SIGNED, sealed and delivered was the love letter to the Welsh countryside that informed Sarah Burton’s AW20 collection for Alexander McQueen at Paris Fashion Week this season. A result of visits outside of their London-based headquarters, the collection looked to the land of dragons for inspiration. In the show notes Burton outlined, “we went to Wales and were inspired by the warmth of its artistic and poetic heritage, by its folklore and the soul of its craft.”
Razor-sharp tailoring was as ever a focus, with glossy duchesse satin suits in fire engine red, blush pink and black; working in contrast to a series of handcrafted patchwork effect tailored pieces. An homage to Welsh tradition and the notion of comfort and protection, quilting was a key feature throughout the collection – in leather and in wool – on blazer, coats, dresses and even on oversized versions of their recently launched story bags.
The harnesses we saw earlier this year at the Menswear AW20 presentation in Milan were refined and updated for Burton’s Womenswear collection. Lace-like floral structures now grew up the surface of couture gowns and intertwined like Celtic knots. Leather cross-body straps suspended miniature silver cases and charms, similar to the ones we also saw for men’s, but this time embossed with motifs of Welsh floral and fauna.
White and red lace embroideries were inspired by the Welsh love spoon, an intricately carved single piece of wood given as a gift of romantic intent for centuries in Welsh culture. One evening dress, entirely embellished with silver metal beads, sequins and wire was also adorned with dangling spoons that swayed left-to-right as the model walked the show.
Burton also looked to seventeenth century love letters, which influenced a series of silk taffeta and organza dresses, adorned with an entwining love heart jacquard print – developed from the letters she found and graphic decoration from the medieval period.
Models’ hair was slicked back and died a vibrant shade of red; reminiscent of houses Burton and her team had also come across during their research, which were painted the same shade of red to ward off evil. “The woman is courageous, grounded, bold: heroic,” Burton explained.
For AW20 Burton’s vision was delivered in the form of bright-lights, hard wooden flooring, immaculate tailoring and a collection that spoke fundamentally of strength and adoration – perhaps at a time when it is most needed.
ENTITLED, Toying With Elegance, the AW20 Miu Miu collection this season spoke of 80s Glamour and youthful rebellion. Held in the concrete surroundings of Palais d’Iena on the last day of Paris Fashion Week, Miuccia’s models graced the repeat-print carpeted runway, lit with soft pink led-lights in true Miu Miu fashion.
The show opened with a series of crushed satin dresses in emerald, tangerine, lemon and blush, each paired with their very own platform Mary-Janes and embellished opened-toed pumps. Creased and wrinkled like un-pressed dry cleaning, the gowns embodied effortless, “just thrown on” charm.
The cocktail coat made a bold appearance on the runway, with floor-grazing, double-breasted, woollen pieces ornamented with chandelier embroidery around cuffs and collars. Cut thigh-high and styled with half scoop leather gloves, this seasons coats provided us with a heavy dose of outwear as eveningwear.
Crystal embroideries flickered under the lights on mesh skirts and shift dresses throughout the collection. Not forgetting to mention the equally star-studded cast, with 16-year-old rising star Storm Reid opening the show and as expected the Hadid sisters.
Looks were complimented by extravagant cat-eye make up and loosely finger-rolled locks. Finished off with glistening hair accessories and jewellery, all replicas of Mrs Prada’s own personal collection.
THE SENSE of joy that recently appointed design director, Satoshi Kondo, presented in his previous SS20 collection for Issey Miyake, was in tune with this season’s theatrical offerings. However, instead of witnessing the bouncing instagramable spectacle of last season, for AW20 Kondo’s vision was much more subtle.
The show opened with a performance by two illustrators, who in turn drew black outlines of two figures onto a white sheet. These outlines were then cut and torn, revealing a trio of models who strode through the now empty silhouettes. Each model was dressed in all white, the seams and hems of their garments marked with thick black lines.
The first series of monochromatic looks were made using a seamless method of knitting, developed by Miyake in 1998, using a specialised computer program called A-POC. Meaning “a piece of cloth”, Kondo continued to use this technique throughout his AW20 collection.
Moving away from just black and white, vibrant and varying prints went onto to dominate the collection. A turquoise and lilac graphic print appeared alongside a knitted, multi-coloured, patchwork-like print – designed to appear like kneaded clay. Others looks included abstract enlarged prints on parachute shirt dresses; and smudged inky prints on gathered tunics.
Kondo further incorporated fabric manipulation – a signature of the Issey Miyake house – into the collection, combining wool, paper and intricate origami-like textures, which appeared on fine silk hooded jumpsuits. The finale further spoke of Miyake’s A-POC, with models wearing conjoined knitwear looks. Emerging in groups of up to five, their garments connected by “a piece of cloth”.
