The 25 Best Collections of 2017 (So Far)

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With the month of June nearly in sight, fashion squads around the world are gearing up for the next installment of men’s fashion week and its perennial multi-national tour of host cities. From New York to Paris, we’ll be sharing with you the best collections of each week, and then immediately after men’s season, the top shows from Haute Couture Week in Paris.

But in order to get in the spirit of FASHION and all the glorious hype that comes with it, we’ve decided to look back over the past six months and reminisce a few of the best collections we’ve seen so far this year. Now, granted we’re only half way through the year, so you’ll probably see a few familiar names, but that’s not simply because we couldn’t find any other contenders; they’re there because, in our opinion, they truly represent the best of what 2017 has to offer. So, without further ado, here are our top 25 collections of 2017—so far.

1. VIKTOR&ROLF – Paris Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017

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This couture season was hallmarked by the sophomore collection of “conscious couture” by designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, and every look was as special as the next. Bringing new life to vintage cocktail dresses (some dating as far back as the Forties), Viktor & Rolf delivered a series of deconstructed dresses and gowns, resulting in a reconstructed lineup with countless favorites. Like the extra-voluptuous ball gowns toward the end of the collection, each decked with surrealist patchworks over dense layers of white or candy-hued tulle. As far as we're concerned, Viktor & Rolf are the absolute masters of upcycling.

2. MAISON MARGIELA – Paris Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017

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With a collection filled with deconstructed pieces and ultra-creative silhouettes, and one particularly gorgeous white coat fronted with a face made from layered black tulle, Maison Margiela's spring “artisanal” show saw the return of John Galliano's true creative genius. By the final look, it was clear: Galliano was back and stronger than ever. And his latest collab with makeup-mastermind Pat McGrath had us head-over-heels for the inspired abstract beauty looks—this season with glossy cheekbones, 3D wiring, thick dustings of pigments in crimson and cerulean, and let's not forget the vinyl lips. It's also the collection that gave us the rainbow-barfing Snapchat filter on a translucent coat.

3. CHANEL – Paris Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017

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Chanel transformed the Grand Palais in Paris into a vision of elegance for this season's haute couture outing—a “house of mirrors” inspired by Coco Chanel's famous Art Deco mirrored staircase that lead to her ateliers at 31 Rue Cambon. Karl Lagerfeld sent out models across a runway of mirror tiles, with each decked in power suits or sparkling gowns (the later often found decorated with silver sequins or a mix of ostrich and marabou feathers). The thick metallic belts and pearl ankle bracelets were instant (and more accessible) takeaways from this couture collection, but the bridal finale was an absolute showstopper: In lieu a traditional white gown, Lily-Rose Depp closed the show in layers of blush-pink ruffles.

4. DELPOZO – New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

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Inspired by the works of post-Impressionist Hungarian painter József Rippl-Rónai and Swiss architect-sculptor Max Bill, creative director Josep Font sent his models out in a fall-winter collection of cozy cashmere hoods, oversize iridescent sequins and the latest variations of this whimsical designer's signature sculptural folds. In addition to his organic, voluminous silhouettes, Font's architectural background emerged boldly throughout an elegant range of circular shapes, crisp pleating and day-ready trousers, all in a spectrum of rich tones from amber and deep green to cobalt blue. This fanciful collection, with clean lines and magical decorations, was easily one of the best shows from New York Fashion Week—and 2017.

5. PROENZA SCHOULER – New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

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Celebrating their final show during New York Fashion Week before taking their racks to the couture runways of Paris, Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez sent out a signature lineup of high-intensity elegance and utilitarian outerwear. Inspired by New York City itself, this fall-winter collection pilfered the streets and downtown grit for a range of graffiti-inspired prints and the same super-cool aesthetics we've come to expect from them. This season, however, they excelled with more wearable separates, twisting and slicing away at dresses with daring nonchalance, and we can't wait to see what this coming season holds for them in Paris!

