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Paris Couture Week highlights, Burberry’s latest campaign, and more fashion news

Surely by now, you would have seen the viral, meme-worthy collection that Viktor & Rolf showcased at Paris Couture Week 2019. It was a masterclass of bridging societies, marrying the upper crust who can afford couture with the bourgeoisie that creates memes for a living.

Another piece of news was the appointment of Bruno Sialelli as Lanvin’s creative director. Formerly the right-hand-man of Jonathan Anderson at Loewe, Sialelli has big shoes to fill, seeing as his predecessors include Alber Elbaz, Bouchra Jarrar, Lucas Ossendrijver, and Olivier Lapidus. Is this the end of the troubling case of musical chairs that has plagued Lanvin’s top seat? Hopefully so. Keep on reading to catch up on your weekly dose of fashion news.

Chanel brings the warmth of the Mediterranean into the Grand Palais

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Chanel’s grand sets wow us again, with a recreation of a palatial Mediterranean manor. (Photo by Olivier Saillant/Chanel)

It might be the dead of winter in Paris, but that won’t stop Karl Lagerfeld from teleporting his guests to the warm embrace of the Mediterranean for Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2019 Haute Couture show.

A huge water-front house was the backdrop, complete with 18th-century gardens that include dramatic steps and a gorgeous pool. The clothes were also classicly Chanel: Suit jackets were padded at the shoulders for that power look and feathers made a dramatic contrast to many of the structured dresses.

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The Chanel Bride. (Photo courtesy of Chanel)

And then there was the bride. Closing the end of every Chanel couture show is Lagerfeld’s vision of martial beauty, and this year Vittoria Ceretti held the coveted spot as the Chanel bride. She closed the show in an embroidered sequined swimsuit and matching swimming cap, a departure from all the previous couture gowns. Usually, she’d have been accompanied by Lagerfeld along the runway, but this year the Kaiser decided to take a break from the shows, citing fatigue (he has reportedly never missed a show in four decades). We don’t blame him: he puts on 10 collections a year, after all.

Dior’s couture collection was inspired by the circus

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Maria Grazia Chiuri looked to the circus for her Spring 2019 couture collection for Dior. (Photo by Estelle Hanania/Dior)

It looks as though the fantasy of stagecraft has been on Maria Grazia Chiuri’s mind for the past year. First, it was an equestrian-themed Cruise 2019 collection. Then, it was a ballet-inspired Spring 2019 season for Dior’s ready-to-wear line. Now for her Spring 2019 Couture collection, Chiuri decided to make the circus her creative playground, astounding us not only with acrobatics but with the beautifully-tailored dresses and gowns parading around under the big top.

It isn’t just on a whimsy that Chiuri decided to look to the circus. Christian Dior and Richard Avedon famously collaborated on a photo, “Dovima and the Elephants”, in 1955 that has since been memorialised as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential photos. John Galliano also channelled a similar take in his 2003 couture collection for Dior.

Make no mistake, for Chiuri’s collection was anything but clownish. Elegant gowns seemed to float in the air, while unitards in an array of fabrics and patterns were paraded around the grounds amidst the graceful performance of the all-female circus company Mimbre.

Pierpaolo Piccioli’s dreamy couture collection saw Naomi Campbell’s return to the Valentino runway

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The finale of the Valentino SS19 Haute Couture show.

Naomi Campbell is no stranger to fashion week, be it on the front row or walking the show. But for the past 14 years, the supermodel was an absent face on the Valentino runway, until Pierpaolo Piccioli tapped her to close out his Spring 2019 couture show. The veteran entered the hallways of the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild in a black taffeta organza dress to resounding cheers from the guests.

The show was not just historic for that moment. It was also what was possibly the largest display of diversity on a runway with 43 black models (out of 65) walking in Piccioli’s ethereal creations. This was no token casting, though. Piccioli already had diversity on his mind when planning the collection, musing to Vogue on his vision that the iconic 1948 photograph from Cecil Beaton of Charles James gowns was recreated with black models.

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Living Coral was one of the more prominent colours featured on the Valentino runway.

