Miu Miu: All Covered Up
“We started with everything that is big and fun,” said Miuccia Prada, referring to her big tweedy coats which appeared in many forms on the Miu Miu runway.
Then there were the crystal jewels, chunks of decoration dangling on breasts, and the giant — or rather, frilled yokes — that were another statement.
It seems that Miuccia likes it big — especially for her favourite Hollywood starlets, who sat front row —including Léa Seydoux, Renée Zellweger and Imogen Poots — looking like fairy-tale figures about to be engulfed by the clothes.
In contrast to earlier Miu Miu collections, the shoes themselves seemed reasonable: mostly light slingbacks or ankle boots, always adding stripes with a dash of colour — as if the collection needed it!
The set was like a giant bedroom, with faintly patterned fabric wall coverings. I guess you would need an enormous space in which to contemplate the choice of colourful coats, which would have filled full a wardrobe. They certainly engulfed the collection.
These coats were striking and colourful, following the tweed theme that has been all over the Winter 2015 runways. And if the Miu Miu tweed weaves were beige and brown, the miniskirts beneath popped with colour — say scarlet or yellow.
The frilled yokes were more rustic and innocent, especially with tweed dirndl skirts.
But for all the striped lines and smart plaid, it seemed like a long series of items on a single theme.
Moncler Gamme Rouge: The Thrill of the Hunt
The set floor was done up like a country hillside in winter, and over it marched women exulting in outdoor wear.
No, this was not the expected puffy jackets from Moncler Gamme Rouge, but rather tailored tweed coats, perhaps with a fur bottom half. Even if there were zippered pockets, the cut would be firmly tailored.
Giambattista Valli has been taking this branch of Moncler in various directions. But this season seemed more about the clothes, and with far less gimmicky themes than earlier offerings.
Even without the horses, the mood was of garments cut for the saddle: a tailored scarlet hunting jacket, or a top half squeezed into a tiny waist, whether the fabric was fur or checked tweed.
The equestrian helmets, small and jaunty, immediately suggested horsing about at a hunt.
I had already noted a new strictness in this sporty range, and by the time that British soldiers appeared on stage in their bearskin hats and red jackets, it was totally on message.
“It is all about sport, but I wanted something that was more original — more tailoring, more technical,” said Giambattista backstage. “And think, a long weekend of hunting with these young and fresh women would be very nice!”
Iris van Herpen: “Hacking Infinity”
The shoes were crystal clusters on which the models’ feet were precariously balanced.
The dresses were mesh, but with an other-worldly effect, as though they had landed from outer space onto planet fashion.
But this was not just yet-another version of a space journey, inspired by the Sixties moon landing. It was Iris van Herpen’s exceptional research into fabric, and its performance for 2015 and into the unknown future.
For the first time, the Dutch designer put on a show that looked like fashion — ot just some excursion into the digital universe. Yet behind the dresses, either slim and short or flaring out gently above the knees, were extraordinary inventions.
“The collection is called ‘Hacking Infinity’, and its overall inspiration is the creation of a biosphere on another planet,” said Iris. “It is on the edge of science-fiction reality. It is possible, and they are working on it. But this was my fantasy of what people could look like and how materials could evolve, and how silhouettes could change. So really it is the fantasy of living on another planet.”
I was utterly bemused by this explanation, so I asked Iris about the fabrics, which often had an ethereal, reflective quality, or looked as though they were created from metal. The latter was correct: it was a translucent, super-light, stainless steel weave.
Since these otherworldly fabrics were used for tops and thin trousers, there was a basic normality to the collection — discounting perhaps the heel-less 3D cluster shoes, which looked like a volcanic eruption. They were made in collaboration with Japanese shoe designer Noritaka Tatehana.
The backstory in fabrics was extraordinary. Nothing in four weeks of collections had prepared me for Iris’s explanation of the “burnt oil mesh”. “We have been creating the collage that you see by fire only, so there is no paint or anything in it,” she said.
“We created a really thin metal reef from stainless steel, and we literally melt it with fire, burning it, and we can decide the amount of heat. This is all hand burnt, so each colour that you see is done by fire.”
I know little about these scientific processes, but I have the greatest respect for Iris and her trail of discovery.
Rahul Mishra: Birdsong
There was a tweet — of a bird, not the digital variety — to close the four-week international season.
Rahul Mishra, the Indian designer who goes far beyond his country’s fashion clichés of vivid colours and sari prints, sent out one of those rare collections of quiet beauty.
Yes, there was a little flesh on view — and not just because of the nude fabrics that moved from the blush of a dawn sky to midnight blue. Part of a wispy chiffon skirt veiled a stretch of leg. But mostly, where there was a window on the body, there was a bird — embroidered perhaps at the midriff — and a symbol of the village where Rahul Mishra grew up, in North India’s Uttar Pradesh. In his show notes he described the equilibrium between man and nature in that peaceful and sustainable coexistence.
The designer has brought employment to rural workers in remote places, importing wool from the surrounds of Sydney, Australia to be transformed by Indian hand workers.
The delicacy of the knits, which were so fine that they could barely be identified as wool on the runway, was breathtaking. Such pieces illustrated why the designer won the International Woolmark Prize 2013-14.
I liked the perky sparrow embroidered on a wool and silk organza dress. But I was also moved by an embroidered pattern of the rooftops of village huts to mark the place that Rahul Mishra still calls home.