With a few standout examples of successful intersection between the worlds of fashion and technology, the first half of fashion month got style editors reviewing tech pieces and technology writers looking up fashion trends. Before bloggers, journalists and celebs said bye to London and waved ciao to Milan, the excitement around fashiontech on the runways of Milan and Paris had already built up.
However, it seems like the Italian and French fashion capitals were not in a rush to catch up with the digital innovation taking over London and New York. Instead, the majority of the shows on the catwalks during Milan and Paris Fashion Week bet on their brand and country heritage, artistic displays and signature styles without diverging into newly found tech land. Among these we saw a few hit and miss examples worth a mention.
MILAN FASHION WEEK
An audience taking pictures of models taking pictures. This is exactly what happened at the Dolce & Gabbana’s SS16 show. Dolled up models walking for the iconic fashion house stopped on the catwalk to take selfies, which were then displayed on large screens around the venue in real time. The same photos were also shared on D&G’s social media channels with the hashtags #DGselfie and #Italiaislove.
While this was a chance for the brand to show its gorgeous iPhone cases up close to the audience and get fans to see the show from the models’ point of view, the label is rather late for the selfie game. Unlike Cara’s videos from the Giles catwalk last year, the D&G selfies felt rather forced. Here’s to hoping for something more next season!
THE FUTURE IS NOW
..if you’re wearing Philipp Plein. The German designer made up for the lack of tech at Milan Fashion Week from its peers by combining all sorts of digital layers to his SS16 show.
Synonymous with out-of-this-world presentations, previously including a fully functioning roller coaster and wrestling cages (yes, you read right!), this season was no exception. The young, crazy and luxurious world of Philipp Plein showed us a futuristinc hip-rock collection – a modern day fusion of hip hop, heavy-metal, rock and rap that takes its genesis in the punk scene. This meant flat studded booties, pitch black and shiny silver pieces with rich embellishment, down dresses and heavily knitted breast plates.
As for the catwalk the designer incorporated Chinese made drones, a travelator and the robotic rock band Compressorhead, which accompanied Courtney Love, who performed for the opening of the show. In line with the concept, models came decked up on the travelator instead of walking down the runway, giving the presentation a factory assembly line feel. From each end of the catwalk robots were handing accessories to the models, including bags, belts and pieces from Plein’s debut eyewear line (see the full show below).
PARIS FASHION WEEK
The happy Issey Miyake girls walked down the runway wearing beautiful colour blocking comfy, yet edgy designs inspired by nature. True to the brand’s vision of technologically-driven clothing, the SS16 show featured garments made using what the company refers to as “Baked Stretch” technique.
The technique helped creating a new type of pleats. With the Baked Stretch technique, a special glue is first printed onto the fabric and then baked. The glue expands under the high temperature, thereby molding the pleat into the fabric, permanently pressing the garment and maintaining its form. Just like baking bread inside an oven, the fabric is placed inside a baking machine and the glue expands to create a pleated garment. In line with the essence of the collection, prints of colourful curves were added to the fabrics to evoke tropical mood.
Another memorable moment is the introduction of a second new fabrication, called ‘3D Steam Stretch’. This means the runway featured shirts and jackets that used ultra-thin paper thread made from plant fibers. Colorful t-shirts looked as if they had been jersey-woven, showing what can stem from the company’s ongoing research and development on various materials for the creation of comfortable, lightweight and easy to care for clothing that suits the lifestyle of a modern woman.
TAKE A PICTURE
Anrealage’s SS16 show took the obsession of capturing images on our phones to the next level. The brand’s entire presentation encouraged the audience to snap photos with flash to unveil hidden details and, in some cases, completely new prints for the designs presented on the runway.
What appeared to be a plain light black dress at first became a neon check, clear white shorts and tops revealed kaleidoscopic patterns.
Kunihiko Morinaga, Anrealage’s Creative Director, collaborated with a company specialising in reflective paint to make the photosensitive fabrics.
If you think a Chalayan coat will protect you from pouring rain, think again. The fashion veteran’s SS16 presentation mixed art, science and fashion for an extraordinary innovation that completely wowed the audience in the Salle Melpomène at Paris' Palais des Beaux-Arts.
During the show, models wearing white thigh-length jackets stood on podiums in the centre of the runway. Above them, the ceiling was punctured by holes, like showers.
Water poured down through the gaps of these showers and the coats began to disintegrate and fall away, revealing dresses patterned with lines of thick black stitching and appliqué white petal shapes, each of which embellished with Swarovski crystals.
Spring 2016 also marks a decade of collaboration between the Swarovski and Hussein Chalayan.
Images belong to their respective owners.