The Merry-go-round of fashion has dropped us at SS19…
I have spoken at length with many people about the future of fashion right now, and we have all agreed that fashion is going through a reductive period. Don’t get me wrong there have been some highlights and some major moments, but on the whole this season felt a little deflated.
More than ever before money and the consumer is influencing the way brands are designing, and it herefore is no surprise that the inspiration and the vision of the brands have seemed limited and a little half-hearted. Obviously, this is not the feeling of all people in and out of fashion. I feel that I have not loved much for a while, I miss the mega collections of 2014, of course, nostalgia will get me nowhere, to move forward we shouldn’t look back.
I feel that something needs to change, we shall see.
In terms of the headlines of Fashion Month, New York was strong, with a diverse range of casting. London fell flat in my opinion. Milan and Paris were dominated with mega brands and nothing new was really said. We are living an ever-changing landscape and one refreshing take away is the lack of apparent trends, we are now living in a reactionary society and a set of rules and guidelines of how to dress is not appropriate.
Which means wear what you want, dress, however, you so wish, just make sure you look great!!!
New York gets a bad rep in my opinion, with many saying the shows are too commercial and don’t have the flair of the European shows or perhaps even the budget of some of the Paris houses. Well, what is wrong with a little bit of commercialism? New York may tick less wow factor boxes, but it always delivers. I love the dependability of the New York shows, some of the newer designers that I have featured in the past are now fully fledged and established designers, household names, and this is why New York is so successful. Returning designers such as Proenza Schouler and Rodarte also helped to bulk up the schedule as well as many newer and smaller designers. All in all a great way to kick off fashion Month.
We have never deserved the artistry that Ford possesses, so his shows always exceed expectations. Mixing references from 90s Gucci, with Ford standards such as smoking jackets and a modernity he always infuses. Smart synched waists and sharp shoulders were splashed with Bold (synthetic) crocodiles, animal prints were balanced with a soft neutral palette of lilac, buff and black. This collection was a stunning offering to kick off fashion month.
With the brands first runway collection since the death of its founder and namesake, this show had a lot riding on it. However, with new creative director Nicola Glass’ direction the brand is heading in the right direction. With a colourful and kitsch collection, SS19 looks bright for Kate Spade.
Okay, I’m going to out myself, but I BLOODY LOVE COLOUR. Maxwell combined such a beautiful spectrum of colours, that this show was never going to fail. PINK, YELLOW, GREEN, WHITE and RED. SO GOD DAMN COLOURFUL.
Returning to New York with a bang, the Mulleavy sisters ended their 2-year hiatus. Set in a graveyard the sisters presented the 80s fuelled prom like affair. With looks that were honestly stunning and a mood that I can’t quite put my finger on, this was a beautiful show.
Lets clear one thing up, this was not the best show in terms of fashion. However, this show has earned its place here for its use of representation. With every model (bar X-Tina of course) a member of LGTBQ+ community. From drag queens to non-binary personalities, this show had it all. This is the level of acceptance we should see in all areas of life, but we have to start somewhere and Opening Ceremony certainly started something.
The main headlines from this show were that it ran late, an hour and a half late. WHO CARES, I wasn’t there, it’s the clothes I care about. The clothes, by the way, were excellent, never forget that Jacobs is the original headline maker. I am in no doubt that this show was well worth the wait. It had so many references in it, 80s couture being the one at the forefront of my mind. There was an energy in this collection that you don’t see in many other shows- a stunning way to close NYFW.
Londrés is MY fashion week, and if you are a benpechey.com veteran then you will know that this is my fourth season covering fashion week. London for me was great if you were an established designer. However, I didn’t see anything new and exciting that I have come to expect from London. Burberry was THE show to see, and personally, I did not care for Tisci’s vision of Burberry. Much in the same way as Slimane seems to be eradicating the past seasons from Celine, Tisci moved so far away from what the house identifies, I’m not sure it was even Burberry anymore. The other hot ticket was our very own spice girl, Vicky B. It was a great way to start her anniversary year, with my personal favourite part being non-fashion people totally losing their mind over her campaign!!
