Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of reflecting back on the heady rush that was Fall/Winter 2016 Fashion Month. With the industry in a state of flux, I approached the collections like an anthropologist, trying to discern where fashion has been and where it is going. Unpacking the meaning behind each collection took a lot of work and energy, but I emerged from the experience a better person for it.
The emerging trends we can expect to see seize hold in the forthcoming season were diverse and varied. Several collections referenced the Bauhaus movement, like Salvatore Ferragamo and MaxMara, while others were concerned with re-purposing styles from the Edwardian and Victorian era. Others, like Givenchy and Kenzo, went way back in time to source their inspiration, and designers like Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent decided to throw us a curve ball by returning to couture traditions for ready-to-wear. It was a lot to take in, but in reflecting back on all of the shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris, several collections emerged that stood out from the crowd.
Continue reading for my personal take on the Top 10 Collections of Fall/Winter 2016.
10. Rodarte - New York Fashion Week
Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the brainy sister duo behind Rodarte, have always made esoteric references a center-point of their collections. For Fall/Winter 2016, they celebrated both the virgin bride and corpse bride in looks both ethereal and gothic. The effect was stunning, and their lavish textures and dreamy fabrics made even the most funereal look soar.
Read my Rodarte review and view the full collection here.
9. Marni - Milan Fashion Week
Marni’s conceptual collection for Fall/Winter 2016 rendered me speechless at first sight – which is a quality that will get a critic in trouble rather quickly. It took me time and lots of research to understand the sublime artistry and architecture of Consuelo Castiglioni’s creations, but I’m more knowledgeable for having spent the time to delve deeper into this collection. The patterns, shapes, and silhouettes achieved by Marni pushed the envelope of Milan Fashion Week design further than most ever dare.
Read my Marni review and view the entire collection here.
8. Valentino - Paris Fashion Week
As a critic, it is my job to be objective, but there hasn’t been a single Valentino collection since Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli took over the house that I haven’t adored. I respect the way they have reinvigorated Old World artisanship and craft, as well as their particular talent for modernizing even the most baroque concepts. This season, it was all about the ballerina, and she was as fragile and precious as any character to walk the Paris Fashion Week runway.
Read our Editor-in-Chief Haleh Nia‘s Valentino review and view the entire collection here.
7. Chanel - Paris Fashion Week
When invitations to the Chanel show went out bearing the hashtag #FrontRowOnly, a part of me anticipated another show spectacle that focused on celebrity and flash. However, I was pleasantly shocked to discover that Karl Lagerfeld gave everyone in attendance a front row seat, scaled back the spectacle, and focused instead on creating one of his best collections in recent memory. By honoring house codes, Lagerfeld landed on one of his more serene presentations to date.
Read our Editor-in-Chief Haleh Nia‘s Chanel review and view the entire collection here.
6. Fendi - Milan Fashion Week
A mere two weeks prior to the Fendi presentation at Milan Fashion Week, a ground-breaking scientific discovery was announced globally. Scientists had finally proven Albert Einstein‘s theory of gravitational waves, with the first evidence of the waves’ existence. How Karl Lagerfeld managed to use this brand-new breakthrough in science as a starting point for his Fendi collection, which celebrated the discovery by upholstering every single surface with rippling waves, and do it all in under two weeks is an amazing feat of design engineering.
Read my Fendi review and view the entire collection here.
5. Marco De Vincenzo - Milan Fashion Week
This was my first season ever to cover Marco de Vincenzo, and to say that I was impressed with his collection would be something of an understatement. I adored the colorful exuberance of his presentation almost as much as I loved the on-point styling, the punky braided hair, the whimsical bear claw accessories, and his mesmerizing selection of dyed faux fur coats. In one fell swoop, de Vincenzo became one of my favorite Milan Fashion Week designers.
Read my Marco de Vincenzo review and view the entire collection here.
4. Alexander McQueen - London Fashion Week
From origin story (the language of dreams) to superlative execution, Alexander McQueen‘s Fall/Winter 2016 was perfection incarnate. Although it is rumored to be Sarah Burton‘s last collection for the house (say it ain’t so!), it would be a fitting swan song to the designer who so faithfully adhered to her predecessor’s design vision. Her gossamer gowns and embroidered “duvet” outerwear pieces were sumptuous and ethereal. I must have watched that gold, glimmering “naked” gown walk in slow-motion over a dozen times.
Read my Alexander McQueen review and view the entire collection here.
3. Prabal Gurung - New York Fashion Week
When peers at Paris Fashion Week asked me what my favorite collections of Fall/Winter 2016 had been, Prabal Gurung was the first name on my lips. This collection had it all: feminine rows of buttons that had been sensually unbuttoned along the leg and arm, a heady mix of textures, cozy outerwear, beautiful knits. If you haven’t spent time with this collection yet, I encourage you to take a look.
Read my Prabal Gurung review and view the entire collection here.
2. Peter Pilotto - London Fashion Week
For Fall/Winter 2016, Peter Pilotto took us to an arctic tundra, where the icy landscape was etched onto every surface. Pilotto excels at digital prints, but this time, he infused his beautiful creations with ample textures that added dimensionality to every surface. There are so many ‘wow’ moments in his presentation that it easily earned a Top Collection of London Fashion Week slot, and a deserved mention as number 2 on my Top 10 Collections of Fall/Winter 2016 list. Take a look for yourself by following the link below.
Read my Peter Pilotto review and view the entire collection here.
1. Loewe - Paris Fashion Week
Full disclosure: I’ve struggled with understanding J.W. Anderson‘s designs. Sometimes, I feel like his work battles against the female form. He is described by many critics as being one of the industry’s most challenging designers. Yet, for Fall/Winter 2016, his collection at Loewe completely upended my perspective on his work. This was far-and-away the best collection of Fashion Month, and that’s saying something. Everything from the artistically appointed set, to the styling and accessories, supported a new, more sophisticated Loewe woman. Few collections have impacted me as deeply as this one did.
Read my Loewe review and view the entire collection here.