The four main women’s Fashion Weeks took place, and are continuing to take place this month. New York Fashion week was the first to begin, taking place from the 8th to the 16th of February. With London, Milan and Paris to follow, I will be looking at the trends and events that have taken place so far. As fashion week is never just about the clothing…
The Queen at London Fashion Week
As a surprise guest, Queen Elizabeth II attended Tuesday’s event at London Fashion Week. She was present, front row, at Richard Quinn’s collection, sitting on a blue velvet cushion. She has never before been to a show at fashion week. The media and those in attendance were shocked to witness her presence.
She was not at the show just to view the clothing, however, as she attended Quinn’s runway show to present him with the award for the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design’. A new design award! She is quoted as saying, “as a tribute to the industry and as my legacy to all those who have contributed to British fashion, I would like to present this award for new, young talent.” This was only Quinn’s second runway show, and this award is an incredible boost to his fashion reputation. He was chosen for the award by Sarah Mower, an ambassador for emerging talent in the British Fashion Council. She sat beside Anna Wintour (Vogue’s Editor in Chief) and Caroline Rush (Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council). Sitting next to Anna Wintour was the Queen’s royal dressmaker, Angela Kelly, who has worked with the monarch since 2002. Kelly was an integral part in the creation of this award, as she organised and designed the inaugural award. Going forward, the award will be presented annually to a new British fashion designer by a member of the Royal Family.
At the show the Queen wore a pale blue tweed jacket and skirt. The jacket was embellished with Swarovski crystals. She finished the look with black gloves, and a black handbag.
Gucci Autumn/Winter at Milan Fashion Week
Gucci remains to be the label on everyone’s lips. The brand is not known for its timid approach to fashion, and the autumn/winter show took place in Milan during Fashion Week. For its latest collection we saw something never seen before (and I had thought we’d seen it all when it comes to fashion). Models walked down the runway carrying a replica of their own heads. The replicas were an exact match to the models’ own face and hair, such a close match that it was eery to watch.
The designer of the show, Alessandro Michele, stated the move was influenced by cyborgs. The designer worked with a special effects company based in Rome called Makinarium. According to Vogue, the process of creating these heads took six months. Michele has been considered as the key figure in reinventing Gucci. Despite this success, he clearly wants to bring the brand onto another level.
The replicas of the models head were not the only strange ‘accessory’ brought down the runway, as other models carried baby dragons and chameleons with them down the runway. One model featured a replica of their eye placed in the middle of their forehead; another had horns applied to their temples; one model paid homage to Gucci’s traditional snake designs by carrying a red and white striped snake. A truly unusual show for the brand. The runway was setup to look like a hospital’s operating room, and as it was inspired by cyborgs, the show had a futuristic feel to it.
With all this emphasis on the what we could call ‘accessories’, the clothes were not anywhere near the centre of attention. In fact, the clothing displayed by the brand were quite plain. The dragons and replica heads were obviously the focus of the show. The clothes followed Gucci’s traditional fashion styling, with notes of plaid, floral designs and oversized jewellery. This collection will certainly not be forgotten, and it will likely be remembered for years to come as an extreme moment in fashion. Impressive, especially considering fashion tends to take things to the extreme on a regular basis.
Simone Rocha at both London and Milan Fashion Week
Irish fashion designer Simone Rocha continues to go from strength to strength. Debuting her winter collection at London Fashion Week. As the daughter of fashion designer John Rocha, expectations are incredibly high. Yet, as always, Simone has exceeded them not once this season but twice. She is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin, and Central Saint Martins in London.
Simone’s London Fashion Week collection included whimsical dresses in a variety of materials, including tartan and lace. Accessorised with oversized earrings and fur slippers. In terms of colour, the primary tones were that of black, white and red. Makeup was minimal, letting the clothing speak for itself. The eye makeup was fun, with a gloss being applied to the eyelid. Rocha remains popular amongst our famous, fashionable elite, as the front row of this season’s show included Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe and Pixie Geldof. Another royal was present at this collection, Princess Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis.
Simone Rocha’s work was seen again in Milan. The Italian brand Moncler opened Milan Fashion Week. A change from normal, as that privilege is usually given to Gucci. Moncler has been relaunched by one of the owners, Remo Ruffini. This relaunch has been called the ‘Genius Group’, a collaboration of many talented designers creating eight collections. Designers include: Pierpaolo Piccioli, Craig Green, and, of course, Simone Rocha. The showcase of these eight collections took place in a warehouse on the peripheries of the city. Moncler has also stated that it will move away from the two traditional collections a year, instead launching a new one each month. An ambitious approach to fashion for sure, their argument is that fashion is changing so fast they must keep up. They further stated that the concept of runway shows do not exist anymore.
