It started in New York and ended in Paris. There were Burberry checks, nipple pasties and Elton John-inspired tracksuits. Stars were born and supermodels were reunited. We lost industry legends and the big beasts of fashion signed charters pledging to protect models’ health.
Outlandish poses, and attention-grabbing outfits drew scrums of street-style photographers to the entrance of every venue. Canapes were nibbled. Green juice, matcha tea and champagne were drunk, as style journalists, bloggers and buyers travelled to view the world’s top fashion collections and help decide what we will be wearing in six months’ time. Here are the highlights from the past few weeks.
In his second collection for Calvin Klein, Raf Simons opened New York fashion week with a jolt, presenting a terrifying collection inspired by horror films. On the front row, Brooke Shields chatted to Paris Jackson; Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali chatted to Lupita Nyong’o. On the catwalk, shift dresses covered in prints from Andy Warhol’s Death and Disaster series and shoes inspired by Jason Vorhees’s hockey mask in Friday the 13th were particular highlights. Elsewhere in New York, Rihanna cemented her status as a celebrity style supermogul, presenting a surf-inspired collection for Fenty x Puma just days after she launched her own Fenty beauty range.
Forget high-falutin muses: London’s best designers were inspired by the fluffy dusters and marigold gloves of suburban life, with Christopher Kane’s standout show presenting the commuter-belt look with a hint of kink. See also Anya Hindmarch, whose kebab-box bag was takeaway accessory of the week. For the first time in years, Burberry put its famous check prints on its womenswear catwalk. Models such as Adwoa Aboah and Kaia Gerber – the most in-demand new face of the season, who happens to be Cindy Crawford’s daughter – wore peaked caps and checked blouson jackets with stupendous glittering earrings. Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Glenda Jackson were in the audience.
Darling of the fashion pack, Molly Goddard gave her show a raucous party feel, which saw models – including Edie Campbell and Erin O’Connor – dancing over catwalk obstacles, while sipping champagne and smoking fags (electronic) in sequinned, puffball bodices and gowns.
Delicate frills, silk, satin and lace – Simone Rocha’s show was a lesson in classic femininity.
Topshop played host to an especially starry model lineup, including Adwoa Aboah, Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, Hailey Baldwin, and Arizona Muse. For the final walk, models changed into denim and T-shirts, reminding us of Topshop’s relaxed, casual side.
But the catwalks of London were not all about chip-shop charm and suburbia-chic: two of America’s biggest name designers crossed the Atlantic to show their wares. Giorgio Armani had his first show in a decade in the city in which, he says, you can sense the creative turmoil. He promises that’s a compliment. And Tommy Hilfiger – the ultimate stars-and-stripes designer – was joined by Gigi Hadid at the Roundhouse for his first show in the capital for more than two decades.
If New York is all about sophistication and London all about creativity, Milan is the seat of glamour. At Gucci that took on a distinctly glam-rock edge, with creative director and self-titled “wizard” Alessandro Michele bewitching showgoers with clothes inspired by Elton John’s stage outfits. Think high-waisted jumpsuits and jackets bolstered by power shoulders, as well as the usual Michele trademarks of geek-chic glasses, pearls and rainbow stripes. And check blazers with everything.
At the Versace show, Donatella paid tribute to her late brother Gianni by lauding his greatest legacy – the supermodel. Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen and Carla Bruni – the goddesses of 90s fashion – took to the catwalk soundtracked by George Michael’s Freedom. Fashion moments rarely come so divine.
Kaia Gerber wore a jumpsuit almost identical to one worn by Christy Turlington for the 1991 spring/summer collection.
At Prada there was a combative spirit in the air, with pointy flat shoes and sharp-collared boxy shirts. The show, very much about the female gaze, was soundtracked by female voices from Nina Simone and Suzanne Vega to Lana Del Rey and the space was decorated with cartoons of female characters. This was Prada’s feminist manifesto.
Just in case the fashion pack was feeling un petit peu fatigué by the time Paris rolled around, designers went big on sparkles and spectacle. The Saint Laurent show was an epic, taking place on an outdoor catwalk backdropped by a twinkling Eiffel Tower and shrouded in dry ice. Sensuality was key, with creative director Anthony Vaccarello showcasing black-sequinned dresses, “shining like the asphalt after the rain”.
For her first show for Givenchy – the most high-profile debut of this Paris fashion week – Clare Waight Keller brought a little of the breezy je ne sais quoi from her days at the Chloé helm to a catwalk more used to rottweiler motifs. But whimsy was offset by sharp tailoring, as Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore watched from the front row.
Chloé did what Chloé does best: the kind of Gallic chic that can be easily packaged and marketed around the world. New creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi brought some edge to the house’s traditional floaty lines, as well as a new silhouette. But the label’s signature horse motif galloped back on to velvet suits and jumpsuits.
Waterfalls were chased at a spectacular Chanel show – six, each 10 metres high – so models had plenty of practical use for the plastic-heavy looks that are very much of the season.
Proof that you can have your cake and eat it: at Stella McCartney, eco-credentials went hand in hand with style.
There were shoe-boots, pictorial prints and the usual extreme layering on display at Balenciaga. The final act of defiance came in the form of Crocs with 10cm-high platforms. The ugly shoe finally went haute.
Cocktails at five. That was the inspiration behind Dries Van Noten’s mid-length dresses in warm tones of ochre and gold, finished with diamante. A cheering, luxurious addition to the Paris shows.
Checks, socks and headbands, preppy and leftfield touches were all to play for at Miu Miu. The show went big on the colour combination of the season: mint with orange. Just like a summer sundae.
From Céline’s standout collection of multitextured, oversized fluidity to Chanel’s take on old (tweed) meets new (transparent macs), and from Gucci’s glam rock colour-fest to Burberry’s return to its chequered past, the spring/summer 2018 fashion weeks were a feast for the senses. Expect to be wearing plastic macs and pastels next spring.