Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten never veers far from what he does best, yet manages season after season to twist the print thing and keep the brand evolving just at the right pace. To a single soundtrack - the very haunting 'Lost in the World' by Kanye West - he showed a beautiful and majestic collection, featuring menswear shapes, military details and plenty of pattern. All the prints originated from Japanese, Korean and Chinese costumes found in the collection of London's Victoria & Albert Museum. The 16 antique garments were laid out flat and photographed, then printed onto fabrics like gabardine and silk, re-cut and reconstructed to the point where the original garments were abstract enough to disguise their origins. In other cases the photographs were repeated as panels to duplicate pleats for a trompe l'oeil effect. He did not use (nor did he need) much more detail than this - bar, perhaps, the horn like resin disks used for jewellery and trim on the shoes

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten

Rochas

Inspired by Swedish ceramic artist Wilhelm Kåge's series of Farsta vessels, Rochas Creative Director Marco Zanini had 'an encounter of the Scandinavian kind' for Fall. With the help of Bucol - his preferred French textile mill - Zanini created an entire series of jacquards, brocades and specially treated wools based on this work, as well as more straightforward prints. Presented in a rich winter palate, pieces like the blazers with flared pants, swinging knits or oversized coats with pencil skirts and suit jackets with lightly padded hips, all balanced volume with precision. Almost all the looks were daywear - even the pieces that had been over embroidered, adding a further dimension of richness. It was primitive and rough, but at the same time totally sophisticated, just like the jewellery, referencing the 20th century studio pieces of artists like Calder and Bertoia, and underlined just how cultivated is Zanini's woman, with this take of Nordic Modernism

Rochas

Rochas

Rochas

Rochas

Carven

In just a few years designer Guillaume Henry has set about to establish Carven as a youthful, democratic (keenly priced) and fashion-relevant brand - there is the store in Paris, a new one in Hong Kong as of last week and an enviable list of clients that includes the likes of Dover Street Market and Colette. The tailoring, particularly on dresses, focussed on a short, waist-cinched yet full-skirted shape. The aesthetic was particularly noteworthy when topped off with fitted fully-fashioned knits that complemented the bell shaped skirts. There was a kitsch-like charm in the nativity scenes that were printed on full piled velvet and the stained-glass window motifs, which were either printed or executed in frottage on suede and graphic lace. As this follows on from Henry's country-to-town theme from the brand's menswear shown last month, we're guessing the whole idea probably originated from a darling little church somewhere in the French countryside. Kudos too, to the cork-tiled runway

Carven

Carven

Carven

Carven

Balmain

For someone who has clocked up a mere 10 months in the job with only one season behind him, Olivier Rousteing sure knows how to please the crowd. He delivered all the essential bits that make up a Balmain collection - beading, check, strong-shouldered long lean blazers, check, skinny pants, check, cool Parisien rock chic vibe, check. But Rousteing also gave a whole lot more. For one, he offered a choice of lighter colour tones (not seen at all in deep dark Milan) that is sure to please the buyers. He also debuted a new square-like gilet jacket combination - its roots somewhere in 1980s Paris - that came out in multiple versions such as plain leather, crushed velvet and totally smothered in embroidery, the Balmain way. It was short, boxy and had wide revers but slim sleeves which kept it sexy. The presence of embellishment (which everyone came to the show for) did not disappoint either: there were pearls and crystals, colourful devore velvet and good old needlepoint. The plainer pieces, like the gilt buttoned leather shirts worn half in and half out and the skinny rib knits, really rocked too

Balmain

Balmain

Balmain

Balmain

Rick Owens

Subverting elegance has become intrinsic to the work of Paris-based, American designer Rick Owens. For Fall, his silhouette was as lean and as towery as a sky-scraper. But Owens then de-mystified and dramatically made couture shapes casual - such as a 1930s draped-front column skirt or a trapeze-shaped cape coat - by using nubby wools, scruffed up cashmeres and a few patched in leathers and mink inserts. It was hardly the stuff of ball gowns. Pushing the look even further out of a conventional orbit, Owens gave every one of his girls a grey ski hat that covered the face with a cobweb-like mask, creating a punchy medieval-meets-street effect

