1) Millennials Stole the Show
Perhaps it’s a sign of the times when Milanese designers who are known for their classic tailoring and older clientele begin to look to the younger generation. The teen heartthrob Shawn Mendes made a surprise appearance on the Emporio Armani runway, debuting the brand’s new smartwatch, and Dolce & Gabbana enlisted an army of young social media stars to model a collection that was labeled with the hashtag #DGMillennials. As Donatella Versace told T’s Alexander Fury, she’s “obsessed with millennials.” She reissued archival prints and logo tees (a request from Kendall Jenner herself) — with the aim of attracting a younger following. “I think we hold none of the power, designers, anymore,” she said. “Millennials. They have all the power.”
2) Two of London’s Most Exciting Designers Had Particularly Strong Collections
Craig Green has been a name to watch in London for a few seasons now — and his spring/summer 2018 collection continued to showcase the designer’s mastery of shape, color and silhouette. There were twisted and knotted drawstring T-shirts, tropical-printed “beach mat” blanket wraps and even wearable wooden structures (a Green signature). Overall, the collection proved that Green is one of London’s best. Elsewhere, Martine Rose hosted her show at a rock climbing gym in Tottenham, a 30-minute drive north from Central London, and presented a collection inspired by the outdoor lifestyle. Cycling shorts, oversize fleeces and retro anoraks were paired with tailored high-waisted trousers and wide-shouldered blazers.
3) Some Runways Were Larger Than Life….
In the age of the Instagrammable fashion show, bigger and bolder has come to equal better. This season, Rick Owens built a vertiginous scaffolded catwalk along the facade of the Palais de Tokyo museum (where he usually shows inside). Prada created floor-to-ceiling comic-book installations — and Virgil Abloh made large-scale text projections in collaboration with the artist Jenny Holzer for his Off-White show in Pitti Uomo.
4) …. While Others Were Decidedly More Pared Back
Meanwhile, a handful of other designers were far more low key. Versace’s show, held in the courtyard of the brand’s headquarters, had no actual set or stage lighting — and felt like an intimate affair with little fuss. Balenciaga’s runway went down a narrow path of the verdant Bois de Boulogne park, lined simply by two rows of chairs. During Pitti Uomo, Jonathan Anderson showed his collection of surprisingly simple men’s wear in a Florentine garden while guests sat on individualized cushions on the ground. Wales Bonner eschewed seating entirely, having showgoers stand along the perimeter of a sparse room in London’s Swiss Church.
5) Kyle MacLachlan, Balenciaga’s Unlikely Muse
For a collection inspired by “dad” fashion (fathers and their children were cast on the streets of Zurich to model in the show), Balenciaga couldn’t have found a better muse than the “Twin Peaks” star and all-time cool dad Kyle MacLachlan. Although he showed up in a tailored black high-shouldered funeral coat for the show, it’s his former style that provided inspiration for Balenciaga’s designer Demna Gvasalia, especially with this recent collection. (Gvasalia admitted that old pictures of MacLachlan frequently appear on his mood boards.)
6) Designers Were Serious About Beating the Heat
When the fashion flock arrived for the Paris leg of the fashion week circuit, they were greeted by a stifling heat wave, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees. Thankfully, designers came prepared — and offered sweaty guests an assortment of refreshments and cooling aids. Rick Owens provided black bucket hats and fans; Dries Van Noten supplied battery-operated fans; and there were icy cooling packs at the Issey Miyake show. And luckily for many models, short shorts were all over the runways. It’s a brave new look to beat the heat this summer — and here are six short-shorts you can wear right now.
7) Vetements Was a No-Show
The cult brand recently announced that instead of holding fashion shows, it would present its newest collections in nontraditional ways. This season, the brand staged a kind of photography exhibition and party in lieu of a runway show. Inside a multistory parking lot, the casual “no-show” featured poster-size photographs of Zurich locals wearing the new collection — all shot by Demna Gvasalia. Guests who attended the event drank free beer while the Berlin-based Love Hotel Band performed onstage.
8) One Show Turned Into a Disco
The Comme des Garçons Homme Plus show was pure fun. Under flashing club lights, models dressed in patchwork jackets, sequined shorts and animal-print knits whirled across the stage in a frenzy of pattern and color. The show concluded with all the models crowding the stage, dancing to the pulsating music. (Though front-row guests were even encouraged to join the dance floor, everyone remained seated.) The thrilling and high-energy sight left the attendees in a euphoric shock, garnering the longest and loudest postshow applause in recent fashion-week memory.
9) Men’s and Women’s Wear Got Thoroughly Mashed Up
Fashion’s embrace of gender-fluid dressing felt ever more relevant this season after the recent news story of British schoolboys wearing plaid skirts in protest of a dress-code policy forbidding shorts. At Thome Browne, models wore pleated skirts in classic men’s wear fabrics and lengthy untucked shirts that mimicked dresses. The final look was a hybrid of a traditional tuxedo with its female counterpart in the back: a full-skirted white lace wedding gown. Meanwhile, Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen looked to her previous women’s collections for inspiration for one of her strongest men’s collections yet. And to those who think it is still unrealistic for guys to wear items made for women, consider the model Henry Kitcher, who has walked in some of the month’s top shows including Berluti and Dries Van Noten. His personal signature: a single pearl earring.
10) There Was a Moment for New Music
It wouldn’t have seemed possible for Louis Vuitton to generate even more hype than it did last season, when the brand revealed a collaboration with Supreme. But then the designer Kim Jones asked Drake to write a song inspired by the brand’s latest collection, to debut exclusively at the runway show. The new track, “Signs,” with a distinctly Caribbean beat, was the perfect musical accompaniment to a collection filled with breezy and tropical Hawaiian shirts.