The Fashion Review: May
After almost four months since the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, his successor, Virginie Viard, made her solo debut for Chanel’s Cruise 2020 show. Keeping with tradition, the show was held at the Grand Palais, transformed on this occasion into a Belle Époque railway station. The impressive set design was in place, with double C’s awash, although this set required less building, showcasing the Palais in all its finery, before the start of a €25 million renovation paid for by Chanel. There appeared to be fewer novelty themed handbags and visual jokes loved by Lagerfeld. Instead, they were replaced by cleaner lines, akin to the days of Coco Chanel.
The biggest fashion news story of May has got to be the Met Gala. This year’s theme centred on ‘Camp: Notes of Fashion’, held to coincide with an exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art based on Susan Sontag’s essay, ‘Notes on Camp’. As expected outfits dazzled, some more than others. Lady Gaga, one of the event’s co-hosts, donned not one but four outfits, all showcased while walking along the pink carpet. Starting out adorned in a billowing pink dress, by stripping away various layers, she undressed down to her final outfit of sparkling fishnets and underwear. Surprisingly, someone just about managed to upstage Gaga. Billy Porter was carried along the carpet by six topless men in gold, a nod to ancient Egypt. Having reviewed the couture show back in January, Spring 2019 Viktor and Rolf Haute Couture was worn by Hailee Steinfeld, embodying a sense of fun and class. Some attendees, however, were a source of disappointment. Frank Ocean was described by some as ‘looking like a security guard’, and not the least bit camp. Whilst Kanye West wore the most affordable look of the night, a plain, black jacket costing less than £40.
In even bigger celebrity fashion news, Rihanna has become the first woman of colour to lead a house for French luxury goods group, LVMH. Launching her own fashion label, Fenty, also makes her the first woman to create an original brand for the group. With a multi-million-pound beauty business, Fenty Beauty, regularly praised for its inclusivity, under her belt, everyone has high hopes for this unique brand. And not constantly rehashing other ideas and old trends, as so many others often seem to do.
In a changing high street landscape, Urban Outfitters Inc announced that they would be offering shoppers the chance to rent six items of clothing for a month, before swapping them. Rather than buy the items, the retailer says that it is offering more variety and a more sustainable way to shop. As people are becoming more knowledgeable about the harmful effects our shopping habits have on the world, this is a great initiative. It’s just a shame that the company declined to say if, and, when this would be offered in the UK.
In high fashion, Prada revealed plans to stop using fur from next year. Joining the likes of Burberry and Gucci, it’s a new direction for a luxury brand previously well-known for its extravagant use of fur. More positive news was announced with fashion company Kering stating that it would no longer employ models under the age of 18. As brands attempt to become more ethical and sustainable, Kering, owner of several major fashion houses including Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, have the power to instil real change in the industry. Let’s hope this news isn’t simply paying lip service to one of the fashion industry’s most damning issues.
The Met Gala isn’t the only major fashion event taking place in May, with the Cannes Film Festival just as much about fashion as it is about film. At the event H&M revealed its latest collaboration at the amfAR gala. H&M’s Creative Advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson walked the red carpet with Giambattista Valli, acclaimed designer for both ready-to-wear and couture. We look forward to this collection, which is set to drop in the autumn.
All imagery courtesy of vogue.com
About Our Author: Katie Calvert's background is in fashion and textiles with a first class honours degree in Fashion Communication and Promotion and experience in trend, PR and events. She decided to take the plunge back into education in 2015 to complete a Master of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Using these newfound skills and her love of fashion and culture, Katie has been freelance writing for over a year.