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Gucci RTW Fall 2016

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Gucci RTW Fall 2016 Images & Source Via WWD.com

Alessandro Michele described a multilayered collection encompassing “some of my passions.” Street style, the Renaissance, the Seventies, “and a little injection of some chic points of the Eighties. I love to mix and match [references] into a different language.” He named a time-traveling Catherine de Medici as a seasonal muse.

Decoration figures powerfully in Michele’s work, an abundance of patterns, pleats, embroideries and fur trims on fluid clothes integrated with beautiful tailoring, styled with offbeat bravado. Most often, it delighted. Michele romances the natural world with near-literal representation and intriguingly weird placement a pair of birds or a black panther on the bodice of an otherwise ethereal pastel gown and, more controversially, the image of a flat, splayed-out tiger down the back of a fur coat.

In a very short time, Michele has produced remarkable work that has rocked fashion at Gucci. Yes, every designer must keep moving forward, and if he feels now’s the time to toughen up, Godspeed.

Runway

Michael Kors Collection RTW Fall 2016

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Michael Kors Collection RTW Fall 2016 Via WWD.com

Michael Kors elevates the real, the wearable, in some cases, the mundane, to a place so alluring, what fashion-aware woman wouldn’t want in? But then, Kors’ seasonal starting point is always “the women.”

“It’s always been about the muses,” he said during a preview. “In a strange way, they all kind of float through my head, they all kind of mash up together.” He ran off a litany of “theys”: Lee Radziwill, Penelope Tree, Diana Ross, Nan Kempner, Alexa Chung, Zendaya, Blake, women “unabashedly in love with looking fabulous.”

And doing so in a real-world context, albeit a tony one. This show was all about function made special and chic — coats (and more coats), sweaters, pants and skirts, the regular trappings of getting dressed, only delightfully zhooshed up. How everyday? Kors opened with the core basics — peacoat, white blouse, pullover and jeans, but the jeans happened to be feathered from the knees down. Camel made it onto the runway in a shawl-collared coat — a floral intarsia mink, worn over a sweater and tattersall cropped pant. Other coats got abundant fur collars or were cut in glistening floral brocades. An otherwise austere officer’s coat was sashed in mink. Another simple pleasure, knitted cashmere, came in a charcoal sweater-and-skirt duet that got the reality diva treatment with feathers — including matching feathered opera gloves.

Runway

Louis Vuitton RTW Spring 2015

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Louis Vuitton RTW Spring 2015 Images & Source WWD

“A beginning is a very delicate time,” delivered a Greek chorus of giant, attractive young faces that were projected onto glass screens at the start of the Louis Vuitton show. Their scale and sci-fi intonation continued the otherworldly aura of the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton, which has its official opening later this month. The vast, multi angle, multi winged spaceship of a building looks inviting and imposing.

That juxtaposition — or was it a fusion? — of techno cool with the warm, nostalgic familiar presaged Nicolas Ghesquière’s second collection for Vuitton. Backstage before the event, the designer said he considered it an honor to show in the space but that he didn’t create the collection specifically to work within it. “Of course, I was projecting my work into the environment,” he said. “But it was not a direct reference to the space. It’s only been six months. I’m building that wardrobe, and I’m defining what is Louis Vuitton today, thinking about different moments for the multiple women I’m projecting for Louis Vuitton. But again, it’s, like, March. Not a big statement.”

He undersold. This collection was a huge step from fall’s pleasant transitional effort. That said, Ghesquière did, indeed, continue with the wardrobe-building template he established then. Here, he did it with greater range and flamboyance, even a dose of humor. He opened with beautiful, intricately wrought multi textured crochet and lace dresses, some played against slick geometrically patterned eel. These went two ways: clean and precise or fluid and girly. Yet Ghesquière has always been a pants guy. His most elegant looks were a pair of jackets over shaggy fur liners and shorts. Though ergonomic knee-pad detailing harkened back to Ghesquière’s past life in futuristic sci-fi fashion, he preferred to linger elsewhere. “Sure, there’s a hint of the Seventies,” he said. And not always the chicest hint — crushed velvet jeans, anyone?

