Fashion’s big names wow the critics as month of shows is nearly over

Fashion Month may be racing towards its close but it really shifted into a higher gear Sunday as three of the most influential labels gave us their autumn/winter visions on the same day. Celine, Givenchy and Chloé were all judged as winners in different ways. But just what does that mean for what we’ll see on the high street come this autumn and into 2016?

Phoebe Philo at Celine offered plenty of the simple, minimalist pieces her customers (and the industry) loves, but mixed in some offbeat, even whimsical touches.

Blouses with cute animal drawings on them (otters, foxes, deer), zebra stripes, fuzzy textures, duvet coat dresses pulled tightly across the bodice with detachable sleeves, fur pompoms, lattice sandals.

It wasn’t what we expected but what Philo called “tattered glamour” the audience and critics loved it nonetheless.

They also loved Clare Waight Keller’s Chloé collection, especially the maxi greatcoats, and other harder-edged pieces (like the tailored pantsuits) that acted as a perfect foil for the more usual offer – lingerie-inspired, slightly boho dresses and separates.

The music blasting out was from Fleetwood Mac, a sure indicator of Waight Keller’s primary style influences. But this was rescued from being an all-out celebration of 1970s California by the contrast of the tailoring and the softness.

Waight Keller told Style.com her Chloé girl is a “gentlewoman, wearing guardsmen’s coats and gentlemen’s clothing, but still with the flou and lingerie lace. There is something clean and narrow about her silhouette, but still with a fluidity to it.”

So what of Givenchy and Riccardo Tisci? The show had its usual share of celebs in the front row (Katy Perry, Isabelle Huppert, Noomi Rapace, Jessica Chastain, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West).

But the big news was on the runway as Tisci gave us what he called his “Victorian-chola girl,” mixing the controversial style of the Mexican-American subculture with the season’s strong Victoriana edge.

What does that girl look like? On Sunday, she came with hair slicked close to her head in exaggerated kiss curls and with full-on facial jewellery that underlined – rather than distracting from – the dark mood of the clothes.

The colours were deep – black, midnight, blood red – and the fabrics rich with velvets that contrasted with sheer panels. Embellishment, the rich feather prints and the tiniest details were used to make this feel more couture than ready-to-wear. The focal point was a narrow waist with peplums used to ram the point home.

Not exactly high street fare, we have to admit, but did it work?

Vogue’s Suzy Menkes called it “a show that will linger like a fine perfume in the fashion air.”

So that’s a ‘yes’ then.

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