Fan mail: A/W 2019’s outstanding fashion week invitations
Fan mail: A/W 2019’s outstanding fashion week invitations
Make the cut: Brands threw shapes with invitations boasting incisions and cut-outs. At Akris, an invitation envelope came complete with a bold cut out exclamation point, while at Acne Studios a triple folded paper womenswear invite was edged at different angles to create an overlaid zig-zag effect. In a nod to the wood panelling in interior decoration, Givenchy’s menswear design came complete with round-cut corners, while at Erdem miniature picture mounts framed a detailed image of a hyperbolically draped garment.
Touch and go: Brands got touchy feely for spring, with a host of invitations in natural tones with tactile qualities. The envelope housing Burberry’s invite was imagined in a print resembling graing wood, while Agnona’s was cut from a rectangular square of thick speckled felt. At Yohji Yamamoto, an invitation was concealed inside a glossy pamphlet of transparent black canvas, while at Sportmax thick insulating material doubled up as an invite.
Silver lining: Silver foil bought a futuristic focus to a series of invitations. Proving that even fashion shows comes with a silver lining, Stella McCartney got green-fingered and sent guests a biodegradable silver foil envelope, which also allowed them the chance to dedicate a tree to a loved one. For her debut show as creative director of Lacoste, Louise Trotter designed a sealed foiled envelope resembling a packet of space food, stamped with the year of her first show in the brand’s signature green. Rick Owens’ menswear show was dedicated to the Kiss’ costume designer Larry Legaspi. His penchant for leather and silver flourishes was reflected in a metallic show invitation, in the brand’s signature rectangular sliver of cardboard.
Two-tone zone: A host of monochrome marvels were mailed out to guests. Take Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton’s womenswear invitations, encased inside grainy white patent and speckled faux snakeskin envelopes, or the slab of thick cardboard which constituted Rick Owens’ design, imagined in ombre shades of black and white. Elsewhere, Jil Sander and Comme des Garçons Homme Plus let typography do the talking, printing bold sans-serif lettering onto thick card or delicate triple-folded paper.
Going for bold: During the womenswear shows, brands took a strong spin on the colour wheel, presenting a host of invitations in bright patterns and saturated shades. Bottega Veneta’s interpretation, which marked the debut collection of Daniel Lee, featured a trippy magenta logo printed onto glossy sky blue card, while Kiko Kostadinov’s futuristic aesthetic was reflected with a rectangular invitation with an arid landscape overlaid with bars of bright green colour. Prada’s ‘Anatomy of a Romance’ design, was a version of its black men’s invitation, with squares and rectangles of delicate fuchsia paper strung together with thread, while Issey Miyake’s poster invitation was emblazoned with a photographic hand print, imagined in grayscale and bright, pop-art tones.
Face off: Fashion week attendees delight in decoding the connection between the Gucci invitation and its accompanying show. At times, the link is elusively impossible to define, and we’ve seen invite designs resembling ticking bombs and bags of plant bulbs. For A/W 2019, creative director Alessandro Michele was mesmerised by the concept of masks, and how they can be used to conceal or distort human behaviour. Guests received a large wooden box with rope handles, intentionally antique-like as if hiding buried treasure. Inside was housed a classical mask, crafted from layers of plaster of Paris.
Postcard perfection: Karl Lagerfeld took the creative helm of Chloé not only from 1963-1983 but also from 1992-1997. Current creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi nodded to Lagerfeld’s esteemed heritage, placing a pack of postcards on guest’s seats at the brand’s A/W 2019 show, depicting poignant images of, and quotes attributed to the design behemoth during his tenure at the French house. This included a black and white Frank Horvant-lensed photograph of Lagerfeld and model Carol Labrie, in the Chloé studio in 1970, with the duo both clad in silk floral shirts, and an accompanying Lagerfeld quote from Vogue Paris in 1982: ‘I love fashion for fashion. I love to changed, to diversify, to create lots of looks, lots of styles, not to be myself...be open to all.’
Picture this: There was a scribble-like sensibility behind the a selection of menswear invitations. At OAMC, a cartoonish human form was doodled on the brand’s fold-out poster design, while at Vetements, a woodland landscape was scribbled, complete with a smiling brown bear, pine trees and a passing cloud. Blue belt tip pen pinpointed the date and location of the Sunnei show, a magic marker moment.
