Believe it or not, Gianni Versace was murdered 20 years ago, in the front of his Miami mansion. After his death, the fashion world drowned in sadness and grief – that was the end of an era of joy, sex and beauty. But, as its visible in 2017, Gianni’s soul is with us and his aesthetic is as relevant as ever – via Donetella Versace‘s medium. Yesterday was a fashion bomb in Milan, with Versace‘s absolute hits taken out of the archives. ‘Andy Warhol’, ‘My Friend Elton’, ‘Native Americans’, ‘Metal Mesh’, ‘Icons’, ‘Vogue’, ‘Animalia’ – all those wild and opulent prints, that used to explode in iconic ad campaigns by Richard Avedon, are revived. And alive. For good.
It’s hard to review a show like this, because it’s a breathing fashion legacy that has already been discussed from A to Z decades ago. Gianni’s signatures were placed on everything, from leggings to dresses, while some of the pieces that appeared to be too hard to replicate were taken straight out of the archives to the fashion show. But the models were the real stars of the runway: Instagirls (Hadid sisters) and mega-model off-springs (Kasia Gerber) sashayed along such models like Anja Rubik, Doutzen Krous and Mica Arganaraz in regular ready-to-wear; the runway queens, who launched their careers first walking for Gianni, closed the show with a fierce walk to the tune of George Michael’s ‘Freedom’. Naomi, Helena, Claudia, Cindy and Carla, the original muses, were all here (I just missed Linda…). Fashion loves spectacles. But that wasn’t a spectacle – that was an emotional ode to a genius, an icon, and her brother. Bravo, Donatella.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Autumn-winter 2017 was Dries Van Noten‘s 100th show. And just as he did at this season’s menswear, the designer was reflecting on the past, future, and most of all – the contemporary. Malgosia Bela, Nadia Auermann, Hanne Gaby, Mica Arganaraz, Carolyn Murphy, Debra Shaw and many, many more catwalk icons, veterans and today’s favourites walked the show. Some of them were present in Van Noten’s first show back in the late 80s, which is quite impressive. The collection is naturally one of the season’s biggest highlights, although it wasn’t about any statement piece. Masculine coats and over-sized denim pants were like the second skin of the models with experience (and a powerful gaze in their eyes). They made simple clothes look elusive. The designer showed off a remix of his forever-great prints on midi-length dresses and frivolous skirts, reminding everyone that he’s especially talented with colour palette and textile combinations. Lovely boas, big blazers and perfectly tailored shirts: there’s no doubt why throughout those 100 collections, women believed in Dries. And they will do so throughout the next 100 collections, that’s sure.
While others fall into mega-companies and stakes, Van Noten’s Antwerp-based label is independent. When I entered his cozy boutique on Saint Germain yesterday, it was crowded – and those weren’t tourists, who took photos of the ornamental interior, but women trying on dresses and shoes. Something I haven’t seen at all the same day at Balenciaga or Lanvin on the other side of Seine, even though these brands are currently “it”.
The secret of Dries? Maybe the fact he doesn’t play secrets; he doesn’t create packs of model-friends to propel sales; he doesn’t want to be in the spotlight that much. It’s about the clothes and his relation with devoted clients.
The season of spring – summer 2016 was not only full of stunning collections – also, it was one of the most diverse seasons EVER, which is a pretty big success. The model casting was much more colourful than the seasons before (even though white models are still dominating the shows). There was also a strong focus of hair – from natural afros and mullets to bald-heads and pixie pinks, the woman of SS16 is every woman. Literally.
All collages by me.
The 50’s bad girls went down the runway at Miu Miu SS15 show… with their eyebrows to match. cropped tops, bustiers, checks, pencil skirts, pastel coats and kitten heels- those are the Miu Miu girl attributes. The silhouette was Miuccia’s well-versed version of the housecoat, the pencil skirt and the ruffled prettiness up on top. Miuccia had them trussed up in finery – 18th century style floral silk and cloqué, counter balanced with fraying wool check and murky shades of leather. Lady goes vamp. Tarts and vicars. Runaway girls. They don’t give a damn about their ex boyfriend. They keep up together and get high together, but in style and chic.
Raf Simons got really sentimental this season. In an industrial space, with guests standing instead of seating, the designer served a portion of unexplained things. And as he said, they are hard to analyse. But first of all, the backs of the coats and tops “Like mood boards you’d pin your favorite images to,” Raf said backstage. Friends, family, a fluffy kitty, a roller coaster, Mt. Fuji painted by Hokusai, a koi pond, a shark, a swimmer in peril, an astronaut…it seemed furiously random until Simons parsed the images. And these were all his memories and inspirations that he thought of while putting them live, on the models. Sharks- he loves Jaw movie and horrors. The astronaut was isolation. Roller coaster, the one he rode with his friends Olivier Rizzo and Willy Vanderperre decades ago. The Japanese influence was his thank-you to the first retailers who ever supported him. That was a truly psychological idea, too. In other words, Raf Simons made us all a bit shaky after the show. And the clothes were very him! The sneakers, the sophisticated suits, colourful tops and sharp tailored trousers. The AW14 collaboration with artist Sterling Ruby was a sweet surrender that Simons said, “I could only go deep into myself to find another challenge.” He’s a supremely organized individual, but maybe Ruby left him with an appetite for chaos. “It’s interesting to let go,” he agreed.