Fashion Week FW17: The vision behind the clothes
Fashion week FW17 has wrapped and, after reviewing each show for potential trends, it is always intriguing to then investigate the inspiration behind the clothes.
Fashion Week FW17 : The Inspiration

My favorite part of fashion week is discovering the inspiration behind a collection, as it contextualizes a garment within an artistic narrative that is usually lost on an industry so defined by material. 

In addition to trends in the traditional sense—fall 2017 wardrobes will be saturated with 80s renaissance, corsets and frills—the shows this year were full of socio-cultural and political statements. Political commentary, millennial persuasion, seasonal blending, racial, body and age diversity pulsated through the runways. 

Inspiration still arose from the conventional sources: lifestyles, cultures, experiences, nature elements, visual and performing arts.  

But regardless of its source, inspiration exposes artistry. Unpacking the various inspirations behind one of the most modern, pivotal seasons situates mere clothing within a larger, more dynamic narrative.

Sources: Vogue Runway | WWD 

Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake looked to the skies for his fall collection. His “chromatic fantasia” was inspired by Aurora Borealis.” Like the Northern Lights, Miyake’s clothing overlap, ripple and change. To drive the theme home, the designer incorporated raw wool from Shetland sheep, a breed commonly raised in Scottish fields that are touched by the Northern Lights.


“When I was here in Paris presenting couture was when the Women’s March took place,” said Gabriele Moratti. “And I was greatly inspired by that. Because we founded the company on the premise of giving fifty percent to charity, we also give the message that is right to start a dialogue that provokes positive change. So the theme of this one is not rebellion, it is activism.”

Andrew GN

Andrew GN paid tribute to globalization and the confluence of cultures, in a collection combining polish and tribal notes.
“When you think about it, nobody’s pure these days. I’m one-quarter Japanese, three-quarters Chinese, born in Singapore, live everywhere…. The more we advance, I think this is how the world is going to be, so you can’t resist it,”


Acne’s collection featured raw stitching and patchwork that was inspired by the hand puppets Paul Klee made for creative director, Jonny Johansson’s, children.




Rodarte’s first collection shown in Paris was inspired by Charlotte’s Web.
“There’s a romance to the story that we used to read when children, and we first came up with the idea when we saw a black widow on our building’s outside.”

Elie Saab

Elie Saab was Inspired by “Giselle,” a romantic ballet about a peasant girl who dies of heartache when she discovers her lover is engaged to someone else.

Nina Ricci

Guillaume Henry concocted a cowboy-circus by way of Vegas.

Sonia Rykiel

Sonia Rykiel found inspiration in the work of Niki de Saint Phalle, particularly acknowledged in a silver heart sculpture and the lanterns hung from the ceiling of the Beaux-Arts.


Rahul Mishra

Rahul Mishra uses garments as canvases, this season focusing on pointillism artworks by classic masters like Vincent van Gogh and Paul Signac. “The mother of pixels”
“Instead of using paint and brush, we use a simple thread and needle, and try to replicate those beautiful dots,” the designer said backstage.


Johanna Ortiz

“I wanted to mix the coolness of the Eighties with the glamour of the Thirties,” she said.


The Valentino collection fused two incongruous motifs: Victoriana and the Memphis design movement of the Eighties. Each contributed the richness of their own unique characteristics. The romanticism of Victoriana softened the quirky vigor of 80s Memphis.


Northern Renaissance paintings were the starting point for Joseph Altuzarra. “It was a time when people became interested in how people really looked. I became interested in the costume and the mood. I wanted to explore a tension, having the richness and rigor of those portraits but also the more real aspect as well.” In addition to Renaissance portraiture, his Parisian childhood recalled the movie “Life Is a Long, Tranquil River.”



Tuomas Merikoski reinterpreted “Paradise Lost,” creating clothing for “the next generation of great explorers and resilient women.” Also cited was futuristic cinematic settings like “Blade Runner” and “Gattaca”

Antonio Marras

Antonio Marras found his inspiration in Sardinian botanist Eva Mameli and German dancer Pina Bausch. “But it is also a way for us to say that fashion should have no borders between ages, colors, genders, anything,”


Lorenzo Seraphini outlined his show as “Liz Taylor meets a mod gang.”

Anna Sui

Elsa Schiaparelli influenced the trompe l’oeil knits and statement pink faux fur. The collection simultaneously evidenced the work of interior designer Elsie de Wolfe, who was affiliated with Schiaparelli after designing a post-show party for her in 1938. Notes from the ’40s film Blithe Spirit was also incorporated through the collection. “There’s touches of those women in the collection but also elements of decor. It was almost like building an interior, piling textures on top of each other.”



Birds-of-paradise illustrations via the “Encyclopedia Britannica” inspired the Vionnet collection.

Brock Collection

Brock Collection modernized Victorian style for their fall presentation. Brock paralleled the looks to “the sort you see in fairy-tale portraits.”

Coach 1941

Stuart Vevers’ fall presentation introduced 80s hip-hop to the Prairie. Inspiration sourced from the book “Back in the Day, “Terrence Malick films and the Great Plains. The set featured a midwestern-y backdrop-a delapidated house with tumble weeds and prairie grass.


Emilia Wickstead

The work of 19th-century Russian photographer Natalia Shabelsky founded the themes of Emilia Wickstead’s fall collection. Shabelsky’s work captured folk art and textiles, specifically photographing ordinary women in lavish dresses. “Some of these women were maids, and it’s amazing to see the empowering effect that wearing those clothes had on them,” noted Wickstead. The color palette of Wickstead’s collection was inspired by the colors in matryoshka dolls.


