybow shirts and platform boots at the ready. Designers transported us from disco to downtown in a plethora of fur plumed, brocade printed, sequined smattered garb with hair and make-up to match. Those who went left field from the fash pack reaped the rewards as the fashion capitals sent us spinning into a dizzying mash-up of goth-punk, victoriana and boy-meets-girl sub-cultures. Which one will you choose?
A subzero blizzard tried to defy an absolutely packed schedule in New York – but alas, fashion waits for no freak weather. As the media trudged from upstate to Brooklyn through the slosh of snow the shows kick started the autumn/winter 2015 season. There was a case of pathetic fallacy as designers fought off the freeze with winter appropriate collections – namely Michael Kors who displayed fur in magnificent shawl shapes and full-blown coats, and Jason Wu who offered up a fur accented procession for his Upper Manhattan woman. Peter Copping’s debut collection for the late Oscar de la Renta incorporated the familiar girlish silhouettes of the 5th Avenue society only reworked in a zingy colour palette of peacock blue, yellow and magenta. At Carolina Herrera the Upper East Side was on the agenda too with a collection inspired by nature. Alexander Wang felt a commercial vibe with his gothic heavy metal muse, purposely choosing black as his signature colour to satisfy an avid customer demand. Elsewhere Proenza Schouler and Rodarte riffed on artisanal terrains displaying all manner of couture-like techniques – sequined, embroidered and deconstructed.
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Parkas cropped up across the board in the Big Apple. Whether sexed up paired with Prabal Gurung’s sporty downtown dress and heels code, cinched at the waist via Vera Wang or offered in unique fabric manipulations at Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg, it was the coat of choice to fight the freeze this season.
Collection of the Season
In a week that was influenced much by the outer elements, Marc Jacobs challenged the status quo, closing out New York Fashion Week with a retrospective nod to the great Diana Vreeland. Staged in front a backdrop inspired by Vreeland’s personal sitting room and set to the chilling notes of Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, Jacobs journeyed every sartorial moment of Vreeland’s memos – which the designer studied to inform the dark romance of his long line silhouettes.
Vreeland’s own eccentric style influenced bounties worth of bugle beading and metallic brocades, with chevroned mink that built around the collar and jutted from sleeves in outlandish proportions. Though Vreeland was on the inspiration cards for the designer, there was also a certain witch-like quality to his women, accented with a tight top bun and dark stained lip. It’s been over a year since Jacobs departed the helm of Louis Vuitton, whether this was a collection that lamented such a turn of events or celebrated a new revival of the Marc Jacobs brand, it was a certainly a fitting end to autumn/winter 2015 in New York.
The Big Smoke took its cue from bohemia with collections that vibed on the mood of the seventies. Via fringe, florals and frills the London crowd extended New York’s eclectic note for the season. Over at Christopher Bailey’s Burberry Prorsum greenhouse bloomed a patchworked hippie a la Joni Mitchell. J.W. Anderson fast-forwarded a decade later, introducing his woman to the bombastic new wave eighties enveloped with fuzzy jacquard and patent leather. Reevaluating her design thesis was Simona Rocha who translated a bourgeois sensibility with tapestry prints and sculptural forms. Christopher Kane’s suggestive collection married the ladylike with the sensual, highlighted with high-necked silhouettes and nifty cutouts, some displayed with artistic body appliques. Bringing us back full circle was Peter Pilotto, whose seventies inspired procession displayed graphic wallpaper prints and abstract patterns, ideal for the throwback season.
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Jacquard was London’s answer to the boho print for autumn/winter 2015. Rather than break up the gilded pattern, designers enforced full looks to the fold. A dab hand at the hyper realistic 3D print, Mary Katrantzou transitioned the New Year with zingy wallpaper printed tea dresses complete with 19th century paisley motifs and bold damasks. Over at Erdem the designer’s usual floral foray conjured lavish jacquards in luxurious jewel hues. In contrast Antonio Berardi lifted the colour palette, offering vibrant bursts of fuchsia and chartreuse frothed with organza and leaf-patterned fil coupe.
Collection of the Season
Glaswegian, Jonathan Saunders has a lot to celebrate. Following a New Year move to a huge studio space the designer has felt good vibes – showcased in his offering for autumn/winter 2015. His colour spectrum was perhaps the most graphic riff on the sixties decade all season. Here pantone reigned supreme with bold and beautiful op art lines and mind-boggling lozenges spanning A-line silhouettes.
Saunders referenced back to his original inspirations as a young up-and-comer, influenced by artists Allen Jones, Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely who informed his optimistic display of digitalized ladies. Colour shock, indeed.
