There was a refreshing shift on the runways this season, and it had little to do with the clothes and everything to do with the casting. While plenty of new faces graced the catwalks as usual, the real surprise was the reappearance of some of the greatest models of the ’90s. Yasmin Le Bon walked at Calvin Klein, Stella Tennant and Georgina Grenville starred at Ferragamo, and Shalom Harlow — who hasn’t set foot on the runway in years — closed Versace (in a floral lace gown and a cloud of her natural ringlets). These women added to the shows a kind of diversity that has been lacking: a range of ages. They also lent strength to the collections, thanks in part to their walks: the powerful, showstopping strides of the original supermodels. — MALINA JOSEPH GILCHRIST, style director, women’s, T magazine


“Fashion shows are for transporting people,” Balenciaga designer Demna Gvasalia told Vogue this season, “otherwise there’s no point.” His show was one of the season’s most surreal transports. He compared working on a collection presentation to working on a movie, and in fact, it was Luc Besson’s studio on the outskirts of Paris where he held his show, in a digital tunnel that dripped, melted and swooped through a simulated reality. It was the work of the digital artist Jon Rafman, whom Gvasalia had met at Art Basel, and the effect was practically mind-melting, a digi-dystopia for an elegant but surreal collection.

He wasn’t the only designer to incorporate artwork into the runway experience. At Loewe, Jonathan Anderson installed several rooms of artwork at Maison de l’Unesco for his show: There were woven baskets in some (by Joe Hogan, a finalist for this year’s Loewe Craft Prize and one of its past winners), ceramics in others (by Ryoji Koie) and, in the room where I was seated, giant whirring brushes of the kind that you might otherwise find at a car wash (by Lara Favoretto) — after the show, security guards gleefully posed alongside them. And at Vivienne Westwood, Andreas Kronthaler went full circus. He worked with Bernhard Willhelm, who art directed the show; there were musclemen riding scooters and models riding skateboards and, as a centerpiece, an enormous paper sculpture by the London-based set designer Gary Card, who spent the show in the middle of it all, fixing and remolding it with a team of assistants wielding bottles of flame retardant. The cumulative effect — and how often can you say this at a fashion show — was a good time had by all. — MATTHEW SCHNEIER, deputy fashion critic and reporter, Styles


The constant search for New! and More Original! and Never-Used-Before-for-a-Show venues can drive designers to some obscure places, and pretty risky choices. This season that meant a plethora of shows held en plein-air, unpredictable weather patterns be damned. In New York, rain poured down on Telfar’s show at the Blade helipad on 34th street (and a temporary tarp erected above guests’ heads blew away); it dripped off the umbrellas into attendees’ legs in the Marble Cemetery garden in the East Village at Rodarte, as well as onto the tulle dresses sprinkled among the roses; and it misted over the benches placed outside the original frame houses at the Weeksville Heritage Center, a historic Brooklyn site commemorating one of the first free African-American communities of the 19th century, where Kerby Jean-Raymond set his Pyer Moss show.

Things were balmier in Milan, when Missoni held its 65th anniversary show on a rooftop, though the wind did pick up enough to make it hard for musical guest star Michael Nyman to turn the pages of his sheet music. And in Paris, everyone got downright lucky: Hermès staged its show at the Hippodrome de Longchamp where the horse track was obscured by a giant runway-long mirror angled up to reflect the clouds drifting across a soft blue sky; Sonia Rykiel unveiled a collection at night in a pedestrian thoroughfare in the Sixth Arrondissement of Paris, a.k.a. the newly christened Allée Sonia Rykiel (the first street ever named after a designer in the city); and Marine Serre’s latest looks traversed an elevated walkway overlooking endless railroad tracks. There were more, but you get where we’re going. — V.F.




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