First New York and London, then Milan and Paris: September fashion shows closed under the banner of quiet elegance and wearability. Which represents a remarkable change of pace from the recent past. Even if not everyone has chosen this path
At the September fashion shows, there is a total adherence to quiet elegance and wearability, as opposed to the theatricality and flair of previous seasons. First New York and London, then Milan and Paris: fashion’s most prosperous month closed with a remarkable change of pace, albeit with a few exceptions.
Debuts at the September fashion shows
Debuts monopolised the scene. Above all, Sabato De Sarno for Gucci and Peter Do for Helmut Lang marked a return to minimalism and a fashion of substance and little scenography. Collections with a linear and tailored cut, focused on the search for details and primarily the result of a revisitation of the archives, were the starting point.
The immediacy of Milan
Milan was the standard-bearer of this new direction. De Sarno for Gucci created a more immediate and not very conceptual collection of micro-shorts, leather skirts and revisited loafers. Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons investigated Prada‘s DNA, creating a recognisable wardrobe, contaminating haute couture with everyday elements. Kim Jones celebrated Fendi by imagining a walk through the streets of Rome. Versace relied on the measured glamour of suits in pastel shades, inspired by the spring/summer 1982, designed by Gianni himself.
The two fronts of Paris
Paris was divided into two fronts. The first is rigour, with Hermès, Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent and Valentino leading the way with the season’s strong theme: quiet luxury. The main inspiration was nature. Hermès created a garden with ears of wheat and wildflowers, bringing impeccably cut dresses on the catwalk in shades of bordeaux, brown and red with a classic yet timeless style. Classicism was also the mainstay of Valentino’s collection, designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli. The designer exalted the female body through dancers who moved in tanks with sand, earth and stones, accompanied by models who paraded wearing suits ton sur ton with their skin, to emphasise slightly exaggerated nudity.
The second front was the radicals. Rick Owens, Martin Margiela and Louis Vuitton, in defiance of the quiet luxury and rigour now prevailing, created more extreme design collections. The stars of Owens’ show were the colours – red, orange, yellow, pink – and the models, modern vestals with a profane, black-eyed look. On the other hand, Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton relied on art, especially surrealist art, deconstructing the house’s iconic bags.
Differences in materials
Differences in materials have never been more central than this season. In Milan, leather was adopted for overcoats, skirts and cult accessories by Gucci and Prada. On the other hand, besides leather for the usual Balenciaga, Paris was the triumph of silk and chiffon, especially for Chanel and Dior. Novelties only at Valentino, which developed a new technique, the high relief. In other words, a fabric sculpture in three dimensions without an apparent solution of continuity, thanks to which natural forms were created.
The idea of a return to essentiality also developed in the sets of the fashion shows, which were reduced to the bone and less and less bulky, in line with the new philosophy. It remains to be seen whether the direction taken will at least last the length of a season or whether fashion, a mirror of what is happening in the world, has merely taken a pause for reflection. (dc)