It can be hard for even the most committed fashion connoisseurs to keep up with fashion shows happening around the world. Summer is barely halfway over yet, and runway looks are already influencing what people will be wearing in the fall and winter. Although there are too many rapidly evolving trends, we love to include them all in this article, we prepared this list to give you an inside look at our 10 hottest fashion shows of 2019- and a window into the designers’ vision when their seasonal lines were created.
1. Louis Vuitton: Paris Fashion Week
You can’t have a list of hot fall fashion shows (or fashion shows of any season, for that matter) without Louis Vuitton. The iconic brand’s trademark is a smart combination of modern and classical pieces that come seamlessly together. For this year’s Fall 2019 exhibit during Paris Fashion week, the legendary brand showcased distinctive influences and aesthetics from previous decades. Styles mixed whimsical, modern prairie with edgier, metal embellishments, reimagined through an 80s-esque lens. It was quite the diversion from the classical style that has made the brand famous for decades.
The show seemed to be trying to capture a Parisian “laissez faire” energy- a tribute to the feminine free spirit. Yet the electivism of the collection was punctuated by the clean, elegant cuts that Vuitton is famous for. All in all, it would be shocking if the brand didn’t further diversify their audience with this ambitious fashion endeavor.
2. Balenciaga: Paris Fashion Week
For those who favor minimalist looks that make a strong statement without complicating fashion, the Balenciaga Fall 2019 collection, revealed during Paris fashion week, holds ample promise. Balenciaga’s strong commitment to simplicity and solidity managed to make a bolder statement than some of the more grandiose 2019 fashion shows. One main color held each look together, and the effect was stunning. Balenciaga’s decidedly sleek tailoring highlighted the elegance of a styled traditionally “male” styles, such as tailored suits with strong cuts. Many of these looks were a purposeful exaggeration of masculinity, reimagined with regard to a woman’s sharp fashion sense and high drama.
3. JW Anderson Fall 2019 Runway Show
For this year’s fashion week ensemble, JW Anderson emboldened his audacious style with beautiful floral prints that were more standout than soft. In this case, the vast proportions of billowing dresses and coats, hallmarked by wide, flashy belts, made JW Anderson’s looks larger than life. While the brand’s Fall 2019 looks deliberately made fashion into fantasy, the elegance of its pieces showed us it’s possible to scream sophistication. Combining asymmetrically bold statements with feminine fun is not an easy feat, but JW Anderson pulled it off with signature flourish at one of the most interesting fashion shows of the year.
4. Valentino’s Spring Show
In the rejuvenating spirit of spring, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli brought the infinite possibilities of inclusivity to life. The brand’s flagrantly bold haute couture took on new dimensions with diverse casting and dramatic looks inspired by cultures around the world. Piccioli reasoned that the only way to stay relevant in fashion is to represent different women’s identities and cultures. He accomplished that mission with the high drama and sophisticated that personifies the the label.
The show, featuring folklike ornamental accessories and colorful crepe dresses that swept the floor, showcased looks that were ornately, sometimes painstakingly handcrafted. The effect was a real feel of cultural authenticity in a stunningly original collection. Unlikely, nature-inspired color combinations, as in the golden-green and deep-set purple of a flowing trapeze top and culottes, deepened the beauty of the ensemble.
This Valentino was all about individualism and ultimate freedom of expression, which befit its standing among fashion writers and critics as the sociopolitical fashion show of the year.
It’s not easy for legendary fashion brands to reinvent and diversify themselves while maintaining the essence they are famous for, but Valentino succeeded tenfold with its spring collection.
5. Saint Laurent Fall 2019 Runway Show
With the passing of Karl Lagerfield earlier this year, relative newcomer Anthony Vaccerello was tasked with continuing the late Lagerfield’s legacy. Without deviating from the label’s trademark- sleek sophistication combined with everyday wearability- Vaccerello’s interpretation showcased smart sexuality: short, well-cut black skirts easily paired with wintry, broad-shouldered coats in wool; micro-shorts worn with dotted, 1950s pinup-inspired stockings and knee-high boots; lavishly ornamented evening jackets that show off the glam side of sophistication. Even more than usual, Saint Laurent brings a gritty realism to the cutting edge of fashion.
