Oh Paris, how I adore you. The grande dame of fashion, the pinnacle of style and elegance, and finally, home to what is widely regarded as the best of all the Fashion Weeks. It is here that everything comes to an end. After 3 long weeks of collections in New York, London and Milan (which in the end seem to just be the build up to the main event), we reach Paris. It is here that the biggest names, historically, showcase their work. What happens in Paris shapes fashion as we know it. This season is likely no different. Think of some past collections which have shown in Paris and have subsequently become iconic: Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian Collection, Christian Dior’s New Look, and Alexander McQueen’s Plato’s Atlantis (the show with the Armadillo heels) to name a few.
This season, I wouldn’t say I have seen any collections so far that I’d say are “iconic, go down in history as something to remember” collections but I have seen plenty that I liked. Upon reflection, I think we need another McQueen or Galliano type figure to inject some glamour and real wild creativity back into fashion. This is something that not only Paris would benefit from, but fashion in general. We need someone that does the very whimsical, avant garde thing: and does it well. Doing it well is key.
Anyhow, I want to talk about this seasons collections. I am sad that Fashion Month is now over but really, I am beyond excited for the designs to hit the stores, and hopefully trickle down into the high-street stores so that I can join in too. This season, there have been so many looks that I have loved and really got enthused by. And that is why I love fashion. It inspires, it excites and it inspirits me. Fashion doesn’t have to be complex, sometimes the most simple designs are the ones that I love the most. Even if you don’t get fashion – which often I don’t – you can still enjoy it. Observe and form your own opinions, even if everyone else hates what you love. Fashion is for the individual: embrace it.
Alexander Wang has finally made it to Balenciaga. All of his work for the brand before this collection was good, but a little bit mediorce, nothing special. I’d say this show really marks his entrance. Everything was on point: the set, the casting, and, most importantly, the clothes. The actual runway was brilliant. Built with glass and featuring a grid-like pattern, the runway was lit up from below and had machines pumping out smoke: it looked like the models were walking above the clouds. There were sweeping duster coats and interesting takes on fishnet and mesh and I loved the ruched chiffon sleeves. The lines were sleek and the looks were strong. Out of the whole collection, there were only maybe 3 that I didn’t like. Now I’d say 3 out of 33 is a pretty good ratio to have.
Alber Elbaz got the casting of this show right. Faces I love like Amber Valletta and Olga Sherer walked, along with almost every big working model of the moment. You may think, why focus on the models and not the clothes? Well, that is not the point. Models make a show. Without the models to wear the clothes, they would be hanging lifeless. The models bring the clothes into motion and make them into things that we actually want to buy. That is exactly what happened with this collection anyway. It was a celebration of 125 years of Lanvin and was a collection almost exclusively full of dresses (there were some trousers and skirts in there too though). From the most simple jersey style dresses to the slip dresses and tiered-silk pieces, Alber got it right time and time again. It truly was a wonderful way to celebrate such a milestone.
This was a little bit of a confused effort from Tisci. It was like a mash-up of Balmain, Alaia, McQueen, a little bit of Prada & Tisci all in one. However, I still kind of liked it. I wish that there could be a Kardashian ban from fashion week though as really, I am sick to death of all the focus being on a celebrity as opposed to the actual fashion: ie. the archetypal purpose of the shows. I understand that Tisci is friends with them but jeeeeeez, give it a rest. Anyway, I don’t want to dwell too much on these people, I care more about the clothes. They were tough and sexy. The latticed jackets, strappy sandal-like high leg boots, short dresses and plunging necklines. All of the aforementioned worked together to create an attitude – the kind of attitude that can’t be faked. And really, that’s what I’d say Riccardo does best: he creates a cool attitute via the clothes, one that everyone wants to exude. I want to befriend him and maybe then I could be part of his cool Givenchy gang?
I have spoke many times about how much I love Olivier. He really is perfect for Balmain, which is something that is undeniable whether you’d like to admit it or not. He does cool and sexy perfectly. This season, he dabbled a bit into an uncertain territory with an outfit that can only be called a breach of copyright laws – read about it at fashionista.com. It was a white suit that was very much alike one designed by Alexander McQueen at Givenchy back in the 90s. Honestly, it was pretty much identical, which was a bit of a disappointment as surely Olivier could create something new, no? That one outfit aside, it was a very strong collection. The stunning flowing chiffon was different than the usual overtly sexy that you would associate with Olivier’s Balmain; more sensual. The rest of the collection was more obviously Balmain. It was the usual shapes, styles etc, just with different colours and fabrics. However, this isn’t too much of an issue for me because when you see the details shots, the craftsmanship is at its finest. I can only hope to see these clothes on somebody other than Kim Kardashian though. There are so many other celebrities who could wear Balmain but it seems to always be Kim. That is why the collections seem so repetitive, not because they are but because they are always worn by the same woman.
