Paris Fashion Week
The City of Light, home of couture fashion and arguably home to the world’s greatest Paris fashion week. Balenciaga, McQueen, Hermes, Celine, Chloe, Valentino, Chanel, Louis Vuitton…. all in one city for the finale of the season – it’s fashion nirvana and the epitome of high end.
For LV, creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere took the show to the shell of the new Louis Vuitton store on Place Vendome. An architectural space with raw concrete, exposed piping and half finished fixtures had Ghesquiere written all over it, and gave the collection more of a chance to be seen, rather than overwhelmed by it’s surroundings.
Having explored sportswear for the past year or so, this collection represented the luxury of which Louis Vuitton clients are more accustomed to. Meticulous tailoring was a key theme of the collection, refined suits and separates in business grey and other muted colours gave us a new take on boardroom chic.
Ghesquiere designed for the woman who’s not always at work, and the collection featured a whole range of covetable silvery metallic dresses, gold trimmed trousers and tulle dresses. The entire collection was easily imagined off stage, it was luxurious without compromise yet easy to wear.
Cristobal Balenciaga is often thought of as one of the Godfathers of couture. This season, Demna Gvasalia took the brand back to its roots with a collection of beautifully precise and skilled tailoring. This was the modern wardrobe re-imagined and reexamined – classic pieces with a couture twist. Blazers with almost comically high square shoulders and a defined waist, trench coats cut to be worn two ways, skirts that can be made into pinafores. The collection show cased unrivaled skill reminded us all of why Paris is the pinnacle of sartorial talent.
Another quintessentially Parisian brand, Hermes, presented us an idea not yet seen by designer Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski – the evening gown. In her past two seasons, the designer has been an advocate of day wear, perhaps in an attempt to grow sales for the brand, a fuchsia apron dress in silk cigaline perhaps signifies the end of subdued for Hermes – with another apron dress in yellow, it certainly seems that way.
Tailoring was huge this season in Paris, and over at Celine, Phoebe Philo offered soft and feminine tailoring. Her collection was graceful and pretty, with sloping shoulders and swishing evening dresses. Despite the femininity of the collection, there were still razor sharp edges on the tailoring and impeccable construction of blazers and suits. Flashes of colour lifted the show, proving that sophisticated suits and tailoring can have fun as well.
Following the departure of Alber Elbaz from Lanvin last year, 45-year-old French designer Bouchra Jarrar showed her first collection for the house. The designer is known for her perfectly cut coats and day-wear, where she designs for her own eponymous label. Despite the success of her own label, her first collection was met with criticism. The Financial Times report criticized the designer for the work she did with sheer fabrics, stating that it was ‘unfeminist’ to show a highly sexualized array of pieces. The Vogue report was more flattering, but noted the collection lacked a little something – the striking cobalt blue evening dresses were arguably the highlight of the collection, other than that… the show was a little lackluster.
Another first over at Dior, Grazia Chiuri’s first collection and expectations were high. Dior has weathered many a scandal – Galliano’s dismissal, Raf Simons sudden resignation, and so, getting the fashion house back on a positive trajectory is a task in itself.
Perhaps a metaphor for her fighting spirit and her plans to combat her new job title, the designers first look was a white fencing suit which featured a small embroidered bee, a logo used by Hedi Slimane when he was appointed at Dior Homme in the late 1990’s. Subsequent looks were variations of this, with models wearing leather gilets, crisp white shirts and quilt vests with straight black trousers. The look was turned on it’s head with the introduction of layered white tulle. The collection had somewhat of a split personality, the second half of the collection had a far more mystical, romantic and delicate persona. Pretty and feminine simple gowns embroidered with stars could not be further from the fierce sportswear of the first half.
As the fashion weeks draw to a close, each of us will have our own personal favorites and highlights – maybe you’re a Valentino pink girl or a fan of the simplicity of Prada. Whichever way you choose to style your way through Autumn and Winter, London, Milan, New York and Paris have certainly provided us enough inspiration to see us through until Spring!