An exotic global journey prompted by the latest runway collections
Words: Daniël Geldenhuys | Photographs: Supplied
Every year around this time, mammoth brands with colossal budgets host lavish runway shows in exotic destinations. The Resort 2020 collections, belying the season’s somewhat frivolous name, have been staged in locations with profound historical significance — all of which are highly bucket-list worthy. Screenshot your favourites and add them to your vision board.
Completed in the year 1594, Palais Badi was commissioned by the Saadian sultan Ahmed al-Mansur Dhahbi. It was built using funds obtained from the Portuguese, after their defeat in the Battle of Three Kings 16 years earlier. Today, it’s a prominent tourist attraction in Marrakech with a perfectly sized 135-metre x 110-metre courtyard to accommodate Maria Grazia Chiuri’s resort show, comprising 113 looks.
Key looks: Authentic African wax prints
The collection is all about collaboration. Chiuri joined forces with Uniwax, a company from the Ivory Coast that produces genuine wax prints on cotton. She could have stopped there, but didn’t, and also involved Moroccan women’s textiles and ceramic association sumano, Mandela’s iconic shirt designer Monsieur Pathé’O, rising Jamaican-British designer Grace Wales Bonner, American artist Mickalene Thomas and Ghanaian-British milliner Martine Henry in a sub-collaboration with Stephen Jones. The overall effect? A statement of unity and testament to the growing relevance of craft.
Records date back to 1714 when this Manhattan corner was a farm owned by Dutch settler Matthys Adolphus Hoppe. In 1859, the space was acquired by New York City and became part of its industrialised grid structure. Shortly after, it became a factory that manufactured the mechanism that translates the stroke of a piano key to its hammer. The factory went out of business during the Great Depression, only to be resuscitated as an apartment block in 1982. Prada purchased the space in 2000 and hired architects Herzog & de Meuron to strip it down to a blank canvas for varying operations — most recently, Miuccia Prada’s resort show.
Key looks: Pragmatic, but pretty
It was a relatively sober collection by Miuccia Prada’s standards. The designer employed sensible prints (vintage florals, timeless stripes and checks) on straightforward pieces primarily in cotton fabrics. This pragmatism was offset and amped up with pretty details, including decorative scarves and floral embroideries. Some of the strongest looks were also the simplest: suits and separates carrying the season’s signature attitudes in silhouette.
Finished just in time for the Exposition Universelle of 1900 (a world fair to celebrate industrialisation and other European ideas of “progress”), the space has blossomed into one of Paris’ largest art exhibition venues. It’s also been home to some of Karl Lagerfeld’s greatest runway sets for Chanel, including the iceberg he imported from Sweden for Fall 2010, the wind turbines Spring 2013, the supermarket for Fall 2014 and the rocket ship that blasted off during the Fall 2017 finale. For her first collection at the helm of the house, Lagerfeld’s right hand Virginie Viard opted for a sober yet poignant train station sans train. She brought together the idea of travel (around which the resort season was created), the movement of time and the loss of a design icon who will never roll onto set again.
Key looks: A softer take
It’s too early to say exactly where Viard will take Chanel, but this season stood out for its romantic take on the pieces Lagerfeld might have created. A trench split open to reveal cascading ruffles and a floral lace dress bound by a pearl-and-metal chain, accessorised with padlock double-hoop earrings, which all played an alluring game of hard against soft.
This airport, the original JFK, opened its doors in 1962. Howard Hughes commissioned Finnish architect Eero Saarinen to create the Futurist architectural wonder that, unfortunately, proved to be just about defunct on arrival. It wasn’t big enough to accommodate aeroplanes and fast-increasing air traffic. By 2001, the building was officially useless for anything airport related. The space has now been renovated into a hotel and the original terminal lovingly restored into a Mad Men dreamscape. The Louis Vuitton show, held in the heart of the structure, was the hotel’s unofficial opening party.
Key looks: Chrysler Building realness
Nicolas Ghesquière translated his love for New York City, particularly the art-deco architecture of the Chrysler Building, into the clothes in a surprisingly literal way. This included a bag designed directly in its image and the building’s iconic motive projected in gold and silver across a high-slit dress with plunging neckline. Ultimately, this felt like a modern party collection with pieces that would appeal to a range of personalities ready for a night on the town.
Considered the world’s first-ever museum, Musei Capitolini is the brainchild of Michelangelo: conceived in 1536 and built over the following 400 years. Technically a museum complex with three key venues, its collection dates back to 1471 with the donation of ancient bronzes from Pope Sixtus IV. When Capitolini opened its doors to the public in 1734, the idea of art on display to a public not associated with its owners was completely novel.
Key looks: Fashion with a pro-choice message
The purple suit has “My Body, My Choice” written boldly on its back. The black cape over the ornate pyjama skirt suit has the date “22.05.1978” printed across the front — the day Italy’s law protecting legal abortion took effect. Designer Alessandro Michele created these as a response to the recent attacks on women’s bodily autonomy by various US state lawmakers, most notably the Alabama anti-abortion bill. While Michele, and Gucci as a corporate entity, should be commended on standing up for a just cause in such a public way, one can only hope that this declaration will be followed up with some sort of monetary donation to those fighting for women’s rights in the US… and beyond.