Bags
— what do you think? — were shown in numerous shapes and treatments, including a feisty red-on-black update of the monogram.

Runway

Chanel RTW Spring 2015

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Chanel RTW Spring 2015 Images & Source WWD

What is it they say of great storytelling? Sometimes you have to suspend disbelief? So let’s suspend disbelief long enough to consider an unlikely characterization: Karl Lagerfeld, the Norma Rae of fashion.

The flamboyant, fashion-filled collection Lagerfeld showed on Tuesday morning ended with a raucous demonstration: nearly 90 gloriously turned-out women carrying placards and shouting pro-fashion slogans, lead by a megaphone-wielding Gisele. They were occupying the chicest of city streets — the dazzling 130-meter Chanel Boulevard, which Lagerfeld dreamed up and commissioned, its grand facades extending 25 meters into the domed expanse of the Grand Palais.

Women demanding the right to be chic — now there’s a cause. And, not that Lagerfeld’s turning all P.C. on us, there was a message here: “All different kinds of women, all different kinds,” he said during a preview, noting that they’d all have different makeup, with hair “hardly groomed…It’s like walking in the streets.”

He explained the show’s premise, that it would end with a feminist show of force, his appreciation for the cause inherited from his mother. “It’s nice to be a feminist,” Lagerfeld offered. “She was very much into that. She used to say to me, ‘Men are not that important. If you are not too ugly you can have a baby with any man you want.’ You can wait a few years to tell your children,” he said to Bündchen.

Lagerfeld played to the street-fashion shtick in high style, with a diverse, often inventive, lineup. Most daring and utterly fabulous: an enormously exploded vibrant floral silk print, the original painted by Lagerfeld himself. He used it on one side of reversible coats, the other side colorful tweeds (of course), and affixed to leather boots for protest-marching in style.

Some of his women wore long, relatively sober tweed jackets over wide pants, others favored splashier fare, literally — dark tweeds painted over with bright multicolor spots. There was a pin-striped moment (career gals deserve fashion, too) with knee shorts matched to crisply poetic white shirts, and even some army green. One shirtdress-over-skirt boasted Chanel’s newest accessory: a jacket-turned-bag worn as a cross-body. And, oh yes, what would a Parisian street scene be without “cement” dresses? Lagerfeld crafted these from little rectangular leather tiles painted in semi-glossy silvery gray to look like the rue beneath your feet. Some had feisty flowers sprouting up in between, in defiance of the city’s foot traffic.

Speaking of which, Lagerfeld showed not a single high heel. “It’s not the red carpet,” he said. “It’s the street.”

Runway

Valentino RTW Spring 2015

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How Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have successfully reshaped the house of Valentino during their tenure is quite remarkable. They’ve defined and developed their vision of demure bohemia and modest chic to a level of consistency that continues to resonate beautifully and feel special without begging for biannual reinvention. So it was for spring.

Dual wellsprings of national pride, the designers often cite Italy as their big-picture inspiration, extracting something specific, but nonessential, to the resulting product: Here, the Grand Tour, the 18th-century tradition of British post-university young men of privilege completing their studies with a sight-seeing trip through Europe. Naturally, Chiuri and Piccioli concentrated on the Italian leg of the tour, which typically included Rome, Venice, Naples and possibly a beach excursion. Ultimately, it gave them license to take a roving approach to the collection.

“It’s a journey, but a reflection about what we are,” said Piccioli backstage. “It’s a release of joy and stream of consciousness; fragments of memory.”

A fantasy travel wardrobe for a fabulous itinerary, the lineup included roundly tailored linen jackets, dresses in Baroque scarf prints and florals that looked like stained glass, white eyelet for the naif and fanciful seaside motifs such as starfish and sea horses on gracefully dramatic gowns fit for a black-tie beach occasion. Everything flaunted the incredible craftsmanship of the Valentino ateliers.

Like a cinematic flashback, much of the collection was cast in soft focus, the dreamy nostalgia captured with a breathtaking group of rainbow pastels: curved chevron panels in pink, lavender and pale-green embroidered linen done in laser-cut eyelet on dresses and a skirt worn with a sweet sweater in the same pattern.

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