One woman who isn’t letting a global pandemic stand in her way? Rihanna. For Savage x Fenty Volume II, which dropped today on Amazon Prime, the super-mogul promised it would amount to the, ‘Most Savage Experience Yet.’ And it did not disappoint. Fans were treated to a 56-minute romp inside her neon-lit kingdom, with a viewing experience that was part catwalk show, part music video, part behind-the-scenes interview (where you can see the team designing via video call) and 100% @badgalriri. The hashtag says it all: #SavageNotSorry.
Savage x Fenty, Rihanna's lingerie collection and accompanying catwalk, has always been a mega-hyped moment in fashion month, with its first show championing bodies in all shapes and sizes - the collection ranged from 32A to 44DD and XS to XXXL - and a game-changing sense of theatre. These aren’t standard catwalk shows, but for lingerie instead of clothes. Savage x Fenty is a sensory deep-dive.
Volume II features performances from Rosalía (whose back-up dancers wear bedazzled face coverings), Bad Bunny, Miguel, Mustard, Roddy Rich and Ella Mai, it also had a stunningly celeb-filled line-up, with special guest appearances from Demi Moore (who lounges in fishnet nets, black lace lingerie and crystal chokers), Paris Hilton (who, naturally, wears baby pink), Lizzo (who gyrates in peacock blue underwear), Indya Moore, Laura Harrier, Willow Smith, Cara Delevigne and Irina Shayk. What they're wearing is also available to buy right now on Amazon.
Speaking to Vogue, Shayk explained why it’s become such a phenomenon. ‘It is so much more than just a fashion show – it’s a pop culture experience dedicated to inclusivity and diversity, and the celebration of all bodies and backgrounds,’ adding that each participant had daily screenings for coronavirus to keep everyone safe.
The conversation kicks off with a musing on childhood diaries. ‘Did 10 year-old me even have a diary? 10 year-old me had secrets. 10 year-old me did not put secrets down on paper,’ says Rihanna. ‘I always wanted a diary, but I always thought my mum would get into it,’ she continues, before personalities like Delevingne, Erika Jayne, Normani and Jazzelle chip in with their own experiences. ‘Me telling me my 10 year-old self at 32 now? Just roll with it, girl,’ says Rihanna.
If you don’t have Amazon Prime, now seems like a great time to start a 30-day trial.
SEE: Everything Happening At Paris Fashion Week SS21
One sleepless night, Stella McCartney decided to write down the thoughts bouncing around her head. She shared the results with her team, and what followed is the brand's manifesto, an A-Z of its core beliefs and messages that has been illustrated by 26 artists. As well as her new alphabet, McCartney wants to be the best sustainable fashion house in the world, while still holding on to the brand's 'hope and humour'. This means she's pledging to further minimise waste and the amount of raw materials that go into the clothes, as well as using repurposed, upcycled and vegan fabrics.
Lila Moss made her catwalk debut at Miu Miu, a show where the hemlines were shortened to sky-high (or should that be thigh-high?) proportions. A better idea for Zoom? Adornments that cover the entire surface area of your ears.
If you've felt compelled to show your allegiance to a cause this year, then keep on going, says Louis Vuitton. The show opened with a 'Vote' T-shirt, a galvanizing statement of intent for now. Something interesting for you to muse over as well, Nicolas Ghesquière's assertion that 'being neutral can be radical. There's nothing bland about it: neutrality can be powerful, extreme and expressive'. There was nothing bland, however, about the clothes, which were packed with both energy and wearability. Read our show report here.
Chanel brimmed with fashion trends (both new and old) that fans will lovingly snap up in spring. This look, seen on Jill Kortleve, pretty much sums it up: power pink, itsy-bitsy bag, sheer cape, bandeau bra, wide-leg trousers and, to top it all, the ultimate haircut of now: the bob. Read our show report here.
Designed in just two months - and in the midst of a global pandemic - Givenchy's new creative director, Matthew M. Williams, took the padlocks that you could once find on Le Pont des Arts, a famous bridge in Paris, as his starting point for SS21. Antigona, the house's famous handbag, got a gold make-over, while the horned headpiece, made famous during the tenure of Lee McQueen, returned as a baseball cap.
Recognising that the idea of 'avant-garde' clothing doesn't quite work when times are tough, Julien Dossena created a 'garde-drobe' of looks that married the everyday with the attitude of avant-garde. As always, he presented a riff on the brand's famous chain-mail, with a couplet of metallic dresses that sheathed their wearers in shimmering materials from face to ankle. High-fashion armour indeed.
Gabriela Hearst might have upped sticks to Paris, but she definitely still packed her sustainability ethos, producing another carbon-offset show (in partnership with EcoAct) and using deadstock silk, cashmere and cotton. The collection was inspired by something seemingly whimsical - a shell bracelet gifted from her mother - but was underpinned by an urgency. 'If we have what we need to confront climate change, the question is can we do it fast enough. What is clear from the pandemic is that we can change our behavior fast. The collective consciousness and policy has to go with it,' she says in the press release.
Jonathan Anderson took 'thinking outside the box' - in this case, how to present a collection without the medium of a physical show? - to new heights for Loewe SS21. The designer sent 'guests' a carefully-assembled cardboard box that contained wallpaper, a paint brush and glue so that they could assemble their very own 'show-on-a-wall'. The 'prints' are a host of house muses, each wearing a look for the new collection that was based on the 'extremization of fashion'.
