Retro-Futuristic. Versace AW21

Versace is launching a new monogram this season. Named La Greca, it’s a take on the brand’s heritage Greek Key pattern turned trompe l’oeil in the genre of Goyard’s Chevrons or Moynat’s infinite Ms. In the film Versace released, in the middle of digital Paris Fashion Week, La Greca had been blown up into a massive wooden structure that framed a runway-style show. Here, models walked through monograms wearing monogram clothes, carrying monogram bags, and accessorizing with monogram jewelry. Monogram, everything! But somehow, it didn’t suffocate the actual clothes. Donatella Versace came up with a convincing proposal for a post-lockdown wardrobe: easy, smart, and real. Sci-fi fabric treatments and styling stuff like harnesses fused with 1970s silhouettes in a slightly retro-futuristic expression were backed up by sculptural streetwear shapes and little bionic dresses (Bella Hadid, Rianne Van Rompaey and Mica Arganaraz looked gorgeous wearing them). Donatella thrives creatively lately, delivering collections that are super-Versace, but as well true to herself.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Fabulously Eccentric. Loewe AW21

Last season, Jonathan Anderson went for a small collection of ‘un-commercial’, couture-esque dresses and full skirts. For autumn-winter 2021, his Loewe has more of the ‘ready-to-wear’ aspect, yet it still has that signature, fabulously-eccentric-lady style. It’s all about bold colours and mood-changing zigzaggy prints here; the curiosity of avant-garde shapes; perfectly placed, succulently colorful accessories; and what Danielle Steel is feeling about fashion. Say what? Go to Loewe’s website, and there, to be sure, you’ll hear the world’s best-selling novelist in a podcast with Anderson. This is “the ‘why not?’ era,” she remarks. “I’m much more into fun things now…. I like silly stuff. I guess I get more eccentric as I get older…. Life is serious enough!” The collaboration with Steel came about through Anderson’s connection with her daughter Vanessa Traina. In a continuation of his printed-matter lockdown show alternatives, he came up with a Loewe newspaper, within which is a trail of the first chapter of Steel’s new novel, The Affair. Neatly enough, it’s a tale about a New York fashion editor in chief. The paper, with all the pictures of the Loewe collection, is “being distributed to a million readers” including readers of The New York Times, Le Monde, and Le Figaro. In other words, it’s time to embrace the fun and euphoria of fashion again – or at least to be able to imagine ourselves into the time when we can. “As much as people always see the cynical in luxury fashion, there’s something in it that releases endorphins that make you feel good,” Anderson said in a Zoom call with Vogue. For the shoot, he rolled out the yellow carpet in Paris at the Le Train Bleu restaurant, his own office at Loewe, and a private members’ club off the Champs-Élysées. Elaborate settings for Anderson’s skilled composition of bold silhouettes, his subtly wearable pieces and a gamut of bags and shoes that deliver quirk to the adventurous and classicism to the conservative. “I don’t see this as a collection about fantasy. I think it’s about this idea of projecting what a new reality will hopefully be,” he said. “I think fashion is going to be important in the next while, in making people gain the confidence of going back out and dressing up again. The whole point of this collection is: believe it, and it will happen.”

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Night-Time Gloss. Coperni AW21

Coperni boys are sure we will again have parties (at some point in time). Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant decided to do a physical show, so they came up with a sociall-distanced idea of a drive-in, and selected the Accor Arena, a giant stadium on the outskirts of town  as a venue. This season showed that Coperni is taking a new (and less uptight) direction. Meyer and Vaillant have made a signature of an efficient, athleticized minimalism, and for autumn-winter 2021 they wanted to give their clothes a night-time gloss. Adut Akech opened the show in an off-the-shoulder A-line minidress, and Mica Argañaraz closed it in a see-through painted lace shift. There was also a robe coat in faux fur (worn by Jill Kortleve), very Madonna in her ‘Music’ video. Some of the brand’s most compelling thinking happens on the accessories front, a growing part of the brand. A new bag in apple leather unzips completely flat, while their signature handbag comes in shiny rhinestones. The Coperni girl (and guy) long for a crowdy, chic dancefloor.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Alien Couture. Rick Owens AW21

Rick Owens presented another incredible, made-in-lockdown collection, livestreamed straight from Venice Lido (the place where most of his brand’s goods are produced). “Doing these shows without an audience is becoming a kind of private ceremony because we’re sort of doing it for ourselves,” he told Vogue. “There’s a sweetness to it.” The runway was an actual concrete pier, and the background – a breezy, cold sea. The models looked like a troop of Giacometti sculptures, or aliens whose spaceship wrecked in the fog. The collection synthesized comfortwear of the pandemic – bodysuits, knits, the ubiquitous puffer – with the grandeur of haute couture. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more glamorous gown this season than this show’s closing look, a fully sequined ivory hourglass stunner with a sculptural, asymmetric neckline and a single sleeve that was worn with a black gauntlet and matching mask. To be honest, nobody today does draping as well as Owens. Equally fantastic were the couture-ish things he did with puffer capes and coats with his now-signature power shoulders. The use of sequins was an interesting take on femininity: the result was a “garment”, which appeared to be over-the-shoulder thongs worn with cashmere bodysuits. On the subject of underthings, the pentagram briefs from the January men’s show reappeared here wrapped around evening clutches, the implication being that these alien females had handled the “unhinged male aggression” that those briefs signified. Here’s what Owens had to say about it: “During times of strife, you gotta step up.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.