An ode to the new street style that emerged in the aftermath of World War II, the show reinvented some of the era’s most popular looks. The models were visible in black light from behind a glass wall. At some points it was hard to make out such primal, feline movement, as the set was partly cast in shadow.
Still, the effect added a black-and-white feel to the parts of the show that were intended as a nod to history. All in all, this was one of our favorite fashion shows of the year.
6. Area Fall 2019 Show
One of the things we love best about Area is that it embodies the exuberant playfulness of girlhood without compromising the glamour of the modern woman. For its 2019 fall collection, however, Area made one of the biggest and boldest shifts in this year’s fashion.
The brand has gone from glamour girl to in-your-face femme fatale overnight. Not to worry- the fall collection features plenty of pink and lavender fur jackets and rainbow-colored crystal earrings that dangle dramatically low. It’s just been made fiercer by a pouty punk vibe. The result was a glorious fashionable dishevelment.
A retro fierce retro glam theme was apparent throughout the night, featuring silhouettes of the Space Age shapes of the 1960s. The 60s theme was made bolder by deliciously gaudy plastic belts and scarves emblazoned with statements like “power play”.
Still, in fitting with Area’s usual attitude, the show was actually less about politics and more about fun self-expression. Whether or not there was any real intended meaning was strategically left to the imagination. This is, after all, the essence of what Area does best- stimulate the imagination, and let it express the uniqueness of everyone who wears it.
7. Chromat’s Fall/Winter 2019 Show
After the last Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which has arguably become more of a look than an authentic feel, many VS fans were dismayed to learn that the next show might not be televised. Others still were disappointed by the brand’s increasing lack of imagination- and flagrant refusal to become more inclusive by featuring plus sized models and more cultural diversity (in fashion, not just the origins of models).
Chromat might be everything longtime VS fans missed out on and more. Chromat’s Fall/Winter show oozed flagrant sex appeal and coquettish flirtation in turns. Although it’s a swim brand, its newest collection symbolizes classic glamour and feels like a living fantasy. While having these things in common with Victoria’s Secret, Chromat is its own kind of fantasy: There was a somewhat tropical theme at this fashion show that transported the audience to a tropical getaway.
Although it brings fantasy to life on stage, Chromat cares about reality, as evidenced by the sustainability of its creations. Chromat’s style differs greatly from Victoria’s Secrets traditional, Hollywood-esque take on boudoir and bikini glamour. Instead, many of the glossy runway models were fashionably disheveled. Some even had enormous palm leaves stuck to their backs, forming the shape of messy wings.
We love that Chromat added a subtle glam factor to asymmetrical neons that look great with Reeboks. In fact, this fashion show marks Chromat’s first partnership with Reebok: Chromat’s own custom sneakers.
Wonderfully, Chromat’s runway models came in an abundance of different sizes, genders, ages, and abilities. The inclusive fashion show did not shy away from cellulite or full, soft bodies. The plus-sized models were not exclusively hourglasses, but represented many realistic shapes and sizes of everyday women.
While the last VS fashion show was met with criticism and lack of interest, the Chromat show had an exuberant audience made up of personal fans of specific models. That’s important. It’s a giant step. We’re talking about an industry that normalizes unrealistic body standards; a business that feeds unhealthy diet culture to the point of spreading eating disorders around the world like a plague. Yet fashion is one of the most creative, artistic industries in the world! We love being able to celebrate it with confidence because of brands like Chromat, who show models and everyday women that baring all bodies in gorgeous bikinis is beautiful.
8. Marine Serre: Paris Fashion Week
Marine Serre’s Paris Fashion Week show took place in a former wine cellar on the gritty edges of Paris. Fittingly, her conceptual show generously combined psychedelic street style with uber-romance. On display were leather coats and picturesque dresses adorned with oversize pastel scarves. The bodysuits worn underneath these light-fabric dresses fit the models like second skin, hinting at something primal and boldly sexual in the nature of Marine Serre women.
There was an inferred futuristic vibe to this show- a subterranean intensity that speaks to a new generation of women who wear and do what they want in the world.
