What does it signify when you show your first five looks in darkness so inkily profound that all the audience can see is the barest underlit shadow of your brogue-trainers and bronze-capped, abstractly stitched formals? Answer: You are either atrociously, delusionally arrogant, or you are rather brilliant—and confident enough to know it. And perhaps you are the creative director of a brand rooted in shoes. Happily for the balance of critical karma, in this case the answer was the latter.
Riccardo Tisci grew up in Italy dreaming of America, which has frequently fed his men’s collections for Givenchy. A book he came across detailing the obsessions of certain kids in Africa – cowboys, heavy metal – unleashed a torrent of new ideas on his fall runway. He also blended in recent travels to Morocco and Berlin, yielding a diverse and energetic collection.
With the Nineties trending in Paris, obvious references to the period can be a temptation. Stephanie Hahn steered clear of them, producing an athletic collection with a deluxe feel that harked back to the ravers of Manchester’s famous nightclub, The Haçienda, mixed with English huntsmen dressing.
Sébastien Meunier came over all touchy-feely with his fall collection for Ann Demeulemeester, which he described as an ode to a modern-day Adonis. Textural effects abounded as the designer used materials including mohair, fil coupé and an alpaca-silk blend to create deep-pile effects on glossy coats, jackets and pants.
Junya Watanabe’s strength is in the relentless reiteration of a single notion or motif, stuttering through synonyms for a particular term in fashion’s vocabulary. It’s an idea he often turns to in his shows—taking an archetypal item or technique, and then exhausting it.