It's common to refer to the fashion industry as the fashion world, because at times it really is another world, isn’t it? During fashion month especially, designers have the opportunity to create another universe with the catwalk. A spectacle of theatrics, over the years we’ve gone to the lavender fields of Provence with Jacquemus, everywhere from the supermarket to space with Chanel, and during Marc Jacobs tenure at Louis Vuitton he had models on carousels and steam trains. Autumn/winter 2020 is already no different - with brands taking us to church and beyond. These are our favourite sets, so far.
Let us cast you back to the iconic final scene in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, where Shakespeare’s classic tragedy ends with both star crossed lovers, dying on an altar for love. What do we remember most (aside from Leo’s perfect 1997 blonde curtains)? The set design! The altar was encircled by flowers, Virgin Mary figurines and lit entirely by tea lights and dripping long stem magnolia candles. Rodarte’s autumn/winter 2020 show conjured up exactly this. Located in Park Avenue’s famous St. Bartholomew’s church, it was the perfect setting for the brand’s gothic yet ethereal creations. Hanging ivy, fairy lights and candles on mass, the only thing missing was Leo and Claire.
Did you go to Berghain and not get in? Well don’t worry - although you may not be cool enough to ever see inside Berlin’s iconic club (especially as it has a no-phone, no-photo policy) you can see inside the MM6 Maison Margiela show, which, believe us, are one of the same. For one night only, fashion editors and stylists became club kids, as Margiela took us literally round the corner from the British Fashion Council’s usual 180 The Strand location, and into the hangers below ground for a rave-like spectacle, which included a collaboration with North Face. A maze-like warehouse in which the rooms just went on and on (and on), in the first room models charged out sporadically over a projector that showed a live camera of the BTS action. As for the next room, MM6’s second space elevated models onto pedestals, or podiums to be precise.
Molly Goddard’s show was the bread and butter of London Fashion Week - quite literally the bread and butter, as that’s what she served, on white linen-covered dining tables along with white wine. The hall’s royal blue patterned carpet was the runway, and paired with the mahogany panelling and little table lamps there was a distinctly Orient Express feel about it (minus the train part, obviously). Located here to draw attention to her West London roots, for this collection Goddard was specifically reminiscing of weekend trips to Portobello and Kensington market she took as a child. The grandeur of the setting was a perfect backdrop to contrast her foray of punky yet pretty tulle dresses, which were styled with Creepers.
ICYMI: Moncler is having a major moment. From its seasonless collections, collaborations and Genius label (currently overseen by guest designer JW Anderson, but previously Richard Quinn, Matthew Williamson and Craig Green), the transition of the brand from sportswear to streetwear has been as commendable a transformation as Harry Styles’ fashion sense in the last decade. The show, or ‘spectacle’ as we’ll call it, showcased the brand’s biggest collaborations of recent years (Rimowa, Rick Owens etc), and its theme would be best described in three words: A Space Odyssey. Moncler literally took us to infinity and beyond, with a futuristic concept like we’ve seen before. A spaceship-style runway, where models were more like astronauts - the whole concept was so epic it almost felt like a music festival - with strobe lights, pounding music and smoke machines, as well as crowds that could take could be compared to Coachella's. We left wondering, is this what Glastonbury would be like if Moncler did it?
This season Gucci got up close and personal. First of all, attendees received paperless invitations via WhatsApp from Alessandro Michele, who also sent a few selfies of his hands in the taxi en route (which had, may we add, some excellent turquoise rings and tonal nail varnish). Once at the location, things got even more intimate. For the first time in Gucci show history, all of those invited got full BTS access. We watched models getting their hair and makeup done, and saw all outfit changes, clothing rails and chaos. The circular stage and backstage area was surrounded in glass, meaning it was fully exposed to those that watched from the seats surrounding it. To the soundtrack of Madonna’s Justify My Love the models stood like mannequins against the glass as it rotated like a carousel for all to see. Majestic.
Known for making a statement, Dior’s womenswear creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri didn’t make any exceptions for her AW20 collection. Having often used her platform to broadcast feminist discourse - this time round her words came in neon lights. Addressing important messages of consent in an all too familiar #MeToo climate, Chiuri chose to hang flashing neon signs reading ‘when women strike the world stops’, ‘women’s love is unpaid labour’, ‘feminine beauty is a ready-made’ and more above the catwalk. But what about the clothes? Supremely seventies bohemia, with bandanas and fringe galore. When asked to comment on the collection backstage, Chiuri said that “the 70s gave me the attitude I have.”
If you were front row at Balenciaga’s show on Sunday, no doubt you arrived at your seat annoyed. Because the set, located in an auditorium, was purposely flooded - leaving the first two rows under water. Of course this was purposeful, nobody was actually missing their seat, this was the planned magic of Demna Gvasalia and his art director, Nicke Bildstein-Zaar. Last season Gvasalia made a political point with his EU-Blue runway, this time the message was climate change. The catwalk was flooded with inky back water alluding to rising sea waters, the ceiling projected ominous flames and strobe lights and there was a disconcerting aggressive noise playing loudly and rhythmically. Like the spring/summer 2020 campaign, the show depicted a post-apocalyptic world in the eyes of Balenciaga.
Announced last minute as a surprise event, Kanye West brought his Sunday Service to Paris. Not technically a show, but he did hand out invitations to Yeezy 8 and there was definitely a fashionable display, with Jacquemus and Haider Ackermann in attendance and Kanye’s new Yeezy sneakers making a debut. The set at Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord was simple and minimalistic, with a single light on the choir, who circled the piano on an otherwise pitch black set. The audience was pindrop silent and the atmosphere was mesmerising.
If Little Women didn’t inspire you to change your wardrobe into that of a period drama, then surely the set for Louis Vuitton’s AW20, with 200 people dressed in period costume, will. Located in the currently closed Louvre, Nicolas Ghesquière appointed Stanley Kubrick’s costume designer, Milena Canonero, to dress his grandstand in costumes from the 1500s to 1950s. Marie Antoinette, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I all made an appearance, and sang as each model walked. An ode to costume as well as history, the setting paired well with Ghesquière’s designs, which too made reference to eras of the past. It all makes sense, considering the house is an official sponsor of this year’s Met Gala, of which the theme is ‘About Time, Fashion and Duration.’
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