Fashion is pulling together to help raise awareness for the Asian elephant as two designers in Paris had animals in mind
An elephant and other endangered species have become visual signs and symbols in the spring/summer 2017 collections — without designers necessarily thinking about planet earth and its creatures under threat.
But in a fine example of the antennae of creative people, designers are coming together for an exhibition of couture masks at London's Victoria & Albert Museum on October 26th in aid of the Elephant Family charity founded by Ruth Powys.
Fashion people as diverse as Burberry, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Dior, Diane Von Furstenberg and Missoni will all have animals masks on display in the museum's Renaissance gallery to raise awareness on how endangered the Asian elephants are.
How fortuitous that Paris fashion week has also had animals in mind.
Emporio Armani: Embracing The Wider World
A cute elephant figure was on each guest's chair at the Emporio show in Paris, where the Italian maestro was celebrating the refurbishment of his Left Bank store and the opening of a full restaurant on Boulevard Saint-Germain to complement the popular Emporio Armani Caffe.
The show, held at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, allowed Armani to play with digital projections, so that not only was the "Emporio Armani" logo illuminated on the outside of the pyramid-shaped building, but as the male and female models walked round the vast interior space, they were blown up on screen.
And one of the first projections were those elephants in gentle colours printed on a soft silk blouse. Worn with satin trousers and a leather jacket, the repeat pattern made a gentle gesture towards animals in the wild.
There were more chances to be mindful of endangered creatures when the same elephants appeared in different colours on a top worn with more soft, patterned trousers.
There were other pattern prints that might have been inspired by a cactus or a fan. But the show, in its gentle materials and sweet colours, left an impression that Armani was thinking about the wider world.
John Galliano: Wildly Fanciful
The animalistic headpieces at the John Galliano show gave the impression of a fancy dress party in which pretty young girls in lacy frocks had raided the family trunks in the attic.
And that was just the story that designer Bill Gaytten wanted to tell.
While the dresses were light and almost transparent in their airy fabrics, they might also be covered with a suede jacket with sand leather straps, suggesting a tougher side.
The headdresses, from a single feather to a bear, a zebra, and a koala — and surely an elephant among the wilder beasts — gave a cute touch of zaniness to a simple collection.
Ultimately, Gaytten's success at keeping the Galliano spirit alive lies in his ability to make clothes that are not costumes, but rather a mix — in equal measure — of sleek tailoring and soft dresses, pulled together nicely in this season's animal farm.