9. Dries Van Noten: 2019
The world is full of conceptual designers whose fashion shows are meant to evoke moods and put on a show. Dries Van Noten is unique in that his latest Paris fashion week collection is tailored to fit everyday life. Although Van Noten is high fashion at its most sophisticated, he includes pieces that would be wearable in an office, at an evening event, or in the street.
Van Noten’s version of evening glamour is sleek and sophisticated with a powerful dash of boldness. A black column accented by a side drape beaded with silver and gold was one of our favorite pieces. An elegant glitter-gold trouser suit was glamorous without being loud. Dries Van Noten’s runway show in Paris took high fashion concepts and made them wearable in real life.
10. Chanel 2019
In a poignant tribute to Karl Lagerfield, Chenel’s Fall 2019 runway show took viewers to a pristine, snowy landscape high on the mountains. Models took their places on the Chanel Gardenia, a faux alpine scene set to soft, tinkling music that sounded like icicles clinking together. The audience was stunned to hear Karl Lagerfield’s voiceover drift from the stage in French, punctuated at the end by the English proclamation: “Oh! It’s like walking in a painting!” We thought that well-chosen voiceover from a Chanel podcast was as worthy a memorialization as possible to the Lagerfield’s artistic legend.
Like Dries Van Noten, Karl Lagerfield was a pragmatist when it comes to fashion. Even in a faux snowy wonderland, the models walked with casual grace in soft, oversized trouser suits and tweedy, checked coats, their elegance understated. This show’s greatest accomplishment, in our opinion: Watching from the audience, one could easily imagine walking briskly through the city in one of these trouser suits. Multiple chunky, swanky chains adorned the necks of the models, adding a feminine sensibility to the look. Chanel’s ability to seamlessly weave high fashion into practicality and feminine ease is always impressive. This was maybe never truer than during this year’s Chanel show.
11. Versace Fall 2019 Runway Show
The Versace label made an interesting change when it was acquired by Capri Holding Limited. The long-lived legendary brand is now marketing to a younger niche, but before your mind conjures ghastly images of social media generated sameness, think again. The label that made bold, mismatched pieces in clashing colors a glamour staple is taking on 90s grunge for the first real time.
Fitting grunge into luxury labels has been done before, multiple times; some lines are even relaunching their 90s campaigns to keep up with all of the grunge nostalgia. It’s also being done all over the world by department stores and knock-off brands. But Versace hasn’t traded in its famous trademarks: Oversize safety pins and colorful harnesses customized the vintage looks, as did white-tinged pale faces with glam red lips. But the white tee boasting a 90s glamour shot of Donnatella Versace, paired with an airy slip, gave new meaning to the word “custom”, and literally put the label’s stamp on the scene.
Combining bondage with tweedy, collegiate sets and mini-dresses with chunky sweaters channeled 90s grunge quite convincingly. In fact, Donnatella Versace has proven that grunge and glamour can truly co-exist- something grunge made a feeble, largely failed attempt to do in the 90s. Could this be a new standard, or is it a fleeting runway indulgence? Only time will tell, but we’re leaning toward the former.
12. Gucci’s Fall/Winter 2019 Runway Show
Gucci has long been known as a fashion pioneer that breaks important boundaries. But unlike some other labels, Gucci does not send subtle messages from the runway; the brand is infamous for ripping careful constructs violently apart, exposing gritty underbelly of uncertainty that exists in fashion, which imitates life.
All of this signature boldness was as evident as ever at the Fall/Winter 2019 fashion show. Perhaps the boldest statement was made with the Jason Vorhees masks. Some were black and sharp with long spikes; another was made to look like an eagle whose talons gripped the model’s jawline. Limitless self-expression was the theme here; the idea is that you can be anything you want, and you can be more than one thing at the same time. You can be an expression of a dream or a nightmare, or you can be both.
The vintage, square-shouldered jackets with trousers might have been a throwback to a much earlier era of fashion, but many of the pieces were unfinished, boasting artfully torn seams and asymmetry. The models sometimes wore sneakers, other times silver and golden platforms. Gender neutralization has long been Gucci’s forte, and this fashion show was no exception to the rule.