In Paris last week, designers like Dior, Chanel, and Iris Van Herpen showed off their couture spring 2020 collections, all of which communicated different messages to their audience.
Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, teamed up with artist Judy Chicago who has created fascinating feminist art like, “The Dinner Party”. Together they collaborated and above the runway hung a banner asking the audience the question, “What if Women Ruled the World?” This question was then followed by women who walked the runway in soft, draping materials that hung so delicately off the body. Gold, bronze, and other metallic fabrics paired with gold dipped leaf necklaces and matching bracelets adorned the models. The collection suggests that if women did indeed rule the world, they would look like the goddesses of mythology. And if this was the case, are we forgetting that men created those stories? With that said, does this Dior collection truly answer the question that hung above the runway, or did it rely on an image of time past?
Unlike Dior, no question hung above Chanel’s runway but the same question of what a woman can possess through her clothing was implied. In true Chanel fashion, the tweed ruled the runway. The classic black and white designs came in the form of blazers and skirts, long coat dresses, and white stockings with socks. This collection is a feminine takeover to masculine pieces that include the coat and the blazer. Taking a structured piece that is fashion evolutionary masculine and redefining it to be ultra-feminine is something that Chanel has always done well. This collection is no doubt another version of what the house loves to do, but they’ve added another suggestive level to it: the stockings and socks.
Stockings paired with socks are reminiscent of childhood – girlhood to be more precise. It is a pairing that is seen with school uniforms, and dresses for church and special occasions. It’s a timeless pairing that was as relevant in the 1950s as it is today for young girls. That said, young girls do this, not women.
Perhaps this collection is trying to say that a woman can literally be everything at once: ultra-feminine, masculine, and girlish. A woman, a girl and a man all in one.
And finally, Iris Van Herpen’s couture, spring 2020 collection really provokes deep thoughts surrounding the topic of energy. Iris Van Herpen’s collection is titled, Sensory Seas, and the designer drew inspiration from the sensory processes that occur in the human body.
Here is an extract from IrisVanHerpen.com about the collection:
Sensory Seas ~ For this collection, Iris van Herpen draws inspiration from the sensory processes that occur between the intricate composition of the human body, mirrored with the fibrous marine ecology of our oceans. The first threads of inspiration came from the Spanish neuroanatomist Ramón y Cajal. He wanted to uncover something that no one had yet understood. He questioned; how does the brain engage in conversation with its counterparts? Exploring our central nervous system in microscopic detailing, Cajal documented his revolutionary findings through anatomical drawings that are considered amongst the world’s greatest scientific illustrations. Hunched over his microscope, he merged science with art and brought to life the threads of our enchanted biology to the human eye. Other inspiration stemmed from diving into the deep depths of the Hydrozoa, a class of delicately branched sea-life organisms. Shifting between a polypoid stage and a medusa stage, the Hydrozoa embroider the oceans like aqueous fabrics, forming layers of living lace. ‘Sensory seas’ holds a microscope over the indelible nuances between the anthropology of a marine organism, to the role of dendrites and synapses delivering infinite signals throughout our bodies. It enchants the attention of how two processes of torrential messaging exist in an uninterrupted state of flux. The collection consists 21 silhouettes that illustrate a portrait of liquid labyrinths, where dresses spill onto the floor in elegant train and pigments gather in clouded pools of blues and lilac, leaking into one another like marble.
Although this collection is connecting sea life to the human nervous system, it does suggest a new perspective of femininity, if one wants to look for one. Perhaps this collection is a subconscious display of how the female’s nervous system produces something that the male system does not. Suggesting that, although the biology is the same, the essence is different.
After reviewing Dior, Chanel and Iris Van Herpen’s couture collections, Van Herpen takes the cake for originality that is inspired by the biology of life and the places we can evolve from.