Rick Owens

Rick Owens

Rick Owens

Rick Owens

Nina Ricci

The success of what artistic director Peter Copping has done for the house of Nina Ricci lies in his very clever way of tearing through the house codes of romantic femininity and giving them a contemporary edge and a modern relevance. For this collection, by imagining a young woman exploring the wardrobe of her mother and grandmother and customising her finds for her own individual style (which is a lot more sexed up than her mother or grandmother could ever have been) Copping got the chance to chop into the traditional and bring it bang up to take. A frumpy A-line became a tight pencil skirt, with a slit up the back finished with hook and eye fastenings, granny-style brown mink came out slashed and patched (a good deterrent for Peta pests, as it looks totally vintage already), tweed suits were unpicked, cut-up, re-sewn and patch-worked back together with silk twill inserts. Knits had cheeky lace inserts at the back, oversized jackets or coats were cinched in towards the body with multiple darts, seams were opened out and inserted with tulle, blouses were gathered into folds and bows on one side and bouclé tweed was embroidered and stitched all over like a repair to an old pair of Levis. The dressing up box never looked so good

Nina Ricci

Nina Ricci

Nina Ricci

Nina Ricci

Roland Mouret

Roland Mouret clad the gilded salon of the Westin Hotel with timber, as if protecting it from harm and saving it for a later date. The vertical slats of wood became like trees in a forest, thanks to the first look's faun-against-the-snow print and Mouret's colour palate of frozen pastels (specifically the blue used by Christian Dior 1954 and Thierry Mugler in the 1980's). Variations on his signature dresses - constructed with one piece of fabric wrapped and folded back round the bust, waist and hips - will please his clientele. Mouret knows he must always deliver these beauties with this mirror-like symmetry. Some of the most pleasing ended up folded into a kind of bow on the derriere, like a mini bustle. For novelty, Mouret offered up the tabard - part waistcoat, part apron, usually backless - in place of jackets. These layered over the all-important dresses became new suits

Roland Mouret

Roland Mouret

Roland Mouret

Roland Mouret

Christian Dior

Bill Gaytten is a kind of caretaker in residence, or interim designer, while the fashion world hangs on for news of who will officially succeed John Galliano as artistic director of the house. That means he can't really express himself entirely. Instead he works safely within the house codes, aiming to create a collection that people will say is very Dior, therefore pleasing the customers and hopefully doing more than just filling in. Which is what he did. There were lots of cinched-in waists, short-fitted jackets and full skirts to reference Dior's New Look in a cleaned-up, more minimal way. Moulded skullcaps, layers of organza and gazar, a palate of warm greys and dusty pastels hinted at ballerinas, as did the wrapped knits. There was a play on masculine fabrics, including houndstooth abstracted into graphic embroidery of leather ribbon, as well as a fading print, and a graphic use of vertical or diagonal paneling, where tone and texture did all the work. It was demure, elegant and sure to please the clients

Christian Dior

Christian Dior

Christian Dior

Christian Dior

Maison Martin Margiela

Playing on little gestures, like wearing your coat over your shoulder, turning up your collar and keeping your hand in your pockets, Maison Martin Margiela underlined how these simple attitudes are integral to all that is chic and French, creating garments that would almost immediately give the wearer that nonchalance. It was part exaggeration of proportion and part trompe l'oeil. Roll neck knits finished just under the nose; collars on coats rose up like a funnel to the same point; jackets became capes; and trouser suits had sleeves actually sewn into the pockets of the pants (models' hands were free but out of view behind). Invisible zips meant you could restore most of these garments to their original shapes. Despite the trickery, these pieces are totally wearable and very pleasing, especially the tuxedo jackets and wide coats

Maison Martin Margiela

Maison Martin Margiela

Maison Martin Margiela

Maison Martin Margiela

Lanvin

Alber Elbaz threw himself a high-octane fashion extravaganza to celebrate ten years at the top creative post at Lanvin.  The mood was jubilant as he ticked off a laundry list of his greatest fashion hits: first came single shots of pure colour - from grape and lemon to tangerine and cherry - on his signature cocktail dresses; then he moved on to black territory, sexing it up with tufts of glossy fox or sleek leather. The magnificent draping for which Elbaz is know was there as well, but the biggest crowd pleaser was the big chunky jewelled embellishment that Elbaz pioneered nearly eight years ago and has had a tidal wave of influence over fashion since

