Christopher Peters thus described his and Shane Gabier’s utterly engaging Creatures of the Wind collection. He might have been speaking in general terms. Could words have a lovelier ring or express more succinctly the glorious promise of fashion?
At its core, fashion is driven by change: by the desire, the urge, the need for that which is new and which just might (in our shoppers’ reveries at least) become the conduit for magical transformation.
In reality, we buy the dress, the shoes, the whatever, without ever really transforming our lives, but the pretense offers happy distraction from the day-to-day, and the merch, a more than reasonable consolation prize.
The business of fashion is about change as well, and recently volatility has rocked its landscape. In a strong runway season, fall’s most seismic change happened off the catwalk: the abrupt dismissal of Raf Simons from Jil Sander, and the follow-up news that Jil Sander herself, available after the termination of her association with Uniqlo, would rejoin the house she founded. News of Simons’ dismissal shocked, as he was in the midst of one of the most glorious multiseason creative runs in recent fashion memory. Though his exploration of how couture elements, including some of considerable flourish, can be channeled into a modern sensibility was not initially intended as a Dior audition—when Simons embarked on the direction, for spring 2011, John Galliano was still ensconced at Dior and, rumored behavioral issues aside, no one could have predicted his impending crash—it proved to be just that.
On April 9, Simons was officially confirmed as Dior’s new creative director. After his spectacular Sander finale, it’s clear that, along with fueling the beauty and accessories ship, one essential mandate will involve making Dior relevant in an arena that was never Galliano’s forte, and in which his temporary successor, Bill Gaytten, never had the chance to make his own mark: daywear with currency.
In the season’s other major personnel change, Stefano Pilati was out as creative director at Yves Saint Laurent, replaced by Hedi Slimane. While Pilati’s eight-year tenure was marked by constant speculation about his imminent firing, his clothes never achieved the level of critical success the industry projects onto the hallowed Saint Laurent label. However, in this accessories-obsessed time, Pilati proved himself a master at connecting with women with high-drama shoes and bags, a legacy with which Slimane will have to compete as he assumes creative control.
Both Pilati and Simons comported themselves elegantly as they showed their final collections after having been publicly pink-slipped. Exactly why the houses of Sander and Saint Laurent handled the dismissals so sloppily remains unexplained, but pales compared to the way Gaytten was strung along for more than a year by Dior.
Still, fashion does move on—often positively. With terrific collections from, among others, Mary Katrantzou, Roksanda Ilincic and Peter Pilotto, the renewed buzz about London seems duly justified. In Paris, certified star Haider Ackermann continued his intricate ways with cut and color. In New York, it was delightful to see the attention given the Creatures guys, with their offbeat, homespun sensibility, as they take their place among the more established—and terrific—likes of Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and Joseph Altuzarra.
One thing that remained constant: Fashion’s proven greats continued to lead. Karl Lagerfeld journeyed to the Earth’s core, a fantastical place set with rich-hued semiprecious spires and stalactites, and came away with a fabulous proposal for Chanel sportif—everything worn over pants—that should ignite the ongoing Chanel frenzy all the more. Celebrating his 10th anniversary at Lanvin, Alber Elbaz dared to be joyful and unconcerned with a singular fashion focus. Ralph Lauren offered a touch of Downton Abbey amidst a bounty of elegance.
With a cheeky refreshment of her mid-Nineties graphics, Miuccia Prada proved that while countless others have tried, nobody does Prada better than Prada. Marc Jacobs showed two dazzlers, his luxury-class-only rail excursion for Louis Vuitton and, in New York, a hybrid Dickens-Pilgrim inspiration that left his audience both awed and wistful.
And, in a collection that had the industry talking—once those in attendance recovered their facility for speech—Commes des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo absolutely slayed ’em. For her premise about a future of “two dimensions,” she sent out a parade of girls in giant clownish geometrics and vibrant color. It was beyond audacious. But audacity without technique is mere adolescent posturing. As is her way, Kawakubo conceived, cut and crafted her clothes to exquisite perfection. Pure fashion at its very best.
Yesterday, the Parisian fashion house @azzaro_official cut the ribbon on a temeporary retrospective at the wing of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The exhibition, which shows the lasting influence of the brand’s founder Loris Azzaro, is titled “Azzaro, Fifty Sparkling Years” and presents 50 looks. In it’s ’70s heyday, fans of the brand included Jane Birkin, pictured here, Raquel Welch, Brigitte Bardot and more. See more photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@trinaturk and @macys Inc International Concepts line are linking up on a collection for summer — filled with accessories, swimwear and shoes. The collection will also include a Mr Turk men’s line, both of which are the designer’s first entry into a more accessibly priced area. “It’s very world-traveler, gypset-inspired,” said Turk. The Trina Turk x INC line will launch on May 15th. #wwdfashion
Assouline is paying homage to the late Azzedine Alaïa with a reprint of "Alaïa Livre de Collection.” The book is comprised of photographs of the designer's summer 1992 runway show with models Christy Turlington Burns, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, pictured here at right. #wwdfashion #alaia #tyrabanks
Fall 2018 accessories take on a painterly hue, with Nebulas Blue among Pantone’s top 10 colors of the season. (📸: @jonghyupstudio ; editor: @twallz21 ; stylist and set designer: @haideefindlaylevin ) #wwdaccessories
@americanapparelusa is relaunching the brand outside of the U.S. today, opening its online store to more than 200 countries. The company is also contemplating a return to brick-and-mortar, though details have not been confirmed. In tandem with the expanded distribution is a recasting of a social media ad campagn, called “Back to Basics,” pictured here, with a focus on diversity and a cast of models above the age of 21. Read more on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge