fall/winter 15, the season of emotion
On Saturday in Paris, Comme des Garçons and Haider Ackermann pushed the emotional buttons which have already had show-goers tearing up a few times this season.
Haider Ackerman fall/winter 15
They say artistry blooms in times of sorrow. For a fantastic fall/winter 15 season, which has gone the extra mile in every city, perhaps that really is the case. In Paris, show guests still have to go through metal detectors and body searches at most of the venues, part of the French state's extraordinary precautionary security measures, which serve as a constant reminder of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks that happened here just two months ago. As fashion writers we have a tendency to force-relate every collection we see to what's going on the world socially, politically and financially, but this season it actually seems to be the case.
"It's what's happening in life around us — all the violence — so there's lots of scars, lots of destruction," Haider Ackermann said after his show on Saturday morning, which tackled the idea of punk within the romantic frames of the designer's poetic dream world. "This world is going mad at the moment," he said. It was an extraordinarily statement-y declaration for Ackermann, who's usually elusive about his collections backstage, and a testament to the effect the terrorist attacks in Paris — and since in Copenhagen — have had on our industry's designers, social and political commentators so reliant on freedom of speech.
It gave new meaning to Bruce Springsteen's "State Trooper" on Ackermann's sound system, the words, "Please don't stop me," repeated over and over again. Those soundtracks have turned some of us into emotional wrecks at the shows this season, which has gone from one poignant moment to the next. Yohji Yamamoto's stripped-down piano on Friday evening set to the eerie deconstruction of black ball gowns swaying peacefully through the room nearly had people in tears, while Dries Van Noten's epic finale — his army of me, as you might call it in a season that's drawn so heavily on his trademarks — gave guests a different but just as emotional rush.
At Vivienne Westwood, you could cut through the love in the room, even with a screeching punk band in the background, and the gender-neutral sentiment of the show and Dame Vivienne and Andreas Kronthaler's Hollywood-style finale kiss almost found you in need of a Kleenex. Love, in all its shapes and sizes — regret, forgiveness, devotion — had hearts pounding at the Maison Margiela show, which felt like such redemption for the amazing John Galliano, who has gone about his recovery and comeback so elegantly. When the photographers started chanting his name, hoping he'd come out to take a bow in spite of house rules, goose bumps were easily followed by tears.
The beautiful Max Richter soundtrack at Comme des Garçons on Saturday evening literally grabbed hold of your soul. Rei Kawakubo's ongoing study of death and departure inspired a collection based on the ceremony of separation: what you would wear to see someone off, and what you would want them to wear. Models encased in sculptural, cushioned shapes with a kind of veils covering their faces walked down a narrow catwalk at the Galerie de Minéralogie et de Géologie, meeting each other in the middle in a kind of clash of titans with little room to pass each other.
The kind of dance it produced on the catwalk couldn't have portrayed Kawakubo's separation theme more poignantly, and backed up by the heart-rending Richter soundtrack you had to take more than a few deep breaths not to find yourself in need of those Kleenex again. It was a beautiful and brilliant show, which was no doubt a comment on the times but also on something even broader, man's lack of power and control in the game of life. That's why the Comme des Garçons show, like a handful of other intelligent shows this season with a profound message behind them, had guests in tears. Fashion is at its best when it speaks to our emotions.
Text Anders Christian Madsen