Kondo’s collection for AW20, aimed to channel hope and positive energy for the future – an alternative pathway that few designers are following during the current state of global uncertainty. As a whole, the collection instilled a lively and joyful twist to the Paris fashion week schedule this season.
COMME DES GARCONS
THE GROUNDBREAKING vision of Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons is something we rarely witness at fashion weeks across the capitals. Her most recent collection at PFW AW20 aptly titled Neo Future, continues her legacy as an innovator.
In the show notes, Kawakubo posed the age-old question, “Is it not impossible to make something completely and utterly new, since we are all living in this world?” The collection challenged such notion, with clothes that felt “completely and utterly new” despite being derived from the past.
Kawakubo presented 20 looks, each look treated as separate show, sound tracked by its own music and wildly dissimilar. As expected colour and proportion were played with, each look presenting a completely new silhouette, in a completely different colour palette. The only real parity between looks was in the form of socks and heeled sandals, each pair brandished with the Comme des Garçons logo.
Past collections were echoed – with bulbous looks resembling her famous Lumps and Bumps collection of SS97 – and others, bold in colour and geometric in shape, referenced her two-dimensional paper doll-like collection of AW12.
Exaggerated black and white lace veils were worn over irregular headpieces, a nod to Kawakubo’s AW05 bridal themed collection. It seems through looking back Kawakubo presented clothes that were wholly new – acting as a mere reminder of what was before.
The AW20 Comme des Garçons Neo Future collection, reiterates Rei Kawakubo’s brilliance as a contemporary designer. In an industry of endless regurgitation of the past, Kawakubo seems to forever make clothes that speak of the future.
SENSUALITY was the key theme to take away from the Mugler AW20 collection for Paris Fashion Week Held in Palais de Tokyo, the French fashion house’s creative director, Casey Cadwallader, presented 32 looks against his blacked-out backdrop.
The palette was dark and austere, with black, grape and dark brown hues dominating most of the collection. Tailoring was cut from leather and trousers hung low, on occasion revealing much of the models’ lower abdomen. Jewellery was a focal point, with gold and sliver embellished cuff-like chokers, earrings, bracelets and even anklets, breaking up the lines formed by Cadwallader’s meticulously tailoring.
Microbras were worn under mesh and leather jackets, paired with under-bust corsetry and low-rise trousers that we witnessed throughout the show. Print was sparse with only one look featuring a flocked tiger-like camouflage two-piece, which was again dropped under the bust and worn with a ribbed roll-neck. Wholly wearable daytime friendly elements of the collection were juxtaposed with looks that spoke only of sex.
A series of sheer mesh dresses were adorned with what looked like ball bearings, and paired with high-shine knee high boots. Mugler’s signature hourglass silhouettes were accentuated with elaborate – barely there – mesh insert and cutout dresses, which made up the shows closing looks. Fundamentally, waists were nipped, hips and shoulders exaggerated and skin was bared at Cadwallader’s Mugler show this season.
MIND, Melange, Motor was the title of French designer Marine Serre’s AW20 collection at Paris Fashion Week this Tuesday. In tune with her previous post-apocalyptic offerings, this season Serre continued her commentary on the climate crisis, presenting a “futurewear” collection that was half made from up-cycled garments.
Set in a barely illuminated, hollowed out, concrete space the models exited one-by-one into Serre’s very own hall of mirrors – a large projector screen forming the shows backdrop. Motifs from previous collections were carried forward for AW20, in the form of flashing orb-like pendants that hung, suspended from silver chains; and similar spherical bags, now identifiable as Serre’s Dream Ball bags, originally introduced as part of her AW18 collection.
The hooded, cocoon-like silhouette we saw last season emerged again, adapted in protective padded nylon, and working in harmony with a heavy dose of Serre’s signature second-skin lycra.
Dissimilar to last season’s Marée Noire,” crocheted white cotton – made from up cycled tablecloths – was the dominant fabric opening the show. This was followed by houndstooth, which appeared on oversized double-breasted coats, tailored skirts and cut-out dresses. A new crescent-moon monogram was introduced; this time reimagined as knitted ribbed trousers and thumbhole-sleeved tops.
As the collection moved away from a monochrome palette, fuchsia was presented. Models wore full looks – carrying reusable water bottles, miniature rucksacks and bum-bags – all in the same shade of pink. Up-cycled fair-isle knits, brandished with polar bears and snowflakes, were deconstructed and paired with leather-look moon embossed trousers, fur lined ushanka hats and excessive trinket jewellery.
A series of ochre damask prints, with curtain-like tassels and fringing, were drawn from discarded cushion covers and transformed into skirts, tops and dresses that featured throughout the collection. Serre’s vision of environmental apocalypse was a continuation of her previous work, searching for more sustainable solutions within design.
Since becoming the first ever French designer to win the LVMH prize, after her graduate collection in 2017, Serre has established a cult like following. It is hardly surprising when her designs act so unapologetically as a sign of the times.