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Chanel SS16
Chanel SS16Photography Virginie Khateeb

The fashion week moments nobody saw coming

From melting dresses to pole dancers and a Chanel airport, here are 10 standout SS16 moments

Once again, fashion week has come to an end, and if there’s one thing that this season had to offer, it was the element of surprise. From Jacquemus’s runway horse to Beth Ditto starring in Marc Jacobs’ vision of Hollywood, we chart the most unforeseen moments of SS16.

Alexander Wang’s tenth anniversary show was full of surprises. In a collection that delved into the urbanism of downtown New York, Wang dressed his models in string vests, chainlink earrings and frayed leather flares. Not only did the designer send men out on to his catwalk for the first time, but he also hired a troupe of pole dancers to perform on makeshift podiums during his afterparty. 

This season, the rapper/designer took almost everyone by surprise when he announced he was planning to stage another last-minute show during NYFW, just days before the show itself. Not everyone was pleased with this announcement: some designers argued that Yeezy’s late addition to the fashion week line-up clashed with their shows, meaning they’d have to rearrange them.

Hosted at the famous Ziegfeld Theatre on West 54th Street, New York, Marc Jacobs invited guests to his show-turned-movie premiere for SS16. Thw Gossip frontwoman joined the likes of Dazed cover stars Molly Bair and Lineisy Montero to walk the designer’s faux red carpet. Dressed in an off-the-shoulder gown with sterling silver heels and Monroe-esque platinum blonde hair, Ditto looked every bit the part. 

Bubbles spouted into the air as Jeremy Scott’s legion of models sauntered around his construction site, ducking through car wash sponges in a roadwork-inspired collection. The designer gave his workforce clear instructions on how to act: “They are sophisticated and they are in a hurry and they are on a construction site but they’re too rich to be here and all these people are paying attention to them but they need to go! The key word was ‘cunty’!”

“The Jacquemus girl lost her smile,” Simon Porte Jacquemus explained backstage. His childlike scribblings from last season felt far removed as this season’s show focused on sorrowful theatricality. The designer’s young cousin, Jean, pushed an oversized red ball of fabric across the stage, whilst Jacquemus, dressed entirely in white, traversed the space with a majestic horse of the same colour.

Rick Owens caused a ripple that was felt far beyond the fashion industry once more as he sent his models down the catwalk with other women fastened to their bodies. Inspired by an image of Leigh Bowery carrying his wife Nicola in a harness they would use for a birthing performance, the designer explained that: “Straps can be about restraint, but here they are all about support and cradling.”

Hussein Chalayan is known for using the runway as a playground for experiments that push the limits of fashion. This season, the designer had a particularly spectacular finale planned – two models stood beneath showers, which then quite literally washed away their clothes. As the water-soluble jackets they had been wearing melted to the floor, beautiful Swarovski crystal-encrusted dresses were revealed below. 

Daughter of actress Lisa Bonet and musician Lenny Kravitz, Zoë Kravitz has steadily made a name for herself over the years. Alongside actress and singer, she can now add catwalk model to her repertoire. Dressed ethereally in white lace, the young star made her debut this season in Alexander Wang’s last show for Balenciaga

From a convenience supermarket to a refined brasserie, Karl Largerfeld has a habit of turning the Grand Palais into a work of scenic art. This season, he reached new heights – or at least set his models up to do so. The designer constructed a Chanel Air Terminal, complete with a Gate “No. 5”. Edie Campbell opened the show and was accompanied by former Dazed cover stars Kendall Jenner and Binx Walton.

With the help of actress Gwendoline Christie, Iris van Herpen’s SS16 show transcended into the realms of science fiction. Best known for her role as Brienne of Tarth in HBO’s Game of Thrones, Christie literally took centre stage. The actress lay on a table in the middle of the runway, while a dress was 3D printed on to her. “(Her) work reveals the secret structures of our existence giving us a multidimensional experience of what it is to be alive,” Christie said of Van Herpen’s designs.