Lanvin

Lanvin

Lanvin

Lanvin

Junya Watanabe

The hair at Junya Watanabe had a serious Manga vibe: as if a karate kid had taken an air kick and then had his head dumped in a can of paint. The tussled short locks, were lacquered into intriguing colours such as school-bus yellow and robin's-egg blue, giving a boyish tinge to the feminine Devore velvet dresses that came in graphic jewel patterns. The menswear influence was unmistakable, from the flat oxfords and riding boots to the pinstripe suiting and men's jackets that featured extended vents, trailing to the floor

Junya Watanabe

Junya Watanabe

Junya Watanabe

Haider Ackermann

Belgium-based designer Haider Ackermann deserves every bit of buzz that surrounds his quietly enigmatic fashion designs. The designer has slowly, patiently, and impeccably built an arsenal of signatures that culminate in a message of colour mastery and architectural layering. The gorgeousness of his Fall colour palette - which flowed from mossy greens and ochre yellows to rich plums, purples and cranberries - was something we've seen before (and were more than happy to encounter again). New for this season, were the longer silhouettes, which had mid-calf tube skirts wrapping the body like cling-film. Intricate folding and circular cutting (an Ackermann hallmark) created shark-fin flaps on pencil skirts or deep scrolls of tails on jacket backs. It was a perfectly judged show that bridged modernity and originality with just plain desire

Haider Ackermann

Haider Ackermann

Haider Ackermann

Haider Ackermann

Viktor & Rolf

The sinuous mood at Viktor & Rolf started with the models' Veronica Lake-like hair waves and a series of languid printed silk pyjamas that clung to their curves in a sultry embrace. From there, the wave wonder manifested itself in undulating pattern, print and 3D ornamentation - from curvy fox fur trim on sheer dresses to porcupine embroidery that could easily poke your partner's eye out. Just as hardcore were the souped-up fur coats that had wave intarsias and collars deep enough to swallow the models whole

Viktor & Rolf

Viktor & Rolf

Viktor & Rolf

Viktor & Rolf

Vivienne Westwood

In the midst of designing her fall collection, Vivienne Westwood was approached by theatre director Philip Green to create costumes for the 17th century play 'The Man of Mode'. It is no surprise then, that her own fashion collection was laden with that era's caged-in waists, structured corsets, balloon sleeves, and heavy washed taffetas, gilded with jewels. The pomp and circumstance however, received a swift tinkering in Westwood's off-kilter hands. Indeed these maidens, in their monster platform balloon boots and disheveled, slasher gear, seemed much more likely to be found at 4am in a seedy nightclub than in any grand ballroom

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Comme des Garçons

The walls between a 3D and 2D world came crashing down at Comme des Garçons, where Rei Kawakubo, once again, played a brilliant fashion card. The models wore enormous, stiffened clothes that had the simplicity and flatness of paper doll cut-outs. Hugely oversized volumes on bell-shaped overcoats or A-line skirts looked like they had been pressed down with a flat iron, emphasising their cuts and raw edging. The bright, cartoonish hues were emboldened by helmets of plastic coloured hair. For all of its improbability and wonderful weirdness, Kawakubo also proposed the most lovely - and wearable - of rose-printed velvet gowns

Comme des Garçons

Comme des Garçons

Comme des Garçons

Comme des Garçons

Akris

The blunt lines of abstract painter Franz Kline's ‘Painting No. 7’ inspired the graphic quality of Albert Kriemler’s Fall collection. The first looks, featuring blocks of patterned colour in aqua and pine, black and camel or khaki and yellow, quite literally pulled their lines from the famous 1952 painting. Other details, such as the curved needle heels and vertical stretch tracks on knit dresses, merely hinted at the architectural undertones

