Signed, sealed, delivered: the greatest fashion week invitations of the S/S 2019 season
World domination: Virgil Abloh’s debut catwalk show for Louis Vuitton was wonderfully diverse. Its first third was walked by black models, and featured a plethora of the artistic director’s musician industry friends. Abloh was keen to emphasise this eclecticism, and on guest’s seats a document holder – branded with ‘1’ in neon orange laminate – came complete with a world map highlighting the location of every model’s origin. Photography: Aylin Bayhan
Clutch control: For their creative debuts at Dior and Burberry, Kim Jones and Riccardo Tisci gave guests a practical pochette. The Dior menswear invitation came inside a a chic coated clutch bag printed with a toile de Jouy pattern, mimicking the fabric used in the maison’s first boutique. While at Burberry, guests were treated to a soft envelope pouch, its foulard silk emblazoned with the brand’s new Peter Saville-designed Burberry logo.
In the fold: Prada’s men’s and women’s invitations came housed in thick corrugated cardboard cartons. Inside, an extendable cardboard sheet was folded like a narrow concertina into the rectangular box, its glossy coating tessellated with the show’s event details.
Dab hands: Craft-based creativity inspired a host of womenswear invitations. Marni’s metal interpretation came complete with a half painted column in bold blue, Issey Miyake’s fold out poster invitation was populated with colourful brushstrokes, while Chalayan’s came with a bold splash of spray-paint. Pierre Hardy and Arthur Arbesser were both fascinated by colourful sculptures, with Arbesser even leaving small ceramics inspired by Italian sculptor Fausto Melotti on guest’s seats.
Antique chic: There was a vintage verve across both S/S 2019’s men’s and women’s invitations, with brand’s drawing on images and symbols that had an age-old allure. Just look to MM6’s delicate lace doily offering, or Erdem’s invitation, which featured a photograph of two sisters, Stella and Fanny, the two famed Victorian men who dressed as women and inspired the brand’s collection. Plus Off-White men’s invitation, a transparent plastic envelope printed with a gentlemanly oil-painted portrait.
Page-turner: Hedi Slimane’s anticipated debut show for Celine was titled ‘Paris La Nuit’, and the outré and micro-short silhouettes in the collection evoked ensembles for after-hours decadence. Slimane’s inaugural invitation for the house also captured this lights-out aesthetic. It was imagined as a hardback book, featuring photographs of ten Parisian going-out hotspots, like Bus Palladium, La Cigale and Folies Pigalle, lensed by Slimane himself.
Postal service: There was a sense of postcard perfection across S/S 2019’s womenswear invitations, with photo prints alluding to both tropical destinations and tourist hotspots. Take holiday inspiration from Marco De Vincenzo’s image of a Sicilian market stall, Brognano’s snapshot of palm-tree lined beach or Lutz Huelle’s postcard of the Eiffel Tower.
Cover up: At Rick Owens’ men’s show – held in an open-air setting at the Palais de Tokyo – models strode a scaffold catwalk with brightly coloured smoke billowing into the air. The show’s protective accessory? An invitation-come-dust mask, in gothic black cotton, handily printed with the date and location details of the event.
Power plants: Gucci turned gardener for S/S 2019, sending guests a bulging bag of plant bulbs as part of its allotment-evoking invitation. The packet was printed with the back cover of the book ‘Rare Flowers, Vegetables, and Fruits’ by John Lewis Childs (1897), and guests found an amalgamation of tulip, freesia, hyacinth and ginger bulbs inside. What a way to put down roots.
Medical marvel: There was a pharmaceutical flourish behind MSGM’s S/S 2019 women’s show invitation, which was imagined as a packet of tablets, with a single, foil-packed pill inside. Just like the accompanying show’s colourful and energetic ready-to-wear offering, the imaginative invitation was just what the doctor ordered.
Silk route: Boldly hued foulard silks have been an ongoing catwalk hit, and a staple also encapsulated for S/S 2019 in a series of invitations imagined as silk scarves. MSGM, Courrèges, Etro and Rejina Pyo all took the silk route for spring.
Heat sheet: There were warming wonders in London and Milan, as brand’s created invitations which reacted to the heat of guest’s hands. Richard Quinn and Santoni got temperatures rising with invitations which, when warmed, revealed colourful tessellations of roses, or essential time and location details.