It was a season that saw fashion insiders circumvent the globe in a whirlwind tour of exotic show locations that perfectly underscored each designer’s vision, resulting in a magical journey where fashion and destination became one. By Gerald Tan
From left: Models stand in the ﬁeld where Little House on the Prairie and Gone with the Wind were shot. The tents cut a graphic contrast against the blue sky. Little huts added to the charm of the presentation
The invitation for Dior’s cruise 2018 presentation arrived with no exact details of where in California the show would be held, though it came with the notice, “Wear flats. Dress comfortably.” In retrospect, the dress code made sense: Guests were chauffeured to the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve in Calabasas and had to navigate their way past the breath-taking expanse of gentle, undulating hills. As they sat outdoors under the canopy of souk-style tents, with two gigantic hot air balloons floating against the Californian sun, Maria Grazia Chiuri paraded a collection that navigated the fine balance between respecting the brand’s DNA and cementing her own code of aesthetics. The first point of contact for the clothes were the Lascaux cave paintings that once inspired Monsieur Dior himself in 1951. Touted to be the first recorded form of art works in Western history, Chiuri adapted the primitive drawings of horses and livestock herds across a slew of midi-length dresses. She added another reference to the collection: Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconoclastic style, which surfaced in the clothes as Western prints and an earthy colour scheme. Elsewhere, Stephen Jones’ embellished Amish-style hats further sealed the deal for Chiuri.
In Gabrielle Chanel’s legendary apartment on Rue Cambon sits a marble sculpture of Venus, the goddess of beauty. It was this masterpiece that fronted the elegantly embossed show invitations, along with the collection title, “La Modernité de L’Antiquité”, signalling the Greco-Roman slant for the season. Karl Lagerfeld dreamt up a sun-bathed Isle of Gods—except the sandy pavements, lofty pillars, chiselled rock sculptures and wooden structures were erected in Paris’ Grand Palais instead of Greece. They paved the way for modern-day Grecian goddesses bedecked in Delphos-pleated dresses, diaphanous palazzo pants, frayed tweed vests and airy ethereal gowns matched with a ton of gilt, from armour-like bustiers to wrist cuffs and laurel wreaths worn like crowns. The Gabrielle bag returned in Chanel’s signature black-and-white and an eye-catching red with an owl motif (also on a round minaudière). Gladiator sandals made the ultimate comeback at the show, criss-crossing toned gams in shades of coral, gold and azure, held high and mighty by Greek column heels complete with signature volutes.
Clockwise from top left: The ﬁnale at Chanel witnessed a league of Grecian goddesses walk the earth. Accessories such as sunglasses and jewellery pieces were anything but ordinary. Let a divine clutch be your armour. Chanel’s classic bag gets the crochet treatment. Pearls and coloured crystals inject celestial ﬂair
Samurai armour was reimagined as vests
Ghesquière mixed textures and layers for the collection
Jackets were architectural and came with nipped waists
The outﬁts looked ready for battle
The designer contrasted a leopard print jacket with the metallic sheen on a pair of skin-tight pants
In lesser hands, a reference bag of samurai armour, keikogi ties and kabuki makeup could result in clothes that look more at home on a Hollywood set than in a wardrobe. Thanks to Nicolas Ghesquière’s nuanced vision, however, Louis Vuitton’s cruise 2018 collection —held on the grounds of Kyoto’s Miho Museum—showcased designs that would make any woman glad to part with her money. Folkish Hokusai-like motifs were updated as metallic prints on two-piece suits and pants that glimmered with every step. The rich beauty of Noh theatre could be found in sheer dresses that were given weight with gold sequins and paired with glistening coloured pants for edge. Running throughout the collection was a bad-girl attitude that manifested in cropped biker jackets, V-shaped armoured vests and leather jackets that had been spliced with fur to typical Ghesquière perfection. Then, there were the sequinned kabuki print dresses and bags that had Japanese fashion icon and collaborator Kansai Yamamoto beaming from his seat—along with just about everybody else at the show.
Patent leather bags were given heavy-duty hardware
A touch of futurism was achieved by way of abstract graphics
After local authorities vetoed the use of Athens’ majestic Parthenon as the setting for Gucci’s cruise show, Alessandro Michele brought everyone back to where it all began for the House—Florence. The Palazzo Pitti, with its priceless trove of Renaissance art works, doubled up as the perfect backdrop to Michele’s fantastical creations. Inside the palace’s Palatine Gallery, flanked by hundreds of paintings, Michele showed a total of 100 looks, each playing up the romanticism that has made him a game-changer. From lace to jacquard, fur to tweed, Michele opted for ultra-luxurious fabrics as counterpoints to everyday denim and cotton. The prints came in abundance, with “Guccify” and “Guccification” etched on t-shirts, at the same time validating Michele’s innate understanding of what people on the streets want to wear. The trompe l’oeil numbers further evoked the magnetic charm of the venue while highlighting Michele’s playful streak.
From left: Gucci’s iconic web is reconﬁgured on a structured bag. Michele dialled up the drama with a pearl-encrusted headpiece. He proved his mastery once again by boldly clashing prints. There was no shortage of bags, such as this patchwork offering. A gown became an art canvas. Dragons danced across bags. Embellishments gave a feminine dress extra kick
Take a cue from the hottest cruise trends when you pack your bags for the ultimate getaway
Michael Kors Collection
We travel to be inspired and hit our inner reset button, so what better way to usher in this blank slate than dressing up in white? Often associated with innocence and purity, designers are utilising the pristine hue as the canvas from which they crafted clothes to evoke this refreshed state of mind. Michael Kors brilliantly used the soothing tone on a lightweight pantsuit that appealed to our desire to see the world. Over at Givenchy, white took on ultra-feminine undertones when applied on a divine lace dress. It was a feast for the eyes.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY WINDY AULIA, CHARMAINE HO AND DANA KOH. PHOTOGRAPHY: SHOWBIT; COURTESY OF THE BRANDS
Cut from supple leather at Diane von Furstenberg; dipped in regal emerald at Valentino; plastered with drawings of retro pin-up girls at Moschino… The humble trench coat has cast off its military associations and adopted a new shell for the cruise season. Thanks to the ingenious reworking by astute designers, the outerwear is not only a quality investment piece that’ll weather through the seasons with you, it’s now also a worthy companion for all of life’s adventures.
3.1 Phillip Lim
Diane von Furstenberg
The off -the-shoulder trend shows no signs of abating, what with designers rolling out even more options that declare the clavicle as fashion’s hottest erogenous zone. And why not? There’s no better way to mark a well-deserved break than letting the sun’s warmth caress the shoulders, after all. From halter-neck tops to asymmetrical dresses, some of the season’s best examples exuded a more grown-up and womanly allure: Miuccia Prada offered an austere version that was the final word on secretary chic, while Erdem’s strappy floral confection packed a rustic but sophisticated charm. ■