Olivier Theyskens’ spring 2019 collection—though presented in a warehouse during daylight hours—continued to touch on the darker, somber side of nature.
It started with headpieces fashioned from sticks of wood painted black, and it carried on through the prints picturing Hans Bellmer’s famous Doll series. The collection is comprised mostly of dresses, where their fabrics and assemblages woke up some real gothic spirits. Lingerie, corset, lace, patent leather, and transparent knitted cashmere offered a view of the flesh, which was sometimes covered by a pair of long sleeves.
Theyskens here again confirms his personal take on fashion, and a secular soul to accompany it.
It was in the warmth of a late fall afternoon—in a sun parlor with succulent plants, on a soft white carpet—that the spring 2019 collection of Valentino was presented. Valentino is one of the oldest and most traditional Italian maisons, based in the historic city of Rome. Today, between the guests present and the models parading along, this captivating spirit of high fashion was well celebrated.
To set the tone, the designer PIERPAOLO PICCIOLI opened the march with KRISTEN MCMENAMY, one of the most unconventional models from the nineties era. But this move and, simply, her pride to exhibit her beautiful cascade of natural white hair—falling on a thick, generous black silk robe—felt here simply right and pleasant. There was something comforting in the air. The collection later exposed a wide range of beautiful dresses—studied silhouettes in ample volumes and precious materials. The round of colors—dark chocolate, spicy orange, dusty pink, and Valentino red—produced a worship of good taste.
After all, with Valentino we’re in the culture of couture, where good behavior and opulence meet, and PICCIOLI is a designer who understands its language very well—who translates it to the present day with agreeable intensity and serene calm.
During an Indian summer afternoon in Paris that carried a fresh, crisp undercurrent, Dries Van Noten presented his summer 2019 collection in a splash of natural light under the grand canopy of Palais de Tokyo.
Optic white silhouettes of ladybirds with real feather hairdos revealed a gangling waist heighten by a squarish padded shoulder—yet the whole hangs together with relaxed looseness. Diagonal graphic stripes and photographic patterns and rays of bright neon colors completed a tableau which carried a minimal approach to formal design with a play of structured drapes and cuts.
There is also a palpable tension with the use of materials that combine foregrounded compositions of plastic and paper, silk with hand-made pieces of embroidery, and original paintings on garments. This full and honest confusion of feelings was accompanied by the heartbeats of the remix “Moan” by the Danish electronic multi-instrumentalist Trentemøller.
Van Noten’s next realm manages to render beauty and sophisticated finesse with reminiscences of post-futuristic broken romanticism, a place where nature and machine would finally find grace and gravity in chaos and harmony.
Images © 2018 Dries Van Noten.