PFW Day 7: Hermès, Stella McCartney, Giambattista Valli, and McQueen

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Giambattista Valli Fall/Winter 2017
Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

In a surprise move toward the casual and playful, Hermès dispenses with any notion of stuffiness or aloofness by showing dozens of cozy, colorful knits. The dominant look on the Hermès Fall/Winter 2017 runway was a blend of punk codes, like knee-high combat boots, and après–skiwear. The former aesthetic will go quite nicely with the brand’s new ‘Chaine d’Ancre Punk’ jewelry collection. As the presentation progressed, designer Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski also introduced an enticing array of jewel-toned furs and printed dresses, paisley-patterned frocks, and classic outerwear options like leather jackets lined with shearling.

At Stella McCartney, a relaxed attitude was also on offer, but something new was at work as well. After years of trying to develop a faux leather that looks and moves like the real thing, McCartney has finally landed on the right version. For Fall/Winter 2017, full faux leather looks shared the runway with casual menswear suiting, oversized track suits, and lacey frocks. With this groundbreaking collection, McCartney can now fully supply her trendy clothes in materials that do not harm animals. While other designers have been quick to embrace activist stances when it comes to women’s rights, gender equality, racial inclusivity, and more, they still have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to creating collections from sustainable, eco-friendly materials.

According to Giambattista Valli, “Today’s version of Parisian petite robe noire” comes with a surprising accompaniment: Nike leggings. No, he’s not doing a collaboration with the apparel giant (could you imagine?), but he did show old-fashioned ruffled tops straight from the royal courts paired with plain black Nike leggings. According to Valli, leggings can literally go with anything, and form the basis of a capsule wardrobe preferred by Parisian women. The rest of the collection dealt with the extraordinarly refined silhouette provided by the Victorian era, except Valli’s version was done in yards of bespoke lace, upholstered with a great deal of ruffles, and decorated with the occasional cherry print.

Over at Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton took a page from her late predecessor’s book by showing a collection that paid tribute to a memory from her childhood. This time, it was ancient Cornwall and the mystical Celtics that once populated it that provided ample aesthetic fodder for the McQueen runway. She created gorgeous gowns inspired by medieval needlepoint and illustrations of alchemical practices, left a trail of loose threads wafting from her looks in homage to a Celtic healing ritual, and more. Done in jet black, siren red, and pristine white, this collection offered both tough, intimidating looks and delicate, fragile frocks.

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