The best of the shows from day two in Paris.
If John Galliano had Hollywood glamour in mind this season, you would have been hard pressed to find exactly where it showed up on the catwalk. Then again, this is Galliano at Margiela, a combination unlikely to yield obvious answers or simplistic designs. Some decoding was necessary: the old fashioned military jackets with matching skirts in drab khaki had obvious war-film connotations, but they were robbed of their sleeves and paired over crazy ensembles of multi media knits with what looked like cardigans on the legs. Giant buckled belts drew the eye to the waist in almost every look and nothing in sight was what it seemed; a camel coat appeared jaggedly reconstructed; chiffon pieces were attached here and there; sheer fabric was swathed over entire ensembles. It was a collection that could be read and re read for days – still, beneath the innumerable bells and whistles there was plenty of pieces to love and plenty, importantly, to buy.
DRIES VAN NOTEN
For AW16, Dries Van Noten looked to the eccentric pre-war Italian heiress and patron Marchesa Luisa Casati and, indeed, to that time when to wear a trouser suit as a woman was something rebellious, something avant garde. Cue a procession of extremely elegant and very vintage looks consisting of long woolen coats with well cut lapels, pajama shirts with camp collars in regimental stripes, splashes of tiger print (like some opulent fur rug in an eclectic stately home) and a great deal of tailoring. Every models hair was slicked and parted into a style of debonair androgyny and that Waughian flavour didn’t stop there: Oxford bag style trousers flapped about with a Brideshead Revisited languor, regal crests were embroidered onto Public School cricket sweaters, and club ties were visible in almost half the outfits. If that all sounds a little preppy, it wasn’t. The dark smears round the eyes and that trademark Dries intelligence made sure this was never reactionary nostalgia but always about finding the radical in the traditional and the unexpected in the time worn.
If you’re wearying of the devil may care maximalism that the fashion world has embraced so wholeheartedly this season, look away now. Alessandro Dell’Acqua may have toned things down a little this season, but there were still plenty of vivid mustards, shimmering velvets (complete with pussy bows) and patterns of the richest and most elaborate kinds. Strapped platforms were worn with knee high socks for that achingly ugly-cutesy vibe which you just can’t shake this season and the prerequisite tiers, frill and ruffles were also well accounted for. Don’t get me wrong, a certain feminine, poetic loveliness permeated this season, but haven’t we seen that somewhere before?
Madeline Vionnet – the iconic French designer whose house was resurrected in 2006 – was famed for her super-feminine Grecian dresses and her popularisation of the bias cut, so it makes sense that Goga Ashkenazi and her team would focus on the timeless and the elegant for AW16. And so there were plenty of plunging necklines, soft fabrics and, appropriately enough given that the Oscars was last weekend, more occasion gowns than you could shake a stick at. Inspiration was found in the Vionnet 1932 archive itself and in Ashkenazi’s own love for classical music, hence those stark, piano inspired colourways – no, we’re not talking about Mugatu’s piano key tie in Zoolander, this was a classy affair if ever you’ve seen one.