If anything, the runway diversity only emphasised the splendid array of colour on the clothes. “You don’t invent colour,” said Piccioli to Hamish Bowles, “But you can invent new harmonies for colour.” Pantone’s colour of the year, Living Coral, was prominently featured on the garments.

In the spirit of Spring, each of the 65 dresses were named after flowers chosen by the seamstresses. But while couture might be a pipe dream for us mere mortals, there’s one thing anyone can adopt without going for many fittings in Paris: The standout make-up courtesy of the legendary Pat McGrath. For the Valentino show, she replaced false lashes with soft feathers that fluttered delicately with each blink of a model’s eyes. It is no wonder Celine Dion was seen in tears while taking in the divine beauty of this collection.

Riccardo Tisci’s first campaign for Burberry Spring 2019 is a collaborative masterpiece

Part 1: A story by #NickKnight The first campaign by #RiccardoTisci for #Burberry . A cast of image makers #NickKnight, #DankoSteiner, #HugoComte, #PeterLanger, #ColinDodgson and #LettySchmiterlow present a unique take on Tisci’s new vision . ‘When I was thinking about my first campaign here, I knew I wanted to work with a collection of collaborators to help interpret the breadth of what this incredible heritage house represents to so many different people’ – Riccardo Tisci . #BurberrySpringSummer19 #NewEra #TBRT #Kingdom #BurberryGeneration . Click the link in bio to find out more and be first to shop the collection in February 2019 . Jenny Saville, “Olympia” (2013-14) © Jenny Saville. Image courtesy @gagosian . #JennySaville

A post shared by Burberry (@burberry) on

The fashion world waited with bated breath last year to see how Riccardo Tisci will elevate the heritage British brand Burberry. Thankfully, instead of stripping away its identity, Tisci honoured the brand’s roots with a collection that celebrated the house’s signature colour, beige.

Since his appointment, Tisci has also embraced the art of collaboration for many Burberry projects—in October last year, he invited six artists to reimagine the Thomas Burberry monogram. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that for his Spring 2019 campaign, he would also tap on six photographers to shoot the visuals.

Nick Knight, Danko Steiner, Hugo Comte, Colin Dodgson, Peter Langer, and Letty Schmiterlow, were the creative eyes of the collaboration, and none of them had shot a Burberry campaign until now.

“The thing that excites me the most about Burberry is how inclusive it is — it appeals to everyone no matter their age, their social standing, their race, their gender,” said Tisci in a statement. “I pulled together six photographers, all with a very different energy, experience and point of view of the world – including British masters of photography and the next generation who have something new to say – to interpret this new Burberry era and the multigenerational men and women we speak to, all through their own unique eyes.”

With just a couple more weeks till his Fall 2019, the pressure is on Tisci to further propel Burberry onwards and upwards.

Grace Coddington interviews Anna Wintour, who reveals her most loathed Met Gala exhibition

Fashion has one legendary duo, and that is Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington, period. The two veterans who have undoubtedly helped shape fashion into the mega-billion-dollar industry it is today have been partners at Vogue for decades. But it’s only now that we see the two side by side in a rare, candid interview.

Coddington’s latest episode of her miniseries, Face to Grace, saw the Editor-in-Chief let down her bob and talk about everything from Serena Williams, the secrecy behind that Kim-ye Vogue cover, and to the one Met Gala exhibition she loathed (it was the 2017 Rei Kawabuko/Commes des Garcon show).

“I loathed the lighting. I loathed the way I felt like we were in an operating theatre,” she said matter-of-factly, with her signature Chanel sunglasses on. “It was sort of cruel, the way the exhibition was set up, and Andrew [Bolton, head curator of the Met’s Costume Institute] and I had many disagreements. But he is the curator. It’s totally his decision at the end.”

“I just always felt there was a romantic side to Rei’s work that [Grace Coddington] always saw that I did not see in that show that I missed.”

Josiah Neo


Josiah Neo is a tech writer who contributes occasionally to the fashion, travel, and culture beats. When he’s not busy keeping up with the keynotes, he’s probably stuffing his face with the best Melbournian donuts (at Shortstop, BTW) or watching his favourite esports team, the Los Angeles Valiant, pummel their opponents into oblivion.

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