Showdetails Paris London 24 Spring/Summer 2018
What was the mood on the recent Paris runways? Two designers, Dries Van Noten and Julien Dossena, the creative director at Paco Rabanne, offered an indirect response. The former by claiming we have to enjoy ourselves, in spite of or perhaps because of the dark times the world is experiencing; the latter by stating he has never been out so much in the evening since after the Paris attacks, and not to escape reality but to stand up to it. The general feeling of instability and darkness is probably leading this desire for escape. How wonderful! Optimism has thus become a trend and designers are duly taking note. Also because, while it is true that fashion instils in people desires they did not know they had, it can only be good that it also offers a beacon of hope in a future that looks more uncertain than ever. After all, offering someone something they did not know they wanted and then making them desire it is an enormous power. In this sense, designers have a great responsibility. So, if trends are giving positive advices we only have to follow them. Like the love of nature and its curative and inspiring power that Paris is (re)discovering, as nature, with its constant renewal, is the ultimate antidote to insecurity. Homage to nature was a resounding part of Paris fashion week, expressed in collections packed with floral motifs, transparencies and bright details reminiscent of the purity of water, and with flounces, plissé, frills and ruffles like opening petals or plants stretching towards the sky. Dancefloor is another way of celebrating the desire to live and express oneself, through silver disco looks, reduced hemlines, body-con lines, necklines, splits and metallic reflections, and not just for the evening but 24/7. Another way of demonstrating optimism on the runway: The shining is not just about gold and silver but also weaves shot through with lurex threads, sequins or glitter covering the surfaces, and lots of glossy materials such as PVC, patent and vinyl. Because in the universe of desires, colours and materials covering the surface of things are a powerful vehicle of emotions.
Garments: trenches, macs, masculine suits, blazers, poet blouses, vests, shorts (including cycling shorts), long fluid dresses, mini-dresses, mini-skirts, jeans, jumpsuits, knitwear, (visible) lingerie, Texan style boots, sneakers, flat buckled or toe-post sandals, stiletto heels, bumbags, maxi jewellery, graphic make-up.
Materials: PVC, denim, lace (especially broderie anglaise), cotton, leather, silk satin, organza, chiffon, silk, chainmail, lurex.
Details: sportswear elements, couture shapes, artisan processes, de-structuring, asymmetry, assemblies, veiling, transparencies, iridescence, cut-outs, laser cuts, oversized shoulders, puff sleeves, plunging necklines, splits, mesh, puckering, fringes, tassels, hanging laces, ruffles, flounces, frills, buttons, feathers, sequins, glitter, metallic appliqués, crystals, precious embroidery, floral prints, graphic designs, landscape or fauna motifs, stripes, ‘neck scarf’ patterns, ‘artsy’ prints, animal, polka dots, slogans, logos.
Colours: black and white (sometimes together), ivory, shades of pink, lilac, red, yellow, green, silver, gold.
HOMAGE TO NATURE
Floral motifs were practically everywhere in Paris in the form of print, appliqués or embroidery. Few collections ignored them completely. Some designers were not content just with flowers, but turned to gardens, waterfalls, tropical forests, organic forms and even seafood – in short, nature in all its myriad manifestations.
Flounces and ruffles embellished ethereal slip dresses like petals gently opening in the cool spring sun, revealing shades of pink in the Alexander McQueen collection palette. It was a homage to the poetry of English gardens, translated into lace and embroidered sheer insets and clouds of organza, tulle and chiffon scattered with climbing florals that seemed alive.
The inspiration chez Chanel was the waterfalls of the Gorges du Verdon, in the South of France, a spectacular landscape recreated at the Grand Palais with models wearing plastic hats, gloves and boots to shelter from the spray. Tweed suits came in various shades of green and sea blue, with added fringes and contrasting insets, topped with little capes in plastic, which was also used for the accessories.
After the waterfalls came the Amazon forest of Elie Saab, a triumph of lush vegetation made from embroidery, lace and laser cuts on tops, long dresses and fluid skirts, while long silk fringes featured throughout the collection. Fauna was added to the flora, with python prints on jackets, neck scarves and dresses of various lengths.
