PFW FW20: The highlights from the Yohji Yamamoto, Vivienne Westwood and Hermès fall/winter 2020 shows
YOHJI YAMAMOTO: BACK TO BLACK
First impressions: If the sea of editors and showgoers dressed in black were any indication, it's that Yohji Yamamoto always returns to his favourite colour (or lack thereof). No one is complaining, of course, especially when he masters the sombre shade with aplomb, bringing new life season after season with his unique take on avant garde.
Favourite looks: Unlike other shows where looks rushed past the audience, Yohji-san's models took their time strolling down the runway, affording us a great view of each piece from every direction. Off-kilter lacing here, a voluminous addition there — each outfit was like a present waiting to be unwrapped and discovered. But while black was the mainstay in the presentation, the most memorable masterpiece was definitely the last outfit. A bundle of matted wool in turquoise and bright red, it presented a sharp contrast to the looks that came before. Even as the 76-year-old designer looked back on the past for many of his references, this finale piece seemed to suggest that he was also looking forward into the future.
Favourite accessories: It's all a matter of styling, of course, but the stacking of double or triple hats atop one another was such a genius touch that we simply could not overlook it.
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD: IT'S A REVOLUTION
First impressions: In the incredibly beautiful Hotel de Ville, an unexpected band of fashion gypsies took to the stage in a mish-mash of drapes and shapes as No Bra (a.k.a musical artist Susanne Oberbeck) languidly drawled out lyrics like "it's a revolution", "this is year 2020", and "newness is not progress, and progress is not newness".
Favourite looks: This is the ninth collection that Vivienne Westwood has collaborated on with husband Andreas Kronthaler, and this reminder was emblazoned on earrings, dresses and blouses. As always, the queen of punk executes corsetry stunningly well, and this time, it was layered over T-shirts and sheer confections for a more modern interpretation. The outfits also had a decidedly more streetwear appeal and the collection saw the addition of things like caps, sweaters and track pants.
Favourite accessories: Unexpectedly, the standout accessory for the Vivienne Westwood fall/winter 2020 show was... daggers. Sheathed and hooked onto belts, and even featured on the final wedding dress, the mini knives looked rather deadly. Equally as interesting and indeed, perplexing, were the ropes of garlic wound around the necks of the models.
HERMES: COLOUR ME HAPPY
First impressions: As the lights shone down on the array of white poles with colour bands standing tall within the show space, a criss-cross of shadows fell onto the pristine carpet; a precursor to the dizzying energy that would come later as models deftly avoided each other and weaved in and out in a complicated sequence across the runway. Starting with a fresh white palette, Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski was inspired by the artist Jean-Charles de Castelbajac (who sat in the front row at the show), as well as the primary colours and the Bauhaus movement.
Favourite looks: Unlike the recognisable Birkin or Kelly, Vanhée-Cybulski's ready-to-wear is understated, to the point that no one else might know you're wearing a piece from the storied house, unless he or she, too, were in the know. But that's precisely the charm of Hermès clothing. It's the focus on craftsmanship, the buttery soft textures, the luxe fabrics, more so than the trendiness of the times. Of course, by no means is the Hermès woman (God forbid) unfashionable. If anything, the leather looks, the pleated skirt and the mini bags are bang on trend, yet they all have one thing in common: they retain a sensibility that feels timeless over the seasons.
Favourite accessories: Those collars with the little Hermès Kelly buckle — so simple, so chic. Also, of note were the square crossbody bags in an array of primary colours.
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