It started in New York and ended in Paris. There were Burberry checks, nipple pasties and Elton John-inspired tracksuits. Stars were born and supermodels were reunited. We lost industry legends and the big beasts of fashion signed charters pledging to protect models’ health.
Outlandish poses, and attention-grabbing outfits drew scrums of street-style photographers to the entrance of every venue. Canapes were nibbled. Green juice, matcha tea and champagne were drunk, as style journalists, bloggers and buyers travelled to view the world’s top fashion collections and help decide what we will be wearing in six months’ time. Here are the highlights from the past few weeks.
In his second collection for Calvin Klein, Raf Simons opened New York fashion week with a jolt, presenting a terrifying collection inspired by horror films. On the front row, Brooke Shields chatted to Paris Jackson; Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali chatted to Lupita Nyong’o. On the catwalk, shift dresses covered in prints from Andy Warhol’s Death and Disaster series and shoes inspired by Jason Vorhees’s hockey mask in Friday the 13th were particular highlights. Elsewhere in New York, Rihanna cemented her status as a celebrity style supermogul, presenting a surf-inspired collection for Fenty x Puma just days after she launched her own Fenty beauty range.
- Samantha Elsworth and Kaia Gerber walk for Calvin Klein
- Designers Raf Simons and Pieter Mulier accept the applause
- Front row: Ana Wintour and Lupita Nyong’o chatting to Mahershala Ali; Paris Jackson and Brooke Shields
- Rihanna did a lap on the back of a motorbike at the end of her show. Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid took part in Alexander Wang’s show on the New York city streets
Victoria Beckham showed glittery shoes and pastels in a collection (above and below) which, she said, made a case that “delicacy can mean strength”. Beckhams Brooklyn and David, who sat next to new British Vogue editor Edward Enninful in the front row, seemed to be quite into it.
- Husband David and son Brooklyn were out in support on the front row with Vogue editor Edward Enninful
- Ralph Lauren chauffeur-drove 300 guests to Westchester to watch models walk among the Porsches and Bugattis in his garage
Forget high-falutin muses: London’s best designers were inspired by the fluffy dusters and marigold gloves of suburban life, with Christopher Kane’s standout show presenting the commuter-belt look with a hint of kink. See also Anya Hindmarch, whose kebab-box bag was takeaway accessory of the week. For the first time in years, Burberry put its famous check prints on the catwalk. Models such as Adwoa Aboah and Kaia Gerber – the most in-demand new face of the season, who happens to be Cindy Crawford’s daughter – wore peaked caps and checked blouson jackets with stupendous glittering earrings. Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Glenda Jackson were in the audience.
- Models on the Christopher Kane catwalk (and main pic above)
- Burberry’s show was held in Clerkenwell, featuring a return of the brand’s classic check pattern
Design duo Marques Almeida presented their show outside under the chilly, graffitied arches of Brick Lane. It was a proper hoedown, with Dolly Parton on the soundtrack and metal-capped boots and cow prints on the clothes.
- The Marques Almeida show
Darling of the fashion pack, Molly Goddard gave her show a raucous party feel, which saw models – including Edie Campbell and Erin O’Connor – dancing over catwalk obstacles, while sipping champagne and smoking fags (electronic) in sequinned, puffball bodices and gowns.
- Edie Campbell and Erin O’Connor backstage at Molly Goddard; a model strikes a pose on the Molly Goddard catwalk
- All in white for the final lap at Simone Rocha
Delicate frills, silk, satin and lace – Simone Rocha’s show was a lesson in classic femininity.
Topshop played host to an especially starry model lineup, including Adwoa Aboah, Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, Hailey Baldwin, and Arizona Muse. For the final walk, models changed into denim and T-shirts, reminding us of Topshop’s relaxed, casual side.
- Model Jourdan Dunn wears a sheer electric blue dress on the Topshop catwalk in London’s Chinatown
But the catwalks of London were not all about chip-shop charm and suburbia-chic: two of America’s biggest name designers crossed the Atlantic to show their wares. Giorgio Armani had his first show in a decade in the city in which, he says, you can sense the creative turmoil. He promises that’s a compliment. And Tommy Hilfiger – the ultimate stars-and-stripes designer – was joined by Gigi Hadid at the Roundhouse for his first show in the capital for more than two decades.