Akris

Akris

Akris

Akris

Céline

Céline

Céline

Céline

Céline

Hermès

Christophe Lemaire's Fall collection took the impeccable leather goods that the French house does so well and transformed them into his first truly concise vision for ready-to-wear clothing. Using paper-thin weights and butter-soft constructions, Lemaire crafted a series of new silhouettes from flat, waist-less dresses to balloon like volume, as well as suede or leather trousers tucked into slouched boots. A cool, gaucho mood hung over the collection, with the prairie hats, blanket wrap coats and low slung waists - all of which worked well in their sharp simplicity. In the end, the best looks were the monochromatic two-piece ‘tracksuits’, crafted from brick or pine suede, which is exactly what one imagines the deep-pocketed Hermès clientele lounging in at home

Hermès

Hermès

Hermès

Hermès

Givenchy

Givenchy

Givenchy

Givenchy

Givenchy

Kenzo

In just two seasons, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim have nailed the new Kenzo aesthetic. An enormous feat in anyone's hands, made all the more exceptional given that the duo's background is in retail (they are co-founders of American indie store, Opening Ceremony). For Fall, they presented a colourful, printed collection that clung to Kenzo's heyday of the late 1980s and early 90s but still pushed forward into today's fascination with sportswear and blatant mixing between different style genres. The lady-like pencil skirts in colour-blocked stripes, big gold jewellery and peplumed jackets,were all vestiges of an earlier era, but by throwing in patterned knitwear, intarsia trousers, tweed platform booties and white plastic-tread stilettos, they threw past fashion on its head - which is exactly where it deserves to be

Kenzo

Kenzo

Kenzo

Kenzo

Stella McCartney

For Fall, designer Stella McCartney took on baroque graphics to give new surface depth to her streamlined clothes. Whether it was on a flat print, 3D jacquards or embroideries, the swirling curlicues, foliage and leaves decorated swing coats, cropped trousers and snug jackets. Keeping to a strict palette of bright royal blue, black and white, the collection built up to more intricate patchworks of tweed, scuba gear neoprene and satin fabrics.  But the best look was an intarsia tweed varsity jacket worn with a shocking pink wide-leg slouchy trouser

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

Giambattista Valli

The love affair with menswear that is flooding the collections this season is deep enough to touch even the most girl-friendly of designers. Giambattista Valli, crowned ‘king of femininity’, took on the masculine handle by recreating traditional menswear fabrics in a tromp l'oeuil effect. Big tartans, blown up tweeds and zigzag patterns, were all de-masculated by being printed on über feminine silks and chiffons. Bumpy surfaces were either fake or real, while even fur got a textured treatment in the form of chevron printing on fox ball skirts

Giambattista Valli

Giambattista Valli

Giambattista Valli

Giambattista Valli

Chloé

Big mannish outerwear in the form of cape coats, belted jackets and hooded car coats, was having a big moment on the Chloé runway. The boxy, boyish touch toughened up the girliness of Clare Waight Keller's collection, her second for the Parisian label. The designer nonetheless nailed the built-in sweetness by employing soft pastels like lemon, salmon and mint, as well as a hefty dose of lace on round skirts, drop waist dresses and zip front jackets. Waight Keller does best when creating clothes that deserve to be worn right from the runway, like with a rainbow woven oversized sweater worn with slouchy peach trousers

Chloé

Chloé

Chloé

Chloé

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent

Chanel

Fashion took a geological turn at the Chanel show, where Karl Lagerfeld dug deep into the earth's strata for his new fall decoration. The jagged edges of rock crystal, as if freshly pilfered, covered everything from collars and belts to sleeves on A-line coats. Science class in the hands of Karl Lagerfeld is never a snooze, so even the models' eyebrows were treated to a rock formation-like makeover, while Plexiglas heels came framed with shards of hard glass. Digging deeper, Lagerfeld mined heavy metals, weaving metallic threads into chiffon skirts and shaping hardened metals into organically shaped cuffs and hard breastplate necklaces 

 

