They're intended to shock, and shock they do. Here, our WTF picks from the Copenhagen spring collections...
Saint Laurent will return to haute couture for the first time since the namesake couturier's final bow in 2002. While it isn't clear whether the maison will show on-schedule or more quietly make its couture creations available to its VIP clients, the company did reveal that the pieces would be made for both men and women — surely a first in the world of couture — through its three divisions: Salon Couture, Atelier Flou, and Atelier Tailleur.
Today's news should be read as the logical outcome of Hedi Slimane's three-year reinvention of the house, wherein the creative director has overseen the relocation of the label's headquarters and ateliers to the Left Bank. "Hedi began to recompose the traditional couture ateliers of the house in 2012," read a statement. "The ateliers are now at the centre of the Saint Laurent project by Hedi Slimane. The ateliers also produce commissioned hand-made pieces for movie stars and musicians. Hedi determines which of these pieces will carry the atelier's hand-sewn couture label 'Yves Saint Laurent'. These couture pieces may be women or men, a tuxedo or an evening dress, daywear or eveningwear."
The statement goes on to say: “Unlike a couture collection, this is an even more exclusive definition. The label is used only for ‘friends of the house.'" Reinforcing this idea of young privilege, Slimane photographed the campaign, as always, showing models dancing, cavorting, and luxuriating in the tony new Left Bank salons.
The inaugural New York men's shows were a crazy taxi ride of influences, from the emo-90s to tony Bel Air, as I discovered for Style.com...
In a detour from the high-concept grit of previous seasons,Geller envisioned a leisurely German paradise for spring, far removed from the tangle and tussle of eurozone talk.
When Viktor & Rolf said they were quitting ready-to-wear to focus on the art of couture, they weren't kidding. For fall, their models were decked out in picture frames — from minimal to baroque — that dangled about their body as if they'd been smashed over the head with a Old Master painting. After all, the two aren't shy about hitting us over the head with a concept.
The 'canvas' in those frames, which constituted the dresses, were sometimes blank and white, other times dripping with what appeared to be a Renaissance portrait. What exactly the message about art remains unclear — and reading into it would likely defeat the purpose of high-impact statement-making. One thing is certain: we finally know, literally, what wearable art looks like.
The pairing of John Galliano's vast knowledge of fashion history, and its muses, with Maison Margiela's fetish for the obscure is producing spectacular results. In his couture, or Artisanal, show for the house today, he sent out the gamines, the clochards, the urchins, the bag ladies we've come to expect, enveloped in whatever street detritus — burlap, plastic bits, old-lady nylons, mirror shards — they could gather and fashion into self-ennobling, high-end concoctions. Except these were often globally sourced, traditionally crafted fabrics and materials, a multi-culti nod. In this way, the shocking and the familiar converged and congealed — a Fauvist painting sprung to life.
Elevating the proverbial sack dress, and its wearer, to exalted status is Galliano's great skill. Though synonymous with glamooouuur for so long, particularly his Dior collections, he appears to be moving away from bias-cut flawlessness toward a bumpy, deconstructed, ragged, very flawed place. As if he is owning those flaws of his. If that means he's projecting his own road to redemption, following those ghastly public displays of affliction, onto his collections for Margiela, so be it. He's taken his lumps and he's giving them back with shapeless yet glorious items of devotion and absolution.
Over the years, Thom Browne has given modeling new meaning, stretching his boys' acting skills to their limit. The American designer's spring outing was no different. Guest were greeted in a serene Japanese garden, where expressionless models had been instructed to stand sentinel, hands clutching a bamboo staff like a samurai sword. They wore sumptuous kimonos, conical hats, elevated wood geta, round sunglasses, and black lipstick.
What they were guarding is unclear, but their wait came to an end when four men in all-gray geisha robes freed them, revealing impressive, painstakingly hand-pieced gray suits adorned with embroidered frescos of pastoral Japanese scenes — flora, fauna, fans, fishermen, Fuji, and so on. The craftsmanship was majestic, and the designer moved forward by drawing a looser silhouette. While the show was a bit one-note, it was a fitting end to the season, confirming a craze for Asia that started in London and percolated through Paris.
If Lanvin had a breakfast club, one would imagine that it would be like the house's Sunday morning show at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where models swaggered about like John Bender — the rebellious one. From the hand of of men's designer Lucas Ossendrijver, along with artistic director Alber Elbaz, the fine threads hit the runway in relaxed anti-style. Outerwear was oversized, with pushed-up sleeves; pants were roomy and pleated; shirts were frayed; and bags and backpacks were big enough to carry assorted textbooks and paraphernalia. If you threw in Molly Ringwald, with her red coif and lip gloss, it would have been the chicest detention ever.
When you think of camouflage and argyle, do you think of Dior Homme? Now you can, as the preppy military look ran rampant at Kris Van Assche’s latest presentation. His models zigzagged through a carefully a manicured rose garden at the Tennis Club de Paris, dressed in equally meticulous digs. The Belgian creative director transformed the cargo pant into an evening-suit trouser, and the bomber into something you'd want to wear to dinner. From the first to last model, details were the stars of the catwalk, including an impeccable color palette, surprising suit linings, and, in keeping with the theme, a white-rose emblem that adorned the occasional sleeve and breast pocket.
A twist on aristocracy seemed to be the concept at Comme des Garçons Homme Plus, which took place in a dilapidated-yet-friendly building down the street from Paris’s famous Palais Garnier. The models were coiffed in bright yellow sculpted wigs as they strutted in Rei Kawakubo's signature deconstructed threads. From the beginning it was clear that her spring 2016 collection was going to be sewn with the same mash-up rebelliousness of past collections: vests were pulled apart at the waist, tartan plaids were mixed with chunky stripes, and tailcoats were paired with Bermuda shorts. And then the show ended — no finale, no pretense, no wave from the designer. Just plenty of applause.