In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve been covering a lot more womenswear recently on Highsnobiety. Why, you ask? Because the line between men’s and women’s clothing is just so blurry these days, and there’s tons of designers out there producing great stuff for the fairer sex, too.
We’ve always been about discovering dope new things — whether it’s in sneakers, clothing or music — and it’s outdated to only think of men’s clothing when there’s so much amazing womenswear out there to discover, too.
While the SS17 men’s shows were back in June, September was all about womenswear. Now that the Big Four fashion weeks — that’s New York, London, Milan and Paris — are done and dusted, here’s our favorite collections of the SS17 season.
For further womenswear reading, see what happened when a women’s editor explained the ins and outs of the industry to me.
Swiss-bred designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient’s Berlin-based label, Ottolinger, took a Grimm’s fairy tale and set it in what felt like something you’d see at infamous techno nightclub, Berghain (minus the in-plain-sight fornication and pill-popping). Rapunzel-like models marched to a searing gabber soundtrack in a series of aggro-sexual, yet somehow saccharinely feminine, slip-dresses and pantsuits that were tight, ripped to shreds and cut from either satin, gauzy cotton or black PVC (sehr sick).
There were also these crinkled, deconstructed T-shirts slapped with photos of a lone cow on them, which the designers admitted was butchered shortly after the collection was finished (milk maid ravers are pretty savage, huh).
The designers have been killing it since they debuted at VFILES’s FW16 multi-brand showcase (they low-key worked as the head creatives for YEEZY Season 4), and SS17 undoubtedly attests to a promising future for their label. — Nico Amarca
Buzzy Polish streetwear label MISBHV paid homage to Eastern European club fashions of the early 2000s for its debut women’s collection. Leave it to designers Natalia Maczek and Thomas Wirski to make Y2K aesthetics, a time where Von Dutch caps and bedazzled derrières reigned supreme, look dope AF; deconstructed JNCO-style jeans (RIP nu-metal), motocross gear and bubblegum pink chiffon tracksuits were just a small cut of the fire getups on display.
Should Millennium steez ever truly make a comeback (and you know it will), then let’s hope that other designers follow suit — MISBHV’s SS17 line is a lesson on how to do the era justice. — Nico Amarca
I like to think of Thom Browne as the Stanley Kubrick of the fashion world. His perfectionist work ethic, astute (almost manic) attention to detail and avant-garde narratives are what make his shows, which are really more like theatre skits, such a treat for those fortunate enough to experience them IRL.
For his SS17 extravaganza, the designer transported attendees to a surreal ’60s pool party where cyborg-ish Stepford Wives sauntered around in these pastel-colored dresses that were designed to mimic the look of tailoring – lapels, double-breasted jackets, buttons and pockets were cleverly illustrated onto the pieces, while neck and bow ties were forged from sequins.
Was this an attempt at trolling, Thom? Regardless, you won me over. — Nico Amarca
Hood By Air
Still holding the spot as NYC’s leading underground favorite, Shayne Oliver’s radical Hood By Air imprint partnered up with PornHub this season, which came to the surprise of absolutely no one. The pairing consequently birthed a collection of Wall Street-tinged cut and sew, complete with gratuitous zipper embellishments, bold logos, baggy silhouettes and fetishistic fabrics — all trademark to the brand’s “queer thug” aesthetic.
HBA sits in this sort of commercial purgatory; equal parts retail gold and baffling avant-garde that you can’t really imagine anyone wearing. But Shayne marches to the beat of his own drum, annihilating everything from gender norms to what defines the “urban ethos,” and that’s pretty commendable, to be fair. — Nico Amarca
ROBERTS | WOOD
RCA graduate Katie Roberts-Wood’s show had whimsical proportions, dramatic silhouettes and not-even-slightly-nipple-concealing fabrics. Roberts-Wood’s dreamy abstraction of regular clothing follows in the footsteps of avant-garde legends like Rei and Martin, and cemented the London-based designer as a name you should definitely keep an eye on. — Alec Leach
Polish-slash-German newcomer Marta Jakubowski was all about the eveningwear, with a sick collection of sultry womenswear that she showed on the London schedule. Said sultry evening garments were dissected with dramatic (/butt-exposing) cutaways, and shown on a carousel designed by Gary Card (who also did LN-CC’s extremely conceptual, extremely dope interior). Good news for people who have been dying to wear an asymmetric, fitted evening dress to their local fairground. — Alec Leach
Turkish-born designer Dilara Findikoglu took London on a dizzying timewarp with Marie Antoinette and Bowie as spiritual guides. Not entirely sure what the ~narrative~ is behind the rococo-meets-biker-gang-meets-Ziggy-Stardust vibes, but London Fashion Week is all about boundless creativity, which Dilara has clearly got in spades. — Alec Leach
The strides that the #gawd Alessandro Michele has taken in transforming Gucci has already made fashion history in his less than two-year stint as Creative Director. Flexing his penchant for baroque detailing, vivid color schemes and eclectic fabrics, SS17 was, like every season thus far under Michele’s tenure, a fashionista’s wet dream almost too on fleek for words (its impending price point, on the other hand, not so much). — Nico Amarca
Fenty x PUMA
Rihanna doesn’t pretend to be something that she’s not; none of this holier than thou “I’m a legit designer and you will bow down before me” nonsense (and yes, I’m referring to you, Kanye). She actually has, dare I say, fun with fashion — and it shows. For her second collaboration with the German sportswear giant, RiRi fused her personal brand of high-brow ratchet with Louis XVI era rococo (think of something Marie Antoinette might have worn to a strip club in Atlanta).
