Last Looks: Yesterday’s Runways at Balenciaga, Céline, Akris and Givenchy
Phoebe Philo runs a well-oiled fashion house at Céline, continually creating pieces that are beautiful in their simplicity and blend tasteful wearability with innovative silhouettes.
Philo delivered yet again Sunday, giving us a seasonless collection of kick-flare pants, lengthy tunics and leather toppers in soft ivory, beige, black and ochre. Oversized, strong-collared men’s shirts over ultra-wide-leg pants took the once trendy pajama dressing to the streets in a less sleepy-eyed way by working with stiffer fabrics and bigger proportions. Ruched, crinkled and knotted satin frocks were worn over flowing wide-leg trousers, while oblong crystal belts linked like chains were featured on a number of fit-and-flare midis. The label’s beloved bags were tied around waists (like a fanny pack, but so much better) or wrapped around wrists.
Akris’ Albert Kriemler proved that just because he’s designing for fall, doesn’t mean he’s going to give in to its dark palette. Making the influence of his African family voyage apparent, Kriemler went crazy for an ombré of warm colors, commencing the show with primary oranges and eventually fading to candy reds and chocolate browns and aubergines. For the most part, he stuck to the brand’s defining simplicity save for his mix of safari prints like zebra stripes, leopard spots and the less ubiquitous tortoiseshell markings and wrinkled hide-esque stitching. Silhouettes were mainstream, knits were luxe, furs shaggy or sleek and leathers well structured or appliquéd into scales, while angular Masai-inspired wraps and full velvet ensembles brought a touch of innovation.
Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia (aka one design half of the fashion phenomenon that is Vetements) has taken Balenciaga in a new direction.
Referencing ‘50s couture, its silhouettes and posing, Gvasalia’s pieces relied less on a model’s movement and more on a garment’s structure. The result? Two-piece suits and plaid midi dresses with hunched, curving shoulders and padded hips for a dramatically nipped waist. Off-the-shoulder ski jackets, puffer coats, trenches, shearling bombers and leather motos were especially pleasing, particularly layered over bejeweled turtlenecks or men’s shirts. Pattern appeared on flowing multifloral scarf dresses and voluminous blooming jacquard skirts, before the collection closed with surprisingly practical trenches and a fur topper.
Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci put every throwback collection in its place Sunday, taking his design inspiration back to the start of civilization with an Egypt-meets-rock ’n’ roll show theme.Kaleidoscopic prints and eye motifs were prominent, with hints of old-school naval jackets and rock-star animal prints mixed in. Layering coats seems to be a thing this season, seen this time with metallic appliqué jackets, jacquard boleros and winter toppers all doubling up. Egyptian bird themes, reengineered mandalas and Eye of Horus prints decorated neck scarves and dresses that weaved through the wooden labyrinth set. Toward the end, Tisci brought out head-to-toe noir looks reminiscent of the fashion house’s simpler days, before one needed a degree in hieroglyphics to interpret the season.