Selfie-reflection: On one of the white walls of Loewe’s show space at the Maison de l’UNESCO in Paris, miniature oval-shaped portraits were hung. These dated from the the 16th or 17th century and featured paintings of English, Flemish, French, Italian and Spanish provenance, including a 1650’s portrait believed to be King Charles I, attributed to David des Granges and a portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, inscribed Maria Regina Scotorum, attributed to Bernard Lens II. Creative director Jonathan Anderson was fascinated by minute details for autumn, and the tiny paintings that inspired his microscopic lens also featured on the brand’s show pack, which offered further insight into each painting’s provenance.
Base layer: For Louis Vuittion’s A/W 2019 catwalk show, artistic director Virgil Abloh erected a New York street-inspired catwalk, with rows of grocery and barber shops, illuminated lampposts, fire hydrants and swirling rubbish. Abloh also emphasised his soft spot for Italian cooking, leaving leaflets on the seats of guests, publicising an imaginary Louis Vuitton pizza restaurant. For his debut show last season, Abloh left a document envelope printed with maps of the locations his globally diverse models were born, plus an accompanying alphabetised list of the ready-to-wear elements of his collection. He repeated this for A/W 2019, with another pamphlet of information, eagerly analysed by intrigued editors.
Hang together: In Paris, womenswear brands bought a new concept to the term hanging out, with a range of invitations that doubled up as handy hanging objects. For the debut show of his brand Rokh, Rok Hwang was inspired by spooky narratives, and looked to 1980s and 1990s films by Spielberg and Gus Van Sant. His ‘Teenage Nightmare’ invitation came complete with a carabiner dangling with a tiny torch keyring (models also carried torches as accessories during the show). For her A/W 2019 show Marine Serre was inspired by the idea of dwellers living underground post apocalypse, creating clothing and accessories from found objects. Her invitation was imagined as a long chain necklace jangling with a mollusc shell and a small flashing light.
Everything but the kitchen sink: There was a utilitarian edge behind a number of womenswear invitations, which doubled up as objects with highly practical uses. Take Jil Sander’s tea towel, with bold stitched edging that nodded to the details in its A/W 2019 offering and Paula Cadematori’s glass bottle of juniper pills, both a fashion month and medical cabinet essential. Hygiene got haute at Isabel Marant, with an invitation imagined as a green bar of soap, while at Versace, the house nodded to the grunge aesthetic of its collection and the sexy safety-pin history of the brand with a packet of golden pins, ready to be fastened to clothing for DIY dazzle. Photography: Aylin Bayhan
Monetary value: Invitations denoted a fantasy for the financial. At Off-White women’s show, the brand’s usual sheer acetate envelope was stuffed with a $10 dollar bill and a €200 euro note. Things were a little more transactional during Paris Fashion Week Men’s, with both the Alyx and JM Weston invitations resembling receipts. The former’s was stamped like a sales slip with the brand’s location venue and show time. JM Weston’s presentation was held at the renowned Cafe de l’Epoque and its accompanying receipt-style invitation was printed with a descriptive poem titled ‘The Waiter’.
Poetic license: Designers are well versed in the literary canon, often referred to specific life and works of writers in their collections. Brands became real book worms for A/W 2019, with Valentino leaving a volume of poems on the seats of guests, featuring romantic verses by Greta Bellamacina, Mustafa The Poet, Yrsa Daley-Ward and Robert Montgomery. Celine’s A/W 2019 womenswear invitation was presented as a hard back volume with a grainy fabric cover, with tearable fold out pages, presented as a series of graphic, colourful posters. Facetasm’s design was a real spine-tingler: its invitation was presented as the spine and front and back cover of a pocket-size book.
Winter wonderland: Two interlinking double ‘C’ Chanel logos etched in ice were printed onto the textured folding Chanel invitation, one which appeared as if sprinkled with a layer of powdery snow. The invitation was an emblem of the winter wonderland – complete with chalets, pine trees and a panoramic apline scene – created at the Grand Palais, to mark Karl Lagerfeld’s final show for the Parisian maison. In a nod to the new history of the house, a Lagerfeld-drawn illustration was tucked into show packs placed on guest’s seats, featuring a scribble of Lagerfeld and Coco Chanel, with the powerful phrase ‘The beat goes on’.