For the FW 21 and SS 22 seasons, many designers returned to the runway to present their collections, often using elaborate sets or unexpected locations. As we reach the end of the year let’s look back at five of the best from 2021.
5. Louis Vuitton RTW: SS 2022
The Louvre’s Passage Richelieu was decked out in dozens of antique chandeliers for the Louis Vuitton RTW Show that closed SS 2022 Paris Fashion Week. It set the tone for a Collection designer Nicolas Ghesquière described as, ‘vampire chic,’ inspired by designing costumes for Alicia Vikander and other characters for the HBO series ‘Irma Vep.’ During his tenure at Louis Vuitton, Ghesquière has shown that he loves to play around with the concept of time and in the show notes he declared, ‘The Spring-Summer 2022 collection is an invitation to le grand bal of Time. Tonight, time is of no consequence. Yet time is everything. It dissolves functions and codes. It unites wardrobes. Day becomes night. The humble uniform becomes sumptuous.’
The Collection also played with size and shape, mixing elements to create unexpected forms, such as a pleated skirt that could be turned into a cape. Light and ethereal shredded chiffon dresses with pannier-shaped crinolines evoked Louis Vuitton’s early days, paying homage to the 200th anniversary of the birth of the founder. Many celebrities were in the audience for this highly anticipated show that did not disappoint. Even the sudden interruption by an activist who stormed the runway, holding a banner scrawled with the words, ‘Overconsumption = Extinction’, did not dampen the enthusiastic reaction from the audience.
4. AZ Factory: SS 22 - Love Brings Love
Alber Elbaz was beloved by the international design community, which was devastated when he died from Covid-19 in April, at just 59 years old. 45 designers and Elbaz’s design team at AZ Factory came together in celebration of his life and work. Many of them, including Dries van Noten, Olivier Rousteing, Rick Owens, Iris van Herpen, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Jean Paul Gaultier joined France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron and his family members in the audience.
Every look was inspired by the designers’ personal connection with Elbaz, and many of his signature techniques were celebrated throughout the collection. It was recently announced that an exhibition running from March 5 to July 10 2022 at the Palais Galliera fashion museum in Paris will feature all of the looks from the show.
3. Pyer Moss: FW 21 Couture - WAT U IZ.
In July, history was made when Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer of Pyer Moss, was the first Black designer to officially show on the Couture schedule with a collection titled WAT U IZ. Jean-Raymond was forced to reschedule after heavy rains and the show finally took place two days later. The presentation began with a remarkable spoken word opener from former Black Panther Party chairperson Elaine Brown followed by a performance from 22Gz, who, like Jean-Raymond, is from the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The Collection was shown at Villa Lewaro in upstate New York, the estate of Madam CJ Walker, an inventor and the first female self-made millionaire in American history. A poignant location as each of the 25 looks included an item invented by a Black person, from fire extinguishers to cell phones to the traffic light. According to the designer’s website: ‘The collection is both a celebration of Black culture as well as a critique of the fixation of others who seek to profit off of Black trauma’.
2. Louis Vuitton: SS 22 Menswear - Virgil Was Here
In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton paid tribute to the life and legacy of a creative genius with a reprise of his S/S 22 Collection. The show was held in Miami to coincide with Art Basel. Attendees had taken ferries over from the mainland for a 30-minute ride to a wharf where the show was held. Celebrities were brought over in grey speed boats with the LV logo and monogram stenciled on the side in blue along with the numbers 7.2, representing the repeat of Abloh’s seventh show for the House.
The audience of about 1,500 included many famous faces. Kim Kardashian and ex-husband Kanye West made a rare joint public appearance along with their daughter North. Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Bella Hadid, Pharrell Williams, Venus Williams, Joe Jonas, Ricky Martin, 21 Savage, Joan Smalls and Jesse Williams were all in attendance. As for the clothes, there were references to ’90s ravers, including lots of solid and ombré color. Vuitton-branded knit football jerseys, full-pleated or flared skirts, belted suit jackets, letter jackets and puffers. Every look was heavily accessorized with bags in a range of styles including a humorous backpack in the shape of a neon tie-dye fish.
1. Gucci: Pre-Fall 22 - Love Parade
What a spectacle! In early November, 115 models and celebrities, including Macaulay Culkin, St. Vincent, Miranda July, Jodie Turner-Smith, and Jared Leto paraded along Hollywood Blvd. in a variety of looks that including sequined gowns, boas and ‘seventies style three piece suits, that referenced the House and Hollywood, both past and present.
Gwyneth Paltrow joined Miley Cyrus, Lizzo and Serena Williams sitting in the front row wearing an updated version of the Tom Ford-designed red velvet Gucci tux she wore in the mid-nineties. Michele credits his mother, a movie buff and an assistant in a production company, with encouraging his love of old Hollywood.
‘HOLLYWOOD seemed a bright and shiny star’, Michele wrote in his show notes, explaining the glamorous aesthetic of golden age cinema that often informs his Collections. “Nine letters dripping with desire.”