Organic forms were the focus for Junya Watanabe, who used archive prints by Marimekko to decorate asymmetric, irregular dresses with added panels and draping. Fruit and vegetables in black and white with contrasting details were featured on cassocks with maxi collars and full skirts, along with polka dots, graphic designs, stripes and camouflage.
Julie de Libran for Sonia Rykiel made the oyster the leitmotiv of her collection: its shell was printed on elegant silk kaftans in the finale and silky or sequinned surfaces recalled the iridescent sheen of mother-of-pearl, while knit works, appliqués on the clothes and the accessories had the shape of its most precious treasure, the pearl.
The return of ‘disco fever’ is not just a trend but also a sign that brands are really targeting the new generations, as well as a desire for fun, despite the high alert in Paris. Hemlines were shorter, heels higher, dresses radiated metallic sheen or fell fluidly over the body, with slashes revealing the skin and lingerie.
These looks are perfect for summer nights spent dancing on the beach. The mini-dresses, tops tucked into mini-skirts and high-waist shorts and crocheted swimsuits that Isabel Marant offered her very young fans were ideal for showing off the legs, even while wearing flip flops.
Minimalism and cleanness but with a sexy twist for the Lanvin woman, ready for night clubbing (un)dressed in sheer, low-necked tops over visible underwear, paired with skirts with high splits and asymmetric mini-dresses that were either fluid and draped or body-con and covered with logos, sometimes worn with a double belt. Touches of red, pink and jade brightened a palette dominated by (what else?) black.
David Koma’s collection for Mugler was a little more fluid and airy than usual, with soft blouses and chiffon dresses featuring flounces and folds, transparencies and plunging necklines over visible underwear. Other looks were sexy and assertive as well, in line with the designer’s signature style: black leather corsets, mini-dresses with cut-outs held together with strings, evening looks embellished with glossy metallic appliqués.
Julien Dossena’s collection for Paco Rabanne was entirely dedicated to disco. The brand’s signature chainmail was printed with paisley motifs on mini-dresses worn with boots of various lengths. Paisley was also used in second-skin total looks, while chainmail returned in the finale in the form of dancing fringes and Catwoman suits.
The Saint Laurent woman is also a lover of the night-life: hands in the pockets of ultra-short shorts and floaty poet blouses with deep V neckline, some decorated with precious embroidery. A variety of mini-dresses ranged from metallic brocade to virginal lace to balloon or covered with airy feathers. Everything was worn with high heeled soft boots, fur pirate boots or stiletto sandals.
Sparkling, luminous, bright. There are many ways of describing all that glitters, in the real or figurative sense. In fashion speak, you could call it ‘sequinned’, ‘glittery’, ‘golden’, ‘silvery’ depending on the materials and details used. On the Paris runways, the widespread membership to ‘the shining club’ led designers to resort to every possible material, as well as metallic tones and silky saturated colours.
At Balmain, Natalia Vodianova opened the show in a black patent jumpsuit with gold chain straps, immediately ramping up the glamour. The subsequent looks all featured iridescence from jewel appliqués, metallic weaves, glitter, sequins, varnished leather for mini-dresses and long sinuous dresses, skinny trousers, mini-skirts, low-cut knits and mesh.
Dries Van Noten‘s collection was bright and packed with embellishment, beginning with precious details such as jewels dotted over organza overlays, metallic brocades used even on Texan style boots, glossy silk neck scarves applied in panels, sequins and glitter on skirts and sheaths.
The meeting/clash of old and modern at Louis Vuitton included 18th century dress coats with or without sleeves in gold and silver brocade, embellished with precious embroidery, paired with silk shorts, vinyl or varnished leather trousers. More iridescence came in the form of laminated or fringed dresses with lurex insets or shoulder straps, and/or completely covered with sequins. The latter also appeared on the accessories: little bags with golden chains and metallic surfaces.An explosion of bright colours on the Rochas runway that hosted a couture collection made of trapeze dresses and cassocks with silky surfaces or vivid floral prints, followed by tops and skirts in metallic brocade with an oriental twist. The embroidery was opulent but the effect was sumptuous even on the more linear, clean dresses thanks to smooth, shiny silk satin.
