Fashion Week’s call of the wild first sounded in Milan, where embroidered monkeys memorably appeared in Prada’s color-saturated, minimalist-meets-baroque spring collection. Embroidered on Japanese cotton tops and dresses, Prada’s primates made the critics positively giddy, conjuring fun, sex (remember the bananas?) and even eliciting comparisons to Charles Darwin. Paris, however, proved to be the real animal planet, starting with Alexander McQueen. Amid the oohs and ahhs, our gasp came hard and fast upon sight of a short, stiffly shaped orange dress featuring a neckline bursting with monarch butterflies.
Meanwhile, at Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs’ walk on the wild side started with the runway itself, flanked by three taxidermy tigers. Jewel-toned zebra prints followed, along with sequined panda and giraffe sweaters that conjured an haute version of the kiddie ones we wore in the 80s (or 70s, for some of us). Decidedly more adult was Jean Paul Gaultier’s last collection for Hermès, a kinky riff on equestrian that suggested a bit of barnyard S&M. Finally, Miu Miu closed Fashion Week taking the swan-song notion to heart. The bird made a memorable turn on a satin-paneled dress, briefly eclipsing the bevy of front-row stars.