Rocha’s collection for Moncler kept with a similarly dark palette. The collection was almost exclusively in black and white/pale pink, with standout pieces towards the end. These pieces included a red ruffled dress paired with fur covered biker boots and a red coat in a similar design. She mixed a dark heavy aesthetic with floral motifs, a truly beautiful showcase.
Victoria Beckham at New York Fashion Week
New York Fashion Week has lost one of its favourite designers. Victoria Beckham has announced that she will be leaving the fashion week to join London Fashion Week in September. She has been showcasing in New York for the past ten years. Husband, David, and children, Romeo, Cruz and Harper, were in attendance to support Victoria. Her eldest son, Brooklyn, was not at the show. The runway show was held at a private Upper East Side Drawing Room, consisting of two salons of 90 guests each.
Beckham is not one for the dramatic when it comes to the runway. Her designs have remained contemporary, modelled off her own personal style as it has developed throughout the past ten years. The clothing exhibits an elegant style, as seen in her latest collection. Although this showcase offered something new: leopard print! Beckham has not used leopard print before in her designs. This collection featured a lot of workplace clothing, her current trademark style. Beckham has never shown at London Fashion week before, and hope to celebrate the brand’s 10th anniversary with this showcase in September, although she has admitted to being quite nervous about the move.
Bottega Veneta at New York Fashion Week
Despite claims that New York Fashion Week is losing its top designers, the Italian brand Bottega Veneta have moved their show from Milan to New York. The move coincides with the opening of a large new flagship store on Madison Avenue. Their runway show took place in the set of a living room, which featured a real fireplace. The set was created by Scott Pask, a broadway set designer. Like Gucci above, designers are attempting to bring something different to their shows through a variation on the traditional runway. The show took place in the New York Stock Exchange building near Wall St.
Star of the moment Gigi Hadid modelled for the show, while Salma Hayek sat front row. Bottega Veneta’s showcased both mens and womens fashion on the runway. The luxury label is not overt in its brand advertising on their items, and tends to stick with more traditional and timeless pieces. They made a slight change for their move to New York, including brighter colours and experimenting with textures. The company’s creative director, Tomas Maier, stated that they wanted to capture the ‘real bravery and boldness’ of the people of New York. Despite this attempt at bravery, the clothes remain extremely wearable.
London Modest Fashion Week
London Modest Fashion Week is in its second year running. Attempting to display modern modest designers from across the globe. The founder of Modest Fashion Week, Rahima Rahman, states that “the aim is to get this to be part of London Fashion Week Festival and showcase international modest brands alongside everyone else.” Modest Fashion Week took place over two days during London Fashion Week in Victoria House, Bloomsbury. Brands launching their collections during these two days included Beige, Samah Abayas, Amal Al Raisi and Hanayen. Dubai also held their first ever Modest Fashion Week in December 2017.
A U.K based modest fashion brand also launched a collection during London Modest Fashion Week. Aiming to create and provide contemporary modest clothing. The brand is called ‘till we cover’ and was founded by Ruby Aslam and Shehr Kazmi. Starting this brand after attending the inaugural London Modest Fashion Week last year in 2017.
J.W Anderson at London Fashion Week
In the opposite move to Moncler. J.W Anderson plans to reduce the number of shows launching each year. The designer, born in Northern Ireland, was currently releasing six collections a year, and is now planning two a year. He also plans to bring together the mens and womens collections, which he did at London Fashion Week. Aiming for ‘slow fashion’ instead of the increasingly popular ‘fast fashion’, Anderson’s showcased a mixture of streetwear/leisurewear mixed with high fashion in his latest collection, which was also cross-seasonal. Anna Wintour sat front row at the show. Explaining the move to slowing down the pace of fashion, Anderson stated “it doesn’t make sense to develop small collections. It’s time to pare back and start again. I wanted to go back to the very beginning, when we used to show everything together.”
Mary Katrantzou at London Fashion Week
Protests are not unusual at fashion week. This year Mary Katrantzou’s runway show was targeted by anti-fur protesters, one of whom made it onto the runway. Although Mary Katrantzou’s team has come forward and stated that there was no real fur used in the collection, only faux-fur. Similar protests occurred at Burberry and Christopher Kane.
Paris Women’s Fashion Week began on the 27th of February, with collections from Balmain, Alexander McQueen and Marant, to name but a few. I am sure Paris Fashion Week will not disappoint!