I felt absolutely transported watching Malan Breton’s Fall/Winter 23 Collection entitled “Fantome”, staged in Leman Ballroom with a spectacular musical score by Efisio Cross. The venue with it’s large columns and paintings of ships already set the stage for a completely new era. Specifically to me it was reminiscent of the Titanic
The music began softly, and what followed appropriately were a few soft pink pieces, a beautiful shade which offset nicely the more fall winter textures of furs and leathers that the garments were made in. I found that Breton used the idea of dualities as a main theme throughout the entirety of the show, especially a major play on a comparison of time periods. One example was the jackets that reminded me of uniforms and, on the other hand, there were pieces in the collection that I felt to be very space suit aesthetic, except if your space suit was chic and snakeskin or leather.
Returning back to the theme of feeling as though I was aboard the Titanic, I felt very uniform like pieces brought into the New Age with embellishments, further shifting into modern times with intergalactic metallics, which I especially loved the pewter shade. He included a lot in his range, from long trench looks to youthful bomber styles. Breton went a step further to add even more avant garde touches with Star Trek exaggerated shoulder pads, and cape jacket, which I found to be very chic.
There were multiple styles involving gender ambiguity or, again, blurring the lines of feminine and masculine such as with the typically feminine floral dress styled with the bow tie.
Classic black was often far from classic. Breton went the extra mile with wearable versions but always with a twist. His classic suiting was included but of course, very extra, with matrix-like leather, rockstar gold leather pants, and sequin options. The black sequence of styles especially played with a lot of textural aspects. A favorite of mine was the completely black feathered jacket in both a long and short option.
The gowns were over-the-top extravagant. Full hoop like dresses, lots and lots of tulle, and ruffles. One standout piece to me was the gold cracked foiled gown. It was complete perfection. But all would be quite sufficient for the luxurious banquets I imagined myself being at.
Even the final walk with many of the models in pairs further created a sense of comparison between the old and new, and I noticed it even more with some pairs being a side by side of similar fabrics or styles, but shown in the way of their respective time period.
Declared the “Most Influential Designer You’ve Never Heard Of” by British Vogue, Breton also has worked as an actor film director, costume designer, columnist , musician, and model. I feel as though all these elements came together in a story line merging fashion and fantasy. As he walked down in the final walkthrough, he almost looked like he was brought to tears by the overwhelmingly positive ovation, humble and talented! I was honored to meet him backstage briefly and he was just as warm and kind as expected. A huge Congratulations, Malan Breton.