01 | Chanel
For Chanel Métiers d’Art, which draws on destinations real or imagined, Virginie Viard set the stage at Château de Chenonceau in Loire Valley. Here, within the Renaissance-style confines of Château des Dames — the former home of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici — the black and white chequered floors were translated into sequinned mini-skirts and jacquard knits. De Medici’s monogram, which appears on emblems throughout the castle, was used to terrific effect on an intarsia sweater that depicted a bird’s eye view of the garden. It also served as accents on the exquisite jewellery and hardware that added royal flourish to the collection.
Maison Michel created dramatic full-brimmed hats and princess-worthy conical hennins while Massaro crafted sparkly two-tone platforms that were part-Bowie and part-Oz in essence. We were especially fascinated by the whimsical embroidery on the waistband of a trio of skirts, which rendered the castle in the likeness of tessellated Lego blocks. How fun!
02 | Balenciaga
Demna Gvasalia’s satirical approach at Balenciaga has garnered him many fans who devour every witty bag (Ikea’s iconic oversized tote, anyone?) and every logoed sweatshirt with fervent enthusiasm. For Pre-Fall 2021, the designer imagined touristy portraits (obviously photoshopped) at iconic locales. From the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the Great Wall of China, Balenciaga’s tribe traversed the globe in the label’s typically tongue-in-cheek fashion: outsized sport parkas, floral granny dresses and black ominous tailoring. But Gvasalia’s biggest statement of the season was his focus on sustainable materials — more than 90 percent of fabrics — and to practise such social responsibility by insisting on accountability from vendors and sources is mighty impressive indeed.
03 | Salvatore Ferragamo
Paul Andrew might have exited Salvatore Ferragamo after AW21, but his short but poignant legacy culminated in Pre-Fall 21. This is a tightly edited line-up filled with timeless looks that are meant to improve with wear and reflect his contemplations of mindful consumption. Separates offer a simple shape but they are far from mundane. In particular, a pale yellow coat — featuring pockets resembling the storm flaps on trench coats — evokes weightlessness with its woven gabardine fabric. These are clothes in which you can traverse seasons with ease and hence would hold on to for a long time to come.
04 | Givenchy
Matthew Williams elaborated on the codes he established during his SS21 debut. Tailoring was a strong focus — suits were cut with a slightly broader shoulder and slim waists, and worn with languid ever-so-slightly flared trousers. Seemingly a fast learner and adept at adapting, he took Riccardo Tisci’s edgy-chic aesthetic several notches up with generous smatterings of spikes and studs. These lent a surprising twist to everyday basics like a trench coat and even slides. Williams also infused his streetwear with Clare Waight Keller’s feminine couture spirit, presenting a cropped bomber jacket with slightly rounded shoulders and generous leather sleeves.