Rocha blends trends and Victoriana in a manner that is seemly effortless. This was a bolder collection than we have seen of late. I really loved the historical motifs and the delicate lace dresses. Accessories were in shiny leathers and silks with adornments from feathers, not sure how you are supposed to walk in those shoes though.
Another show that felt full of historical references. As always Erdem felt very prim and proper, for good reason, this is one of HRH the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite designers. Blending florals with polka dots, lace and prince of Wales check this was a beautifully considered collection.
Celebrating her 10 year anniversary, my personal favourite Spice Girl and all round comedic legend, Victoria Beckham chose to show her collection in London. This show was like any other collection we have seen from VB, with minimal shapes and expert retsina in colour use. I adored especially the hot red, tan and pale blue, something we will all be adopting. Notice the details in simplicity, the way the trousers fold, the way the waists are synched. A stand out of the week.
I am a longterm Kane fan. This collection had a boldness to it that I haven’t seen from Kane in a while. I loved the punchy bright colours used throughout the collection. Big shoulders meet larger than live gems. This collection mastered all those elements whilst also being super wearable.
Another 10 year anniversary, done in a slightly more archival way. Ms Katranzou chose to revisit elements of her brand history, reminding us how far she has come from being the digital print queen. Standouts from the show were an amazing ring box skirt, beautiful embroidery and beading as well as MK’s use of bold prints. This all finished with a stunning finale to the show, which was utterly beautiful. A great collection start to finish.
Another show that people were clamouring to attend this year, after last season with QUEEN in attendance. This season built on the success of AW18. There was boldness to this show, with full black looks, animal print, feathers blended with Quinn’s signature florals. I wouldn’t go as far to say that every look was a success, but it was certainly a great show.
Milan Fashion Week AKA BIG BRAND Fashion Week. Milan is full of Fashion Staples such as Prada, Versace, Fendi and Armani. Of course, it was an odd week without Gucci, who will be showing in the day between Milan and Paris fashion weeks. This will finish a trilogy of an ad campaign, cruise show and the SS19 RTW collection. This season the big hitters hit bigger, and new talent seemed to be eclipsed. Unlike in London, there were no big shows everyone was holding their breath for, this will, of course, happen in Paris for Celine.
Now don’t hate me, but I love Fendi. Karl seemly works in a softer Italian way when at Fendi. Still, the master of the mega brand Lagerfeld cannot help himself brand for filth. However, at a label like Fendi, it really works. Mixing leather, plastics and furs with bold and bright colours. I am very excited to explore rich chocolate browns with orange for SS19.
Much like Lagerfeld at Fendi, Mrs Prada seems to be able to knock it out of the park (did you like that I used a sports reference in a fashion post, see I am diversifying!) season after season. This season I feel is a very strong one, and in terms of a Spring summer collection, I haven’t liked one this much since SS14. I also loved the trainer soled Mary Janes that hark back to the mega AW15. A great season for Prada.
Okay, so this show lacked the spectacular feeling that it did this time last year. However, it made up for it with the sheer selection and versatility of the collection. Donatella knows that her Versace retrospectives are selling, and in this collection, she has continued this theme, updated it and presented a veritable orchestra of SS19 options. I applaud Ms Versace’s business savvy; she is making money and doing it in style. A great collection.
I will at this point add that Micheal Kors' aquisition of Versace for $2.1Billion is worrying, as to the changes that may or may not be made, we will have to wait and see.
Simonetta Ravizza is a fur house, there is NO escaping that, and whilst I feel that the time for fur is over, Ravizza has a history and a heritage and must continue. This season was mostly fur-free, and although yes they did use feathers, it feels like a less cruel season. I loved the layering details of the collection, admittedly it did get a little weird and sporty in the middle. However, on the whole, I really loved this collection, very much keeping the leopard print trend alive for next season.
Salvatore Ferragamo chose to show both Mens designed by Guillaume Meilland and Women's designed by Paul Andrew in this show. What was clear to see, was that the archive of the house had been investigated fully. Ferragamo made the shoes of the 30s and 40s Hollywood. This collection had great accessories, with stunning clothes to match. I loved the rich warm colour palette, purple, pink, red and spicy blues sat well with tan.
