10 Lessons We Learned this Season
Another fashion month has come and gone and – after the inevitable momentary information overload that comes with covering an average of 12 shows a day – we have looked back and distilled everything we saw into 10 lessons which teach us something about the evolution of fashion in the next few months.
1. Dystopian vocabulary has taken over the catwalks
MOSCHINO FW18 show in Milan. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
First it was Alexander Wang’s Matrix-inspired show, with its patent black leather and its Trinity-worthy XS sunglasses. Then, Miuccia Prada invited an A.I. Instagirl (the much talked-about @lilmiquela, who has almost 680.000 followers) for the brand’s takeover before the show, Jeremy Scott sent green and blue aliens down the Moschino runway, and Alessandro Michele defined his models as “cyborgs.” Fashion these days looks more like an Isaac Asimov novel than like The Devil Wears Prada. And while futuristic inspirations are nothing new (remember Space Age?), this time it mostly feels like an answer to a deeply dystopian political and social climate. In the words of Scott (whose Moschino show was inspired by conspiracy theories involving Kennedy, Jackie O., and Marilyn Monroe), “it’s all fake news.” It’s a brave new world. At least for fashion.
2. Glittery hair is the biggest beauty trend
SONIA RYKIEL FW18 show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
After season after season of boring, down-to-earth beauty looks, we finally struck gold. Quite literally: the most unexpected trend out there – and one that we hope will gain momentum – was glitter-drenched hair. It made an appearance at Thom Browne and at Comme des Garçons, on 1930s-style wigs, and at Sonia Rykiel the girls threw it on each other’s ultra voluminous hair. Granted, this trend is not a very practical one… or a very sustainable one. But should you be inclined to try it, you’ll be happy to know there are several biodegradable glitter brands out there.
3. Feminist statements are mandatory
CHROMAT FW18 show in New York. Photo by Regis Colin for NOWFASHION.
In the era of #metoo and #timesup, most brands felt forced to take a “feminist” stand with their collections. And we say “felt forced” because, well, the result on the catwalk felt rather forced at times. Not for emerging brands like Gypsy Sport, however. Rio Uribe, the brand’s founder, has always made a point of including all kinds of women (trans, cis, black, white, mixed race, albino, queer, gay, straight, “plus size”… you name it) in his shows and, as usual, it felt truly organic and celebratory. But this was not the case elsewhere, where tokenism was still ever-present in the castings (that one “plus size” model is not fooling us) and the civil rights issue of women’s equality was turned into pure unadulterated capitalist product. We personally don’t believe setting women back 600€ by selling them t-shirts with a pseudo-empowering message is helping the cause much, but to each their own.
4. Fake fur is having a moment
SHRIMPS FW18 show in London. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION. .
This was an especially busy season for anti-fur protesters. Possibly the busiest since the late nineties, when fur-clad fabulous fashionistas had to take shelter from the red paint coming at them from every angle. There were protests outside shows in New York, Milan, and London – most of which, we must say, were pretty tone-deaf. In New York, editors wearing fake fur were screamed at by Peta members. In Milan, the protests took place outside of Marni, a house targeted for its notorious use of real fur… which stopped almost a decade ago. And in London, a protester even hijacked Mary Katrantzou’s catwalk and shouted “shame on you!” at the public before being escorted out. Again, Katrantzou’s collection featured only fake fur, which is soaring at the moment, as even the biggest houses, from Givenchy to Chanel, are starting to experiment with it with rather creative and luxurious-looking results. Next time, we suggest protesters do their research prior to fashion week.
5. Activism and charity are in
BURBERRY FW18 show in London. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
The news was out immediately after the Gucci show: Gucci would be donating half a million dollars to the March of Our Lives Gun Control rally. It was not the only cause that got a donation from fashion this season. For his last offering at the helm of Burberry, Christopher Bailey reimagined the famous Burberry check as a rainbow and dedicated his whole collection to the LGBTQ community, movingly explaining backstage the parallelism between the show, with its eighties soundtrack – including anthems like Smalltown Boy and Don’t Leave Me this Way – and its street vibes, and his own life as a gay northerner making it in London’s fashion scene. His donation was to the Albert Kennedy Trust, which works with LGBTQ homeless youths. At Balenciaga, the partnership was with the World Food Programme, which provoked some snarky reactions from cynical fashion editors (“makes sense, their models really look like they need to eat”). Regardless, every donation counts. Kudos also to the very discreet house of Chanel who, only after its forest-themed show prompted angry accusations of “heresy” from the France Nature Environment, revealed that, in acquiring the set trees, it had agreed to replant 100 oaks in the heart of the forest.
