To be or not to be? That was the question hanging over Milan Fashion Week. The old system of fashion trends and runway shows is teetering on the brink of obsolescence. Which is perhaps why the designers in Paris were looking for something to set that new world in motion for the autumn/winter 2017 mens collections. The old Europe is moving on to pastures new.
Louis Vuitton goes New York
Louis Vuitton x Supreme: when it comes to cult, designer Kim Jones certainly knows his stuff. And when it comes to great heritage, too. Combining the two is the essence of his own unique skill set. And now he has brought together New York’s cult brand Supreme with the 140-year-old Parisian history of Louis Vuitton, succeeding in changing generations in the process. In doing so he is reacting to something that he has observed further west from his position in New York, while walking through the streets of Beijing: how young and cool the Louis Vuitton customer has become. And that made him think of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the New York artist who polarized the white art world, or of Julian Schnabel in an oversized painter’s smock. And a Louis Vuitton trunk big enough to hold your choice of either a folded easel or a skateboard. Supreme? Superb!
Pierpaolo Piccioli’s second new start – this time with the autumn menswear collection – was as eagerly anticipated as his first with womenswear half a year ago. And once again he could safely lay claim to bold solo success after Maria Grazia Chiuri’s departure for Dior. Like Jones, he too found inspiration in the West, in an artist from the Anglo-Saxon world. For Valentino he travelled from Rome to punk rock-era Great Britain, when the anarchist and artist Jamie Reid designed the poster for the Sex Pistols’ song “Anarchy in the UK”. Piccioli must consider that the time has come for something new. “Beauty is a birthright. Reclaim your heritage,” he proclaims in newspaper-style letters à la Reid on coats and jumpers, declaring the emergence of a new male identity. And celebrities like French up-and-coming actors Jeremy Kapone and Louka Meliava in the front row answered his call.
Sarah Burton has created a memorial to Oscar Wilde. The strikingly eloquent playwright and extravagant aesthete remained true to his own style of life and love in the face of every social convention of the Victorian era, accepting ostracism, imprisonment, solitude and death as the price he had to pay. When head designer Burton combines the dandy look with an Afghan coat today, then it is no longer just fashion, but rather a powerful, political statement.
A glimpse at the Instagram accounts of Valentino, Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen.