PFW Day Two: Maison Margiela, Lanvin, Dries Van Noten, Rochas, and Kenzo

Dries finale FW17
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Oversized silhouettes, ugly shoes, mom jeans, shirts with extra-long sleeves that reach far past the fingertip – all of these things appeared on the Maison Margiela Fall/Winter 2017 runway, and might remind one of the current trends on offer from Demna Gvasalia. However, it is only those with a very short-term fashion memory who would admit such blasphemy. Gvasalia has made no secret of his worship of Margiela, and he liberally lifts from the Margiela archives for his Vetements and Balenciaga collections. For Fall/Winter 2017, John Galliano is interested in transferring those trademark elements back to their rightful owner.

With experimentation and deconstruction central to the brand’s raison d’etre, Galliano is also keen to explore the intersection between layers and cut-outs and how the two – in tandem – etch negative space onto a silhouette. His technique, which requires hands-on experience with the garments to fully understand, was to strip clothes down to their skeletons and layer them wholly over other looks. For instance, he showed the crown of the Statue of Liberty cut into the back of a deconstructed trench, the ghost of a varsity jacket over a sturdy tweed suit skirt, and black ruched evening dress gutted of its bodice over a nude bodysuit. The most surprising element of the whole catwalk: this was by far the brand’s most accessible, wearable collection yet.

For her sophomore collection at Lanvin, Bouchra Jarrar embedded her signature languid tailoring and elegant silhouettes with deep romanticism, finishing looks with ruffles and poet’s sleeves, and creating well-balanced looks from lace tops and chiffon skirts. She also really sold whole looks convincingly, down to their birds ‘o paradise brooches, and created a few killer jackets destined for the Insta-fame.

For his 100th collection, Dries Van Noten dipped back into the archives, but refused to soak his anniversary collection in nostalgia. Instead, his fantastic print re-hashes from previous collections were a means of reasserting his dominance of the genre – no one does a smarter print than Dries. For Fall/Winter 2017, he blended natural scenery with geometric patterns, which decorated broad-shouldered, double-breasted coats, blazers, and silky separates. Oversized suiting was a popular notion on his runway as well, and flattered the stunning line-up of models he booked for the show, which included women who walked his first show in 1992 and fresh-faced newcomers as well. Another tremendous point in Van Noten’s favor was the use of faux fur over real fur, which he used to audacious effect as the sleeves of boxy trenches and cordoroy jackets, on the collar of patchworked denim coats, and more.

Over at Rochas, designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua kept things simple, but elegant, with looks that harken back to the 1940s and 1950s. Yet, while most of his frocks featured plain, prim fronts, they also showcased sensual backs that were low-cut and flirtatious. Bows, crystal embroidery, ruffles, and flashy fringe ensured that this was – above all – a feminine collection. It made no political maneuvers, invented nothing new, and relied on zero experimentations, yet, it was so perfectly polished as to evoke desire nonetheless.

While some brands are just now beginning to use diverse casts on their runway and in ad campaigns, Kenzo has been at it for decades, long before designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon were creative directors. Yet the two found momentum in the archives, inspired by a campaign series in 1983, shot by Hans Feurer, which also launched Iman to fame. The startling desert-backed images threw Kenzo’s brilliantly hued knits into sharp relief, with an added layer of curiosity found by obscuring some of the models with ski masks. For Fall/Winter 2017, vivid knits were on display, presented with street style appeal, sophisticated safari-style separates, and of course, neon ski masks. Additionally, Lim and Leon emphasized statement sleeves, rendering their romantic versions in acid bright shades. They also plucked the print from the aforementioned Feurer campaign, and revived it for the modern Kenzo shopper by including it on tailored separates for both men and women.

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