Luisa Beccaria

Luisa Beccaria painted a picture of magical woods in the wintertime. Fairies in an enchanted forest were the protagonist of the collection.


Scenes from the English countryside provided the inspiration for Mulberry FW17.


Whimsical 1940s circus themes laid the foundation of Vivetta Ponti’s Fall collection.


With the online shopping epidemic, comes a generation of waste via consumption. The 25 million tons of wasted cardboard inspired in Jeremy Scott a theme of recycled cardboard couture.



Erdem Moralioglu took inspiration from his own family for the Fall ’17 collection. The Canadian-born designer’s Turkish father and English mother set a cultural scene in which a meeting takes place between his great-grandmothers at the Syrian border. “It would have been an odd exchange,” Moralioglu imagines. From this imagery, his mood boards built a juxtaposition of English florals, Ottoman themes, and images from The Royal Scots regiment.

Calvin Klein

Raf Simons’ first Calvin Klein collection for women skewed politically, framed by David Bowie’s “This Is Not America.” His inspiration was steeped in Americana. “I keep thinking of all the beauty here; you have to focus on that now. And I think American youth is the future for this country. It’s about gathering. It’s intelligent, honest, powerful, beautiful. It sounds almost simplistic, maybe.”


Tarot cards inspired the Fall collection.


This dreamy fall collection was inspired by Christina Broom’s photographs of suffragettes. Additionally, artists Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, and the flamboyance of the Eighties played a part on the fall runway. “We were thinking about women, and how powerful women can be, [especially] politically at the moment,” said Bregazzi.


Temperley London

Vintage fans were the muse for Temperley London FW17.

Max Mara

Max Mara’s collection was primarily affected by Swedish and Scandinavian design aesthetic philosophies.

Rosie Assoulin

Fall ’17 masterfully blended clothing with interiors, incorporating prints and fabrics you might see on a couch to table legs replacing traditional heels to clay vases as earrings.

No. 21

Italian Actress Anna Magnani was the muse for the No. 21 collection.




Miuccia Prada presented a message for female empowerment-“So this became kind of ‘the City of the Women’ (the name taken from Federico Fellini’s ‘La Città Delle Donne.’). So we were doing this set, these manifestos, with Rem Koolhaas [and his AMO Studio]. They had to embrace the world but without being too political, because I never want to be too political, directly political, in my job. But not the content, just the title.” Movie posters and illustrated pinups of ’50s and ’60s femmes fatales drove the theme home.


Delpozo models were crowned with snug, cashmere hoods, clothing and accessories adorned with iridescent sequins to depict the colorful feathers of a hummingbird. Font explained that the season’s color palette drew from paintings by József Rippl-Rónai, a Post-Impressionist artist circa 1890. The silhouettes took cues from Swiss architect and sculptor Max Bill.

Jonathan Simkhai

Romantic old-world Spain and its architecture inspired Simkhai’s fall lineup.

Stella Jean

The Cold War inspired Stella Jean’s fall collection.



Felipe Oliveira Baptista found inspiration by looking up. The collection took cues from the life of its founder René Lacoste. He’d participated in the aircraft industry after his tennis career and eventually founded the company. “My dad was a pilot himself, so I have always been obsessed with planes and sci-fi,” Baptista concluded backstage. “I like this idea of looking ahead as well, especially in these times. It’s good to try to push things forward.”


Roksanda bloomed from the concepts of “different cultures meeting and talking to each other.” The collection sourced influence from Japan, China and the West. Illincic said that she’d imagined a “woman warrior.”

Adam Selman

Adam Selman was inspired by denim. His fixation was specifically cultivated by the rare book American Denim. “The book was sitting on my desk forever. Finally I picked it up and I was blown away by all the crazy creativity.”

Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantzou took us back in time, channeling the1940s, a decade marked by war, film noir and Disney’s classic film “Fantasia.” “I was thinking of different kingdoms, the Magic Kingdom and ‘Fantasia,’ which I first saw when I was about 10, and how Disney used the music to animate the characters. I wanted to counterbalance that with the Forties, and the heroines of film noir.”


Au Jour Le Jour

“It’s a contemporary princess,” said Diego Marquez. The collection portrayed Aesop’s Fables as sources of inspiration.

Peter Pilotto

The designers attributed Peruvian quilting as the cultural technique responsible for their collection.

Antonio Berardi

Lady Macbeth meets mountaineering was Antonio Berardi’s muse for fall, his vision manifesting scenes of tragic romance in the Scottish Highlands.

Arthur Arbesser

Wim Wenders’ “Wings of Desire” and Eighties East Berlin were perfect creative foils for Arthur Arbesser’s quirky aesthetic and love of brash graphics, which falls somewhere between street and refined.



Christine Phung wove a narrative about “a woman in a marble cave, looking for flowers.”

Alexander McQueen

A trip to Cornwall inspired Sarah Burton, producing a collection with references to paganism and ancient traditions. She took particular interest in the “Cloutie” or wishing tree and the way in which creative communities have traditionally united people for a common cause. “Our studio is a creative community,” she mused.

Moncler Gamme Rouge

Giambattista Valli concocted a theme of Paris via Candada. Valli had a vision of a Parisian girl heading to the Canadian woods to enjoy an Indian summer.



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