6. CALVIN KLEIN – New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

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At one of the most anticipated show of the year, Raf Simons revealed a new look for Calvin Klein's women's, which he just recently took the helm as creative director. With a collection inspired by American culture and classic suiting, the new creative director went about updating the vibe of the brand with a variety of new denim looks and a bold array of cowboy boots, cheerleader-slash-majorette references, and laborious quilting. From there, he introduced one of the most iconic looks of Fall/Winter 2017—a lux fur coat wrapped in clear, protective plastic for a moment of pure elegance, mixed with a bit of street cred.

7. RYAN LO – London Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

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A true maximalist, Ryan Lo slayed the runway with his take on Nineties nostalgia, filled with signature high-drama pieces. Ranging from star-spangled sweaters to his first-ever menswear options, this collection combined Hello Kitty motifs with the animated styling of our most favorite anime hero from the '90s – the one and only Sailor Moon. What resulted from this was a playful lineup of floral and camouflage patterns, alongside organza dresses, one-shoulder gowns and the floppy hats in camo and bubble-gum pink made in collaboration with Stephen Jones. It's totally “Kawaii” all the way through.

8. ASHLEY WILLIAMS – London Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

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For her sixth solo show, the increasingly popular Ashley Williams revealed a follow-up to her nostalgic Spring 2017 collection, where she pilfered the remnants of '80s childhood moments for a covetable blast from the past. This season, she's transported herself back to the youth culture of 1980s and the Milanese Paninaro street-style trend of the time. Williams' fall-winter lineup was all about revisiting Americana prep and perfecting the party-girl look, all while heralding the great return of the Wild West. In a series of preppy tartans, cropped pants and tracksuits emblazoned with “Misery” slogans, the favorites of the season were easily the floral pieces, the tartan double-breasted blazer over a Shaquille O'Neal graphic t-shirt and the fringed cowhide jacket paired with gray acid-wash jeans.

9. MOLLY GODDARD – London Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

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Over the past few seasons, Molly Goddard has turned into one of London's leading purveyors of fantastical frocks. With an emphasis on producing voluptuous tulle gowns, her collections are as prom-perfect as you can possibly get—and this season certainly didn't disappoint. Goddard's signature smocking and ruching appeared in a series of tulle skirts and ballooning shapes, all falling somewhere in a range of cotton-candy hues, from pinks and blues to soft coral. The fall-winter ruffles and tulle gowns were contrasted by more wearable pieces, like a pleated trapeze top and a pleated dress in gray cotton.

10. GUCCI – Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

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For his fall-winter collection, “The Alchemist's Garden,” creative director Alessandro Michele sent out a staggering 120 looks of menswear and womenswear, throughout which he flaunted luxe prints, embroidery or chinoiserie influences from the 17th and 18th centuries. This collection was the furthest point from ever being boring or repetitive, though it was easily one the longest shows I have ever experienced. Gucci's fall-winter runway show highlighted Michele's charismatic creativity and originality with a constant flow of head-turners, from deconstructed tees to embroidered gowns; this season marks yet another collection for a creative director who seems to be hell-bent on rekindling the spirit of Gucci.

11. FENDI – Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

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Earlier this year, at their women's show in Milan, Fendi celebrated their signature craftsmanship with an exquisite offering of super-light dresses and carefully tailored boxy cuts, with key looks including oversized herringbone, Prince of Wales checks and knee-high boots. After last season's magical show at the Trevi Fountain, the fall-winter runway took a more laidback approach, but that never once distracted from how amazing Fendi's printed midi dresses were, or the smart knife-pleat skirts. This collection was downright sexy, feminine and effortlessly chic.

12. UNDERCOVER – Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

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Back in March, Japanese designer Jun Takahashi showcased his theatrical side with a highly dramatic collection disguised almost as a performance art piece, each look inspired by a different type of uniform worn by a range of social classes in an alternate world. From queens and aristocrats to clergy and workers, Takahashi's fashion fantasy balanced over-the-top avant-garde creations with wearable separates, and really everything in between, including antique-inspired tool belts, accordion pleated skirts and Flying Nun hats. This was a rare collection from start to finish, especially when it came to the everyday pieces, like the covetable puffer coats and decadent velvet dresses.

