I witnessed one of the major highlights of the week at Viktor & Rolf today. With a round rotating platform at the center of the stage, I knew something major was about to happen. Just had no clue what.
Then, out came 90’s supermodel and comeback queen Kristen McMenamy in a hugely oversized fur coat – probably 5 feet wide. Turns out McMenamy had about 8-10 layers under there. Following her to the rotating platform were Victor and Rolf themselves who proceeded to undress McMenamy layer by layer and place them on the models walking by. Once McMenamy was down to a nude body suit, catwalking models were stripped of a layer until McMenamy was eventually dressed in another dozen or so pieces to create the most fantastical tulle jacket that had just been worn as an over-the-top evening dress on another model. This was more than fashion—it was a show and a moment that has been sorely lacking in a very beautifully wearable but sobre season. Coincidentally or not, this was the kind of showmanship one had come to expect from the late and very great McQueen.
Now the clothes: in an almost entirely black show, it was luxe sport-meets-glam with lace bodysuits, drawstring jackets, and baseball hats, but also glittering brocade suits, opulent furs and structured (almost moulded) wing-sleeved jackets. Somehow it all worked together beautifully, showing the versatility of these fashion forward pieces. With the set covered in a print of machinery gear, airplanes and cranks, were they trying to convey that fashion is an industrial machine that keeps on turning?
Still buzzing, I headed to Cacharel—the iconic French label known for their loud floral boho prints and mixing and matching, however recently the house has tried to relaunch the label in a more forward, modern direction. (A necessity to keep up with what’s happening in fashion these days.)
There were still floral prints in the collection, but this time they were much smaller and displayed in futuristic, graphic silhouettes, paired with solid pieces like exaggerated cocoon shaped coats. We’ll see if this new direction brings equal success.
Sophia Kokosalaki was next, showing in the beautiful gilded ballroom at the Westin Hotel. I’ve always been a fan of Kokosalaki and the way she manages to meld old Grecian methods of pleating and twists with futuristic, sometimes sci-fi materials and silhouettes is remarkable. The show started with one of the seasons must-have pieces: a great camel coat, this one slick and fitted with a graphically draped collar. After some sharp camel separates, the signature Greco-inspired dresses came, the best covered in bended metal wire. Billowy harem pants and tunic style tops added to the Grecian look.
Made a quick stop at the Pierre Hardy showroom to get a glimpse at some wonderful shoes and fell in love with the fur tongued rubber sole boots—perfect for our Canadian winters. There were gorgeous blush pink party shoes with Swarovski crystal covered heels and some very practical but “oh so chic” desert boots. And the bags were to die for—a new addition was an evening-sized clutch with a removable chain and hand strap.
The last show of the day was Jean Paul Gaultier. I arrived to find a loud group of PETA protestors who have been noticeably absent all season until now.
Inside we were transported to another time and place with glorious clothes, inspired by Mongolian/Tibetan embroidery and colour. Beautiful tribal embroidery, dragon brocaded thigh-high boots, drindle skirts, fur coats and hats, and ethnic metal jewelry. It was a feast for the eyes with rich pops of colour and texture-on-texture. I thought it was one of his most beautiful collections in a long while.