John Galliano continues to search for that elusive equilibrium between Margiela's legacy of avant-minimalism and his own taste for maximal off-kilter opulence. For spring, that balance straddled East and West, male and female, and past and future — but in a Galliano-esque way.
In the show's first half, his young models — some of them of the effete male persuasion — resembled beehived, begloved, bejeweled opera ladies. But by show's end, they were decked out like sci-fi geishas, in their shiny, loose kimonos, some with koi beading, but with schoolgirl satchels or bright thick cords in place of obi sashes. Their exaggerated eye make-up gave them a distinct kabuki-meets-club-kid vibe.
Karl Lagerfeld's spring vision for Fendi today puffed and billowed down the runway, but not in the retro way he so famously loathes. Rather, his loosey-goosey bloomers, pumped-up shoulders, pool floatie-like sleeves, and sculpted roominess — all punctuated with peek-a-boo cutouts — suggested a new freedom by way of old-school power dressing.
For spring, Miuccia Prada continued her exploration of things considered retro, kitschy, and slightly granny-ish: brown, stripes, nylon, argyle, twin sets, V-necks. Wood paneling never looked as chic as it did in leather or croc strips in brown and orange — it seem entirely fresh to those born post-70s, which now comprises the majority of the house's clientele, surely. No one does cross-generational better than Prada.
Gucci's new designer Alessandro Michele continues to infuse new life into the brand, following a rather staid period. For men's he's been toying with gender-specific dress codes, often to shocking effect. And for women's he's been coyly mixing up the generations.
Shown today, his spring collection was another generational jumble, a particularly vast array that swung from plunging necklines and deep slits to blanket wraps and pleated skirt suits — for cool girls and even cooler grannies.
Gareth Pugh's spring collection brought out a debauched disco of influences, everything from bias-cut gowns à la 70s-era Halston to extreme made-up nylon masks recalling Leigh Bowery and Divine.
Specifically Pugh referenced Soho nightlife and draggy glamour, as in shimmery halters made entirely out of copper pennies, white Mongolian-fur stoles, and all-over shiny red paillette numbers.
For spring, Christopher Kane seemed to be elevating various art forms once considered trashy: graffiti, pop, grunge, outsider art. He even threw in colorful plastic trash-bag ties. Not merely an exercise in clashing crude shapes and bold colors, however, the collection took on a crackling tech frisson, suggesting Kane is also ready to embrace the slapdash, throwaway culture of the Internet age.
Marc Jacobs, an American no longer in Paris, staged his own homecoming for spring with a nod to the 50s. Mainly as prints and elaborate embroidery, Jacobs fondly interpreted the first post-war decade through its wholesome, lovey-dovey trappings: high-school football games, varsity jackets, argyle sweaters, movie dates, a double swan motif, bejeweled cowboy boots, and loads of Stars and Stripes. Keeping everyone guessing, Jacobs also sent his friend Beth Ditto for a twirl on the runway.
Jacobs even bid adieu to his longstanding venue of choice, the Park Armory, in favor of the Ziegfeld Theatre. Before its current incarnation as the last single-screen movie theater in Manhattan, the Ziegfeld staged world-class Broadway productions. A playbill he had printed up for the evening suggested the designer is fully aware he's his own marquee name now.
In the sense that Kanye West provided a few more bottoms for this models to wear, his Yeezy spring collection was a modest improvement over last season's debut.
Other than that, it was all but identical — which is to say, uninspired. Once again West collaborated with artist Vanessa Beecroft, casting models from the street and models by trade. Once again he kept to a monochromatic dark desert palette. Once again he showed mostly sweats that, in the absence of any commentary on the state of modern society (or a presidential announcement), came off as uninspired and unoriginal. Add to that a front row crowded with his celebrity friends (and family, of course) and the only comment we're left to chew on is his single-minded drive to sell pricey streetwear. After all, little more than celebrity will do it.