the autumn/winter 16 women’s shows to look out for
The rumblings of discontent this season have been incredible - nary a piece has been written without some sort of mention of the broken fashion system / lack of ideas / plethora of dreadfully dressed people. But hark, a light on the horizon in the form of the shows in Europe, which will either speak on a deep level of what beauty can mean in the modern world, or be excessive and completely out of touch. Probably a mix of both! These should give you something to talk about.
Is London still a hive of creativity for the young, impoverished and creative? Possibly not, but it's still a thousand times more exciting than most other cities in the world, and the most exciting are the designers redefining what femininity means, right now.
The amount of press attention he receives is bordering on the OTT, but then he really is one of the most exciting things happening in London. Spring was just so wonderfully nuts - capacious leg of mutton sleeves, ruched mini dresses and pantaloons all featured. It was brilliant and completely counter to anything else happening, a riotous melee of ideas. How could this season be anything but exciting?
So often motherhood is referred to as the death of creativity within fashion - a feeling that you 'go off the boil' with something else to divert your attention from swanky modes. This is so obviously not the case, and for Simone Rocha impending motherhood meant one of her most fantastic collections, radiating femininity and strength. It'll be exciting to see whether her vision remains so deeply personal.
A V Robertson
One of Fashion East's latest crop, designer Amie Robertson's most visible work to date has been her illustration work for Marc Jacobs, scrawling hyper colour doodles across his spring/summer 16 red white and blue collection, which, FYI, is his best in ages. Whether this pop sensibility carries into her own work remains to be seen, as do date its been a little austere. Hopefully, she'll something of a moment.
Fashion editors love to moan about the monotony of Milan, but hark! That is the sound of excitement in the fashion-money capital of Europe. What Milan lacks in young talent it makes up for in storied designers having a brilliant resurgence.
Donatella delivered the best collection of her career last season, a military, tropical, streetwise romp. There was a lot of newness - first of all, it was shown in a cavernous industrial space rather than the cramped if glamorous environs of the Versace mansion. Secondly, whilst decidedly glamorous, the collection was rooted in what women might actually want to wear - more masculine shapes suited to a life outside limousines. Thirdly, and most importantly, Donatella had cut her hair into a bob and assumed her ultimate form. Her power grows.
Not that Prada isn't always great, but it's been an uncertain couple of seasons for the accessories powerhouse, full of tricky collections and financial warnings due to the collapse of the Russian market / uncertainty in Asia / etc. Then for spring/summer 16 Miuccia came back fighting with one of her most brilliant men's collections yet. Tackling the current state of Europe, mass migration, economic collapse and all, what resulted was a singularly beautiful vision of fleeing sailors being wrenched of their clothes. One hopes that women's should prove to be just as wide ranging and strangely uplifting.
Yes I'm fully aware of how much has been written about Gucci but still, no one else is delivering such a hyper gorgeous vision of femininity (for boys and girls). Now the template's been so firmly established, the fun with Gucci is what you'd take from each gloriously over accessorised look - the berets, the glasses, rings, scarves, shoes in all manner of materials (fur/Lucite - up to you). Alessandro Michele offers a nostalgic vision that never existed, and the force of what he imagines is exhilarating.
No Raf at Dior! No Alber at Lanvin! No ubers either, they've all been blockaded by irate taxi drivers. Paris is very dramatic at the moment, all huffy exits from the grand houses on one side, and coach loads of Kardashians on the other. Even if we're to ignore recent drastic events, Paris is having a tough time. Expect lots of gushing articles about design teams doing their best in the absence of creative directors. Expect even more gushing about Vetements. Which leads on to…
OMG! Demna Gvasalia, yes him from Vetements, is now at Balenciaga. What this means I'm not sure; it could mean more uber cool, ultra expensive street wear type things, or it could be something couture-y and completely different - Vetements seem like a contrary bunch. What one hopes is that it'll revitalise the famed house, which in the days of Nicolas Ghesquiere (and yes, its founder) was the ne plus ultra of high fashion. Ghesquiere convinced people to shell out insane amounts of money for a jumper with an Alsatian on it for God's sake. I hope Gvasalia can do the same.
Yes this is the second time Miuccia Prada is popping up on this list but that is right and proper, okay, because last season Miu Miu was more brilliant than its big sister. Demented, a little bit perverse and with a touch of old lady, it was a really stellar offering, combining the girlish sweetness the label's noted for with a hefty does of weird. At the very end of a long fashion month, Miu Miu is the reward at the end.
Phoebe Philo seems to be loosening up - gone is the almost fetishistically perfect beige and navy vision she arrived at Céline with, and in its place is a wilder vision of woman. Last season seemed to speak of nature and sexuality, the models with slick red lips and loosely corseted waists, Philo talking about a wish to escape the city. The journey into the designer's subconscious is endlessly fascinating.
Balmain - honourable mention
You thought I was going to say Comme des Garcons but NO! Balmain it is, as the best moment of New York Fashion week came courtesy of the en masse Kardashians trussed up in outfits specially created by Olivier Rousteing for Kanye's fashion happening. Whatever he creates it'll be sure to be bejewelled and abhorrently sexy - how exciting.
Text Jack Sunnucks