It’s that time of year again… SS18 is just around the corner. Let’s take a trip down Fashion Week memory lane to revisit five different brands that we at Rebag are especially excited for.
This 3x CFDA winner, often coined as one of the most underrated designers in his class, is famously known for pushing the boundaries in menswear. Short-shorts, pleated skirts, high heels, and even a wedding dress (at least the back-half of one) have made it onto his runways, somehow effortlessly blending in with the usual staples of classic menswear suiting pieces. And, since 2011, he had proved that his unique vision was translatable even in womenswear. Though the concept of girls borrowing from the boys is hardly new in the fashion world, Browne continues to bring newness and excitement to the runway here...I mean, I never knew how much I needed a tuxedo puffer jacket until FW17.
So, with Browne’s continued success in this reciprocal inspiration between his mens and womens collections, and after his first ever PFW show for SS18 (where he, in true Paris fashion, injected couture into his already-luxurious collection), the possibilities really do seem endless. And, fortunately for us accessory-enthusiasts, he hasn’t forgotten the importance of a really great handbag. Maintaining his usual playful balance between kitsch and classic, his SS18 handbag pieces include even-more-mini briefcases, whimsical tennis-themed prints, and fresh spring plaids. And, of course, what would a Thom Browne bag collection be without his beloved muse and adorable dachshund, Hector.
After working under Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garcons, Chitose Abe launched this cult-favorite brand in 1999. It wasn’t until 12 years later that she decided to formally show her collection for the first time during PFW in 2011. Fast forward another 4 years, and the brand’s first handbag collection was launched in 2016. What we can gather from this quick summary is that Abe’s efforts were anything but hurried. And since the brand’s conception, it has been able to consistently maintain its unique voice and originality. Fun fact: her very first collection consisted of only five pieces.
So, let’s go back to the brand’s handbag collection. Abe, who partnered with accessories designer Katie Hillier (Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham, Loewe), debuted her first collection last year with six styles for SS17. As expected, nothing strayed from the brand’s unique DNA that we’ve all come to know and love. But for her SS18 collection, much to our delight, we saw the same consistency and yet also a noticeable element of newness. To add more to the excitement, Abe showed at Tokyo Fashion week, outside of Paris for the first time ever. Yes, a new crop of bags had popped up alongside her collection. And, yes, we’re excited.
Love it or hate it - that’s been the name of the game since Demna Gvasalia (Vetements) took over in 2015...and he seems pretty ok with it. His immediate predecessor, Alexander Wang (you may have heard of him), who was rumored to have been brought in to create a wider appeal for the brand, served a mysteriously brief term from 2012-2015. So you can imagine the level to which everyone’s curiosity piqued when Gvasalia abruptly stepped in. The brand’s founder, Cristóbal Balenciaga, was known as a pioneer that continuously disrupted the system, choosing to create trends rather than follow them. Though we may never know for certain, one could wonder if the brand simply wanted to go back to that same school of thought.
So SS18...love it or hate it? Gvasalia took the brand on a new course with SS18, adding more of his personal touch and channeling his Vetements roots into the collection. The reviews were (to put it loosely) polarized, and a lot of us were left a little confused. Sure, raincoat-covered top handle bags and spandex legging boots may not be for everyone, and that is to be expected. But were we ready to reintroduce the croc back into our lives (and in a 4-inch platform version, no less)? Regardless of what anyone’s answer to that question may be, we all had an opinion and we were all talking about it.
Maria Grazia Chiuri, this fashion house’s first female artistic director in all its 69 years, debuted her first collection at PFW in 2016. Freshly coming off of her 17-year tenure at Valentino, many were curious to see what changes this seasoned designer could bring (especially after Raf Simons’s abrupt resignation from Dior after only three and a half years). Her opening look for SS17 consisted of a white fencing jacket paired with knickerbockers; the perfect introduction to Chiuri’s translation of modern femininity. “We should all be feminists”, the most memorable slogan of the many that popped up amidst the rest of the pieces on the runway, was soon to become one of the most popular pieces to be taken straight off the runway that year.
For SS18, it was the question: “Why have there been no great women artists?”. Originally the title of Linda Nochlin’s 1971 article about the institutional barriers that female artists faced, this question was seen on the opening look, thus solidifying Dior’s runway as a forum for conversation of women and the arts. Taking inspiration from French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle for this collection, Chiuri brought forth fresh new updates on some of the brand’s most iconic bags. Also introduced were some entirely new handbag styles, including summer totes sporting the new Christian Dior logo.
This fashion house, founded in 1846, has been garnering a lot of attention since they had Jonathan Anderson take over in 2013. What changes would this provocative London designer, known for his radical androgynous aesthetic, bring to the brand? Without straying from this heritage house’s true luxury roots, with its pride in leather in its untreated and natural state, Anderson injected the kitsch and unique flair that he was well known for. And runway after runway, amid the gender-bending silhouettes and expertly-hybridized fabrics of his RTW pieces, it was clear to all of us that the handbags were always the main focus. And in 2015, enter the iconic Puzzle Bag.
By his SS18 show, Anderson had come out with a few “It” bags, including the Puzzle, Hammock, and Barcelona. Sprinkled in were his adorable-yet-chic animal pieces; this whimsical touch introduced to us first with his cat and panda pouches, followed by the elephant, and now the bunny for SS18. Also being introduced for this spring, the Gate saddle bag, Hobo tote, and Tent bag (reverses easily from leather to suede!). And with all his greatest hits coming back in fresh new iterations, we’re finding our SS18 wishlist just got a little bit longer.