An Illustrated Guide to My Favorite SS18 Shows

by Tamu McPherson

Illustrations by Monica Ahanonu

Now that I’ve had time to digest the SS18 shows, I’d like to share with you some looks from my favorite collections from New York, London, Milan and Paris. Why these looks? Because of the thrill they provoked when I laid eyes on them. To help me visually recount their beauty, we’ve partnered with the LA-based illustrator Monica Ahanonu, whom I have been following on Instagram for some time now.



Impeccably chic style in spades, some of my all-time favorite color combinations (cherry and mint, people), and a countless source of inspiration for epic daydreams: like going grocery shopping in one of the tulle finale gowns. The image gives me so much life. I can vividly see myself floating around the produce section like some kind of fruit fairy. Bestowing blessings on the avocado and checking on the strawberries.


Rosie has a direct dial to the more glamorous side of my style and her message is always modern, whimsical and refreshing. I love the alternative approach that she provides to dressing up. There is always a twist that sets her creations apart from other designers; a dress is never just a dress, trousers never mere trousers, there is always that certain Rosie something that captures my attention. For SS18, I’ve fallen for these two dresses. The gorgeous yellow number will unfortunately remain wish list material, but the purple one will have a place in my closet.



At Simone Rocha, I was sold from the very first look, which reminded me of a fresh Spring flower. Maybe a bellflower, maybe an upside down peony, a rose by the way of the balloon shape and petal-like ruffles? The collection, with its Victorian feel, is just so pretty and thoughtful. Beautiful fabrics, fun peekaboo petticoats, stunning embroidery all composed into the most perfect bouquet. 


All that glitters really is gold when it comes to one of my favorite emerging designers, Michael Halpern of his eponymous line Halpern.

The brand’s collections give me high-octane glamour with the right amount of perfectly timed and pared-down edge. If I were a true glamourpuss, this would be me 24/7, 365/365. It may be my Jamaican roots and proclivity for all tings shiny and bright, but why accept the dull side of things when you can shine the sun?


Why J.W. Anderson would want to elevate the tea linen with his SS18 collection totally registers with me. I have bought many over the past few years, and every time I lay eyes on the perfect brand-spanking new one, l always experience a jolt of satisfaction. Something so simple, but so capable of bringing you joy – that’s just how clothes should be sometimes.



Attending a Gucci show is like boarding a time capsule and traveling through time and space. Regardless of whether the lighting is low alla discoteca and the music bumping accordingly (as was the case for SS18), the garments pull you in through gravitational waves. Yes, I am currently obsessed with news of the Ligo-Virgo scientists recent sighting of a kilonova. Each Gucci look tells a rich story and somehow organically relates to the one that exits before and after. Through his collections, Alessandro Michele is like a space traveler recounting the incredibly enchanting adventures of past and future moments, which he invites us to write through our own interpretation of the Gucci aesthetic and style.


From the moment you stepped into the courtyard and laid eyes on the lovely garden accented by beautiful purple alliums, you felt a buzz signaling the magic that was to come with Francesco Risso’s Marni SS18 collection. Everything about this show was exceptional. From the casting of intriguingly beautiful models, to the signature-Marni unconventional shapes and volume, to the riot of mix-n-match prints, these are the clothes that I love to wear. They eschew the easy and the expected, they are light years from basic and they make getting dressed an exhilaratingly event.


Miuccia Prada does it for me every time with her ability to accurately express the different aspects of the modern woman’s persona. The SS18 collection starts out with a sharp, tailored androgynous look and unfolds into a theme of mixed prints featuring comics and artwork created by and featuring women (heroines), feminine flourishes by way of brocade dresses and flat rainbow paillettes, tougher elements in the appearance of a cute, but sinister spider and other must have animal prints. The mashup is effortless, smart, unapologetically feminine and cool – a true reflection of today’s multidimensional woman. 



Louis Vuitton’s SS18 collection is one of my favorite by Nicolas Ghesquiere. 

A healthy lineup of covetable items, including; dialed up athleisure wear, on-trend sneakers, hero trousers in patent leather and metallics, updated frock coats, cocktail-perfect dresses, cropped-style tops, and a Stranger Things concert t-shirt. He is a merchandising wizard. Do you remember the Star Wars T-shirt he designed while at Balenciaga? The Stranger Things tee will definitely be a collector’s item. 


Thom Browne’s SS18 show was an other-worldly kind of affair. Set to the tune of “Part of Your World” from the Little Mermaid soundtrack, it was a dreamy and fairytale-like event.

The models were larger than life women, creatures of mystery, queens. The clothes: extremely beautiful and worthy of demi-couture status because of their intricacy and genius. This was a very emotional show for me, and as I sat in the breathtaking great hall at Hôtel de Ville and watched the parade of such imagination, I was deeply moved inside. Thom Browne is known for being a great story teller, and SS18 will be a memorable one.


As you know from our story earlier this month, More Diversity on the SS18 Runways and What it Means, the Miu Miu show was major for me because of its stellar casting of models of color. Well, Miuccia (as always) delivered in the style department, as well. Mixing up winning combinations of checks, stripes,  lace, fun Charlie Brownesque knits, florals, Summer leather and, yasss, slip dresses, she was appealing to a squad of effortlessly cool girls. Hair pulled back by ’90s style headbands, yasss again to the perennially perfect cat-eye, and an abundance of flats throughout. This show was about barebones beauty and confidence. A message that we want to reinforce to all women today.  

What were your favorite collections? What made you fall in love this September?

Please read more about the incredibly talented illustrator Monica Ahanonu here, and see more of her work here.










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