WHAT’S EVEN MORE COVETABLE THAN THAT FRONT-ROW SEAT AT FASHION WEEK? A BACKSTAGE PASS THAT LETS ONE IMMERSE IN THE CREATIVITY AND ADRENALINE INTRINSIC TO THE PRODUCTION OF A RUNWAY SHOW. THAT AND OFFER A CLOSE-UP LOOK AT DETAILS OTHERWISE HARD TO CATCH. IMRAN JALAL ZOOMS IN ON SOME OF THE MOST UNEXPECTED DESIGN ELEMENTS IN THE SPRING/SUMMER 2020 COLLECTIONS.
Artistic director Virginie Viard’s romantic inspiration this season? The Parisian sky and the way sunlight reflects off the city’s famous zinc rooftops. It’s meant a collection that shines literally in more ways than one. This baby pink skirt suit, for example, boasts a day-friendly lustre – it’s made specifically from dupioni, or premium raw silk, known for its soft sheen. Meanwhile what seems to be sequins on the jacket piping is in fact intricate embroidery done with silver thread. Peep closer yet and you’ll discover that the pinstripes on the silk T-shirt worn inside are composed of words synonymous with the house (think “Coco” and “Paris”). The clever illusions continue with looks such as this translucent shirt dress (opposite, near left) that from afar looks like it’s swathed in sequins, but is actually made of tulle and the brand’s signature “fantasy” tweed woven intricately with metallic yarn. The ruffles on the likes of shorts (opposite, far left) are really tiers of hen feathers and raffia embroidered by the Chanel-owned metiers d’art Lemarie, a process that took 31 hours to complete.
If you thought that the glittery tunic-style mini dresses and separates that went down Fendi’s runway are made from lurex or lamé, you’re wrong on both counts. The liquid-like shimmer is in fact the result of embroidering translucent sequins of different colours in a Vichy – or gingham – pattern onto lightweight fabrics such as silk, giving us some of the season’s dreamiest getaway staples. (Opposite) True to Prada’s brand of intellectual luxury, the abstract patterned coats from this season are made from what the brand describes as a “couture fabric”, a tactile silk brocade featuring an artisanally woven quilted pattern. Taking Madame Miuccia’s penchant for puka necklaces to the next level: the accompanying – and unexpected – multi-strand versions that combine shells of Nassarius Pullus sea snails from the Philippines with natural baroque cultured pearls, all laboriously arranged from small to big to rest elegantly on the neck.
With the models striding jauntily down the Tod’s runway at the brand’s show last September, it might have been hard to see just how many miniature bags were attached to the oversized keychain strap worn wristlet-style by several of them. The answer: four, though the version in-store will boast three – one for your smartphone (17x10x2.5cm), one for cards (10.5x8x1.5cm) and one for earphones (6x6x3cm), all detachable but sold as a set. (Opposite) It’s little surprise for Dior’s garden-themed collection to feature plenty of floral motifs. Did you know however that the digital prints of botanical illustrations – dubbed Utopia – are based on the ones found on the costumes creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri had designed for the Sebastien Bertaud ballet performance of the same name last year?
To evoke the idea of air – also the name of the collection – at Emporio Armani, Mr Armani plays with an unexpected mix of diaphanous and reflective materials that span velvet to metallic leather to translucent paillettes and organza. When paired together, they create the illusion of romantic lightness. Plexiglass top-handle bags complete the narrative. (Opposite) Givenchy artistic director Clare Waight Keller pairs feminine, vintage-style blouses with elegantly tailored denim jeans with the distressed finish on the latter in fact “natural” – the fabric was upcycled and dates back to the ’90s. Meanwhile, the exceptionally rich texture of the collection’s guipure lace evening dresses are the result of embroidering three-dimensional floral appliques all over.