Best and Worst of Fashion Month
By: Alex Germain
If you’re invested at all in the world of fashion, this time of year is always an exciting one. There are runways, lookbooks, and plenty of opinions flooding your feeds. It’s fashion week season! This is the time of year when brands debut their brand-new spring/summer collections in New York, Milan, Paris, and London across the months of September and October. I’ve been paying attention to each house’s collections, and have definitely found looks that pique my interest and others which aren’t so interesting. Here are some of my favs and least favs from this current season.
This look from YSL really encapsulates what I love about their collection. As an homage to the hooded dresses YSL showcased in the 1980s, designer Anthony Vaccarello perfectly contrasted the sheer, flowing dresses with retro sunglasses and leather jackets, creating an aura of sophistication and elegance. This look in particular highlights this contrast, and I love the varying shades of green on display.
Inspired by hiking in the desert, Hermés designer Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski showcased a collection full of desert hues and nods to technical outerwear. Her use of shades of brown in this collection is masterful, and I love the coats and parkas she introduced. This look in particular also highlights Hermés’ ever-strong leather work, with the overcoat’s dotted detailing being a standout for me from this collection.
One common theme among this year’s showings was the return of boxier 80s silhouettes, with more overt references being on display in collections such as Junya Watanabe’s. Chanel’s offering this year had more restraint, with Coco Chanel’s costume design being the primary inspiration. However, the boxy silhouettes still shone through, with the collection featuring cropped coats paired with mini skirts and evening dresses. I love the contrast of the pastels with the blacks and whites, and the ribbon detailing on pieces such as the footwear made the garments pop.
Demna is never one for subtlety, and this year’s Balenciaga runway was no different. The designer’s trademark baggy pants, chunky sneakers, and y2k sunglasses made a return, with new additions of abstract shaped scarfs and a dress made of cut up handbags. While I admire Demna’s disregard for convention, this show felt like the latest in an overall trend of mediocrity for the designer. His use of shock can only carry him so far, and when you take away the muddy runways and clashing prints, what you’re left with is 90s inspired streetwear which feels like it’s been done before.
As an avid fan of Junya Watanabe’s prior work, especially his men’s FW22 collection, his offering this year left something to be desired. The 80s revival is in full swing, with Watanabe's use of boxy power suits and neon accents showing its influence. However, to me, this collection feels a bit too referential. While Watanabe’s never one to shy away from showing his influences, this collection is a mish mash of 80s references, with models having Flock of Seagulls esque haircuts while wearing punk inspired denim and 80s business inspired tops. I’m not getting too much of an overall message of this collection, but with a bit of tweaking, I think Watanabe could’ve had a much better collection on his hands.
Virgil Abloh’s passing was devastating to the fashion industry at large. The team at Off-White has decided to carry on his legacy, taking inspiration from his past designs and creating collections that embody his creative spirit. This collection was already in its initial stages when Virgil passed in 2021, and his design trademarks are on full display, with pieces featuring circular cutouts and unfinished hems. However, I believe since his passing Off-White hasn’t been quite the same, and while the team has done its best, it can’t quite recapture the energy he brought to the label. The cutouts featured in this collection feel awkwardly placed, and the theme of the human body feels explored only at a surface level, with x-ray and muscle prints featured on some pieces. They feel a bit too similar to Walter Van Beirendonck’s work and aren’t really exploring anything we haven’t seen before. I personally hope they wind down Off-White and leave the brand’s past collections as part of Virgil’s legacy, but we will see what the future holds for the brand.