By Jen Lee
Spring / Summer 2017 collections made their way down the runway last month. While we saw renowned fashion houses reign their well-kept heritage, we also noticed diversified business models, louder voices of independence, and a whole lot of collaborative energy. Paris Fashion week just wrapped up with a bang (with Miu Miu’s retro princess show, of course), so we will be rolling out fashion capital round ups in case you missed it. Here’s a quick run down of New York’s fun American vibes, London’s contemporary spontaneity, Milan’s ever-so-greatness, and of course, Paris’ fantastic fashion moments to keep you in the loop.
Canadian Label on our Radar: Beaufille at NYFW
It was the second season Canadian designers (sisters) Parris and Chloe Gordan showcased their ready-to-wear collection at New York Fashion Week after their New York debut earlier this year in February. This is something to be excited about. Their brand Beaufille, pronounced [bo-fee] translates to handsome girl, and their collections present exactly that. The contrasting elements between strong masculine structures with soft feminine tones bring together a Beaufille woman to life. Keeping their initial style palette, avant-garde structures and flared silhouettes played the centre of their Spring / Summer collection. Beaufille debuted not long ago in 2013, but keep an eye out for this sister team because their visions are fast-growing and they’re making it big in the industry. Collections are currently offered at Holt Renfrew, Net-a-Porter, and Intermix.
Fashion as a Platform: Opening Ceremony
Shala Monroque expressed an awakening vision in an interview for Miu Miu’s recent #GirlInMiuMiu campaign that, “when you’re working in fashion you’re so involved in the world intellectually- not just in the clothes that come down a runway, but what precedes them, what’s going on in the world politically, art-wise, in music. People in fashion do pay attention; it’s so easy to make fun of ourselves and say it’s not serious, but designers are able to come up with all of this creativity because they’re sort of nomads, travelling all over the globe picking up bits of what’s going on.”
This was delivered at the Opening Ceremony show, where Designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim invited their guests to partake in a part comedy, part runway, part pageant extravaganza, all in light of the upcoming elections. Opening Ceremony has used fashion week as a platform to express ideas since their first show, and this season was no different. Themed around the Olympics, invitations explicitly mentioned that they will be celebrating unconventional beauty ideals to tackle the norm. Fashion has little to do with politics on the surface, but we make decisions on how we present ourselves to the world, and stand for something in our clothing of choice. Their “Pageant of the People” created a platform to raise awareness around immigration, economic inequality, refugee crisis, and gender discrimination among others. Their show was formatted to mirror a norm-breaking beauty pageant, revisiting their Olympic-inspired origins. What a way to voice current issues- attendees were assisted on registering votes on their way out!
Surprise Partnership Debut: Adidas Originals x Alexander Wang
What better finale than an army of models marching down announcing the new Adidas Originals x Alexander Wang collaboration? The #WangSquad created quite a scene at NYFW. The promising designer is excited to join the collaboration roster after Stella McCartney, Kanye West, Raf Simons, and Yohji Yamamoto. Wang told Vogue his vision for the collaboration is to “take the codes and iconography of the Adidas Originals brand and look at what their symbols mean and turn them on their head, to invert what’s on the surface and add a layer of subversion; also to toy with the idea of what’s authentic and what’s fake, and how a certain setting can change perception entirely”.
Dior wants us to celebrate Feminism
Fashion is a voice, and it was fully apparent at Christian Dior at Paris Fashion Week. The collection itself wasn’t the only case of apparel, but the authentic message embedded in the vision mattered more to the fashion crowd. Feminism and freedom played the centre of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first Dior show after the big move exiting Italian house Valentino after 17 years. She envisioned a connection between fashion and gender, an overall conversation around universality. Being the first woman to rule the prestigious fashion house, Chiuri voiced a subtle, yet straight-forward message on a model wearing a printed t-shirt bolded, “we should all be feminists”. Fencing jackets paired with tulle skirts floated down the runway, and it’s no question that Christian Dior’s Spring / Summer ready-to-wear collection uncovered some thoughts.
Independent Footwear and Everyday Luxury: Christopher Kane x Crocs
Designer collaborations are ruling the market. It’s not a novel concept, considering it’s become accessible via high street and sportswear brands like H&M, Uniqlo, and Adidas. Beloved designer Christopher Kane’s 10th anniversary show at the Tate Museum in London swept Instagram when Crocs were spotted down his runway. Crocs experienced immense success back in the days, but quickly disappeared. Kane brought out Crocs that were a little embellished, a little elevated, and tapped into the unexpected. If you’ve been waiting to relive your childhood in crocs, now is the only time you could do so, and we know nostalgia sells. It’s not the only recent unanticipated footwear collaboration-Alexa Chung is the new art director for Uggs- what are your thoughts on this recent obsession with the ugly-pretty shoe conversion??
Power of Social Media and Immediacy: Tommy x Gigi
Gigi is taking the fashion scene by storm, even outside her modelling career. Tommy Hilfiger and Gigi Hadid launched their collaborated capsule collection at Pier 16 in Lower Manhattan, treating their guests with a fun fair, which was open to the public following the show. With an all-star model lineup and Tommy’s iconic cable knit meets Gigi vibe, the nautical themed setting provided a prime Instagram post for all. It was a party, collaborative effort between Gigi’s huge following and the public’s love for social media, all while diversifying Hilfiger’s market. This hype did not give Gigi a break, as she recently landed another designer collaboration project with Stuart Weitzman.
Italian Heritage: D&G Flash Mob
Staying true to their roots, Dolce & Gabbana produced another celebratory hour, this time for “Tropicano”. By following their conceptual formula for infamous campaigns featuring non-fashion passerby casts, the runway rolled out an array a charming mix of entertainment and fashion. Flash mob dancers congregated the runway before and after the show, and in the midst of Italian Riviera vibes, D&G SS17 was all about storytelling. Iconic headpieces, extravagant embroidery, and forward-thinking print reigned Tropicano, keeping D&G’s longstanding Italian heritage. The designer duo presented an unforgettable finale with the models casually celebrating their time, wearing a classic logo tee following the flash mob closing. The desire to deliver a sense of uplifting community was prominent, and lived up to Milan’s eccentric energy. There are powerhouse designer brands that continuously search for new demographics and marketing formulas, but that’s not the case for D&G. Resetting back to house heritage is the admirable success strategy for this designer house.