Marni is one of my personal favourites of Milan, a smaller yet punchy label. I love the way that Francesco Risso (formerly of Prada) has transformed this label. I loved the bold coats as always, the print play and the colours used. Seriously, I need that red and white coat. All topped off by exceptional accessories and styling, a stunning show.
French fashion is F-A-S-H-I-O-N. Much like Milan it is BRAND week. It was great to see Gucci, but meant that the schedule was squished somewhat. Again I only saw the big brands succeeding, and there didn’t see to be much mainstream coverage of smaller brands and thus new talent.
Okay so lets talk about new Celine. I wasn’t expecting to like it, however, I did not expect a recap of Saint Laurent. Re-hashing what you became known for seems terribly self centred and to do this by irradiating all the signature and history of a predecessor is insensitive and a dangerous move. While Slimane may have pleased his super skinny white girl fans, in casting new Celine as universally white and thin, he irradiated the Celine mainstay; ELEGANCE. It was a ridicule of fashion, and I for one will not be a Celine customer anymore.
Gucci is not taking up one of the 6 shows reviewed from Paris, I know I will find it hard to narrow it down so I decided to treat Gucci out of the Schedule. URGH, this show was immense, 84 looks. Allesandro Michele continued his dominance over the fashion landscape and presented another season of eclectic sparkle. Now whilst I adored this collection, I am beginning to predict what I am seeing. Whilst other brands also don’t show much change season to season, I would like to see at least one thing that I haven’t seen before at Gucci.
On the whole I loved the show, and I am going to need that Dolly Parton Denim Jacket and whilst you are at it I’ll take all the sunglasses, thanks love.
JW Anderson seemingly fits the bill, what bill you ask? Well the bill of all the people who wish to dress in the way that old Céline was produced. Anderson produced a collection of easy chic dressing for the classic and international fashion Philo addict. In what have been a dull set of Paris collections thus far, Loewe seemed to dust off the cobwebs and suggest that fashion could be great again.
I am no Demna Gvasalia mega fan, and I have quietly watched from a far. I feel that this season was very restrained and in a sense elegant, even though Gvasalia has said that Elegance is not relevant. Well eat your words love, because this was an elegant collection.
Gosh how Valentino has come into its own since the departure of Maria Grazia Chiuri. Pier Paolo Piccioli has made a beautiful and fluid collection that seems to draw directly from his epic couture collection This was a super sensual collection, full of things I really want. Lets talk HATS, I mean they were major. Also great new bag shapes. 10/10.
This was a bold and exciting direction for Givenchy, Waight Keller has done what so many have failed to do this season, and that is progress a label without erasing it’s past. What may have seemed tentative in the first season or two now seems like clean and elegant designing whilst enabling the house codes to shine, and not eradicated. I loved the bold jackets, the nipped waists and the strong use of colour.
I will admit that in the past I havnt been the biggest fan of Miu Miu. Yet this past few seasons have been seriously well designed and use Ms Prada’s design sensibility in a new and exciting way. I am very much on board with this collection, with great shoes and bags in bountiful quantities. Great use of textures with silks, knits and leathers this was as a sensory dream.
The best day of fashion month, for many reasons, is the last Tuesday. Mainly because it is CHANEL day, I am inclined to think that perhaps the spectacle of the show is more interesting than the clothes some seasons, see AW18. However, this season Karl took us to the beach and it was an absolute holiday. Models walked through the ACTUAL WAVES ON THE ACTUAL SAND, before emerging on the board walk in CHA and NEL coordinated slides. Working with the house codes that he defined in the 90s; Lagerfeld gave us a retro modern look at next summer, this was a great season for Chanel.
Just like that, Fashion Month is over. For some reason, and I really am not sure why, but I have found this season devoid of the passion and amazement that we have had in the past. Perhaps as with all things fashion is going through a flux, and will return to great seasons once more.
Of course there were still amazing shows, with real visionaries such as Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Muccia Prada, Donatella Versace, and Karl Lagerfeld all still creating beautiful collections. That for now is enough to create a positive and exciting feeling for next season.