In the wake of Omicron and the general bereft nature of culture as of late, fashion week in Paris, New York, and Milan have returned with a bang. Garments were clearly designed for a post-pandemic world with comfort, practicality, and a bold and daring new generation at the forefront.
We’ve rounded up some of the week’s best looks.
The tactical wear-inspired pieces at Balmain were largely centred around the theme of protection and while visually striking, it could not be viewed without connection to the images of armed conflict coming out of the war in Ukraine. While designer Olivier Rousteing has made it clear that this was not the inspiration for his collection the many chest plates, large silhouettes and metal motifs feel particularly poignant at this moment.
Versace’s runway was dominated by structured corsets, formal blazers, and thigh-grazing mini skirts. The combination of formal silhouettes and youthful hemlines was an apparent nod to a new generation and what Donatella views as “forward momentum.” One particularly striking detail from the show was an ode to Tik Tok sensation and John Safdie’s muse in Uncut Jahmz Julia Fox, whose signature heavy, black, eye-encompassing shadow was smeared across the model’s brow bones.
MM6 Maison Margiela
For the most part, MM6 is dominated by an air of vrai pret-a-porter. With some notable exceptions including a plush snake toy halter top and a striking silver face, paint look this collection was all about practicality. As the designer told Vogue after the show, the intention of the collection was for the wearer to bring the pieces to life. This philosophy, perhaps, can be seen in the snakeskin motifs found in gloves, jackets, and scarves throughout the runway: these clothes are intended as skin to be shed.
The Row was a standout this season. Characterized by the brand’s affinity for neutrals, browns, black muted tans, gray’s, and occasional pops of colour in sage and tangerine. The feel of the collection was very much a return to form, to workwear, to sophistication; more self-reflected than we were when we left it in 2020 to be sure. Layering, sportswear and boxy silhouettes abounded. The result? A sense of comfort and practicality as a post-pandemic priority, whether it be #WFH or in the office.
With only a handful of looks on this runway, Marc Jacobs made up for that lack of volume in the size of their ensembles. Drawing upon cape silhouettes whether in tatters or puffs these black and white floor-grazing looks seemed inspired by a sort of post-apocalyptic royalty. Indeed, Jacob’s runway offering was equal parts opulence and survivalism with models dripping in giant mirrored sequins whilst simultaneously wrapped in denim and carrying the equivalent of a sleeping bag on their backs.
Bottega’s FW22 collection marked the debut of the house’s new creative director for the brand, Matthieu Blazy, who did not disappoint. In homage to the house’s roots, leather was an enduring theme throughout the collection. In bags, shoes, and suits and in an unexpected leather tank and jeans combos the material defined much of the season for Bottega. That being said the designer did not adhere solely to this material nor its traditional connotations. Blazy introduced pops of colour from fuchsia snakeskin heels to bright leather skirts with monochromatic fringe, as well as eye-catching asymmetrical patchwork dresses. Elsewhere, materials such as fur, satin, and wool were all present to create a collection that was at once eclectic and chaotic and yet? Perfectly cohesive.
This collection from Prada was defined by low waistlines, shin grazing hems, and boxy shoulders, a seeming call back to the more boyish silhouettes of 1920s flappers. The designers seemed to emphasize unexpected combinations of materials with one look including everything from wool, to mesh, to feathers. These looks hold the excitement of experimentation that comes from dressing up in your mom’s closet. 100 years after the flapper era and as we emerge from a period of isolation the 2020s for Prada seem to be about experimentation with an eye to the past.
She is a writer, photographer, and graphic designer based in Montreal. Kate is currently in her final year of her B.A. at McGill University where she is double majoring in history and art history.
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