Karl Lagerfeld stirred up a lot of controversy with this collection. Well, less the clothes, more the message. Models chanted and held placards displaying feminist slogans. It was like a protest. Some people were annoyed over the timing, calling it insensitive as it coincided with the recent events in Hong Kong. Furthermore, people struggled to believe that Karl Lagerfeld, a man well known for criticising women and often their bodies, could be a feminist or even understand the concept. Karl claims his mother was a feminist and that is how he was exposed to it. I’d say the timing of the show could not be better. At a time when women’s rights are wavering (in the US, recently Republicans voted against Equal Pay for Women), it was important to raise awareness of the cause. Social, political and economic issues aside, this was a strong collection. I’d actually say that it is my favourite ready to wear Chanel collection in years. As usual, Karl showed a little over 80 looks. I’d say this was probably too many, as always, and maybe 20 out of the 80 could be edited out: Karl always has so many ideas but I think he needs someone to cut out a few unnecessary looks. In this collection, there were the expected tweed and bouclé looks along with many shapes which we have already seen before, but really that is just sticking to the house DNA. There were also many looks which were new and fresh. The watercolour-type outfits were stunning, such a beautiful concept. Moreover, I adored the look that Liu Wen wore, the dress was probably the most wearably beautiful thing designed by Karl in years, and if I could get my hands on just one look from this collection it would be this one. Overall, it was just a really strong collection. Hopefully strong enough to silence the critics who always come for Karl. Yes, he is getting older and yes, he has been at this for years – probably longer than some of us have lived – but doesn’t that say something positive about him? He has longevity. Now say it with me, long live Lagerfeld.
And the rest…
Christian Dior is boring me a little bit now, hence my previous mention of Galliano and how I’d like him back. It’s just predictable and too alike from season to season.
Roland Mouret’s use of colourblocking on this dress was brilliant and I found the neckline interesting.
I enjoyed Barbara Bui‘s slouchy white suits and the embroidered mosaic-like pieces, especially this coat.
The high slits at Chalayan were daring yet looked effortless, examples x, y, z. Moreover, the sunglasses held on by a headscarf were a genius idea, I want to get my hands on this combination.
This jacket at Acne Studios was like a leather raincoat, very clever and will probably sell well.
The shape of this outfit at Ellery reminded me slightly of Marc Jacobs‘ knitted looks from last season, except I liked this look better (mainly because of the fabric) – it is such a look to try; the flowing sleeves are stunning.
It was Jean Paul Gaultier’s final ready-to-wear show and really, it was a good way to end. I loved the beauty pageant set-up, it was theatrical and creative: two words which define Jean Paul Gaultier.
Haider Ackermann had a beautiful dusky colour palette. My favourite looks were these three: this silk suit, this belted off-the-shoulder outfit (is it a playsuit or a dress?) & this all-white combination (although I’d change the shoes, the model seems to be stumbling).
I don’t usually get Gareth Pugh, and maybe because his collection was just a presentation, not a show this time around, it became a little clearer to me? I loved this headpiece (I’m not sure if it can be classed as a hat) and these two dresses – (x) (y).
I want to be a Chloe girl: this collection confirmed that to me. The founder of the brand died in this past week which is a sad event but didn’t make the collection any less enjoyable. It was dedicated to her and was, in fact, a wonderful collection in her memorial.
This cross-over top at Sonia Rykiel, worn by Malaika Firth was great, as was the entire outfit.
Saint Laurent was, as expected, classic Hedi Slimane. Nothing new but not necessarily bad, just the normal rocker vibe.
Elie Saab was different than usual, oddly sporty. I liked it. I kind of loved the collection overall. The colours were beautiful, especially the teal, and the clothes were so stunning. Whole collection linked here.
Emanuel Ungaro was brilliant. I loved these two dresses, they oozed glamour.
David Koma’s official fashion show debut for Mugler was, as I thought it would be, brilliant. I love David Koma; he can do little wrong in my eyes. I think he suits Mugler so well and the fact that he has been a lifelong fan of the brand really helps.
This season’s Celine collection was my favourite in so long. I especially loved the messy, fringed hem on this dress.
Miu Miu and Prada are becoming very similar. Yes, they are both designed by Miuccia so obviously the link is clear but there used to be a clear-cut definition between the two. I loved Miu Miu this season. There were many looks that I adored, especially this one; the colour of the coat is to die for.
Nicolas Ghesquiere’s second show for Louis Vuitton wasn’t as good as his first, in my opinion, but still brilliant. I feel like he is really trying to create a LV Girl, a house DNA that is separate from just the trunks and monogrammed accessories. Full collection linked here.