Claire Stemen likes to think and write about fashion as a vital form of communication. She loves clothing and the way we style ourselves, despite always buying the same black turtleneck over and over again. You can find her on Instagram @claire_stemen, or or at clairestemen.com.

Véronique Branquinho Spring ’16 Show

LOUISVUITTONFW16-JuergenTeller-mainA single chime rings out, startling me, as the first model emerges from behind the curtain at Véronique Branquinho’s Spring ’16 show. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Red Right Hand” plays, as Cave’s sinister voice slithers through the speakers. There couldn’t have been a more fitting choice for a collection of all black ensembles, hoods, and high collars. I felt like Jane Eyre discovering Mr. Rochester’s crazed wife in the attic.

Elizabethan collars, capes, and hoods swept down the runway with the models, the floor covered in a slight dust that leapt up when disturbed. Branquinho’s aesthetic hung in the air like a misty October night. I was fairly certain that witches and the lurking madwoman in literary tradition had a say in the formation of the collection.

I felt like Jane Eyre discovering Mr. Rochester’s crazed wife in the attic.

Branquinho’s penchant for buttoned-up styles precedes her, and the reinvention of the often-ostentatious Elizabethan collar to a smaller, more chic alternative mixed with austere Puritan maxi dresses is consistent with that partiality.

 
From the Collection

Sequins — everywhere on the runway this Paris Fashion Week season — added dimension to black maxis, shape given to them as light hit the movement of the garment. A general lacing up of dresses, blouses, and even of cravats lent the collection a stuffy aura, were it not for the more radical cheetah prints and transparent gowns.

It’s as if Branquinho is seeking to enable the women history forgot, as the martyrs of an unempowered time. The Puritan-esque hoods and all black ensembles are reminiscent of Salem, the collars of the Elizabethan royal courts, as a hint of ’70s glamour trickles in with high boots, long coats, and blazers.

It’s as if Branquinho is seeking to enable the women history forgot.

She doesn’t let us languish too long in the heart-tugging tragedy of past, misunderstood characters, topping such looks with leather jackets and blazers.

Véronique Branquinho is redeeming those battered women of the past; presenting them as the fierce women they were, ending on a punctuation of looks that remind us that we’re not so different from them after all.

Branquinho is redeeming those battered women of the past.

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With love,

FWO