To present a brilliant collection, no major celebrities are needed in the front row, and there’s no need to pay thousands of euros for the show venue. Ask Grace Wales Bonner, who has just released a look-book with her spring-summer 2019 collection for men (and women). The main point behind the season was spirituality and the seek for inner peace, something the designer has been interested in for a while. Wales Bonner found Ram Dass, one of the first people who brought ideas of yoga and meditation to a Western audience, as the key for that relaxed, yet oozing with mystique line-up. Inspirational texts from the spiritual teacher’s book appear printed on loosely fit t-shirts, cotton shirts and over-sized yoga pants. Some read such profound quotes as: “The stillness. The calmness. The fulfillment. When you make love and experience the ecstasy of unity.” But the collection as well has a less laid-back, more celebratory side. Some of the pieces were hand-embellished with shiny sequins and were a nod to craftsmanship originating from India. Beautiful.
Sébastien Meunier’s spring-summer 2019 collection for Ann Demeulemeester could have been a stylishly executed ghost story. With sheer veils flowing down the hats of each model, whether in black or white, the collection had a mysterious, elusive, yet even romantic aura. And, in the end, once you take off the hats and lace gloves, there were clothes to wear everyday. Take that pale pink robe coat or one of those lovely, peasant shirts. Not speaking of the womenswear part, which was plenty of ethereal gowns that felt distinctly Demeulemeester. But then… do we really have to take off all that dramatic headwear? Meunier wanted to convey a sense of dreaminess in his line-up. Why not dress the way you dream? That’s a question to discuss.
What a collection! I always have a soft spot for Yohji Yamamoto, but his spring-summer 2019 collection is exceptional. And, in a way, very sensual. “I wanted to explain that fashion became so boring.” Yes, Yohji, some who as well feel exhausted with those ‘must-have’ sneakers that are all over the industry can come to the same conclusion. “Essentially, I feel that ordinary people and fashionable people are all tired of fashion because there’s nothing kind of strong, cute, sexy.” Maybe I wouldn’t call his latest line-up ‘cute’, but the two other terms describe the collection precisely. From flowing, all-black looks, Yamamoto’s sensual style poetry progressed into more erotic fields. Some of the robe-coats were covered with depictions of women in various states of pleasure. The designer summed up them as “modernukiyo-e,” a famous genre of Japanese art. Loose pants and tank-tops/man-dresses came in sultry leopard and flames prints as well. Yamamoto releases his wilder side this season, but not directly; there’s just a notion that can be grasped when you actually wear these garments.
When I was a kid, and wasn’t interested in fashion yet, I was obsessed with furniture design. And the truth is, Verner Panton was my favourite designer. I remember how I was drooling over his cult Panton chair or the memorable Heart armchair whenever I saw one of them in a magazine or some restaurant. So, believe me, Dries Van Noten‘s spring-summer 2019 collection is very special for me. My childhood love meets my current love! So, what triggered the idea? “I wanted a collection which was really fresh, and about color. So we looked to [his] estate, and asked for permission to use the prints digitally, rescale them and blow them up.” Moreover, each garment with a direct use of Panton’s work is to be co-labelled – expect this to be a very special edition line then. Colourful, bold stripes and geometrical patterns were used for velvet shorts, spring coats, loosely fit pants, moccasins, shirts… and all that beautifully balanced with Van Noten’s signature summer tuxedos and over-sized knits. What really surprises is that Panton’s contribution isn’t too ‘invasive’ or literal here, but subtly leaves a mark. Other designer would easily fall into a trap of being a slave to his or her reference. But Dries finds harmony. That’s how you do a tribute collection.