WE TEND TO FORGET how many people work on one dress. The fashion machine lionizes high-profile creative directors, who rotate through the top posts at luxury houses in a slick and expensive game of musical chairs. But at the British brand Alexander McQueen, helmed by the hardworking Sarah Burton, one magnificent piece for the spring 2020 season underscored the importance of collaboration: a white linen gown covered in a scrawled design by Central Saint Martins MA students, that was collectively embroidered in black by every member of Ms. Burton’s team. Even the head of human resources for the London-based company stitched a little figure into the piece. After the brand’s stirring show near the close of Paris fashion week, Ms. Burton invited many of her colleagues to take a bow with her, and attendees patiently clapped as the seemingly endless team passed by.
For an industry often charged with insensitivity and worse, that spirit of collectivity was as much of a trend at the shows as white lace and 1700s corsetry. In one of the season’s biggest surprise reveals, Belgian designer Dries Van Noten shared billing with Christian Lacroix, one of the kings of 1980s and ’90s fashion, for a sumptuous collection, all rustling taffeta and animal-print. The two masters began work on the extensive collection for Mr. Van Noten’s brand just seven months ago. In New York, four relatively small labels—Vaquera, CLDM, Creatures of the Wind and Section 8—staged one show to pool costs and increase the odds that editors would show up. Arguably the most prominent designers in New York and Paris,
and Nicolas Ghesquière, showed collections laced through with positive hippie feeling. In a season ruled by buzz surrounding the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s visit to New York for the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit, the consciousness-raising 1960s felt closer than ever. Gabriela Hearst, Burberry and Gucci all staged so-called “carbon-neutral” shows, while Dior’s set was composed of 164 trees to be replanted afterward. Can fashion’s persistent positivity possibly change our mood?
IF YOU’RE GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO
Be sure to wear one of these modern takes on flower-child looks. From left, a psychedelic evening gown at Gucci; prismatic floral patterns at the Paco Rabanne show; Fendi’sbeachy version; an uplifting orange-sherbet delight of an outfit at Marc Jacobs; a nipped-bodice gown (best worn barefoot?) at Miu Miu; Louis Vuitton’s psychedelically patterned frock.
SHORT YOUR STOCK
A decidedly bare, abbreviated twist on the classic suit. From left, pinstripes and pink at Chloé; skin and Bermudas by Givenchy; super-short shorts at Saint Laurent; a full look—including tie—by Max Mara; that tweed life at Chanel.
I CAN SEE YOUR HALO
White for evening reigned—especially when festooned with feathers and lace. From left, a tiered dress at Alexander McQueen; short ‘n’ fluffy by Burberry; Valentino’slace gown; feathery at Dries Van Noten; fairy-tale drama at Loewe.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF HIPPIE
The improbable trend for 1700s-ish boning and wide skirts was one of the season’s biggest surprises. From left, a tri-striped hoop skirt at Thom Browne; Loewe’slavender lady; Balenciaga‘s uber-modern
princess; a pouf skirt at Comme des Garçons; Simone Rocha’s Delft pottery palette.
These cropped, embellished jackets are a welcome evening idea. From left, Louis Vuitton’s puff-sleeved topper; Celine goes gold; brocade at Dries Van Noten; a pearly Erdem coat.
MAKING A CASE FOR THE BASKET
MOMENTS WE (MOSTLY) LOVED…
IN THE PALM OF HER HAND Jennifer Lopez, age 50, nearly broke Instagram when she sashayed down the Versace runway wearing a new version of her bare gown from 2000.
GET YOUR HEAD EXAMINED For Francesco Risso’s Marni show, the models were treated (subjected?) to avant-garde, sculptural updos that involved white paint and flora.
BOTTEGA CATS Overwhelmingly, the prevailing street-style trend among editors and influencers was anything by Bottega Veneta, particularly its cult-favorite accessories.
THE FASHION BUBBLE At his Paris show, the American designer Rick Owens staged an outdoor wonderland of bubbles floating through the sky, blown by graceful attendants in dark cloaks.
MASTERS TOURNAMENT When Dries Van Noten emerged after his show to take a bow with the king of over-the-top fashion, Christian Lacroix, the show’s decadence made total sense.
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