Big names, big shows. It is on the last days of the spring/summer 2016 fashion week that you realize fashion and theatricality are one and the same thing. The entrance ticket to the fashion shows doubles as a portal to another world. The stages played host to ever larger, ever more expensive sets: airports, nightclubs, futuristic landscapes. And all of that for a mere 15-minute show – and for the millions of photos that were posted, which are then branded onto our memories. Welcome to next season!
Louis Vuitton “A journey to the frontiers of the digital era,” a computerized voice told visitors in the Frank Gehry-designed Louis Vuitton palace. The virtual parallel universe was mixed with a kind of hypercool nightclub. Nicholas Ghesquière was inspired by heroines from video games, but nevertheless dressed his models in outfits that were suited to urban spaces. Lots of zips, leather waistcoats and silk jumpsuits, which could have been taken from the drawing board of the Mad Max costume department. The highlights: colour-blocked Bermuda shorts and bubble skirts from the ’80s, here resurrected in perfectly handcrafted white cotton poplin. Valentino After their winter ventures into the designs of the Wiener Werkstätte, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have journeyed to Africa for summer 2016. The designer duo connected the dots between flowing dresses, linen tunics and metal necklaces reminiscent of Ancient Rome and African-style raffia fringing, inlays, tribal and batik patterns. Hair was plaited into cornrows and tied up into a bun. Masai knot patterns – recognizable from craft fairs – and miniature metal masks serve as appliqué on handbags. The masks and the terracotta jewellery are the result of a collaboration with Alessandro Gaggio. Chanel Take off – with Chanel Airways. Spending time at airports is as trendy now as drinking coffee to go was on the Tube in the noughties. People shop, hang around, eat, communicate, look for power sockets. And of course they want to look good while doing so, too. To present his flightworthy spring collection, Lagerfeld transformed Paris’s Grand Palais into an airport and gave us the impression of flying: airline lounges, Chanel-branded suitcases, smiling staff members behind the check-in desks, even airport staff who direct the models towards their gate (gate no. 5, obviously). That everything here is first class goes without saying. Fly in classic tweed, with flat, thick-soled sandals, colourfully mirrored glasses – no, aviators – and baseball caps worn backwards – but in the same pattern as the suit, naturally. We have got used to flying. Now fashion is getting used to it, too. Miu Miu Foxes should take cover. Because the fox’s tail is the accessory of next summer, if Miuccia Prada at Miu Miu has her way. It hangs from bags, from stoles, from coats, and is as much a part of the new look as ultra fantasy shoes: on the one hand Prada-esque patterned lace-up platform boots, on the other ballerinas with a wild fastening of laces, leather straps and ribbons. Headwear, too: even tiaras were spotted, perched innocently on hair worn loose and simple. It is down to the irrational combination of several, small fashion highlights – none of them overdone – that no one stifles another. Saint Laurent Grunge and glitter were combined on the Saint Laurent catwalk in Paris. Shimmering slight satin and lace dresses, which could also pass as sexy underwear, were combined with sometimes scuffed leather jackets, denim patchwork waistcoats, wellies and glittery tiaras, worn low on the forehead. Designer Hedi Slimane must have been to Glastonbury with Kate Moss and Courtney Love. At night, that is, because the room was pitch-black. By now a trademark of the Saint Laurent show.