13. BALENCIAGA – Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

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Through a masterful showcase of proportion, distortion and several 1950s-inspired silhouettes, creative director Demna Gvasalia's fall collection for Balenciaga paid homage to the fashion house's late founder, with each look appearing at once familiar yet entirely revised. At its core, this collection was a utilitarian lineup, including men's checked fabrics, sheared minks, black leathers, delicate floral prints and enviable oversized jackets. Eventually morphing into the exaggerated shapes of his couture interpretations, each voluptuous look perfectly represented this designer's profound attention to balancing brand heritage and personal aesthetics—altogether producing an easy all-time favorite from one of the industry's most talked-about designers.

14. RAF SIMONS – New York Fashion Week Men's Fall/Winter 2017

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Here's the collection everyone was talking about during NYFWM—Raf Simons's debut show in New York City. Days before he sent out his debut collection as the new creative director at Calvin Klein, he revealed an emblazoned celebration of the town he now calls home. Throughout, he fused sportswear pieces with fine tailoring, including lux outerwear and oversize blazers, for a line filled with cool, clean shapes and new beginnings. It was a perfect blend of Simons' refined eye for fabrications and his newfound love for Americana – a celebration collection I couldn't but include on this list.

15. SONGZIO – London Fashion Week Men's Fall/Winter 2017

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Here's a collection that ticked all the boxes for me. It's dark armor-like outerwear and the signature art prints of South Korean designer Zio Song were an instant hit, as were the sharp-tailored suits and romantic volumes. This collection was dramatic, bold and yet balanced, never straying too far from Song's own distinctive aesthetics—which I really like for this season. If you haven't heard about this label already, now is your chance!

16. CRAIG GREEN – London Fashion Week Men's Fall/Winter 2017

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He may have been named the “British Menswear Designer of the Year” in 2016, but Craig Green and his eponymous label are constantly a top favorite in my books. This season, with what started with drawstring parkas, hoods and hats, he transitioned into boxy shapes, asymmetrical tailored armor-like Byzantine-printed jacket and several paneled number. It was a collection of subdued colors, from navy and dusty lilac to khaki and black, but this lineup was a total hit—through and through. He's one of those designers who knows how to balance creativity with commercial, easy-to-wear sensibility; honestly, he's a genius and that's why he's on this list.

17. J.W. ANDERSON – London Fashion Week Men's Fall/Winter 2017

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No list of best collections—of any year—would be complete without mentioning J.W. Anderson, being one of London's most beloved designers. His crafty fall lineup took on an overall Seventies vibe, complete with layered crochet and ultra-chunky knits, bomber jackets and slouchy pants. Here's a designer known and celebrated for his mind-blowing knitwear prowess—so obviously this collection was filled with countless homespun sweaters you can't help but fall in love with.

18. QASIMI – London Fashion Week Men's Fall/Winter 2017

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Complete with the world's best duvet coat (worn by the striking model Ernest Klimko), Central Saint Martins graduate Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi's new fall collection was an easy standout from this past London Fashion Week Men's. His colors, ranging from mossy green tones to dusty pink hues, complimented a comforting collection of relaxed shapes, including coats, sweaters and buttery-soft leather jackets. Inspired by John Lennon and Yoko Ono's “Bed-In for Peace” in 1969, this collection has the words “soft rebellion” written all over it.

19. FENDI – Milan Fashion Week Men's Fall/Winter 2017

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A hands-down favorite from Milan Fashion Week was Fendi's enthusiastic collection of color-blocked track pants and fur coats for men, offering a perfect burst of fun and joyfulness that's not often seen on the Milanese runway. If you doubted the spirit of the collection, you'd leave all that behind when see the series of headbands, beanies and knit sweaters, all of which featured the emblazoned words “YES,” “FANTASTIC” and “LOVE.” Honestly, I really enjoyed seeing how Fendi layered zip-up cycling jerseys under black suits; this made for a beautiful contrast to the rather street-wise fur slides and fur-striped tote bags that appeared throughout the collection.