Chanel

Chanel

Chanel

Chanel

Valentino

No one could ever accuse a Valentino woman of looking vulgar. In the hands of co-creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, the house flame of refinement flickers with vibrancy, even when they dabble in potentially risqué materials like sleek black leather. Using clean lines and embroidered seaming, the leather coats and dresses transmitted a prim allure rather than a dominatrix edge. Just as sweet were the smock-front long-sleeved dresses that covered every inch of skin, falling to the floor in a demure bell shape. The frogging, details and embroideries looked freshest on modern silhouettes like one-piece jumpsuits, which gave a sporty spin to otherwise very ladylike luxury

 

Valentino

Valentino

Valentino

Valentino

Moncler Gamme Rouge

Remember the glory days of the swinging sixties? Well Gianbattista Valli sure does, and had a great time recreating the golden era for Moncler Gamme Rouge, with hair bigger than Brigitte Bardot's, eyes more heavily lined than Verushka's, and an entourage more massive than Elizabeth Taylor's. Even without the handsome young troupe of valets on hand to shuttle all of the winter sport accoutrements (skis, snowboards, ice skates and truckloads of trunks and trolleys), the ladies oozed five-star après-ski attitude. Skin-tight trousers were tucked into over-the-knee boots in Mongolian fur that bounced along with the same flirty glam as the furry headgear and jet-set eyewear. At the centre of things of course was the  outerwear, featuring rich collages of cashmere, metallic embroideries and fur, all seamed together with shiny gold zips. One can't imagine these spoiled swans being bothered with the mundane task of buckling up their ski boots, but they seemed perfectly poised to party slope-side with a bucket of champagne
 

Moncler Gamme Rouge

Moncler Gamme Rouge

Moncler Gamme Rouge

Moncler Gamme Rouge

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

Louis Vuitton

Seconds after a 19th century locomotive pulled into Louis Vuitton's grand Parisian showspace, models who looked as if they came from the same era disembarked, emerging from a cloud of coal-induced smoke. They presented an off kilter vision of the golden age of travel with their floor-length layers of body-skimming heavy fabrics paired with Victorian footwear (modernised with massive platforms) and mad-hatter headgear. Creative director Marc Jacobs worked a singular - yet new for this season - silhouette, based on long lean skirts worn over cropped pants. Sometimes the skirt was the bottom half of a long frock coat (with or without sleeves, but always with an oversized collar) and sometimes an extended A-line skirt. Rich textures built up swiftly with pony skin embroideries, decorative metallic jacquards and crusted jewels in a grid formation. But the biggest extravagance of all was each model's personal valet, who helpfully trailed behind to transport her pile of glimmering accessories

 

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

Miu Miu

A clue to Miu Miu's focus for Fall could be found backstage - Miuccia Prada herself was clad in a matching black Astrakhan jacket and trouser suit - a new look for the woman who lives in mid-calf pleated skirts and belted jumpers. The models took the exact same cue, each one dressed in cropped slim trousers and matching jackets, save for five short dress looks at the very end of the line-up that featured round mirrored embroidery as big as headlights. But back to the trousers: using a jewel-toned palette of either metallic solid tones, or hyper optical graphics, the trouser situation mimicked the 'matching' vibe of the early 1970s leisure suit. Down below, the girls' feet were covered in mannish slip-ons or tassel loafers, both of which were hoisted up on mammoth platforms. Up above, the blue and white eye make-up, circus stripes and exaggerated heels gave the proceedings a subversive yet cartoonish undercurrent
 

Miu Miu

Miu Miu

Miu Miu

Miu Miu

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten never veers far from what he does best, yet manages season after season to twist the print thing and keep the brand evolving just at the right pace. To a single soundtrack - the very haunting 'Lost in the World' by Kanye West - he showed a beautiful and majestic collection, featuring menswear shapes, military details and plenty of pattern. All the prints originated from Japanese, Korean and Chinese costumes found in the collection of London's Victoria & Albert Museum. The 16 antique garments were laid out flat and photographed, then printed onto fabrics like gabardine and silk, re-cut and reconstructed to the point where the original garments were abstract enough to disguise their origins. In other cases the photographs were repeated as panels to duplicate pleats for a trompe l'oeil effect. He did not use (nor did he need) much more detail than this - bar, perhaps, the horn like resin disks used for jewellery and trim on the shoes


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