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Future Perfect

Fashion Week? Try Fashion Month. Four cities, 27 days (officially) and countless designers—some you know, some you may not. We’ve sifted through the shows (and have the whiplash to prove it) to find some of the most memorable moments and direction-setting fashion that will help you navigate the next six months in style.

New York

Fashion Week in the Big Apple got off to a rather slow start. Perhaps it was the oppressive heat or maybe the increasing number of designers opting to scale back in favor of showing their collections on Instagram a la fashion tech pioneer Misha Nonoo. That was of course until Kanye West staged his Vanessa Beecroft-choreographed performance art spectacle on Roosevelt Island. Already time-pressed editors were bussed in and traffic snarls (courtesy of the United Nations’ 71st session) made what should have been a 20-30 minute journey an hour and a half long torture.

Though the clothes were no surprise (the same flesh tone shapewear that you either love or hate) spectators got quite the shock when models began wilting in the heat. Whether or not West can continue to draw crowds next season will be telling. In terms of shock value, the rapper-designer has pretty stiff competition in the form of Hood by Air designer Shayne Oliver, whose collection more than paid tribute to the show’s main sponsor, Hustler Magazine.

On the opposite end of the style spectrum, eminence grise Ralph Lauren silenced any whispers about the state of his business affairs by calling in a favor to the mayor’s office and shutting down the entire city block outside of his Madison Avenue flagship. As a result, the guest list was  smaller but the statement was grand. At the end of the week, amid a parade of tastefully tweaked southwestern staples and bold hued, show-stopping evening numbers, there was no question as to Lauren’s status at the top of the fashion heap.

London

Always an inspiring mix of the traditional and the cutting edge, the capital city is teeming with buzzworthy new talent. Such an environment means that even heritage brands like Burberry must rethink strategies, as the trench coat go-to has done with it’s “see now, buy now” initiative. Always good for a stellar front row moment (Naomi! Kate! Cara!), the Burberry show is also a breeding ground for rising stars. Take long blonde maned model-of-the-moment Lady Jean Campbell. The regimental jackets and rich brocade dresses that Campbell rocked on the runway would be right at home at Scotland’s Cawdor Castle (of Macbeth fame), where the young model grew up.

Among the ones to watch, EDDA, the brainchild of recent London College of Fashion grad Edda Gimnes. Despite scarcely having been out of school for more than a year, Norwegian-born Gimnes has already managed to capture the attention of Italian Vogue with her trompe l’oeil-heavy wearable “canvases.”

Taking the term “premium denim” to new heights, the ever innovative Faustine Steinmetz embellished one very precious pair of her signature blues with 60,000, yes that’s five zeros, Swarovski crystals. Just how wearable are they? It’s hard to say as the models were in repose, gallery-style, in display boxes

Milan

No longer the least favorite among editors of the four fashion capitals (often flummoxed when they order a “latte” and receive a glass of milk), the Italian city has risen in popularity, thanks in no small part to Gucci’s Alessandro Michele. In only a few seasons, Michele has managed not only to reinvigorate Milan (and Gucci) creatively, but alter the course of current fashion as anyone who’s eyed an an embroidered satin H&M bomber can attest. So widespread is the “Gucci effect” that even Melania Trump rocked a head-to-toe pink ensemble featuring an unfortunately named “pussy bow” blouse to the second presidential debate. For spring, Michele’s maximalist approach was in full swing with exquisite embroideries and technical feats elevating the collection to borderline couture-level.   

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who recently opened their first boutique on Milan’s Via Montenapoleone (the duo shut down most of the street for an elaborate dinner party that involved a banquet table that was some 200 metres long), gave another great celebration of “Italianita”, highlights of which included spaghetti and gelato print frocks.

And just when you thought all the fun had gone out of fashion, along comes Jeremy Scott with a brilliantly executed trip down memory lane. The designer’s reinterpretation of Moschino house classics, in seemingly 2-D, “paper doll” form was certainly one of the month’s most memorable. Equally interesting to see will be how customers actually wear them.

Paris

Arguably the crown jewel in Fashion Month, there was a lot to be excited about both on and off the runway. The reopened Hemingway Bar at the recently renovated Ritz was the watering hole of choice for many (and certainly the most instagrammed) , with LouLou at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs being a close second.

Tout le monde was of course abuzz with Valentino alumna Maria Grazia Chiuri’s debut at Dior, who challenged the definition of femininity (beginning with straight jackets), graduated to a “We should all be feminists” slogan tee and wrapped things up with some downright ethereal tulle gowns.

Chiuri’s former partner in design, Pierpaolo Piccioli, proved a bit of a surprise hit. In addition to the romantic, floor length dresses that have become synonymous with his tenure at the Valentino, Piccioli added daywear and even enlisted Brit fashion designer Zandra Rhodes to design a few prints---one can’t help but wonder whether Rhodes’ signature pink hair influenced the color scheme.

The only thing that could possible rival the aforementioned Gucci effect? The Vetements effect. Demna Gvasalia has of course now taken his knack for toying with proportions to Balenciaga but it wasn’t the bold shoulders that stole the show—it was the footwear. While striking in still photos, the boots/stocking combo saw models painfully wobbling down the runway to the sound of George Michael’s lyrics “guilty feet have got no rhythm.” Could Gvasalia be in on the joke after all?

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