By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
From sleek, monochrome ensembles from the ’80s to brightly patterned hippie grannies gowns from the ’70s to buttoned-up tailored suits from the ’60s, there was a definitive retro feel when the high-end international Retail Fashion Group presented its new 2020 spring and summer collections in a seven-brand trunk show at Mexico City’s upscale Four Seasons Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 27.
Headlining the show was the British-based Allsaints’ New New York collection, a dark, grunge-worthy parade of reimagined classics with daringly high miniskirts, toppling platform shoes, unapologetically graphic Ts and plenty of black leather biker jackets with a pre-worn luster for both men and women.
The concept behind the collection, crafted by Allsaints creative director Wil Beedle, was a celebration of the eternality of the Big Apple and its ever-evolving energy and intensity at the start of a new decade.
Soft faded denims, muzzled greens and washed-out blues were the only hints of color in this muted collection, where even the promo photos seemed drab and shopworn.
There were few prints or patterns, other than subdued animal prints.
The intended market was clearly a youthful urban sub-cult of iconoclasts and social radicals.
If Allsaints’ spring/summer rollout was irreverent and gloomy, the Spanish brand El Ganso’s collection was the near opposite: bright, upbeat and playful.
Red, whites, and sky and navy blues dominated the collection, along with cheery tablecloth checks and 1950s style seersuckers in soft, Easter egg pastels.
For women, there were A-line skirts and rolled, mid-arm sleeves, and for men there were fitted slacks paired with classic dress shirts in nonobtrusive whites and lively, summery colors.
Elbow-patched sweaters and vintage design tennis shoes haled back to an era of unpretentious fashion and preppy swank.
The garments had a no-frills elegance, with carefully tailored details for chic comfort and easy wearability.
El Ganso also presented its new line of unisex fragrances with light, citrusy and fruity bases suitable for morning, noon and night.
Meanwhile, the Parisian label Sandro opted for unconventional put-together looks with three-piece, mismatched ensembles for both men and women and elegant mainstays inspired from French architecture and culture.
Sandro’s mother-son creative team of Evelyne and Ilan Chétrite opted for an unexpected combination of classic basics and ’80s silhouettes to keep its spring/summer collection edgy.
Some of the collection’s more quirky elements — such as hoodies with floral motifs, brocaded trousers and cropped squared jackets (as well as plenty of denim-on-denim detailing) — gave it an edgy, new-age dimension.
Maje, the offshoot brand of Sandro created by Evelyne Chérite’s younger sister, Judith Milgram, was clear evidence that sibling rivalry is alive and well in the fashion industry.
While Sandro’s offering were sleek and dramatic, Maje presented a whimsical collection promoted via farcical memes.
The clothing seemed almost secondary to the Instagram-worthy images of models conducting haphazard balancing acts on scooters, escalators and skateboards.
There was little that stood out about the collection itself, other than its light fabrics and pastel hues.
For men and boys, the Spanish brand Scalpers presented a much more trendy collection inspired in big city streetwear, especially from the U.S. metropolises of New York, Chicago and Boston.
As always, the men’s line was divided into three segments: Smart Casual, with natural fabrics and a relaxed sporty feel with brighter patterns and colors; Networking, made from more resilient artificial materials in less structured silhouettes that were washable in mix-and-match tones of blues, grays, browns and ochre; and Business Casual, the brand’s more formal and tailored garments in rich grays, warm beiges and understated blues.
Founded in 2007, Scalpers also had a less structured collection for boys ages 4 and up.
These classic, no-nonsense garments covered an entire spectrum of male life, from officewear suits to smart casual garments that could easily transition into any wardrobe.
Winding up the Retail Fashion Group’s clothing offerings was Silver Deer, a posh multi-label boutique at the high-end Artz Pedregal shopping mall in the south of Mexico City.
Opened in 2018, the store carries a variety of Italian, French and other international designer brands, including Zimmermann, Tibi, Ulla Johnson, Proenza Schouler White Label, Temperley London, Iro, Ba&Sh Paris, Ami Oﬃcine Generalé, Barena Venezia, Marone Souliers, Dorothee Schumacher, Helmut Lang, Herno, Maison Kitsuné, Acne Studios, Gabriela Artigas, Aurélie Biermann, Mansur Gavriel, Linda Farrow, Manebi and 3X1 for women.
In its men collection, Silver Deer offers clothing from Ami, Officine Generalé, The Gigi, Luciano Barbera, Lanvin and Golden Goose, among others.
As always, the Retail Fashion Group concluded its trunk show with a tribute to its non-fashion member, Hamleys, that magical British toy store that has been delighting children ages 1 to 101 with the most adorable plushies on Earth since its founding in 1760.
Since Hamleys is celebrating its 260th anniversary this year, the group piled up a menagerie of some of its most endearing animals in a big, wooden jungle jeep and wheeled them in for a star appearance.
Hamleys began in Holborn, London, when William Hamley decided to open what he hoped would be the best toy store in the world (most children who visit the plaything emporium would say he accomplished his dream).
Renowned for its quality toys, hands-on experiences that offer children the chance to play with life-size Lego figures and kid-friendly staff, often dressed as fictional characters, Hamleys flagship store on London’s Regent Street has become an international tourist destination.
Today, there are more than 200 Hamleys stores worldwide in 17 countries, including five in Mexico, at Antara, Artz Pedregal, Plaza Satélite, Antea (in Querétaro) and Andamar (in Veracruz).