PARIS — As American as apple pie; as Chanel as a quilted handbag.
Vivid similes are pay dirt for fashion brands, which is why so many of them are revisiting their roots and trumpeting their DNA.
Following is a sampling of some of the most evocative examples this season:
Dolce & Gabbana: What could be more Italian than Sophia Loren, a former Miss Italia? Or pasta? Or tomatoes? Each of those elements figured into this transporting show — as the soundtrack, earrings and novelty fabrics, respectively. Add street-carnival lights and a new fine jewelry collection dangling with religious charms, and you get to the molto Italiano heart of this powerful label.
Versace: Back to showing on the Via Gesú, Donatella Versace cranked up the Billy Idol and laid out an illuminated runway for her undersea goddesses. They tottered on towering Lucite platforms, wearing studded leather, printed silks and sexy dresses with sparkling starfish embroideries. “This is a Versace moment,” the designer said during a preview, pointing to a print depicting a mermaid wearing sunglasses. Very Versace, indeed. Balenciaga: Like house founder Cristóbal Balenciaga, Nicolas Ghesquière explored the space between the body and the fabric, producing fashion fireworks galore. There were broad-shoulder jackets in glossy, light-as-air fabrics; futuristic pleated jeans; long collage dresses; teeny-tiny shorts with matching blouses, and new versions of the slope-brimmed fisherman hats from 1967 that telegraph lethal Darth Vader chic.
Chalayan: London-based, Cyprus-born Hussein Chalayan shortened his signature label to one word, but his spring show was an exhilarating ode to an impressive fashion vocabulary built up over 17 years — minus the head-scratching conceptualism. Deep armholes, futuristic porthole cutouts, folkloric flourishes and airplane references were sketched out in minimalist, infinitely wearable garments. Burberry: Holograms are swell, but so is hand-beading. Easing up on his high-tech ways, Christopher Bailey paid homage to old-fashioned craftsmanship faithful to the luxury brand’s heritage. Trenchcoats had detachable crocheted collars, chunky bits of mismatched colored wood or raffia flourishes. “I love the contradiction between this idea of artisanal hand skills, things that take time to make, and digital speed,” Bailey said. “They can coexist.”
Nina Ricci: If the gentle floral prints telegraphed the Thirties, that’s because their designer, Zina de Plagny, made them for Ricci in that era. “Very chic, very French,” was how Peter Copping described his fetchingly feminine spring collection, whose nods to Sixties couture, lingerie touches and ladylike fabrics—laces, cloqués and printed jacquards—were all faithful to the brand ethos. Emanuel Ungaro: Having explored several dubious rejuvenation methods, this storied Paris house now boasts teams “aligned by their devotion to the distinct, rich and timeless heritage Mr. Ungaro established over the course of almost a half a century and which, in recent years, had become obscured,” according to Ungaro chief executive officer Jeffry Aronsson. Chief designer Jeanne Labib-Lamour led the way with draped jersey, colorful prints and subtle sexiness.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)