Typically, gazing in at fashion weeks around the world (even the men’s ones and even—no, especially—the resort ones!) through the grand windows of the Internet, I feel impassioned in one way or another, whether it be a new burning desire for pearls or a sound rejection of the onslaught of neons. But this season I felt generally… tired. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. The energy at shows seemed to reflect that feeling too—with many people consumed by the unsustainable nature of runway shows and the threats of viral outbreak overtaking excitement about clothing.
But, of course, there were bright spots across all of New York, London, Milan, and Paris. Virginie Viard made Chanel feel minty-fresh, current, and definitively wearable. Area vied for its spot as the defining voice of New York’s fashion scene and made me want to dress like a big heart, not just have one. At Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia offered a take on apocalypse dressing that felt grounded in a genuine love for people and their clothing rather than in speculative fear. No matter how dreary the world might seem, there are always little moments of beauty in the mix. Below, I pulled out my own from the past month and recreated them.
Sixties Simplicity at Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs’s runway shows make me emotional, partly because I began my career working on them, but also because they always capture the fantastical nature of fashion so perfectly with detailed sets and vibrant music and–at this show in particular–art in the form of a full-fledged dance performance.
Marc really seems to have hit his stride as an innovator again. The collection feels bold in how pared-back it is, celebrating good design without promoting excess. Rendered in simple monochrome, the sixties-era shapes so integral to Marc’s style feel fresh. Don’t go calling him a utilitarian just yet, though–there are still evening coats and iridescent-silk ball gowns, they’ve just been made comfortable enough for breathing and brooding.
After watching the show, I was inspired to pull out one of my evening coats from the depths of my closet and let it speak for itself, no accoutrements necessary. Okay, I still needed dramatic gloves, but other than that, no accoutrements, I tell you!
Transitional Tulle at Molly Goddard
Though she may be the reigning queen of tulle, Molly Goddard has both a BA and an MA in knitwear design, and I’m glad to see her steadily showing off more of this talent each season. Of course, I’m coming and staying for the layers of airy ruffles, but it’s always wonderful to see a designer diversify her wares, especially when it’s with sweaters this good. Goddard is one of a few designers (alongside Cecilie Bahnsen and Simone Rocha, in my humble opinion) who manages to show the same distinct silhouette each season and still make it feel new every time.
Here, freshness is cultivated by the sweater and trousers styled underneath Goddard’s signature tulle. The effect is dressed-down, especially when paired with cute bow beanies. I also love the styling choice of platform creepers, a decidedly British nod to youth culture and a choice that feels like an honest reflection of how her customers actually wear her dresses.
I created my own version of the look with a Molly Goddard dress (I bought it on the resale site Heroine for the holidays this year) and paired it with a vintage ski sweater on top, as it was too chunky to fit beneath, no matter how hard I tried, and a pair of sensible “work pants.” I’ve been struggling to find a non-festive way to wear this dress, and this feels like the perfect formula.
Futuristic Sequins at Christopher Kane
I love the spirit of this look, which seems to be looking toward the future of fashion without relying on tropes or borrowing from movies. Kane is a master of creating clever new manipulations of fabric, and his talent is on transparent display here (pun somewhat intended) in this dress made from transparent sequins applied to tulle. The effect is mesmerizing, as evidenced by this video that I can’t stop watching. In the comments, viewers describe the look of the fabric as everything from “a walk in the rain” to “jellyfish” to “melted chocolate,” which are all somehow incredibly accurate.
The thickly knitted neckline adds a sort of Prada-esque tension between dressed and undressed which I so love, and the unusual blushy-brown color also has a hint of Miuccia to it. This dress seems like a strong contender for a celebrity style moment, a natural evolution of the nearly-naked Jacquemus dresses that have dominated my Instagram lately. I used this as an excuse to bust out my own Jacquemus top that I was saving for summer and paired it with the only raisin-colored item I have in my possession. It’s not a completely accurate dupe, but I don’t think anything could be–therein lies Kane’s genius! Well, there, and in his revival of his coveted jelly-filled accessories.
Marie Antoniette Vibes at Moschino
My reasons for loving this collection are purely selfish. Marie Antoinette is my favorite movie and I actually have a bust of her in my bathroom that I say goodnight to every night. I’ve been hoping for quite some time that the fashion world’s current obsession with the Renaissance would move forward in history toward the 18th century. More pastels! More panniers!
Putting my personal predilections aside, these clothes are amazing. Are they wearable? Absolutely not. But they are a reminder that sometimes fashion needs nothing more than to be frivolous and capital-F Fun. (There is also, of course, the reminder that too much frivolousness and fun leads to losing one’s head, literally.)
A Bit of Everything at Gucci
I know I talk about Gucci all the time, but it just keeps getting better! I take back everything I said about my craze for the brand not lasting into 2020. This season, Alessandro Michele seemed particularly eager to show off his talent as a purveyor of ingenious styling ideas. Wardrobe staples like big-collared blouses, plaid blazers, and slouchy jeans were given a runway-worthy refresh with the addition of Pilgrim hats, smocked babydoll dresses, and leather harnesses. Though I loved every single look equally, I was drawn to recreate this one because it seemed like the perfect way to give last spring’s prairie dresses a subversive update.
More than ever before, this collection of Michele’s felt like a powerful celebration of personal style and a much-needed reminder that the best place to seek inspiration is your own closet. The second best place is probably Gucci.
The exercise of picking through these shows made me fall in love with the runway all over again. And while I don’t want runway shows to end, it’s clear that something about the system needs to change. Designers deserve a schedule that allows them to create to their full potential, and the industry as a whole needs to take quick, long strides toward sustainability. From Copenhagen Fashion Week implementing an unprecedentedly strong environmental initiative to Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons announcing their partnership as co-creative directors at Ms. Prada’s hallowed brand, one thing became clear this month: there’s no time like the present to move forward.
So I have to ask, what do you do when you’re feeling uninspired?