As this fashion season was approaching, many people waited anxiously to see if the countless designers and shows would help revive the industry that seemed to be slowly drowning.
They were not disappointed.
The shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris resuscitated the fashion industry with imagination, theatrics and a meshing of the past and future. However, these four cities each hosted one show that shone a bit brighter than the others.
The festivities began in New York City with the tents in Bryant Park. While all the shows in New York have reputations for greatness, it was on day five that people were truly blown away by the genius of Rodarte.
The collection, designed by the down-to-earth sister duo Laura and Kate Mulleavy, was a perfect union of primitivism and futurism that rarely works. Waif-like models stomped down a gritty runway, their arms covered in sharpie-drawn tribal tattoos and their bodies draped in Goth-inspired macramé.
Dramatically destroyed, the clothing in the collection was stained, torn and frayed in a way that evoked a sense of wonder and amazement. The way the sisters mashed together seemingly unrelated ideas was outstanding. The presence of fluorescents alongside neutral colors and homespun fabrics, such as plaid, somehow worked and created a masterpiece of a collection that fashion critics across the board raved about.
The inspiration continued across the pond in London, where designer Mark Fast blindsided the fashion world with a dose of reality.
Instead of stocking his runway with svelte, bag-of-bones models, Fast enlisted an army of average-sized girls to show off his clothing. His decision to do so was so shocking, his show’s stylist quit over Fast’s insistence of including models from a plus agency.
Whether Fast’s embracement of the average woman was a publicity stunt or just a good idea, his collection spoke louder than the women wearing them. Fast has always been a master of knitwear, but this season he spotlighted the sexier side of his craft.
Knits that resembled hosiery were what were seen on Fast’s runway. Shredded skirts and key-holed tops somehow created lush female silhouettes – without the use of much fabric. One of the more shocking pieces of his collection was a knit girdle and bra set, which led little to the imagination.
On Fast’s runway, even the frump girls can be sexy and chic.
Milan was the campsite for the larger-than-life label Dsquared2. Dan and Dean Caten, the masterminds Dsquared2, took us “glam-ping” – that is, glamorous camping.
The pieces of the collection all utilized plastic, diamonds, or both, which focused the clothes on light and shine. This opened the door to dresses made of plaid wool blankets stitched with nude satin, a plastic fisherman’s jumper sewn onto a jewel-encrusted t-shirt, and a pair of pants that started out denim up top and trickled down into yellow plastic.
The Caten brothers’ inspiration behind the collection was a city girl visiting her boyfriend while he was camping. She has sky-high heels to keep her out of the mud, yellow plastic pants to keep her dry, and a diamond-embellished hat to block the sun.
When folks go to a Dsquared2 show, they rarely expect to see stuff out of reality. This show was just what they expected.
Saving the best for last, Paris Fashion Week gave us Chanel. And Chanel gave us a roll in the hay. Literally.
In lieu of a runway, fashion guru Karl Lagerfeld gave us a barn and some hay for a romp in the world of fashion theatrics. The collection was a nod to Marie Antoinette hanging out at the Petit Trianon and showcased macramé, tweed, and clogs.
Beige, ivory, and black were the base colors of the entire collection. Along with the pastoral-inspired pieces, Lagerfeld incorporated some deco-chic into the mix. Black bell skirts with white lace gave off a Wednesday Adams vibe, while black chiffon dresses with white leotards underneath evoked a sense of 1940’s Hollywood.
Lagerfeld, with his imagination and unfaltering skill, somehow whipped all these ideas into a frenzy and made them work. Throw in a performance by Lily Allen, and you have arguably the best show of the season.
From New York to Paris, the designers of the spring fashion season revived the fashion industry and helped us eagerly turn our gaze to the future.