- Giorgio and his models; Tommy and Gigi Hadid
- Models in organza gowns on the Erdem catwalk
If New York is all about sophistication and London all about creativity, Milan is the seat of glamour. At Gucci that took on a distinctly glam-rock edge, with creative director and self-titled “wizard” Alessandro Michele bewitching showgoers with clothes inspired by Elton John’s stage outfits. Think high-waisted jumpsuits and jackets bolstered by power shoulders, as well as the usual Michele trademarks of geek-chic glasses, pearls and rainbow stripes. And check blazers with everything.
- Rhinestones and pearls, check and logos at Gucci
At the Versace show, Donatella paid tribute to her late brother Gianni by lauding his greatest legacy – the supermodel. Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen and Carla Bruni – the goddesses of 90s fashion – took to the catwalk soundtracked by George Michael’s Freedom. Fashion moments rarely come so divine.
- Versace spring/summer 1991 and 2018
Kaia Gerber wore a jumpsuit almost identical to one worn by Christy Turlington for the 1991 spring/summer collection.
- Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Donatella Versace walk the runway at the Versace show
At Prada there was a combative spirit in the air, with pointy flat shoes and sharp-collared boxy shirts. The show, very much about the female gaze, was soundtracked by female voices from Nina Simone and Suzanne Vega to Lana Del Rey and the space was decorated with cartoons of female characters. This was Prada’s feminist manifesto.
- Models on the Prada catwalk
- Big name-tags for models backstage at Moschino
- That floral dress backstage at Jeremy Scott’s Moschino, and details at Fendi
Just in case the fashion pack was feeling un petit peu fatigué by the time Paris rolled around, designers went big on sparkles and spectacle. The Saint Laurent show was an epic, taking place on an outdoor catwalk backdropped by a twinkling Eiffel Tower and shrouded in dry ice. Sensuality was key, with creative director Anthony Vaccarello showcasing black-sequinned dresses, “shining like the asphalt after the rain”.
For her first show for Givenchy – the most high-profile debut of this Paris fashion week – Clare Waight Keller brought a little of the breezy je ne sais quoi from her days at the Chloé helm to a catwalk more used to rottweiler motifs. But whimsy was offset by sharp tailoring, as Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore watched from the front row.
- A model walks the catwalk at the Givenchy show
Chloé did what Chloé does best: the kind of Gallic chic that can be easily packaged and marketed around the world. New creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi brought some edge to the house’s traditional floaty lines, as well as a new silhouette. But the label’s signature horse motif galloped back on to velvet suits and jumpsuits.
- Floaty hem detail and men’s tailoring shown together at Chloé; bag and boot detail
Waterfalls were chased at a spectacular Chanel show – six, each 10 metres high – so models had plenty of practical use for the plastic-heavy looks that are very much of the season.
- Block heels, tweeds and two-piece suits
- The show was all about Gabrielle Chanel, not Coco, who represents the younger, more free-spirited era of the designer’s life. This was rebellion, Chanel style
- Part fashion, part art … dresses were decorated with wide-eyed manga characters at the Comme des Garçons show
Proof that you can have your cake and eat it: at Stella McCartney, eco-credentials went hand in hand with style.
- Models on the catwalk during the Stella McCartney show as part of the Paris fashion week Womenswear spring/summer 2018
There were shoe-boots, pictorial prints and the usual extreme layering on display at Balenciaga. The final act of defiance came in the form of Crocs with 10cm-high platforms. The ugly shoe finally went haute.
Cocktails at five. That was the inspiration behind Dries Van Noten’s mid-length dresses in warm tones of ochre and gold, finished with diamante. A cheering, luxurious addition to the Paris shows.
- The outspoken rising star, Selena Forrest, on the Céline catwalk (below)
Checks, socks and headbands, preppy and leftfield touches were all to play for at Miu Miu. The show went big on the colour combination of the season: mint with orange. Just like a summer sundae.
- Socks and sandals and the Fanning sisters at Miu Miu
- Louis Vuitton took place in the medieval foundations of the Louvre Palace in the basement of the Louvre museum. Billowing sleeves and embroidered waistcoats that laced up at the back were inspired by the style of the 18th-century French aristocracy
- Ruth Negga, Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore and Cate Blanchett formed part of the starry front row at Louis Vuitton show
From Céline’s standout collection of multitextured, oversized fluidity to Chanel’s take on old (tweed) meets new (transparent macs), and from Gucci’s glam rock colour-fest to Burberry’s return to its chequered past, the spring/summer 2018 fashion weeks were a feast for the senses. Expect to be wearing plastic macs and pastels next spring.