DELICIOUS, DARLINGS. That’s how one would sum up the recent SS19 showcase.
What went down? Well, there was the whole #helinedrama of course, coupled with the change from Céline to Celine (fans held an actual wake for the brand). Elsewhere, Ralph Lauren celebrated 50 years of being in business, and Michael Kors bought Versace for US$2.1 billion (leading to an online revolt). Meanwhile, Riccardo Tisci channeled his inner punk, Karl created a real beach for Chanel, boys wore womenswear and girls wore menswear, and a baby was born practically on the runway.
What about the clothes? We’ll get to that in good time.
The Polo Pony Parties
A plethora of personalities turned up to party with the polo pony for Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary. There was Oprah, Hillary Clinton, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Kanye, Spielberg. And those were only the “old friends” in attendance. Sure, the brand hasn’t made much of an impact at the creative end of the fashion economy. But the fact is this: What was once an upstart American brand being financially viable for 50 years – despite the rise of fast fashion and blog shops – is a legacy unto itself.
Baby bumps, junk in the trunk, and love your humps
Rihanna… Singer, beauty mogul, and fine, fierce and fun fashion icon. She went beyond to show her commitment to showcasing and celebrating all women’s shapes and sizes. In fact, you could say that her Savage X Fenty runway was a masterclass in diversity. Besides the expected, two pregnant models – Slick Woods actually went into labour backstage after the show – and fit dancers were on the scene. The lingerie itself was all super sexiness mixed with functionality. But it was the sheer love of female bumps, junk and humps that really made the show.
Michael Kors snaps up Versace
This year alone, Puig did a deal with Dries Van Noten, and Ermenegildo Zegna invested in Thom Browne. And when Michael Kors snapped up Versace at the beginning of Paris Fashion Week, it looked like one more independent brand had bit the dust. But, for now at least, Donatella is staying on. Fingers crossed that Versace will stay true to its sexy and not go “uptown”.
Riccardo does punk…
Hedi wasn’t the only big-name designer taking over a major, much-loved brand, although will all the noise, you might have thought so. Riccardo Tisci turned out a very British presentation for his first run at Burberry – lots of trench coats and Sex Pistols keeping the Burb fans happy (and presumably the pounds rolling in).
Girls who look like boys who look like girls who look like…
Soft suits and tailoring dominated on the runways for SS19. Haider Ackermann’s show featured both sexes in basically the same outfits. The effect was a stand-out for its languid elegance and for the unisexism that is so commanding in the present time. Rick Owens’ women also wore pants and tops that looked pretty much the same as his menswear pieces; Gucci did its now-expected mix of boys wearing dresses and girls with shaved heads. The new “now”, it appears, is that anyone can wear anything, as long as it fits.
The beach that Karl built
We’ve had a supermarket, a rocket ship, and ponds – so why not a beach? Karl Lagerfeld transformed the Grand Palais into a sandy shore with simulated waves, a tiki hut, a wooden walkway, and lifeguards. It was against this backdrop that models carried their Chanel pumps, striding barefoot and kicking up powder with every step. Dressed in tweed, of course.
The Céline vs Celine furore
Hedi Slimane managed to upset just about every “real” fashion pundit by being himself. By “himself”, we mean that he seems to think that the mature, wealthy, non-sexy women who’ve made Céline what it is today might want a collection comprising just sparkly mini dresses and skinny jeans. But there’s been so much backlash against Silmane’s first outing at Celine that within hours there was a hashtag – #heline – and an Instagram account called Old Céline set up. That, by the way, already has over 67,000 followers!
Serious fashionistas actually held a wake. Organised by Tommy Ton and held right before the first Slimane show, it was attended by brand consultant Ramya Giangola, T magazine China fashion director Jo Jo Qian, Saks Fifth Avenue buyer Yumi Shin and Attico designer Giorgia Tordini. Where will these Phoebe Philophiles shop now? Well, fashion fiends are suggesting everyone from Victoria Beckham and Rejina Pyo, to Haider Ackermann.
What now for Saint Laurent?
Now that Hedi is at Celine, basically reproducing exactly what he did at Saint Laurent for SS19– where he also messed around with the brand name – what’s a Saint Laurent devotee to do? Move to Celine? Shop them both? Some snarky fashion critics suggested: Shop at Zadig & Voltaire for a fraction of the price.
But what about the clothes?
Oh yeah, that’s right. Hmm. Apart from a few iconoclastic brands which always do their own thing – Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Rick Owens, Yohji Yamamoto, Dries Van Noten – everyone else just sent more neutrals, more 90s and sports-inspired pieces down the runways. Look, fashion month is all about the spectacle, the Insta-worthy snap. And how we loved it.