Who would’ve thought the changing of the guard would hit Milan so prominently this season? The fashion capital has been craving new blood. And so arrives Alessandro Michele as chief replacement of Frida Giannini at the house of Gucci. The shift up incurred a new eccentricity for the brand, with models sporting Michele’s magpie aesthetic in thrifty pussybow blouses and fur-adorned slippers. Versace hit us hard with Donatella’s nostalgic throwback to the nineties power woman, complete with logo emblazoned sweatshirts and graphic monochromes. Over at Pucci, Peter Dundas invited onlookers to witness his very personal collection inspired by his 2009 debut at the house. Here ombré and body-con were collection fixtures alongside zodiac printed T-shirt dresses donned by the likes of Anja Rubik, Joan Smalls and Lily Donaldson. Tomas Maier injected some business-like structure to his Bottega Veneta woman. Here spring’s faded hues were replaced with sharp shots of colour, and tailoring was given an overhaul in the most graphic of windowpane checks.
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Fur is Milan’s staple. This season we saw a plethora of luxe fur on the runways, but it was the Milanese conglomerates that did it justice. This autumn/winter 2015 season called on the fur collar as a key detail on plush outerwear. At Marni this translated to pelts whipped around the shoulders and belted with python strapping. Meanwhile Dolce & Gabbana and Alberta Ferretti explored the daintiness of the fur shoulder cap in beaver and fox fur respectively. Fendi, one of Milan’s most iconic furriers placed fur on lapels atop spongy outerwear, which was also the case at Max Mara who reworked quilted numbers with an inner fur lining.
Collection of the Season
Sugar and spice, and all things nice. Miuccia Prada uplifted the melancholy of autumn/winter 2015 with a saccharine induced collection that riffed on the wardrobe of a Nixon-era debutante. Contradictory to her menswear procession almost entirely outfitted in black was Prada’s take on pastels, however ugly-pretty they presented themselves. The concept of men’s suiting updated in brash tweed and textile sponge – actually a double-faced jersey – informed an offbeat silhouette in the opening sequence of looks.
But then the femininity kicked into gear, not least accented by Prada’s gravity defying ponytails that wrapped around the nape, tightly clasped with bejeweled hair clips. Opera gloves, double-strapped kitten heels and encrusted floral dress appliques were on the agenda, as Prada morphed her silhouette into baby doll empire lines smattered with a play on molecular prints and lacquered sheen.
So to Parisian shores. The city proves its worth each season with a stellar show schedule full with big name designers pulling out all the stops to impress the international press. Showmanship-abound, Paris set the stage for media grabbing headlines this autumn/winter 2015, for all the right reasons. Fashion’s great gatekeeper, Karl Lagerfeld, transformed the Grand Palais into Brasserie Gabrielle, with a Chanel collection in retrospect of Coco herself. Within a booth-lined runway stood a makeshift bar, with models sauntering to their seats clad in Chanel’s signature tweeds and skirt suits. Nicolas Ghesquière’s Louis Vuitton collection set within the Fondation Louis Vuitton, looked to the future complete with a catwalk filmed from 21 different angles. Over at Valentino, what was assumed to be a collection full of delicate fairytale nymphs suddenly went off kilter with the arrival of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson who closed out the show in their finest Zoolander apparel, courtesy of designers, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. Meanwhile at Céline, Phoebe Philo’s innate paired back aesthetic took a turn for the kooky, as the designer imposed the new season ‘it’ bag – the fur pom-pom shoulder strap.
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Gone are the days of Paris’ paired back elegance, minimalism is dead. In place are the maximalists proving the palpable effect of more is more. It was a style note that triggered Riccardo Tisci’s Givenchy chola-come-victoriana girl, smattered in face jewels complete with a freakish septum ring. Over at Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane’s resolute rock exploration informed a pseudo Siouxsie Sioux complete with hooded eye and pillar-box red lips, clad in all manner of PVC, tulle, fur and studs. Raf Simons’ case study of the Dior woman arrived at a high sheen, high glamour female blade runner complete with slicked side ponytail, thigh-length boots and commanding cat eye make-up. Taking a more artisanal approach to the trend were Dries van Noten and Sarah Burton’s, Alexander McQueen. Both incorporated the lushness of textile to conjure up froths of frills and fringe for their autumn/winter 2015 muse. Capping off an extraordinary season was Mrs. Prada’s Miu Miu collection that incorporated Miuccia’s familiar ugly-pretty colour combinations, dressing up box jewellery and centre-parted fringed hair.
Collection of the Season
For the past few seasons Alexander Wang has barely been a footnote in the Balenciaga legacy. His collections for the historic fashion house may have been well received but the ‘wangism’s’ so innate to his own namesake brand had yet to trademark the Balenciaga woman, until this season. Autumn/winter 2015 recalled a new type of decadence, riffing on the city’s maximalist wave that hit the majority of the major houses. Wang’s iteration of the couture-like nature of Balenciaga’s archival silhouettes and use of traditional fabrics resulted in a collection consumed with parodies. But it was still strictly business from the designer, noted in the many reworked bags – some in bucket forms, others in miniature with chain handles – with scarfs, earrings and a new ‘B’ for Balenciaga brooch that will no doubt fly off the shelves.
It was Wang’s attempt to showcase the elevation of couture on the most outlandish of scales. Whether that was in the fully realized bell skirts, so linear at the hem that models struggled to walk, or the fur trims and lush brocades that spoke of a new dialect for the Parisian clientele, this was a collection to hit all the headlines.