Isabel Marant's raison d'être for her latest collection was pretty straightforward: 'A burning desire to go out, dance and escape,' she wrote on Instagram. Cue a largely hot pink and lipstick red collection of party-ready pieces (the striped cowboy boots and star earrings are a personal favourite) and a dance performance by (LA)Horde.
Rick Owens, inspired by where he spends his summers - Venice's Lido, the setting for Thomas Mann's Death In Venice, admitted that he leant into, 'a taste for the lurid that an undercurrent of threat and dread can inspire', for SS21.
It's a hit with supermodels (Gigi Hadid) and royalty (Kate Middleton), Now Manu Atelier's latest bag - a slimline shoulder style called the 'Pita' - has its very own fashion film to announce its launch in December. Stay tuned.
There's so much in the styling at Y/Project - how a silk scarf is tied around the waist; how two collars fit together seamlessly - which is perhaps why its creative director, Glenn Martens, decided to dedicate the accompanying fashion film to how each look (literally) took shape on the models. Why not try tying your trench comme si the next time it rains?
For SS21, Chloé capitalised on the beautiful streets and bridges of Paris, sending its models to literally walk around the city, stopping to chat in front of the Debilly Footbridge, and live-streaming the resulting film on chloe.com. Natacha Ramsay-Levi's clothes are always women-centric, and this season she was inspired by Corita Kent, a social justice advocate and artist.
Against a beautiful mural backdrop, painted by Maty Biayenda, Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize held an intimate presentation for SS21. As always, Ize's fabrics - striped and printed colour sensations for the optimistic dresser that lives in us all - were front and centre, woven in the designer's very own factory in Ilorin, Nigeria. Speaking to Vogue, Ize talked about celebrating his culture: 'I'm Pan-African. I love my culture so much and there is so much to share. If I had to explain African culture in one word, it would just be love. There's a lot to learn from that.'
'I get by with a little help from my friends,' was the message at Balmain. For SS21, Olivier Rousteing partnered with Olivier Salliard (a fashion historian), Apple, Akoni (an eyewear brand) and Swarovski, among others, to pull off a fashion show in the extraordinary circumstances produced by the pandemic. As his press release read: 'To create a runway during a normal fashion week requires incredible effort. But when your show is going to happen during a global pandemic, well... you're going to have to turn to some friends for help!' The power of the collective paid off, with a collection that had 're-emergence' written all over it, from the fluorescent tailoring to the latex cycling shorts (yes, really).
Jonny Johansson, creative director of Acne Studios, was inspired by 'liberation, transformation and personal rebirth' for SS21, collaborating with Ben Quinn, an artist whose work reflects his experiences with the supernatural. The idea of luminescence - from the moon at twilight and dawn - informed everything from the fabrics (pearlescent organza) and the accessories (transparent glasses that 'let light pass through them').
Photographed by Viviane Sassen, Dries Van Noten's SS21 collection was a show of pure optimism. Captured among nature - beaches, blue skies and tree branches, you get the picture - the clothes were a typical cacophony of print and colour. Earlier this year, Noten spearheaded an open letter to the fashion industry, asking for seasons to be shifted back to their logical place in the calendar (i.e. winter available in winter, summer available in summer). While we wait to see if he's listened to, it's clear from this collection that quality over quantity is the future of fashion.
For his second collection as creative director at Kenzo, Felipe Oliveira Baptista looked to bees, or more accurately, their keepers' uniforms for inspiration. Wide-brimmed hats came cocooned in gauze nets - a new-fangled approach to face coverings, perhaps? - in a collection that sought to find answers to the questions, 'How do we move on? How can we help people?' It isn't exactly clear, but for Baptista, maybe the what the bee symbolises, a regulator and care-giver on this planet, is what's needed so urgently. 'Now, more than ever we are overwhelmed by a sense of urgency to take care and protect our world,' says the press release.
Thebe Magugu took the unlikely - but utterly fascinating - starting point of espionage for SS21, interviewing ex-spies who worked for the government of South Africa, as well as those who defected, becoming double-agents against the system of apartheid. 'It's always fascinated me, how one can become a spy and commit high-treason. Speaking to some of these women, as well as author Jonathan Ancer, gave me some valuable insight into the psychology,' wrote Magugu, who turned the scanned fingerprints of one interviewee into a print.
Maria Grazia Chiuri's inspirations are always women-centric, a tapestry of references that span the worlds of literature, dance and art . For SS21, it was Lucia Marcucci, a committed member of the Italian avant garde, and her work from the '60s. Chiuri knows how to put on a show, and this time round was no exception. Staging her catwalk at the Tuileries, the set was transformed into what looked like a place of worship. Marcucci's colleges were arranged into floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows, while an all-female choir provided the soundtrack that ranged from song to screams. While glamorous, the clothes looked suitably comfortable for the times we're living through, with flat ballet pumps, softly tailored jackets, belted shirt dresses and elegant duster coats.
Marine Serre's digital activation was a like a high-fashion gaming version of doctors and nurses, except it was surgeons and first-aiders. A rather macabre, yet ingenious, way to show its collection for SS21, where face shields and doctor's bags were refashioned into something desirable - and necessary.
Grace Wales Bonner, the British-Jamaican designer who's showing for the first time as part of Paris Fashion Week, is a famously brilliant researcher, imbuing each collection with a story, whether it's students at Howard University or how her dad used to dress. Maybe that's why the digital medium worked so well for her, with the triple threat of a thought-provoking film, directed by Jeano Edwards and shot in Jamaica, a collection and a digital zine called Reflections On Essence.