Over the last five weeks, across New York, London, Milan and Paris, BoF has reported from over 140 of the most important fashion shows of the season. Thank you for following BoF and supporting the industry's global platform for independent commentary on the business of fashion week. Here are our Top 10 Shows of Spring/Summer 2016, as selected by the editors of BoF. Until next season!
LONDON, United Kingdom — This season, we saw lots of change, renewal and wider reflection on fashion’s place in the cultural landscape.
In New York, Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci’s powerful runway spectacle, embedded with Marina Abramović-directed performance artworks and witnessed by 1200 members of the public, pushed the idea of fashion show as consumer entertainment further than ever before. Then, closing the week, Marc Jacobs’ blockbuster show at the Ziegfeld theatre commented in no uncertain terms on fashion’s relationship with fame and celebrity.
In London, a number of collections, notably Burberry, reflected the rise of the increasingly global, mobile and trans-seasonal consumer. Leather, wool and other traditionally Autumn/Winter materials were on show. Standouts were Mary Katrantzou’s cosmic collection, shown in a sea of mirrored blue, and Erdem Moralioglu’s eerie ode to prairie madness.
Alessandro Michele’s reinvention of the Gucci brand was on everybody’s lips in Milan. His colourful and deft splicing of esoteric references and brand codes made for the best show in what was one of the strongest Milan fashion weeks in years, where Donatella Versace also shone brightly.
The appointment of Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga dominated headlines at the tail end of a Paris fashion week that featured a number of standout collections, from Sarah Burton’s Huguenot heroines at Alexander McQueen to Chitose Abe’s distorted, vintage-inflected hybrids at Sacai.
Last season, BoF wondered what was holding designers back from making bolder, more creative statements. That was not a problem this season. Here are BoF’s Top 10 Shows of the Season.
1. Gucci – designed by Alessandro Michele, MFW
“It began with a thunderclap. As disconcerting as the catwalk carpet, woven with pink snakes in full 3D effect. Alessandro Michele announced his presence in ways both overpowering and insinuating. Fashion is his language, clothes are his words. He put everything in front of us, a gorgeous chaos of old and young, old and new, done and unfinished, shiny and dull, prim and louche, magical and terrifying. Michele’s particular skill is to make that past look like something the future might crave.” — Tim Blanks
2. Marc Jacobs – designed by Marc Jacobs, NYFW
"Marc Jacobs' witty, provocative, extravagant, mind-blowing fashion spectacular was a fascinating conversation between high and low, glamour and grunge. Everything seemed outsize. There were thirty styles of shoes, acres of sequins, Norma Shearer shoulders broadened, Betty Grable shorts shortened, floors swept with peignoirs and red-carpet-ready gowns lifted from Hollywood’s Golden Age." — Tim Blanks
3. Versace – designed by Donatella Versace, MFW
"Everything about the Versace show was gigantic. The venue was a huge domed space called the Citylife Palace. Strobed by spotlights, it felt like a rollerball arena. And the collection? The biggest, best thing Donatella Versace has ever marched down a catwalk. Maybe it was the scale of the venue that unleashed the beast within. Or perhaps it was her recent proximity to Riccardo Tisci that inspired her to kick back, then stomp." — Tim Blanks
"After a somewhat muted beginning with the house, Nicolas Ghesquière unleashed himself with a dazzling Spring collection for Louis Vuitton. His presentation was a digital assault on the senses, sound and vision combining to make the audience feel like they were inside the Matrix. The trousers alone marked a return to the form that made Ghesquière famous. The word “return” would undoubtedly stick in his craw, so it’s better, then, to imagine that this is a preview of a dazzling future." — Tim Blanks
5. Vetements – designed by Demna Gvasalia, PFW
"Set in the kitschy ambiance of a restaurant in Paris' Chinatown, with a wonderful cast of stray cats and weirdos, today's show was a reaffirmation of the classic Vetements tropes, only louder. There was the oversized mannish tailoring and the floral dresses, the reworked workwear and the oversized sweatshirts, the glitter and the sturdy leather. And this time around, the offering was visibly wider and more mature, with a stronger emphasis on genderless-ness." — Angelo Flaccavento
6. Sacai – designed by Chitose Abe, PFW
"If Sacai’s signature has always been the hybrid — formal and casual, hard and soft — Abe pushed it here, so that garments tumbled into glorious disarray, necklines and waistbands giving way with gay abandon. Front-on catwalk photography will never do them justice, because it was out back that the most extraordinary effects were achieved. Outfits switched personalities from behind, the way a blue sweater, for instance, sprouted chiffon wings, or a slip dress flipped sides, inside to out." — Tim Blanks
7. Rick Owens – designed by Rick Owens, PFW
"The message of the Rick Owens show was loud and clear: she ain’t heavy, she’s my sister. The women on his catwalk carried other women artfully attached to their bodies. As strenuous as this exercise surely was — even for the gymnasts and athletes these women were — there was no visible sense of effort. It was an emotional metaphor for the selflessness and community — the instinctive supportiveness that Owens wanted to celebrate." — Tim Blanks
8. Alexander McQueen – designed by Sarah Burton, PFW
“As ever, it was history that was the spine of Sarah Burton’s new collection for Alexander McQueen. Protestant Huguenot refugees, fleeing Catholic persecution in France, arrived in London in the late 17thcentury and settled in the East End, where they established the city’s garment industry. Pain touched with lyricism, coloured with resilience — could there be a better subject for McQueen? Burton did it full justice with long, sinuous silk dresses that were tattered but proud.” — Tim Blanks
9. Mary Katrantzou – designed by Mary Katrantzou, LFW
"The handful of dresses which opened Mary Katrantzou’s show today, were among the most beautiful she has ever created, which is really saying something in light of her past achievements. The irresistible analogy was alchemy, the transmutation of base materials into something rare, precious and beautiful. And Jamie Bochert’s luminous semi-flapper dress is surely a candidate for look of the season." — Tim Blanks
10. Yohji Yamamoto – designed by Yohji Yamamoto, PFW
"Once loved to death, Yohji had fallen from his privileged place in the hearts of the fashion crowd (save for a bunch of die-hard fans) for some time now. However, Mr Yamamoto is back with a vengeance and the crowd screaming and pushing outside the Hotel de Ville to get into today's show was definitive proof. What did they see? Black from beginning to finish — with a slash of red; draped dresses and various attacks on the bustier and crinoline shapes." — Angelo Flaccavento