By Cassandra Gagnon
In the recent Prefall 2016 collections, excess seemed to hold reign. As an individual a little over
the minimalism/athleisure trends that have been holding fashion hostage, this return to Nancy
Drew cuts with Old Hollywood excess came as a breath of fresh air. Especially at
Valentino,Gucci, and Alexander McQueen did this aesthetic hold most strongly, with mixed
whimsical animal motif prints, rich furs, and demure cuts all gave a romantic, retro reboot to a new season.
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, the creative directors of Valentino since 2008,
delivered a line spanning different geographic and era influences, in part due to their channeling
of the recently deceased Italian designer Elio Fiorucci, who often combined global styles. This
shows in the American use of shearling and denim, as well as the Japanese influence in oriental
embroidery and traditional kimono cuts. The two sides were defined not only in silhouettes and
materials, but in the glamorous pop from the American and the elegant simplicity in the
Next is Alessandro Michele for Gucci, who has certainly taken the brand far from past designer
Tom Ford’s flashy sex appeal, and moved towards a more reserved, yet still intriguing approach.
It is a line that truly exemplifies Michele’s new Gucci woman, and solidifies this year as the one
of the magpie, a term Vogue uses towards the line to describe the scavenging and collecting of
all different fabrics, prints, baubles, and accessories, and somehow seamlessly completing looks
that are shockingly cohesive, while each piece holds its own right, an impressive marketing feat
for sure. The collection included a look made of purple and red, from the fur coat, to the head
wrap, tights and gloves, in a very mod sixties meets early 2000s sense that somehow works, and
a pale blue ruffled gown straight from your mother’s prom.
Rounding off the trio of decadence is none other than Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.
Definitely no stranger to the avant garde, Burton brings that drama within the line down to a still
accessible ensemble. Deep burgundies and the brightest crimsons create a whole color spectrum
of reds, and again we see animal motifs in a coat with moths, birds, and, of course, skulls. Just
like at Valentino we see Asian inspired embroidery on sheer bases. A gold ruffled gown fit for
the silver screen.
This season seemed straight out of an estate sale dream, all piled together into over the top yet
somehow refined outfits, creating a craving for more of everything, a longing for the excess of a
Golden Age while we are far from it economically. However, there is a hope in the quirky
oversized glasses or evening gloves that a trip to a flea market or rummage through a relative’s
attic may just give us the luxury we never saw before, coming full circle in the round of the coin.