20. MARNI – Milan Fashion Week Men's Fall/Winter 2017

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Following the departure of Marni's founder and creative director Consuelo Castiglioni last year, after 22 years at the helm, the Fall/Winter 2017 show was a huge occasion for their men's line, which marked the debut collection of Francesco Risso as the label's new creative director. For his first collection, Risso reimagined Castiglioni's familiar signature looks from a more street-cool angle. Belted trousers and tucked-in sweaters – all slightly undone, wrinkled and relaxed—mingled with gorilla-like fur coats and bouffant fur beanies; all in all, this was beautiful first collection in what is sure to be a more playful, and certainly more youthful, version of the Marni man.

21. KOLOR – Paris Fashion Week Men's Fall/Winter 2017

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During his latest outing in Paris, designer Junichi Abe and his label Kolor brought furs and frills to the Parisian man, with a collection of surprising details and embellishments that made this an instant inclusion. It isn't often utilitarian menswear gets such a luxurious yet practical update, but Abe managed to introduce fur, zipped pockets and grosgrain ribbons into an otherwise realistic range of plaid shirting and workwear. These decadent details, including fur-line vents, were featured across a series of jackets, coats and wearable separates, and by the end of the collection had me wanting ore. This was practical menswear made fun—and I was in love.

22. HERMÈS – Paris Fashion Week Men's Fall/Winter 2017

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Another collection that found beauty in the details, Véronique Nichanian's latest menswear collection for Hermès was beyond luxe—and that's saying something for a French fashion house celebrated for its luxury goods. And, like Kolor, Hermès found this season's luxe tendencies in the details, whether it was in the leather details on a technical wool coat, or the saddle stitching they placed on extra-fine cashmere. This collection was an elaborate parade of cashmere options, particularly a fur cable-knit sweater in green; it was this look, along with a belted duster coat in houndstooth and a burgundy velvet suit, that made this collection worth mentioning. Here's another perfect example of simple luxury in menswear.

23. CHRISTIAN DIOR – Cruise 2018

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For Maria Grazia Chiuri's first destination cruise show, the house of Dior escorted 800 guests into the mountains of Calabasa, California, for a monumental collection that evoked Old Hollywood glamour and a dusty desert safari. The models walked down a runway only a few steps away from where MASH and Gone with the Wind were once filmed, each wearing a blend of Native American-inspired geometric motifs, desert floral prints and thousands of layered feathers. For this collection, Chirui married Western influences with Dior's iconic heritage and couture refinement, for a covetable lineup of bohemian vibes, estate-like talismans and hoards of covetable new bags with woven straps; there's truly not much you won't want after looking through this collection.

24. PRADA – Cruise 2018

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Since Miuccia Prada has gone on record declaring her distaste for the term “cruise,” I use the term here loosely, but really, it is what is. This in-between season's show in Milan seemed to be a hodgepodge of modern silhouettes and decorations from the Belle Époque, but it was 100 percent Prada, with was up-to-date ready-to-wear luxury and plenty of signature Prada moments. That said, what I loved most this season was its interplay of metal and transparency—metal pins or panels appearing to float on sheer organza and countless other delicate fabrics. All in all, this collection was classically pretty and even occasionally utilitarian, featuring a cunning contrast between feather-hemmed dresses and feather headdresses and Velcro strapped sneakers and sportswear influences, like a black nylon trench-dress.

25. COMME DES GARÇONS – Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

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This year has been all about Rei Kawakubo. With her legendary avant-garde talents currently being the centerpiece of her very own Costume Institute exhibit, I couldn’t finish this list of best collections from 2017 without including her fall-winter collection for Comme des Garçons. Her bold eccentricities took to the runway in true theatrics and explored the dimensions of new silhouettes, from silver Mylar blobs to even more bulbous sculptures to extra-large tent-like structures, and everything in between. Here was a collection to inspire, to delight and to covet, even though you know you couldn’t wear any of the looks to a real-life event. But, sure, we can dare to dream.

Brent Taalur Ramsey is an American writer living in Paris.

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