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Fashion: The top shows this season – from goddess inspired pieces to a full Westwood wardrobe revamp

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The streets of Milan, Paris, London and New York have been busy showcasing the work of fashion houses from all over the globe. With feeds full of hundreds of catwalk looks, Fashion Editor Isabelle Moore rounds up the four stand-out shows from this season that every fashion lover should know about.

Schiaparelli Spring/Summer 2024 Ready-to-Wear

Schiaparelli’s S/S RTW 2024 collection was all about duality. It aimed to showcase the combination of two things: the ease of being an American and the rigour of French chic. We see the origins of this duality from the late Elsa Schiaparelli, the eccentric, Parisian designer who created the fashion house back in 1927 and the current American Creative Director, Daniel Roseberry.

The collection was a marriage between the rich, classic Schiaparelli colours of black and gold, contrasted with a more muted palette of white and ecrus. The models showcased a range of glamourous looks; some more rigid constructions in the form of blazers and dresses, akin to the houses showstopping couture creations. Overall, the collection was much more focused on ease of movement.

A standout look was one worn by model, Maggie Maurer, which consisted of an ecru tuxedo shirt that was tucked into a long, fully gathered skirt, decorated with a 3D embroidered lobster on the front (an obvious reference to Elsa Schiaparelli and her close friend and artist Salvador Dalí).

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A pair of Chuck-Taylor converse style trainers also debuted in the collection, creating a casual streetwear vibe that translated Roseberry’s sense of Americanness. This collection showcased the brands’ ability to take everyday styles, and elevate them in true Schiaparelli couture fashion.

Vivienne Westwood Spring/Summer 2024 Ready-to-Wear

For the Vivienne Westwood S/S 2024 RTW presentation, Andreas Kronthaler, Dame Vivienne Westwood’s lifelong partner and creative, paid tribute to his late wife through a collection based on her own personal wardrobe. “When I archived Vivienne’s private wardrobe in April and May, I thought, ‘This is going to be the next collection,’” he expressed before the show.

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However, simply replicating the garments would not have been in Westwood’s spirit, so Kronthaler reworked and manipulated the looks to fit the brand’s current design vision. Some highlights from the collection include an oversized floor-length bow hat from the Fall 2009 collection, and a bridal gown with an exaggerated corset from the Spring 2012 collection.

Kronthaler used the old school method of picking numbers out of a hat to decide which outfits would appear on the runway, allowing fate to work its magic. The show was made up of 34 looks, which had a heart-warming significance as this was the number of years Westwood and her husband had known each other.

At a time when many brands are focusing so heavily on the commercial viability of runway pieces; it’s refreshing to see such an emotional, raw and genuine collection that has the true essence of Westwood and her legacy running throughout. 

Di Petsa Spring 2024 Ready-to-Wear 

Greek designer Dimitra Petsa’s Spring 2024 RTW collection was inspired by Venus, the Goddess of Love. Her aim was to highlight the idea that when we’re babies, we experience unconditional love. However, as you grow older love gradually becomes conditional, encouraging us to go on our journey of discovering unconditional self-love.

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The collection, titled ‘The Birth of Venus’, displayed many references to Di Petsa’s signature ‘wet look’, while the colour story entailed hues of gold, shimmery silver, white and khaki, giving the clothes an ethereal glow. Glass beads, shells and crystals embellished the pieces in areas, creating intricate detail and adding extra dimension. A new material was also showcased by the designer, displayed through delicately knit dresses. Here, left over scraps of cotton seemed to be reworked and purposely distressed to give them a sea foam effect. 

It’s clear through this collection that Petsa and her team have perfectly encapsulated the oceanic and celestial vibe of Venus, with all her model’s appearing to look like modern-day Greek goddesses’.

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2024 Ready-to-Wear

During this season’s Paris Fashion Week, Sarah Burton took her final bow for Alexander McQueen, a brand she has devoted her entire career to since the passing of Lee Alexander McQueen in 2010. Dedicated to the memory of the late designer, Burton explained the collection was inspired by “female anatomy, Queen Elizabeth I, the blood red rose and Magdalena Abakanowicz, a powerfully creative artist who refused to compromise her vision”.

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The show was full of typical McQueen drama with an array of precisely tailored suits, deconstructed bodices and articulated boning and breast cups, creating a sleek and sharp look. However, these classic structural pieces were juxtaposed with ones that had much more movement, evident through the use of thread embroidery, crystals and beads that dripped from the materials.

The late McQueen’s design identity was present, throughout the incorporation of the low-rise ‘bumster’ pants that helped him become famous in his early career. Overall, this collection highlighted what Burton was able to bring to Alexander McQueen as she honoured the house’s namesake, “whose wish was always to empower women”.

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Isabelle Moore

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