Our roundup of the best of SS19

From ethereal dancers to industrial airport hangars, Paris and Milan fashion week gave us plenty to delight in and much sartorial food for thought.

If you thought Dior had reimagined drama for Resort 2019, featuring women horseback riders from the Mexican rodeo circuit, then this show further cemented creative head Maria Grazia Chiuri’s fantastical vision. Within Dior’s black box runway, a theatrical piece of conceptual dance unfolded before a collection that celebrated her idea of ‘freedom’. In Chiuri’s words: “I think that dance and fashion are very close, for they both speak about the body. Modern choreographers speak about freedom.”

While ballet is a part of the DNA of this classic house of fashion, Tel-Aviv based dancer Sharon Eyal’s performance truly set the stage for a collection that explored movement and freedom. With a shift in Dior’s approach to silhouettes and cuts, corsets and wiring gave way to jersey, khaki and tulle, showing a more relaxed approach.

Alessandro Michele, the man responsible for Gucci’s renaissance, approached SS19 show with a similar vision. Setting it in Le Palace, Paris, instead of the label’s Italian home, he channeled the legendary club’s 70s and 80s history. Once the haunt of Yves Saint Laurent, Kenzo and Karl Lagerfield, it referenced shadows from the past and rediscovered showgirl glamour. Featuring glitter, ostrich-feathers, fringe and denim, the evening was wrapped in an atmospheric nostalgia. For Michele, the draw of Le Palace was precisely this contrast: “Everything is a bit dusty here, a bit abandoned, but beautiful,” continuing, “But this place is full of life. The models could have been coming to the nightclub.” The evening’s slightly morbid theme continued with the showstopper - screen legend, model and singer - Jane Birkin singing, “Baby Alone in Babylone”.

The straw hat had a fashion moment not very long ago and Jacquemus revisits the memory with his SS19 runway, populated with oversized straw bags. While the separates, dresses and beachwear inspired pieces recalled his 2018 Spring Collection, he contrasted itty-bitty clothing choices with magnified accessories that could tote all in one go!

Armani’s SS19 collection was unveiled in a gigantic hangar in Linate airport, the closest hub to fashion capital Milan, where a veritable stadium was constructed for an audience of 2,500. With huge screens showing arrivals and departures taking off intermittently, the runway was transformed into a literal travel hub. Armani’s 170 plus looks left Burberry’s 135 magnum opus at London far behind, with the collection showcasing everything from boxing shorts and parka-dresses to gauzy organza and jumpsuits made of technical knitwear. While some looks heaped on the heavy metal jewelry and oversize crystal necklaces, others went unadorned: something to suit everyone’s palette. The highlight of the show were the pieces in Armani’s signature blue, this time in denim, with jeans, overalls, textured bombers and pinstripe separates up for view.

Moschino’s tongue-in cheek look at the fashion industry saw the Hadid sisters, Kendall Jenner and Kaia Gerber parade in silhouettes that saw the designer’s sketches come alive, literally. The meta-narrative on fashion saw references to 80’s YSL silhouettes and sleek cocktail dresses, paired with elbow-length gloves, tights and pumps all scrawled upon to indicate the magic of the designing process.

With the evening advancing, the runway took a turn for the surreal with the pieces being fabricated with tools of the designer’s trade. Thus emerged a dress with an enormous measuring tape yellow accent and a sleek pair of scissors walking the runway. As creative head Jeremy Scott notes, “I tried to make it as if you were seeing a Broadway musical about the creation of fashion coming alive.” Succeed he did, and how, ending the night with a showstopper bride, Gigi Hadid, in an enormous veil - the puffy dress unfinished, of course.

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