For Spring/Summer 2019, fantasy meets modernism in a contemporary take on duchesse satin
Taking its name from its original trade route, the word satin stems from the city at the beginning of Silk Road, the Chinese port town of Quanzhou, which, in medieval Arabic, was called ‘Zayton’. As the sheeny fabric traversed the world it became a fixture in the wardrobes of the world’s upper echelons – the stuff of royal trousseaus, Marie Antoinette’s court, Hubert de Givenchy’s bow-fastened ball gowns and the full-hipped skirts of Cristóbal Balenciaga. However it was seen in more contemporary iterations at this season’s shows.
There, heavy satin came by way of candy colours and jewel-tones, tapping into the truly escapist fantasy of the fabric’s history. These hopeful hues diverged from the practical armour we’ve donned of late – they represent, as Miuccia Prada explained backstage, “a wish of freedom, and liberation and fantasy, and, on the other side, the extreme conservatism that is coming – the duality out there.” It seems that these are sweet-shop satins to soothe the soul in troubled times, but in their boxy shapes, sportswear nods, and sharply tailored silhouettes, they are a flight of fancy grounded in the modern day.
1. Sheen clash (above)
Satin is long-associated with lavish dressing – lingerie, tuxedos, perhaps even both at once. When twinned with a tawdry sheen of another kind, like this PVC patent leather for example, that sometimes staid sophistication is energised.
Reconsider the satin ruffle with JW Anderson’s matching shorts-set in clownish proportions. His OTT 80s puffed-sleeves and oversized fluted shorts in oyster silk balance school-girl naivety with a sculptural quality.
3. Practical prettiness
A play on pretty, Mrs Prada offered duchesse satin in acid green, vermillion, black, rust and her go-to ‘ugly brown’. Bow details, pearly pink and peach brought extra girlishness. In scuba shapes and too-large headbands the collection embodies today’s political duality that so fascinates the designer.
4. Go eco
Known for his approach to eco-friendly manufacturing, Richard Malone employed the silks of Italian manufacturer Taroni for his S/S19 confections. It is “the most sustainable company in the world,” says Malone, using little water and acid-free colours, the company supplied Cristóbal Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent in the 20th century and still Prada today. In utility-meets-couture shapes Malone offers infinite reasons to go green.
5. Shocking shine
In Paul Andrew’s second season as creative director of Salvatore Ferragamo, he wove an unorthodox satin in amidst the butter-soft heritage leathers. In turquoise, charcoal and this Pepto Bismol pink suit, it lent a colour-jolt to an undeniably luxurious collection.
6. The new couture
Demna Gvasalia was drawn to the French-based fashion house of Balenciaga for its couture legacy – he’s rewritten the archive’s codes ever since. Twisted proportions and astringent shades offer a rethink on a ladylike ensemble.
Hair: Kiyoko Odo at Bryant Artists using Tigi Copyright. Make-up: Siobhan Furlong at LGA Management. Models: Jamily Meurer at Established Models, Kerolyn Soares at IMG London and Vivienne Rohner at The Squad Management. Casting: Noah Shelley at Streeters. Set design: Suzanne Beirne at D+V Management. Digital tech: Florent-Sinan Brunel. Photographic assistants: Anthony Seklaoui and Andrew Moores. Styling assistants: Rebecca Perlmutar, Nicola Neri, Molly Shillingford, Benedetta Baruffi and Shakirra Mae. Hair assistant: Mirai Uejo. Make-up assistant: Eddy Liu. Set-design assistant: Camilla Byles. Production: Meghan Hanson at The Collective Shift. Post-production: JRM Digital
This story originally featured in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of AnOther Magazine which is on sale internationally now.