The Valentino woman had a lunar femininity, which Pierpaolo Piccioli expressed in a versatile wardrobe scattered with sportswear and space age elements. There were plenty of bright details on vests, shorts, cargo trousers, anoraks and parkas and, subsequently, on the evening looks, such as the long dresses covered in sequins or precious floral appliqués.
London is the cradle of creativity, the niche for experimentation, the gravitational core in which designers destroy and then regenerate the symbols of fashion. Traditional elements, archive pieces and memories are dissected and overhauled. They go through a metamorphosis, move towards, a fresh and playful contemporary. Where we discover a new time.
The time of little girls dressed in airy innocence for spring. Seemingly born out of poetry, from the ink of Umberto Saba, so similar to the wind, to white clouds “and other light and roving things”. Like Simone Rocha’s dreamy, white porcelain dolls.
They have puff sleeves, ‘ring-a-ring of roses’ embroidery, airy, voluminous dresses in tulle, lace and broderie anglaise. They are the imaginary daughters of Mary Katrantzou, so playful and exuberant, with their colourful trenches for running in the rain, skirts resembling hot air balloons and bubble dresses. They are the women of Emporio Armani – free and spontaneous wearing impalpable shirts, fluid dresses in mother-of-pearl and iridescent hues.
Grown-up girls who guard the secrets of their childhood, who carry them with them, and embody them. London also celebrated a domestic atmosphere; the runways were not aseptic exhibition spaces. The general atmosphere was like a house with doors opened to let the light into the rooms, to welcome guests.
The women on the runway appeared as modern housewives, unusual domestic goddesses. JW Anderson praised them by dressing them in natural materials, eco-sustainable fibres with rustic effects.
Roland Mouret made them sensual and confident, flawless even when their hems were frayed and raw cut. Antonio Berardi depicted them as though in an old family portrait: wearing sophisticated patchwork dresses, reminiscent of the ‘make do and mend’ attitude. Finally, Christopher Kane portrayed a seductive, cheeky woman who mixes domestic elements with provocative details, lace collars with patent. And if fashion is an invitation to throw open the doors, the capital’s runways were a long journey along English landscapes. An exploration that began in Scotland.
Pringle of Scotland chose the wild nature, cliffs and hills of the Shetland Isles, and created clothes where landscapes are printed or made from frayed fabrics and hanging threads.
The Burberry journey crosses the countryside and villages, carrying knitwear traditions until it reaches the city, mixing military style with eccentricity, a sporty attitude with regal bon-ton. Tartan is a key feature and Tommy Hilfiger weaves it with grunge. His collection had the rhythm of skateboarding on concrete, contaminated by rock.
It looked nostalgically to the glamorous nineties. The 90’s also inspired the Topshop Unique collection: Soho’s streets, bars, music and strobe lights, metallic jackets, python prints as well as shining satin and zips in the sporty outfits.
Versus Versace also created a mix of contemporary and archive, producing Miami Beach car prints, mesh dresses, silver leather and plastic effect fabrics.
Garments: oversize coats, trenches, bombers, biker jackets, dress coats, cardigans, hooded sweatshirts, maxi T-shirts, shirts, soft dresses, armour, pencil skirts, balloon dresses, underskirts, aprons, peplums, high-waist, low rise, oversize, slim trousers, cropped jeans, shorts.
Materials: cotton, broderie anglaise, linen, silk, satin, organza, tulle, lace, brocade, gabardine, tartan, Prince of Wales, denim, leather, shearling, patent.
Details: deconstruction, asymmetry, sculptural play, balloon dresses, voluminous, puff sleeves, structured shoulders, V necklines, contrasting collars and cuffs, gathers, plissé, flounces, frills, ribbons, cords, laces, fringes, hanging threads, marabou feathers, embroidery, crests, jewel buttons, rhinestone, studs, sequins, floral, tropical, exotic prints, oriental gardens, sea animals, naïf images, polka dots, stripes, geometry, landscapes, cashmere designs, western texture, animal prints.
Colours: candy pink, sugar, bright yellow, sorbet, grapefruit, peach, jade, azalea, coral, vermilion, pumpkin, sage green, royal blue, black and white.