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Dazed guide to AW15 womenswear Galliano
Galliano debuts his first collection as the womenswear designer for Maison Margiela this AW15Illustration Liana Sophia Ever

AW15 womenswear: what you need to know

It was Rick’s full frontal fashion statement that stole the show during menswear, but with Galliano gearing up for round two at Margiela there’s a whole lot still to come this season

Just six weeks in, 2015 has already played host to some epochal fashion moments. We’ve had political statements in a post Charlie Hebdo Paris (see Walter van Beirendonck’s anti-terror slogan tunics) and an international reaction to Rick Owens' blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em dick flashes. With barely any time to rest after couture, what's sure to be a mould-breaking womenswear season kicks off in NY tonight. From fashion’s conceptual maverick Gareth Pugh’s return to London, to new talent advocates VFiles and Fashion East’s young designer line-ups – these are the ten AW15 moments to watch out for over the coming weeks.


The flashes of dick were subtle – they barely peeped through draping monastic tunics – but Rick Owens hit international headlines after he sent models sans pantalon down the runway for his “Sphinx” collection. Owens’ reaction to the full frontal furore? Well, he wanted to start a discussion. “Nudity is the most simple and primal gesture – it packs a punch, It’s powerful,” he explained backstage. No stranger to playing with the nude form and the erotic (for SS15 a masturbating faun was a reference point and last year Rick Castro photographed Owens’ AW14 collection worn by semi-naked elderly men), he is a boundary pushing provocateur. In an industry au fait with female nudity, we’re contemplating his next move – his womenswear collection in Paris next month.


Eschewing his distinctive penchant for elaborate creations, John Galliano continued Margiela’s lab-coat legacy when he took a modest bow at his debut Artisanal show after a four year hiatus. The designer, whose previous work was all about excess, initially seemed an unlikely choice for the famously mysterious Maison, but his first collection was largely met with praise. The bejewelled masks remained, as did the house’s characteristic trope of deconstruction, but added was a sense of Galliano extravagance that’s got us anticipating his first womenswear collection for AW15.


“My students are noticed by the people I respect from the quality of their work,” Professor Louise Wilson OBE told Dazed last year, in what would be her last ever interview. ”It’s not all fur coat and no knickers – it’s fully knickered under the fur coat.” Louise Wilson valued skilled craft. She was the revolutionary professor who spearheaded CSM’s MA Fashion course for 22 years and is widely credited with nurturing a whole generation of British fashion talent – Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane are just two examples. In honour of the proudly opinionated professor, the first day of London Fashion Week will see a memorial service held at St Paul’s Cathedral, where the alumni spawned from her two-decade spanning reign at CSM are expected to attend.


When Frida Giannini ended her tenure at Gucci one month prematurely – her successor still shrouded in mystery – the remaining design team had a mere ten days to re-design the collection for the imminent menswear season. The show, whose notes pointed to “dreamy ambiguity” and “an experience not an era”, signalled a new direction for the label. Emerging at the end were a large design team, led by the then-accessories designer Alessandro Michele, fuelling an already-whirling rumour mill about who’d take Giannini’s mantle at the Italian fashion giant. The speculation of a Tom Ford comeback was quashed when it was announced that Michele would present his first official collection for Gucci this month – expect further upheaval at his womenswear debut this season.


NYFW is changing. This season will be the last held at the Lincoln Centre after its four year run, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling that, come September, the contract wouldn’t be renewed. With some arguing that the sprawling performing arts behemoth (complete with it’s high security and check-in process) wasn’t really a fitting venue to start with, the re-shuffle will be welcomed. What with the recent revelation that after an increasingly blossoming menswear scene in London and Paris, New York is to introduce its own men’s fashion week come summer, 2015 seems to be the year that NYFW will reinvent itself.


Apart from a one-off standing presentation in Manhattan’s Lower East Side last season, Gareth Pugh has been showing in Paris for seven years. Now, he returns to his home turf a decade on from when his label began. “My creative family is here, our story is here,” Pugh admitted, “at heart this is a creative decision – it feels timely and true to the spirit of the work.” So, what’s to expect from Pugh’s London comeback? He’s sent inflatable balloon dresses down the runway, pumped the Palais de Tokyo with chlorine and, most recently, put on a chaotic SS15 show where a usually static audience darted around the venue, perplexed by an absent seating plan. His shows are a conceptual, usually visceral barrage to the senses – and we can’t wait for his return to the capital.


VFiles’ dedication to supporting vibrant new talent was taken up a notch when they put out an open call for fashion creatives to fill every role in their next show. Designers, models, makeup artists and stylists were to be completely crowdsourced all in the name of what founder Julie Anne Quay calls “fashion democracy” – the driving ethos behind the launchpad for new talent. They are the force changing the landscape of fashion week and looking to the internet generation to eliminate elitist hierarchies. Usually plucked from around the world, this season’s line-up includes Zurich-based designer Julia Seemann, pop-obsessed DI$COUNT UNIVERSE, and two Parsons grads: menswear label XIMONLEE and Andrea Jiapei Li. Expect to see the start of an exciting career.


Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the duo behind Opening Ceremony, are bored of the traditional catwalk show. For SS15, Opening Ceremony rejected the norm in lieu of a one act drama performed at the Met and directed by long-time collaborator Spike Jonze. 100% Lost Cotton – starring Karlie Kloss, Elle Fanning and Dree Hemingway –  was a humourous take on the fashion industry, complete with a quotable script and a concluding Drake rendition. Continuing their collaboration for AW15, Opening Ceremony will host a presentation (“Please use your best judgement”) featuring the Her director’s photography from 1985-2005, sure to stand out against the usual slew of catwalk shows.


This season, from the initiative that has formed the springboard for everyone from Marques’Almeida to Simone Rocha, are two new design grads. Premiering their collections alongside Ed Marler (who returns after a dazzlingly extravagant SS15 debut) are CSM alum Caitlin Price and Westminster graduate Mary Benson. This time, Fashion East has upset the set-up. Instead of a standard runway show at the Topshop Show Space, the re-jigged design trio will unveil their work at the ICA in static presentations – billed as ”intimate salon shows”.  Elsewhere Molly Goddard – whose presentation last season was a teenage dream frenzy of taffeta and prom style dresses – is set to have her first solo show.


In a charity spectacle that’s sure to involve fashion royalty, Naomi Campbell will host a Fashion for Relief show to kick off London Fashion Week – all in the name of fighting Ebola. It’s the fundraising initiative started by Ms Campbell in 2005, where she sought out her industry connections to raise money for Hurricane Katrina. Past highlights include Tracey Emin’s runway debut in thigh-high stockings in 2008, a kilt-clad Alan Cummings and Fashion For Relief regular (and Naomi BFF) Kate Moss. This season’s offering is dubbed ‘FASHION AGAINST EBOLA’ and includes an auction of rare items donated by designers. If you fancy seeing Naomi and co strut their stuff, you’re in luck – tickets are available to the public here.