Balenciaga immersed its Paris audience in a dramatic and apocalyptic world, reflecting on the state of our own. Guests were surrounded by LED screens projecting stormy seas and skies on fire, and the entire runway was under water. An almost entirely black collection of leathers, capes and sharp shouldered silhouettes added a sartorial connection to the doom-and-gloom mood.
Guests of the Gucci show in Milan were all given backstage access. Through black curtains, they entered into a strangely calm and quiet behind-the-scenes space that became the centrepiece of the show. As the stage began to rotate, robed models entered followed by makeup artists and dressers, revealing the fashion frenzy that’s usually hidden away from view.
Marc Jacobs’s New York show opened with a spotlight and a brief appearance by choreographer and "punk ballerina” Karole Armitage. What followed was a chaotic and theatrical performance with dancers stomping, twirling and crawling their way around the giant dance floor, intersecting with groups of models parading around in a mixture of 1950s’-era gowns and minimalist nineties looks reminiscent of Marc Jacobs’s early collections.
While most designers this seasons looked toward the future, Londoner Molly Goddard took inspiration from the past with a collection full of childlike nostalgia. The feeling was optimistic and grand, as models clad in sweetly coloured Fair-Isle sweaters and layers of taffeta and tulle gowns walked through guests seated at dining-room tables. For a moment, the chaos of fashion month and the world swirling around it disappeared, as the crowd happily sipped on white wine and munched on bread and butter.
Even when it is stripped down to its most minimal staging, a Chanel show is a spectacle. Massive, white sculpture-like seating weaved through Paris’s Grand Palais like icebergs floating atop a mirrored runway. Models casually walked arm in arm, sometimes conversing with one another. That’s a rare sight on a runway and brought forth a feeling of female togetherness that helped end the month of shows on a brighter note.