From Rei and Miuccia to Ralph’s 50th, Hedi’s stand at Celine and various explorations of gender, several collections were worth noting this season.
The season was packed with news, on and off the runway. Some fashion was great, some, not so. There were anniversaries, a retreat from street, a major trans-Atlantic sale. Here, a far-from-exhaustive list of points of interest from spring 2019.
It’s Personal. Rei Kawakubo and Miuccia Prada on a wavelength? Only in that both approached spring in deep-thoughts reevaluation mode. As per the rare statement she sent out before her Comme des Garçons show, Kawakubo advised of a shift from her powerful, abstract approach to something “quiet, serenely internal.” Her models wore faux-pregnancy padding, an apparent reflection on the responsibility of creation. Her clothes, she offered, were now “free of design on the surface.” Mere mortals would beg to differ. Prada’s contemplative mood was brought on by external forces. She sought to simplify her clothes, she said, “because eccentric pieces aren’t worn by many people.…And fashion needs people who care.”
Fabulous at Fifty. It was something fashion hasn’t seen before: A 50th anniversary with the house founder still at the creative helm — and calling a lot of the business-side shots as well. Ralph Lauren’s fete at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park proved just about perfect for the moment, the presence of Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton speaking to the man’s and the brand’s importance to American culture beyond fashion. As for the show, it was Lauren’s best in years, rich with emotion and beautiful clothes.
Making Waves. It was springtime aquatic. Raf Simons showed his Calvin Klein 205W39NYC against the opening of “Jaws” projected on giant screens, the terrifying duun-dun, duun-dun, soundtrack creating fearful anticipation. Turns out, Simons kept the Great White at bay. Conversely, some pretty scary creatures showed up at Thom Browne. During a preview, the exquisitely crafted clothes on view suggested a witty, over-the-top preppy romp. But at the show, models wore masks with the lips sewn shut and sea-creature getups that bound their arms. Thom, what were you thinking? Then there was Chanel. Karl Lagerfeld’s unnatural wonder of a beach installed inside the Grand Palais presaged a lineup of joyful clothes that played to fashion’s most basic tenet: to delight.
Surprise! Not. The season’s most anticipated show, Hedi Slimane’s debut at Celine, garnered the most impassioned reaction, including a great deal of shocked outrage. It looks like his Saint Laurent! Mon Dieu! But why the fuss, Gus? Everything in Slimane’s visual résumé, beginning with Dior Homme and through his Saint Laurent years, indicated a very specific aesthetic. Presumably, LVMH hired him to do what he does, which is ►
CelineRalph LaurenCalvin Klein