Standout runway pieces
Considering how many designers were all falling for the same trends, there weren’t a lot of attention-grabbing pieces this season. That being said, there were a few runway moments that truly left a mark, such as Jean-Paul Gaultier using a clear vinyl sheet that read “Free the Nipple instead of a top, or the surreal “hands” trompe l'oeil detail on a cape at Armani (which was swiftly called out by Diet Prada for looking similar to a Frédéric Forest illustration). Meanwhile, John Galliano put forth a cool, if not confusing accessory idea with his ankle iPhone holders for Maison Margiela, and the best thing about the Chanel show was little Hudson Kroening in his “Institue Chanel” sweatshirt. Please Karl, if you’re reading this (he’s not): put that sweatshirt into ready-to-wear production.
But the biggest standout pieces were all of the elaborate headwear that dotted the collections, each so unique and flamboyant that simply combing them as “hats” in the trends section doesn’t seem to do them justice. Bertrand Guyon made sure his collection for Schiaparelli was true to the house’s surrealist roots by including animal masks (like flamingos, a cat, and a butterfly), Ronald van der Kemp has some elaborate fascinators, Iris van Herpen wowed everyone with headgear that multiplied the model’s face, and Valentino doubled down on the headwear that made Francis McDormand the best-dressed at this year’s Met Gala, with some over-the-top flower balls.
Sometimes there is a bigger story behind a collection than just what is shown on the catwalk. For example, Viktor & Rolf fans surely recognized much of what came down the runway, as the duo decided to celebrate their 25th anniversary by showing 25 pieces (re-issued in all white) that showcased their oeuvre. Seeing the looks all together was not only a reminder of how inventive they are but also that off-the-wall ideas are often the most timeless.
Meanwhile Julie de Libran presented a Sonia Rykiel couture collection for the first time in the brand’s history. It’s kind of a big deal considering that when Rykiel founded the line 50 years ago, it was among the first to counter haute couture’s hold on “chic”. Luxury ready-to-wear, and the freedom of the fashion industry as we know it today was able to rise thanks to designers like Rykiel. With that in mind, it’s arguably funny to honor her with a couture collection, but considering the same-ness we’ve been subjected to by fast-fashion giants, we think she would have loved the creative expression shown through what couture is today.
Finally, there was one trend we didn’t mention out of the gate: publically praising atelier workers! Clare Waight Keller brought her team out after the Givenchy show to let them take a bow, and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior set was decorated with toiles to showcase all the work that goes into a couture collection. Meanwhile, Valentino's Pierpaolo Piccioli has been praising his team all over Instagram with pictures and videos. It’s absolutely adorable — nothing is chicer than showing appreciation for the people you work with.