Fashion Week can be a time of excited discovery or, on the other side of the spectrum, a saddening expression of misled inspirations. Every show poses the equal chance for an innovation-induced high or a long-awaited rush for the exit. This season I returned to Paris Fashion Week for a closer look at the latest designer collections; and here are my notes on the ones I loved the most from the Spring/Summer 2016 runway.
Since launching in 2012, Gauchère has transitioned from being a label to watch into the consistent tastemaker they are today. With German designer Marie-Christine Statz at the helm, each collection maintains a distinctly fresh-French aesthetic, in a way that’s both natural and effortlessly elegant. For her Spring/Summer 2016 collection, Statz incorporated masculine elements into a range of soft, feminine prints and fabrics for a smart lineup of light-meets-heavy looks with a hint of sportswear.
For Spring/Summer 2016, the designers at Paris Men’s Fashion Week have combined utilitarian fashion with editorial aesthetics, blending artistic interpretations with sportswear accessibility. I teamed up with London-based fashion illustrator Megan St. Clair Morgan to highlight a few of my favourite collections.
The mistress of lace, Sharon Wauchob, continues to translate the delicate fabric into an array of intriguing creations that face ageless beauty. Within Wauchob’s fall-winter collection, she presented sparkling numbers with floral patterns and an inconspicuous sex appeal, incorporating a subtle blush pink and silver gray into a lineup of covetable dresses.
If lacework were the only trade at hand, we would certainly remain at awe with Wauchob’s textural workmanship; however, this season she included embroideries so fine as to represent the same patterns found on exotic skins. The same motif was carried over onto ponyskin car coats, encouraging a major fur moment this season, as well as several statement looks to come.
Rich, vibrant and textural. Three of the many classic descriptions used to describe Dries Van Noten’s aesthetics. But what he presented for his fall-winter collection was borderline eccentric with a passionate femininity and raw glamour.
Where most designers would undoubtedly clash, Van Noten placed a somber red and grey look alongside utilitarian khaki or golden jacquard, with an alluring spectrum of jewels, embroideries, quilting and a plethora of exquisite detailing that remained editorial yet wearable, unconventional yet spectacularly comfortable to the eye.
While Wes Gordon may have presented his first collection at New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2010, there’s quite a lot that can be said about the “young” designer who is taking the industry by storm. For Gordon, it is certainly his consistency.
Having spent time under the wings of Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford, Gordon’s eponymous label continues to reflect the skills he honed at such labels, giving way to a spectacular understanding of how to fuse classic techniques with sophisticated designs.
This season, he maintains the idea of consistency with the same 1990s-inspired aesthetics he has been incorporating throughout his past collections, and with the fine quality fabrics and modern, minimalist tailoring he’s now synonymous with. But while the collection may have started off strong with a long, tailored coat paired over a rib-knit top and skirt combo, the second half of the lineup explored an entirely different route.
Fun and flirtatious are both excellent adjectives used to describe Ryan Lo’s fall-winter collection in his debut show at London Fashion Week. With equal parts youthfulness and the flamboyant styles we so eagerly anticipate from the traditionally eccentric London fashion scene, Lo’s memorable lineup fused jacquard and brocade with fur and fringe.
But what he managed to do most of all was evoke a spectacular spirit of frivolous fashion with instant wearability. And with that in mind, Ryan Lo transformed a springtime essential into a fall staple: whether a skirt with lace and fringe, or crocheted florals, they’re certainly the new must-have item.
For her first pre-fall appearance, Rosetta Getty further developed the relaxed, sophisticated aesthetics of her eponymous label into cool and classic vibes, drawing on inspirations from architect Louis Kahn and artist Louise Bourgeois with a salute to the simplicity and clean lines of past American sportswear. Evoking the calm beauty and dimensional intrigue of the said inspirations, Getty delivered her fourth collection with understood prowess and poise.
Going beyond season-based outerwear and trousers, this pre-collection seemed to be built around the notion of year-round appeal, with architectural slits and cutouts reappearing throughout the lineup. One of the warmest moments appeared in the fall-ready cashmere-and-wool cardigan draped loosely over a striped blouse and wrap skirt with cutout hemline.
Designer Adam Lippes has tapped into the underlying current of architectural influence this season for a Pre-Fall 2015 collection exuding editorial value and season-neutral timelessness. And while his designs might have emerged from the modern works of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, Lippes pre-collection reflects his own classic, yet relaxed, elegance, along with a remarkably fresh and youthful Asian influence.
Through employing his signature tailoring and keen eye for refined fabrics, Lippes impeccably elevated a lineup of essentials into crisp sophistication with year-round potential. This season found the designer, who re-launched his eponymous label in 2013, fortifying his American sportswear-lux aesthetics with Kuma’s graphic prowess as fretwork-inspired lace appeared as a re-occurring detail among several garments.
Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough opted for a more reminiscent Pre-Fall 2015 collection, focusing this season on revisiting a few favorite looks from the past, while introducing new, more experimental ideas. Pre-collections, after all, supply the perfect opportunity for designers to display more creative freedom than with their main season counterparts.
While translating classic American appeal into an overall menswear-inspired lineup, this season emerged full of textured knitwear, wearable argyle options and fluid silhouettes. And although they remained equally chic and refined with an abundance of grays and browns, Proenza Schouler continued to showcase textural innovations – a definite point of continual intrigue when it comes to following this New York-based label.