AW17 was the season in which we all became revolutionaries — whether it was of the activist variety, raising a middle finger to the patriarchy at Prada, Missoni and Dior or through trail-blazing casting, pushing age, body and ethnic diversity forward at Dries van Noten, Simone Rocha, Max Mara and more.
There’s a very real sense of let’s-come-together solidarity in fashion right now as designers used the runways to not only show off stellar collections but make bold social and political statements. This was the season in which Halima Aden became the first Muslim woman to walk a major runway show and the pussy hat, the symbol of the Women’s March on Washington, made its runway debut. And throughout it all, some covetable clothes.
Whether it was John Galliano’s patchwork of references for Margiela, used to illustrate the ‘memories, which unite us and give us hope’, or Raf Simons’ celebration of ‘the coming together of different individuals’, ‘cohabiting, cross cultures of clothing’ and ‘diversity’ at Calvin Klein, fashion used a mash-up of cultural references to celebrate the beauty of inclusivity.
When was the last time you just had to wear a cardigan? It’s been a while, but the piece most associated with middle-aged professorial types and Stepford twin sets has had a fashion reboot – along with all manner of other knitwear, as seen at Max Mara, Prada, Miu Miu, Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen, Gucci and more.
When times get politically fraught, glamour becomes a beautiful escape, as shown at Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Miu Miu, Prada and more. It doesn’t matter which of those decades you choose — the Forties, Eighties, Seventies — as long as it’s lush.
Relaxed and easy day wear at Dries van Noten, Céline, Max Mara and even Dior was ready to go straight from catwalk to closet, no translation needed.
There’s a very grown-up sensibility to the colour of the season, and that’s not just because of the refreshing wave of models age 30 and over who were cast in shows, from Max Mara to Simone Rocha. The colour was less overtly sexualised, less Lolita, and more refined, as seen at Prada, Roksanda Ilincic, Preen, Fendi and more.
Designers took elements of the Nineties’ power suit (the shoulder pads, the double-breasted jacket, the boxy shape, the wide trousers and the heritage fabrics) and pushed it forward through a more relaxed, fluid silhouette in a long list of shows spanning Calvin Klein, Dries van Noten, Céline, Victoria Beckham, Mulberry, Max Mara, Stella McCartnery and many more.
How much does fashion love the future? Let AW17 count the ways, from Alessandro Michele’s alien-like crystal bodysuits at Gucci to Anthony Vaccarello’s sexed-up diamanté boots at Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld’s tweed-clad ‘rocket women’ at Chanel, the runways seemed to be courting NASA in the wake of its big discovery of seven new planets.