A tale of two cities (brilliance abounds, but there were still some batshit-mental moments), we give you the rundown on our favourite collections, to save you believing some advertising-influenced baloney:
Dries Van Noten – Possibly the most nuanced and on-point designer working in Paris today, Dries gave us a decadent, early-20th century inspired wardrobe, packed with aristocratic hauteur and his signature opulence.
Thomas Tait – The LVMH Young Designer prize-winner pitches up in Paris where even Rihanna couldn’t ruin things for him this season, as he wowed tout le monde with his considered and finely executed designs.
Chloe – We’ve long been a fan of Clare Waight-Keller’s deftness and ability to femme up a collection. Such a star at Pringle, she was hoisted to Chloe to use her considerable lightness of touch and brand understanding to quietly re focus the brand and its appeal to luxury seeking hipster hippies. Chloe girl goes a bit Belstaff on us this season and we are liking her vibe, muchly.
Nina Ricci – Ex-Carven creative director Guillaume Henry hones the femme fatale aesthetic he proposed last season with devastating results.
Emanuel Ungaro – After a few iffy seasons (candy-coloured ruffles, zebra-print bras), Sicilian designer Fausto Puglisi pulls it back and finally hits his stride.
Sacai – Architectural, directional, ladylike…Chitose Abe pushed all the right buttons, and showed why Apple has chosen her as the latest collaborator to wave her magic wand over its curate’s egg timepiece.
Haider Ackermann – Typically Haider, he walked a similar path to Dries Van Noten, the added excess offset by a more severe, militaristic edge.
Giambattista Valli – With a brevity missing from some of his more overly-flouncy confections, Valli’s Autumn/Winter offering was still sprinkled with enough couture details to set it apart from his peers.
Louis Vuitton – There were hints of Balenciaga in the silhouettes at Nicolas Ghesquiere’s collection for Louis Vuitton, which only served to underline the horror show happening at his former house.
Vetements – Demna Gvasalia knocks up some old ideas from Thom Browne’s Autumn/Winter 2012 offering out of charity shop remnants and all the editors lose their collective shit. Depressing.
BalenciVetements – If the above was a clown workshop in a thrift store, then Gvasalia’s collection for Balenciaga was a sub-graduate attempt at Cristobal’s proportions, coupled with clumsy, Eighties Sloane two-pieces and more nods to Margiela than strictly necessary.
Mugler – Whilst David Koma’s collection was a paean to the African savannah, you can’t help but think that Thierry’s rendering would’ve been more ‘[Insert name of strong historical female] on the African savannah’. One collection where more attitude would’ve gone a long way.
Chanel – More Eighties (air stewardess hats), along with a pile-up of gateway product meant to signify a more democratic Chanel. Democratic if you’re a rich, white social x-ray that is.
Saint Laurent – There were two sides to this couture collection – Alexis Colby and Sammy Jo from ‘Dynasty’ mostly, in a heavily archive-indebted (SHOCK!) romp through soap opera power dressing, which didn’t just veer on pastiche, but stumble headlong.
Hermes/Celine/Lemaire – In a season where designers fought to shout the loudest, these subtle, restrained collections only served to cleanse the palette until the next visual assault.
Zuhair Murad – When you’re Cheryl Tweedy-Cole-Fernandez-Versini-Whatever’s Saturday night primetime go-to glamour supplier, the only way is up frankly. Oh, and bandage dresses. No.
Balmain – A prime example of when a designer, in this case Olivier Rousteing, achieves a bit of success and goes completely off-the-selling-rails, throwing everything onto the catwalk, including copious fringing and tasselled curtain tiebacks. Blame the Kardashians, blame H&M, blame whoever you want, JUST MAKE IT STOP.
Givenchy – *I know face* The horror. But really, we didn’t. And we love Tisci. Print work that was often too literal. Yes,we get that it’s all about Egyptian mythology but at times it strayed too close to Etro/Pucci territory. Tisci’s best comes in his great leaps forward instead of re-workings or ‘best of’ collections. This was mucho reworkings plus the lairy leopard print for the Kardashian crew. We liked it better when Tisci was beyond their remit. I’m sure he won’t lose sleep but sad to see this AAA+ designer dumb down.
Christian Dior/John Galliano/Lanvin – With creative directors missing an action (and, in Galliano’s case, cruelly wrenched), these labels continued to soldier on with mostly mediocre results. Bill Gaytten continued to prove that as a designer he makes an excellent pattern cutter, whilst Dior just bored, and Lanvin was ill-fitting and obviously the atelier’s revenge on management for firing Alber Elbaz. Thankfully, Bouchra Jarrar is freshly installed at Lanvin, but Raf Simons’ successor at Dior is anyone’s guess. As for John Galliano’s namesake brand, the kindest thing to do would be to give it a quiet, dignified burial.
Barometer compiled by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) and @katiechutzpah
Catwalk images kindly used by permission from www.Vogue.com