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My Highlights and Key Looks From The Fall Winter 2020 Catwalks

As the whirlwind of fashion month drew to a close, I wanted to select a few of my personal favorites and highlights from the shows. This season saw a more reflective approach on display, with a number of designers looking back through the archives to draw inspiration from bygone eras – all while giving their looks a thoroughly modern update. From an unusually bright color palette at Victoria Beckham to the reinvention of traditional accessories at Bottega Veneta, the intensely dramatic runway at Balenciaga and the surprise return of Kanye and Yeezy, these are my top moments from the shows this season.

London Fashion Week

Victoria Beckham

Always one of the highlights of London Fashion Week, this season Beckham decided to mix things up a bit by throwing in some new silhouettes and a brighter color palette than usual. While the show started with a parade of elegantly somber looks in inky black, these quickly shifted into a brighter array of colors than we’ve come to expect from VB’s usually fairly muted palette, with soft pinks mixing with lemon yellow and fire-engine red. Alongside this there were some more subversive cuts on show, with sculpted banana sleeves adorning knitwear and blouses and shorter hemlines on dresses, teamed with colorful thigh-high boots. There were still plenty of Beckham’s much-loved trademarks, such as structured dresses to take you from day to night and beautiful outerwear, perfect to huddle up against the London chill. This might have been a new look from VB, but it was no less brilliant.

Photos: details @ArmandoGrillo / Runway @stephanfilenko for @FashiontoMax X @Maximsap


Milan Fashion Week

Burberry

This season, Riccardo Tisci decided to pay homage to the fashion house’s heritage, with a collection that featured all the old favorites – smart trench coats, elegant outerwear and the infamous Burberry check pattern – with a thoroughly modern twist. Shown amidst the grand vaulted Victorian ironwork hall at Olympia, where Venezuelan hip-hop producer Arca played piano alongside French sibling pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque, models paraded along an elevated platform, adding a true sense of spectacle to the show. Tisci cited his memories as the inspiration for the collection, specifically those he has from living in India in the early 2000s – recalled in the Madras checked shirting he introduced to the menswear – and his youth studying in London, seen in clashing checks and preppy college dressing. Classic styles and prints were elevated with sophisticated tailoring and innovation, with details like double layered coats and looped collars on trenches. The Burberry check print was used throughout the collection but particularly in menswear, where a more streetwear, athleisure-style approach was seen for the first time. Eveningwear is a new category that Tisci has built for the brand since arriving two years ago, and this season there was plenty of chain mail and crystal fringes on show, as well as flowing satin and delicate chiffon. Overall, a triumph of old meets new.

Photos: details @ArmandoGrillo / Runway @stephanfilenko for @FashiontoMax X @Maximsap Atmosphere: Isidore Montag

Bottega Veneta

For Daniel Lee’s third runway show for the revered fashion house, he displayed his growing confidence with a collection that he described as ‘very personal’. Opening the show with a series of sleek black tailored looks before moving into looser jersey and knit fabrics that moved with the body, he explained that throughout the collection he wanted to think about ‘how we could make structured tailoring occupy the space between the super formal and the street that’s been so prevalent in fashion.’ Sharp silhouettes were softened with fringing, dancing from bags and hemlines, which added movement to the collection. More muted tones were spiced up with bright pops of color – acid green, hot pink and ruby red. But the biggest subversion came in the accessories. Lee utilized the house’s trademark intrecciatio weave for the bags, but these were re-crafted in modern, ergonomic shapes. Shoes tapped into the ‘ugly-cool’ trend, with thick-soled, square-toed boots and oversized clog styles in contrasting colors. He even crafted a high-heeled sandal that was made on a 3D printer, the house’s first attempt at the process. At Bottega Veneta, Lee is creating a look that’s entirely his own – and it’s definitely working.

