SS16 Fashion Week Round-up, from NYFW right through to PFW!

CRU London may not have had the chance to attend this years’ major Spring/Summer Fashion shows however we made sure to follow it closely for inspiration and to get a head start on the new trends to hit the streets for SS16.

The key theme in New York was a refreshing one, one advocating social responsibility. Designers were seen to give back to the city and the communities through various initiatives. For example, Alexander Wang celebrated his 10th year working within the fashion industry and to commemorate his work and career to date he reissued ten pieces from previous seasons in order to raise funds for the ‘Do Something’ not-for-profit organisation dedicated to empowering youth.

This was one way in which designers reached out to their fellow citizens in a noble and supportive way. Another equally valid gesture was seen when Peter Copping, Creative Director of Oscar de La Rente, New York based Fashion House, was seen giving credit to each member of the de La Rente Atelier in his show notes. Whilst not having supported a charity or wider charitable vision, his nobility was set closer to home. Where designers are more typically concerned with status and supremacy, this creative voice paid tribute to his team without whom his vision and performance at the show would have been impossible.

As for design, the show generally didn’t deliver anything awfully exciting or unique, that was yet to be seen at the shows to follow.

Closer to home at London Fashion Week, designers were much more experimental and playful in their designs. According to the Financial Times “British designers are celebrated for their unique point of view: the very essence of London Fashion Week is its sense of edgy experimentation, its eccentricity and wit”. We couldn’t agree more with this.

Even if you consider British Fashion on a general scale, it is much more daring and experimental than for example Europe or in America. There is a sense of fearlessness and being carefree enough to experiment, make mistakes and try something else.

Plenty of playfulness was seen in London this September; ruffles, polka dots, cable-ties, acid coloured-dresses and jagged cut-outs. A very exciting and jaw dropping show bound to lead to a colourful fall-out on the high-street too come next Spring.

We believe CRU London’s collection is equally daring and playful, thriving on the basis of witty, yet simple and elegant designs whereby the rulebook has been thrown out and instead replaced with a down-to-earth, playful yet practical design approach.

CRU London’s red-zips which run throughout our leather handbag and backpack collection, some more visible than others, are a key symbol of our rebel nature. It works especially well on our signature Old Nichol backpack where the red-zip is the key to expanding the backpack for greater volume and additional contrast between the caramel suede that is exposed on opening. At least we fit into the British Fashion scene in one respect: wit and an unconventional approach to design.

Next in line was Milan Fashion Week which key theme was Feminism. Designers were set on joining the sisterhood.

Leading the way was Donatella Versace, throwing out her sky-rise stillettos in favour for tractor-sole sandals. Quite the statement. The show was all about speaking up for the real woman amongst us. Versace confirmed her inspiration as having been International Women’s Day, and went on to describe her heroine as “fierce, a fighter and a woman who has struggled”.

The show saw designers standing up for women, empowering them to be strong, fearless and relentless in their aspirations and not moulding to the expectations of society. In an ever so small way, CRU London aims to make a statement of sorts with its signature red-zips. It is a deviation from the norm, being daring and proud to be different. 

Gucci followed up where Versace left off, making the gender divide its subject of inspiration. Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s Creative Director, continued his vision of positioning the brand as the thinking, ponderate Woman’s Fashion house. His ideal woman is bookish, fearless to experiment with prints, patterns, colour and not shy to opt for the comfort of separates (tops and bottoms) as appose to a flamboyant dress. This is another rebel-like attitude of going against the stream with the objective of blurring the gender lines in fashion even more.

Equally, CRU London has fully embraced this new trend, it’s entire collection being fairly neutral as far as gender is concerned and leaning more towards the masculine. Its range of backpacks is also an emblem of the fight against keeping women contained within their gender role. CRU London hopes to offer women an alternative, classic and stylish route to expressing their true personalities void of gender and conformity.

After almost a month worth of catwalks, Paris Fashion Week drew by with plenty of diverse, eclectic and individualistic designs.

One designer who took the limelight in our eyes was John Galliano who showed his forth collection for Maison Margiela. His bags, or rather backpacks, were one of a kind; beautifully crafted leather and silk bags but with a couture finish.

Some of the designs showed exaggerated buckle-esque elements, upholstered in leather or silk. The standard everyday brass buckle had been replaced for catwalk friendly glamour. Above and beyond this innovative twist, the bags were strapped to the models’ backs with silk-covered bungee-like cord, flashy and full of print. Quite the contrast of elements.

We loved the daringness of Galliano’s designs and the exclamation that women can be real women and can get off their pedestals and be treated as equals to their male counterparts.

Fashion has just got much more practical, confirmed by Galliano’s hands free bags (not to mention CRU London’s awesome backpacks!) but also the way in which Versace opted into designing comfortable sandals rather than agonising sky-rise stilettos.

Galliano was just one of many designers at Paris Fashion Week who chose to use his influence to change the scenery for next season to a more relaxed, lighter and less inhibiting mood and to really empower women to express themselves in a less restrictive fashion.

Lanvin’s collection also carried a really unpretentious aura about it, as if to give an approving nod to fashion (and the rest of the show) and say “Here I am, now let’s put all seriousness aside and have some fun”.

Clearly we have a lot to look forward to next season, the general landscape appearing to move more towards being relaxed in your own skin and enjoy fashion rather than be a slave to it.

Heads-up for an unpretentious, laidback and refreshing SS15! CRU London for one can’t wait to be a part of the fun.

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