Although I basically don’t even know how I’m going to pay for breakfast tomorrow, thanks to the fashion industry, I’m already calculating how many organs I have to sell in order to afford style next fall. Fall/Winter Fashion Week 2010 madness has already subsided, and now that it’s been almost two months (yeah, fashion people think way ahead) since I’ve been planning my day around Milan time to catch the live streaming of the Prada show, I think it is time everybody is brought up to speed. You only have six months to prepare yourself–the it girls could be wearing enormous slashed purple tutus round their torsos (a la Viktor & Rolf S/S 2010) or, heaven forbid, the 80s could resurface…again, and you would be completely unprepared for potential encounters with dangerous shoulder spikes or death by smothering of tulle. Lucky for us all, the four major houses of fashion forged ahead with the unrelenting pace of the industry, yet there was a definite sense of a sticking-to-your-guns, timeless style approach that pervaded my four favorite shows of the season.
1. Burberry Prorsum
Burberry Prorsum, led by the dashing British king of cool Christopher Bailey, looked into the design house’s archives of aviator jackets and created an “it coat” as versatile as the iconographic Burberry trench. The shearling coats, flung over filmy lace dresses and thigh high boots in various stages of oversized and cropped proportions and lined with rows of leather buckles, were a continuation of his menswear line that debuted just weeks before. The versatile and classic Burberry aesthetic, in Bailey’s words “strong and sexy, masculine and feminine,” grounds this fall trend in the vision of the house as a whole. The Burberry Girl of Christopher Bailey direction is, like the face of the brand, Emma Watson, classy and classic, yet utterly desirable, as every boy I know can attest to.
2. Dolce & Gabanna
Dolce & Gabanna most literally revisited their line’s staples of lingerie, leopard print and polka dots that embody their iconic Italian sex bomb ideal by sending them all down the runway at once. Fitted together and playing off one another, the quintessential elements of Dolce & Gabanna were redone with taste and humility. The prelude to the show was a video of them in the atelier, draping and fitting along with the multitude of white-coated craftsmen and women, grounding their review of their work in the love of the art of fashion.
Miuccia Prada, personal hero and visionary, released her models into the maze of the crowd, darting off at random moments set to a skittering free jazz track. The classic Prada fabrics, silhouettes and playful perversion were re-imagined through a “Mad Men”-esque filter complete with beehives and 60s skirts made of Prada’s signature double-faced cashmere. While the show was one of refining her classics, Miuccia pushed the envelope as usual, drawing all eyes to a usually non-existent feature of her models. Perfectly placed ruffles, cut-outs and an actual external pointy bra put unavoidable emphasis on her curvaceous models’ decolletage, namely Lara Stone, size four anomaly extraordinaire, which marked a shift towards the “real woman” in a sartorial and subversive way.
4. Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton finished the season off, closing Paris fashion week with one last reinforcing return to the classics. Marc Jacobs picked up where Prada left off, whole-heartedly celebrating the woman’s body by casting models with boobs and women over 40–gasp! (Elle McPherson!) His progressive, rebellious move was an aesthetic shift away from the anonymous teenage skeleton and a refocusing of the house around classic beauty. The line also used 60s silhouettes and plenty of womanly curves, but in Marc’s hands using corsets and ladylike skirts in a luxe leather so buttery, I start salivating.