Photos: Runway @gersonlirio for @FashiontoMax X @Maximsap / details @ArmandoGrillo

Fendi

A year after the death of Karl Lagerfeld, Silvia Venturini Fendi is still coming to terms with what it means to design on her own, and said that for this collection it led her to reflect on who exactly the Fendi woman is. ‘She is independent, free and strong,’ said Venturini Fendi before the show. ‘In a moment where we talk more about feminism than femininity, it made me want to analyse the concept of the feminine wardrobe through the decades.’ And she did just that, taking a series of feminine clichés and turning them on their heads, utilising soft baby pink, lingerie elements and delicate lace combined with notions of female power dressing and the idea of the dominatrix. Exaggerated sleeves and silhouettes paraded down the runway, along with corset-style tops softened by padding rather than boning and upcycled mink coats. The set was created to reflect her message, made up of pink sofas that curved to form a runway, while on the catwalk she cast a roster of diverse ages and body types to represent her belief in the many faces of femininity that shaped the collection. While Lagerfeld remains dearly missed, Venturini Fendi proved with this show that she’s more than ready to stand on her own two feet.

Photos: Runway @gersonlirio for @FashiontoMax X @Maximsap / details @ArmandoGrillo


Paris Fashion Week

Saint Laurent

For his latest collection, Anthony Vaccarello decided to go back to Yves Saint Laurent’s archives, bringing back the fashion house’s haute bourgeois looks the designer became so well known for. But, of course, Vaccarello put his own 2020 spin on things. The famous pussy bow blouses and ladylike jackets with gold buttons were there, but this time there was an unexpected new addition: latex. It clung to the models’ skin in a variety of impossibly tight trousers, form-fitting skirts and vampy boots, calling to mind a different version of the dominatrix wardrobe that Fendi showed in Milan. Alongside this there were tiny, barely-there corsets, masculine overcoats and drape-fronted dresses, in classic YSL colors like bright red, fuchsia and purple, that made a welcoming change from Vaccarello’s usual black. ‘I didn’t want it to be about sex, I just wanted to twist the bourgeois,’ Vaccarello explained. ‘I wanted to twist that moment with something from now; something younger and less classy.’ With the genius introduction of latex, he did just that.

Runway @filippofior for Gorunway.com
Details @ArmandoGrillo
Atmosphere: @adriani_andrea


Givenchy

Clare Waight Keller brought sharp tailoring and bold graphic designs back to the catwalk with her latest collection, which featured a strong color palette of black, white and red, and motifs that included dots, checks and stripes. The result was a collection that often felt somewhat surreal, with unusual silhouettes – oversized puff shoulders and capes featured heavily – and several looks topped off with enormous cloaking hats that covered half the models’ faces, lifted directly from Hubert de Givenchy’s archive. Eveningwear, meanwhile, came with plenty of fringing and feathers, lending it a refined, Old School Hollywood feel. ‘Each season, from my own point of view as a designer, I have to embrace this as my art form,’ explained Keller. ‘But I think it’s every woman’s art form: the way you dress and put your accessories together is your expression of who you are.’ As always, this time Keller’s expression was spot on.

Photos: Runway @gersonlirio for @FashiontoMax X @Maximsap
details @ArmandoGrillo

Personal Highlights

Kanye West’s Yeezy Show and Sunday Service

If there’s one thing everyone was talking about at this year’s Paris Fashion Week, it was the return of Kanye West and Yeezy. This was the first Yeezy runway show since 2017 and Kanye returned with a bang, kicking things off with an impromptu Sunday Service performance at the Bouffes du Nord theater, where Olivier Rousteing was clapping along with Kim Kardashian West in the stands. The show itself followed the next day, where the main highlight was his daughter North taking to the stage to deliver a brilliant solo rap performance. She’s undoubtedly another West superstar in the making.

photos: Isidore Montag


Balenciaga

It was all about the epic staging at Balenciaga, where guests were greeted by a pitch-black stadium, with the first rows of chairs submerged in inky water. The runway itself was no less menacing, with sinister-looking models clad in all-black splashing through a water-logged catwalk under a stormy sky streaked with apocalyptic red. Dark, moody and mesmerising, it called to mind the theatricality of the late Alexander McQueen’s shows.

Photos: Details @ArmandoGrillo


Chanel

Virginie Viard took a more relaxed approach to the runway show this season, with none of the usual grand themed set we’ve come to expect from Chanel over recent years. Instead, there was a simple white stage with a mirrored runway. The collection itself felt looser and playfully improvised, with a mix and match of the old and new. Even the models seemed more laidback, some walking the runway side by side and chatting throughout.

Photos: Runway @gersonlirio for @FashiontoMax X @Maximsap
Atmosphere: @adriani_andrea