Pastel-hued gowns styled with do-rags, pearl chokers, corsets and platforms? It’s about to get très lit in Versailles, y’all. — Nico Amarca
Your boy Demna was back with yet more low-taste-high-price shenanigans. His second womens’ show for Balenciaga had editors salivating over tacky florals, neon-colored leggings, laundry-style bags and patent leather raincoats. A gloriously low-brow antidote to Alexander Wang’s luxe streetwear-isms, but I still can’t quite get my head around the exploded, American footballer-style shoulders. — Alec Leach
Virgil’s really hit his stride recently: there’s a lot more to his brand than those hazard stripes nowadays, and Off-White’s women’s SS17 collection was possibly his finest work to date. Abloh’s Paris show had all the usual luxe streetwear gear, but more importantly, a ton of ’80s-style power-dress bangers. Red double-breasted blazer + red track pants = vibes x 1000. — Alec Leach
Fashion’s most lauded emo was back at it with another season of asymmetrically tailored garms drowned in a sea of — you guessed it — black. Though he did sprinkle in a few all-white frocks (which were dirtied with smudges of black paint) along with jackets contrasted by sharp slashes of red, the noir maestro’s militaristic bondage wear looks, a sort of mash-up between The Night Porter and Siouxsie Sioux, were what really slayed in the end. — Nico Amarca
A cosmic, galactic, interplanetary explosion of wackiness, Wanda Nylon went on a retro-futuristic flex for SS17. There were metallic perfectos, iridescent turtle necks and, erm, bucket hats dripping with jeweled chains, and it was banging. The label’s menswear project was closed a while back, but here’s hoping it’ll get resurrected at some point down the line. — Alec Leach
It’s been over six years since Alexander McQueen tragically passed, yet his absence still remains palpable for anyone still awestruck by his revolutionary creations (aka everyone). In an effort to commemorate the late, great maverick, Creative Director Sarah Burton drew inspiration from McQueen’s Highland heritage, sending forth a parade of pagan-meets-punk-style dresses that featured lush embroideries, black leather bustiers and ruffled tulle skirting.
Despite the formalwear intricacies, the pieces were actually very accessible and contemporary. Besides, a sleek evening dress paired with some studded combat boots is a good look for any occasion. — Nico Amarca
No show or presentation for Matthew Williams’ post-DONDA project (yet), but Alyx Studio’s Paris showroom was still filled with plenty of high-end eye candy. Said eye candy included a comedically oversized leather trucker, cinched plissé trousers and a hoodie emblazoned with striking — and poignant — images of New York’s Twin Towers back when they were still standing.
Jeweled cowboy boots with hand-cut Lucite heels took home Paris Fashion Week’s #flex prize — they looked like they’d cost about a billion dollars. — Alec Leach
Simone-Porte Jacquemus had us all yearning for the simple life with his wistful resurrection of traditional Provence peasant dress. The designer was inspired by les Santons de Provence, which are traditional figurines depicting classic elements of life in the idyllic French region, and he brought them to life via humble fabrics and wide-brimmed hats.
Not exactly contemporary, but it was a beautiful, ethereal look back at simpler times. BRB gonna burn my iPhone and only communicate via carrier pigeon. — Alec Leach
For further reading, see what happened when a womenswear editor explained the ins and outs of the industry to me.
- Co-Writer: Nico Amarca