6. Old time glamour is back, big time
GIVENCHY FW18 show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
Languid chiffons, feathers, extra-large hats and bejeweled evening gowns? You’re not dreaming. Think Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, and Joan Crawford in the thirties. That’s exactly what brands like Givenchy had in mind this season. For her second collection for the maison, Clare Waight Keller took inspiration from film noir in a collection that was widely praised. We were especially into the few final looks, with their bias cut dresses and silvery beads. Same for Alexander McQueen, where Sarah Burton delighted us with her butterfly dresses and her extra long silk fringes. And when even emerging uber cool brands like New York’s Area profusely use marabou feathers and big hats, you know the trend is here to stay.
7. Millennials are everything
UNDERCOVER FW18 show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
This is nothing new. Brands have fought for millennials’ attention for a while now (pretty much since they discovered, way after millennials had, Instagram and Snapchat), and the process has been one of trial and error so far. And yet, millennial hunting is still fashion’s favourite sport. So much so that Miu Miu dedicated its last show to it in its entirety, inviting members of the Stranger Things cast to its front row as well as other quirky millennial heartthrobs like Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, but especially casting Elle Fanning to open and close the show. The craze even reached the usually reclusive Jun Takahashi at Undercover who, himself, cast Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink (anything vaguely Stranger Things-related is guaranteed to get the attention of Gen-Zers). The exception to this trend was Dolce & Gabbana: the duo finally ditched the digital influencers concept and put models back on the runway for its Catholic-themed show. The public enthusiastically thanked them.
8. Politicians have never been more supportive of the industry
RICHARD QUINN FW18 show in London. Photo by Regis Colin for NOWFASHION.
Despite our Instagram feeds being permanently flooded with fashion imagery during the whole month, two events were noticeably buzzier than the rest: first, there was the moment when Elizabeth II attended Richard Quinn’s show (of all shows!) in London. Then, there was the night, towards the end of Paris Fashion Week, when Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte organized a dinner at the Elysée Palace for all the French designers. Those were two touching moments that prove that, more than ever, fashion is being taken into account as a serious business by our political elites. Not in vain, though: in France, the fashion industry is only second to the arms industry. In the case of Britain, as Brexit makes the current status quo – and financing – tumble, an intervention by the local political forces seems de rigueur to save the industry.
9. Go hybrid or go home
SACAI FW18 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin for NOWFASHION.
Maybe it’s because, as millennials, we don’t want to choose. We want everything and we want it now. Maybe it’s because if we stop home between the office and our dinner date we might be tempted to just Netflix and chill. Maybe it’s just because it’s good fun. In any case, hybrid garments were all the craze this season. At Marni, dresses and trench coats were vertically divided in two different colours, a glorious promise for street style stars. At Sacai, blazers turned into puffas and tuxedo jackets into denim ones. And, at Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière created tops that were half space travel uniforms, half traditional Mujik shirts. Brands are finally giving us the present of not having to choose, and the results look pretty cool.
10. Camp is the future of fashion
CALVIN KLEIN FW18 show in New York. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
The streetwear craze is living its last few hours. After a noticeably less streetwear-y menswear season in January, women are following suit. Fendi was the only exception, with its Fila/@hey_reilly collaboration but, for the most part, brands moved away from that trend and into a very different one. “Camp is generous, tender, non-judgmental, and, above all, fun,” said Rei Kawakubo, quoting an essay by Susan Sontag, following a Comme des Garçons show which explored that very aesthetic. It was an unexpected mix, but certainly not the only brand that reveled in the concept of “taste levels” and “bad taste.” There was that Vaquera show inspired by Vegas. The Looney Tunes jumpers at Calvin Klein. Michael Halpern’s visible delight at being labeled “inappropriate glamour.” Mulberry’s Cecil Beaton-like collection. And Dolce’s fabulously irreverential homage to the Vatican. It’s no coincidence if, more and more, insiders rave at shows like Versace or even (gasp) Philipp Plein. After seasons, nay, years, of taking the idea of cool way too seriously and of striving to look like Gulag defectors, we were seriously starved for fun. Fashion, thankfully, provides.
See MOSCHINO's full FW18 collection here.
See SONIA RYKIEL's full FW18 collection here.
See CHROMAT's full FW18 collection here.
See SHRIMPS's full FW18 collection here.
See BURBERRY's full FW18 collection here.
See GIVENCHY's full FW18 collection here.
See UNDERCOVER's full FW18 collection here.
See RICHARD QUINN's full FW18 collection here.
See SACAI's full FW18 collection here.
See CALVIN KLEIN's full FW18 collection here.