I have a friend who is the right hand to an acclaimed New York-based designer. Every season, I anticipate his shows and no matter how weird or unwearable, I love them. So it totally threw me when this friend informed me that it’s not uncommon for him to have NOTHING ready six, five, even four weeks before the runway show date. Uninspired or just the creative process? I call the former. And as someone who comes up with ideas for a living, I get it. More than once, I’ve sat in brainstorms where our best ideas were a dog fashion show (wait, that’s actually an AMAZING idea and should 100% be pitched) or some half-baked concept that only evokes “Yea, that’ll work.” Creative fatigue is real and we can tell when we’re phoning it in.
I think there’s three responses to brain drain: you do what you know, you take a risk, or you throw spaghetti. And as fashion month wraps, I thought I’d pull out the designers who did just that.
I DID WHAT I KNOW
These tried and true fashion forces have a vision, and they’re sticking to it. The importance of this is really illustrated in the documentary “House Of Z” which chronicles the rise and fall, and rise again of Zac Posen. He talks about how he lost sight of his vision and the detrimenta it was to his business and creative journey.
Oscar De La Renta – Isn’t this an easy choice? It is, but I really appreciate that ODLR is a gown house now and forever. There’s two relatively new designers at the helm, and while the collection didn’t seem exactly groundbreaking or fresh, it was gorgeous and full of ODLR’s greatest hits – namely A-line gowns and punchy, strapless numbers. It’s clear Team Oscar stays inspired by the past, but I’ll take it.
Carolina Herrera – I wasn’t going to choose Carolina, but I read it was her final collection to design and decided she’s the perfect example of a designer who has stayed inspired by her own iconic self. There aren’t many “youths” channeling the CH look—her famously chic, polished, and immaculately tailored isn’t big with the street style set—but the colors, shapes, and taffeta coming down her runway were truly stunning—and classic Carolina. She’ll be surpassed by none other than (gasp!) the ex-lead designer of Oscar De La Renta, so fear not, the dresses will still be on point.
I TOOK A RISK
“You know what, I just got out there and tried.” These are the designers that constantly zag when everyone else is zig-ing.
Gucci – If you know me, you know my love for Gucci in recent years runs oh-so-deep and oh-so-wide. When I first watched this season’s show, I thought I’d position it as a spaghetti, but then I read about Alessandro’s inspiration for the collection and changed my mind. Is this just excellent BS? If it is, he sold me. Yes yes, people carried heads down the runway and that is freaking WEIRD, and I’m crying because the looks are SO. OVER. THE. TOP., but someone also carried a little green lizard and that redeemed everything for me.
Dolce & Gabbana – Get ready people, Dolce drones are now a thing and officially ruling the world. Relying on technology is risky enough, but it’s just so cheeky to nod to the fact that we don’t even need models anymore to show runway collections. And when the girls did hit the catwalk, they were Spanish divas layered in all kinds of crazy. I’m kindof confused, but also kindof obsessed.
I THREW SPAGHETTI
I had a history teacher who would give us participation points for throwing spaghetti, i.e., just talking. Sometimes you’d stick your neck out and cobble together an answer that would get a nod of approval, and other times, a laugh and, “You’re throwing spaghetti, but nice try.” These people did that, but with fashion…and it pretty much worked.
Saint Laurent – Hedi Slimane is long gone from Saint Laurent and it seems like some of the black magic that is YSL is gone. Anthony Vaccarello is doing his own dark thing now, and also his own floral thing, I guess. But I’m calling Spaghetti because the collection just seemed so…random: hats, architectural dress, so much leather that I’m worried about our cow population. The worst thing for me is the knitted belt with the rhinestone, ahem, Swarovski crystal, centerpiece. There was a lot, and although I’m not into it, apparently sales are up, so undoubtedly other people are.
Moncler – Honestly, Moncler gets the gold because they dropped a wintry, puffy bomb at Milan fashion week. Comprised of 8 mini-collections that will “drop” on a month-to-month schedule, this collection was LIT. Seriously, it’s heating up in here, and it’s not just because I’m shrouded in a floor-length Moncler parka. They threw the spaghetti, and it stuck.
Stay risky out there people.
xx – hh