Certain designers favored romantic, even rose-covered pieces, while others transmitted racier messages with stripped-down, Eighties-style looks or souped-up, sci-fi styles.
Valentino: Defining his laid-back approach to spring, Valentino's show notes described fashion as "a collage of souvenirs." And indeed, the collection he showed on Sunday looked as if it could have been culled from a longtime customer's well-stocked closet. Modernized Valentino classics included a black-and-white opening passage full of the clean-cut shapes that made him famous. A tailored white jacket was worn over pegged black pants, while a white gown with crystal straps took the sleek look into evening.
But with an ode to chinoiserie, Valentino took an eccentric turn. Kimono jackets, flounced dresses, high-drama gowns — just about everything — was covered with fields of oversized blooms, buds and bouquets of the sort found on import-export porcelains. Or, as Valentino's notes put it, "roses, roses and more roses." You could almost hear the bees buzzing. And it sure was sweet.
Lanvin: As his cult status mushrooms, Alber Elbaz's challenge at Lanvin only becomes more acute. How to maintain all that steam? But with deft tailoring and a daringly stark look, Elbaz defended his position as a front-runner in the fashion pack for another season. He hurried on from fall's beribboned faux-naivete. Gone was the ruffled romance, and banished were Elbaz's bell-skirted belles. It was all replaced by a rigorous silhouette so pared down it was aerodynamic and a look that crackled with Eighties attitude.
With minimalist clothes that were searingly sexy, Elbaz expressed his dark and moody side in a new way. Sleek sheath dresses were cinched with industrial elastic bands wide as obis, and fluid men's shirts were tucked into lean, mean pencil skirts that zippered up their back seams. Then, in a final fit of extravagance, Elbaz sent out a troop of dresses slick with glittering orchids or abstract swaths of color. As Elbaz explained, "It's one of the most modern collections I've done — more strict this time." And the better for it.
Alexander McQueen: Point-counterpoint. It's what makes for good dialogue in fashion as in other disciplines. So it was probably inevitable that Alexander McQueen, a renegade at heart, would choose this moment of gentility elsewhere on the runways to brashly reexamine a favorite topic — sex.It's also possible that McQueen is grappling with issues of a different sort. Despite being among the most talented designers in the world and producer of some of the best clothes anywhere, his business remains miniscule, a perplexing reality in need of attention. In a brief preshow chat he indicated as much. "Women in power," McQueen said, explaining his vision for spring. "Power dressing. I'm bringing sex back to the market. Women want to be excited again." But in a fleeting crack in the bravado, he referred to the collection as a transition, and "almost like a rebirth. I'm trying to find my niche. What do I do best? Sexy tailoring, sexy clothes."
On the up side, McQueen hedged no bets in his high-heat manifesto. Stripped of choreography and tricks, it insisted the audience focus only on the clothes that recalled the designer's early efforts for Givenchy, though now more refined and resolved. He called the show "Neptune," attributing its inspiration to Cleopatra and the Greek goddesses, but it felt like a meeting of Xena and a well-turned-out sci-fi high priestess. Tailored looks came short, tight and brazen, often cinched with wide, imposing belts. Jackets flaunted Eighties-worthy shoulders, and dresses, elaborately configured harnesses. There were some beautiful clothes — some of the suits, for example, as well as short, jewel-necked jersey dresses. And a severe white column spliced in front with a deep crystal wedge should prove hyper telegenic come red-carpet time.
On the down side, McQueen's vision felt too much — too hard, too aggressive — yet oddly restricting in its yen to be commercial. (By comparison, fall's Hitchcock motif offered an extensive wealth of wearable, salable clothes.) If this show was in fact a transition — terrific, all creative types need passages. But there's a fine line between rebirth and regression. With his enormous talent and savvy, McQueen can find a route to mainstream success. Stifling his brilliance is not the road there.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion