International Fashion Weeks

By Donna Kay

The Harbinger (Prairie Village, Kansas)

All over the world, for the duration of September, there are fashion shows that the elite attend, and the less elite view pictures of.  While I’m stuck here in my small town school, I’m dreaming of Paris, New York, Milan and London. The flashing lights and runways of the Spring/Summer 2018 fashion week featured vintage silhouettes, ethereal gowns and comeback fashion houses, all of which gave me my monthly dose of aesthetic beauty. Good fashion always requires a good fashion police – and I’m the most critical of all.

The show which garnered the most attention, and for good reason, was Versace. This show, headed by current brand face, Donatella Versace, memorialized Versace’s late brother. Donatella brought back famous supermodels from the last 20 years to walk the closing of the show: Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Carla Bruni, and Helena Christensen. This show was a fresh breath for Milan fashion week, with 16 year old Kaia Gerber, and her mother Cindy Crawford, 51, both walking the same runway was a nice touch to show that style is not dictated to a single age group. Versace brought back the silhouettes of the early 90’s; from the Spring 1991 collection, she pulled out the Vogue, Warhol printed jumpsuits, as well as silk printed dresses, both standouts in the show.

Another classic show, Alexander McQueen exhibited their show in Paris last week. The runway was covered with tents of flowers in marvelous tones, which was heavily contrasted by the dark toned hair and makeup of the models. Most of the models were dressed in either edgy leather or ethereal floral ensembles, adding to the contradiction of the set and the looks. My favorite element from this collection were the block kitten heels.  The clear heel of each shoe filled with small flowers, an ode to the essential McQueen florals.

Another surprise was Dolce and Gabbana, after the last few seasons of unappealing preteen-oriented collections with Instagram stars as models, they thankfully sidelined the Insta-models to the front row, and rehired a few of the old favorites, such as Elsa Hosk. For the first time in many seasons, Dolce and Gabbana made a cohesive collection. The line featured a “Queen of Hearts” theme, showing gowns with playing cards, and other references to royalty and love. There were also overstated floral gowns which took away from the otherwise elegant show. I however, applaud the return of the large sunglasses and intricate headpieces. The current averageness of the show was highlighted more than it should’ve been, but in comparison with the recycled designs, and overrated models, this season’s show was a step in the right direction.

Maria Grazia Chiuri, the current designer for Christian Dior, produced a wonderful collection of classic denim and leather looks. She chose to redesign the tulle dress that has been doing well for the company on the red carpets recently, making it different lengths, adding flowers, a face or a dinosaur to the bodice. One dress in this collection that caught my eyes was a short black tulle-over-red Dior underwear ensemble, with a small heart on the top. They redesigned the “We Should All Be Feminists” shirt, which has been worn by people such as Rihanna. It now says “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists”. This was inspired by an essay of the same name by Linda Nochlin where she discussed why women were historically excluded from the art scene.  Another one of my favorites pieces was a tailored jacket for women, inspired by early 1900’s men’s wear, another favorite was the 1970’s denim work. The sheer dresses will likely stay a red carpet favorite for upcoming award shows, but the leather from this collection could easily be worn in a modern urban city.

This season’s Prada consisted of pop art and newspaper comics: coats, shirts, skirt, dresses and accessories that could’ve come straight out of a 50s publication, giving a not-so-gentle nod to generations past. Standouts, including retro-gothic handbags, with “PRADA” emblazoned next to the head, will definitely be seen off the runway. Multiple garments and handbags were also printed with arachnids crawling which complimented the dark, slimy framed glasses placed on most models. Some of the fabric patterns used were contradictory, such as when blue/black striped shorts were paired with a leopard print top, but as with most untraditional things done at Prada, it worked. It’s important to always remember when looking at runway ensembles, that what you see is not what you get, the outfits are always styled out of the ordinary in order for the show to be more interesting for those attending the show, so open your minds, and look at every piece identically, instead of the whole outfit as one.

While last season had a lot of vintage revival, this is not something we will see dwindle. Older styles will almost always be in, the question is only which will return. Now all I have to do is wait until January for the Haute Couture shows.

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