September 4, 2015

Fall 2015 Couture

It's been a long time since I've blogged about runway, and I do regret it! Runway holds a special place in my heart; it was a huge part of how I had cut my teeth in fashion. It was through watching runway shows with wide-eyed fascination that I learned about each designer's modus operandi. The more of a designer I watched, the more I was able to slowly identify bits of commonality between each collection, arriving at an understanding of a designer's unique aesthetic. As well, high fashion not only honed my eyes to pick up on the tiniest of details in an outfit, but to also step back and decipher a collection's overarching message. Runway exposed me to a world of incredible creativity and fantasy - a world where rules and boundaries exist only to be broken.

Regardless of how influential fast retail, celebrity culture, and street style have become, to me, runway remains the epitome of fashion. So it is with happiness that I bring you my highlights of Fall 2015 Couture:

Maison Margiela

John Galliano at Maison Margiela (renamed from Maison Martin Margiela back in Janurary) brought back a type of fashion that is now a rarity: the unabashedly unwearable. This collection shattered all preconceived notions of beauty, and presented us with the 'ugly'. Silhouettes were mangled, with exaggerated protrusions extending from the body (wrists were given extra bulk with scarf-like gloves), and even potato sacks were given their time to shine. There was a small, underlying feeling of barely-contained creative madness, as if the snip of a single thread would cause it all to unravel in chaos. And in fact, Galliano clearly played with that idea of deconstruction, seen in a trenchcoat hanging for dear life from the small of a model's back, or sharp blades attached to the back of heels with mere strings. What was most astonishing, however, was the single row of seats along either side of the runway. It was clearly a private, exclusive, intimate setting, perfect for presenting the collection as more of an exhibit than a show.

There are very few people out there doing fashion in the way Galliano does fashion. One cannot even attempt to make sense of this collection by labelling it as avant garde, because 'art' is the only word that does justice to what Galliano has done. Galliano is clearly having fun in his new role, allowing his eccentricity to run free (while still remaining surprisingly modest outside of his work, as he no longer appears for a bow at the end of a show). He had beautiful years at Christian Dior - years I will never forget - but judging from the amazingly positive feedback, Galliano is right where he should be.

Watch the full show here.

Christian Dior

Speaking of Christian Dior, Raf Simons really impressed me this season. Besides the pretty sweetness of the airy dresses, I admired his demonstration of unexpected combinations through meddling with just a single item: the coat. Lusciously weighty coats differed from left to the right - one side sleeveless as if the coat were a cape, the other a full sleeve decked out in lush fur. The two different sides were almost visually slashed down the middle by models' hands clutching the coats shut at the chest (the clutch coat...a favourite look of mine). There was a restraint in the way the models paraded down the runway, but there were hints of temptation in the sheer dresses and peeks of bare skin. After all, the coats only required the release of a clutched hand...

Watch the full show here.


After learning this was a new start for Schiaparelli after the replacement of Marco Zanini with Bertrand Guyon as head of the design team, I began to understand why I paid more attention to this collection than those previous. Guyon focused on juxtaposing light and heavy (filmy dresses weighed down by cocoon coats bearing massive pockets), and played with unexpected or exciting texture (a motorcycle jacket done in a sheer white fabric with a reflective sheen, or coloured fur against brocade pants and transparent blouses). What I found most well-done, however, was the subtlety of the surrealism the brand is so known for. Embroidery along a shoulder in the shape of an eye or trompe l'oeil handbags resembling a manicured hand or postal letter were sly but effective. And lastly, the strings of rhinestones adorning the neckline and backs of two models were incomparable in their beauty and easily the height of the show. Zanini enjoyed the exaggerated, the bold, the OTT - and while that can be fun, it can be occasionally difficult to pinpoint a purpose. Guyon is subdued, but perhaps we could argue, more impactful.

Watch the full show here.

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