August 5, 2016

We had our eyes peeled when the Fall Couture season came around this year. As usual, we were blown away by the stunning displays of craft and savour faire by all the designers. Who can forget Fendi’s jaw-droppingly enchanting showcase by the Trevi Fountain? We certainly can’t. Putting all visuals aside, we’d like to talk about the collections with the most compelling inspirations behind them. Let’s start from the King of Fashion, shall we?

Fendi – Karl Lagerfeld

Fendi Fashion show, Couture collection Fall Winter 2016 in Rome Fendi Fashion show, Couture collection Fall Winter 2016 in Rome Fendi Fashion show, Couture collection Fall Winter 2016 in Rome

Karl Lagerfeld made it so spellbindingly easy to be captivated by one of the most majestic set venues ever, that we almost got distracted from the main spirit of the collection. And how can we? Considering the magic and beauty behind his thought process. The show’s title, “Legend and Fairy Tales” speaks for itself as Lagerfeld drew his inspiration from a book of Norwegian fairytales, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. The illustrations in the book by Danish artist Kay Nielson have been said to directly influence several individual pieces. Lagerfeld, who is not one to be sentimental for the past, makes an exception this time round, choosing the book in light of the close relationship he shared with Northern fairytales in his childhood. We loved seeing this beautiful fairytale come to live through the eyes of the fashion world’s very own genius himself.

Viktor & Rolf – Viktor Horsting & Rolf Snoeren

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Horsting and Snoeren took a trip down memory lane as they transformed textures and scraps of textiles taken from previous collections into dramatic reinventions of artisanal value. We spotted a jacket layered with textiles from Hyeres, the very first Viktor & Rolf collection dated back in 1993, and wax-dyed botanic fabric from Spring/Summer 15’ as well. Through this interesting choreography of ghosts of collections past, we seem to detect an undeniably strong message from the tone of the show: the importance of recycling. We’re looking at jackets reworked with patched work, pieced together by tweed and tulle, re-embroidered jeans, vintage sweaters, and what seems like a hundred reused buttons sewn consciously onto garments. It’s great to see Viktor & Rolf riding the wave of environmental consciousness, and we’ll heed their advice for sure. Thrift shopping, here we come!

Giambattista Valli

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Anyone who has seen Giambattista Valli’s previous shows has a clue or two as to how fervent his obsession for florals is. It seems like the designer has treaded into new territory this time, giving the sweet demeanour from his usual looks an ornate upgrade. We dug in deep into the massive bulging tulle confections and billowing meringue sleeves (not literally, we would get lost inside one of those things) and uncovered Valli’s inspiration this season. Taking his love for the 2002 movie Russian Ark and blowing it up in his garments to give it a new proportion and insight, the designer ventured within the romantic and fragile aesthetic from 19th-century Russian film. The film, which ran for 99 minutes, was single-handedly shot in one frame, panning through different rooms, moods, moments and stories. It seems like Valli was particularly captivated by the scene in the winter garden; surreal and light, it’s as though time stood still for the audience. We appreciate Giambattista Valli’s keen eye for cinematography, and his ability to transport us into a lifelike dreamscape.

Maison Margiela – John Galliano

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Ever since Galliano’s departure from Dior, everyone has been eager to see how his energy has evolved through his recent engagement with the house Maison Margiela as the new Creative Director. And needless to say, we all held our breaths as the fall couture collection ambled by. The (strangely) harmonious marriage between urban streetwear and empire influences was probably the risk Galliano had to take to garner the sort of reaction he received. The house played with knits, and mixed it up with synthetic dry-cleaning bags, almost as if to make a comment towards modern-day France’s urban attitude. Galliano has made his love for the French Revolution particularly evident in the past. Just look at his iconic graduating collection from Central Saint Martin entitled “Les Incroyables”,and you’ll know what we mean. This season, it seems that the designer did not shy away from channeling his artistic visions onto France’s historic past once again. The first sign we received was the location itself; Les Invalides. Not to mention that a statue of Napoleon, featured from above, was seemingly looking down at the show with approval. This intriguing collection shows us how France’s history is intertwined and deeply rooted with the present, emphasising the stark clashes between the empire’s beautiful past and today’s bleak urban setting. The former house Belgian designer must be at peace with the idea of retirement after seeing this outstanding piece.

Iris Van Herpen

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If we were to ever name “The Most Ingenious Collection To Break New Grounds In Fashion”, it’ll definitely be Van Herpen’s Fall Haute Couture show. This innovative designer took the study of cymatics – the visual interpretation of sound waves in the form of geometric patterns – and elevated it to define fashion of the future. Most of us may not have the ability to freely visualise sound, but Iris Van Herpen has made it so much simpler for us to witness the marvels and beauty of sound through this installation. Musician Kazuya Nagoya was present to create “seijaku” ( Japanese for calm amidst chaos ) while he masterfully orchestrates with zen bowls. Well, we certainly feel that Van Herpen has successfully achieved seijaku, judging by the ambience of the entire set. Models on stone plinths and dramatic, bioluminescent layers promenading against a steady stream of gentle sounds? We don’t know about you, but we didn’t have to be music devotees to be deeply moved by it this time.

All images from Cover image from Iris Van Herpen 2016 Fall Haute Couture collection.