Paris Fashion Week AW19 Catwalk Review Pt. 2
We are finally in the last city of fashion month: Paris. The City of Light is currently filled with excitement of the fashion elite, who are all dashing across the French capital from show to show during Paris Fashion Week. The first day on the ground included the Dior show at the Rodin Museum and a mirror-lined show at the base of the Eiffel Tower with Saint Laurent. Already, we’ve seen what Jacquemus, Saint Laurent and Lemaire have in store for us this upcoming Fall 2019 season. These major fashion houses kick-started the festivities that will run until March 5th, and the week is still progressing.
In Paris, there’s always more than one fashion route to follow.
There’s been a lot of catwalk discussion around the meaning of the “bourgeois” this fashion show season, which has transgressed into the Paris showcase as well. Designers Olivier Rousteing, Virgil Abloh and Elie Saab are playing around with the notion of “lady-likeness” and modern glamour in the frame of their distinctive vision.
As much as you expect to see the emergence of the new season’s mood or trends, you follow fashion week to see established houses doing what they do best - this week we saw an exceptionally mind-blowing conceptual showdown by the iconic Japanese brands Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake. For those who like the more directly accessible and wearable fashion, there’s houses like Isabel Marant, Chloe and Hermes, who really don’t need to reinvent the wheel too much to get it right. Their work, deep down, is marked by a sense of ease and elegant restraint, the sensuality of covering up instead of giving it all away, right away.
Whether or not aliens have invaded Earth - they certainly have invaded the Paris Fashion Week runways.
Rick Owens pushed the envelope with a truly frightening and mesmerizing show that featured alien styles inspired by American rock group Kiss. Julien Dossena of Paco Rabanne broke the bonds of 1960s futurism in a terrific Jean Harlow-meets-Jimi Hendrix hybrid of duchess satin-swagged cocktail dresses.
While in Paris – GO YOUR OWN WAY and read our second part of the report on some of the most exciting directions that were unveiled in Paris earlier this week.
THE END OF EXCESS
Order in opposition to chaos, control versus abandon. The dichotomy is deeply defining the spirit of this Paris season so far. We're seeing a face-off between pure silhouettes and a haphazard combination of pieces and accessories, no styling effort versus excessive styling... However, one cannot argue the fact that after a few years of overly decorated elements, carefully sculpted, monochromatic lines look utterly fresh and visually relaxing again.
On Thursday, it was Chloe’s turn to pay homage to Karl Lagerfeld, the couturier, who was the house’s longtime creative director from the ‘70s - a post that was somewhat overshadowed by his more famous tenure at Chanel.
On the seats for the show, guests found photos and a heartfelt note that read, “Chloe pays deepest respect and gratitude to Karl Lagerfeld for the incalculable genius he brought to us over his 25 years with the house.” Through the Fall 2019 collection, it was clear that Lagerfeld’s vision for Chloé still remains today. Creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi produced a diverse and saleable collection with rich design elements, looking to the ‘70s—a decade which Lagerfeld helped define.
The guests were treated to a display featuring round shoulders — a key theme this season — alongside a diaphanous, tubular sleeve that subtly referenced the house’s 70s DNA. High collars and statement on-trend lapels did away with the notion of a bust, and the footwear consisted of sturdy, equestrian-inspired boots with square heels. We saw a series of feminine dresses, denim jumpsuits, shearling outerwear, and clear tortoise aviators. From floral print dresses to tailored separates and the return of bootcut denim, the Chloé woman has options for fall. All of them, both strongly tailored and effortlessly chic, are good ones.
onathan Anderson knows what women want. For Fall, the Loewe creative director offered up the perfect mix of elegant knitwear, interesting suiting, and oversized outerwear.
Anderson offered an elegantly pointed meditation on the selfie and 16th- and 17th-century cameos, drawing the connection between the two. He juxtaposes the now-and-then by setting the cool of a black riding coat against the frippery of handkerchief-hem skirts trimmed in Elizabethan lace, needle punching ribbed cream knits into organdy petticoats; and flopping a cravat and balloon sleeves out from under a basic black knit tank.
The details played a big role. There were elements of surprise in the form of some playful boas, sculptural hats, and a sweatshirt fully embellished in pearls. Tweed capes were trimmed in falls of feathers, and a jacket was nipped in at the waist and pinched in back — almost as if grabbed by a hand, to flare over the hips.
Altogether, the colors, textures, and pieces gave the Loewe woman everything she needs for a modest fall wardrobe. Unforced and easy to understand, it was one of the most highly smash-and-grab-able collections of the season so far.
The 80s are back thanks to Isabel Marant, who appeared to be responsible for such a come-back. The French designer took many of her most recognizable signatures on an urban safari of sorts, conjuring the scene with a palette of sandy neutrals and earth tones that recalled a desert landscape.
Strong shoulders, nipped waists, and peg legs have long been a recurring theme in the brand’s repertoire. The designer once again returned to the decade of bold shoulders and nipped waists—in a muted khaki palette offset with some disco-worthy looks. Her slouched boots continue to be a winner—as do all looks done up in that buttery leather that feels as luxe as it looks cool.
Marant never loses sight of the female form; she’s indeed one of the few designers who can make a turtleneck look sexy. A particularly alluring look from the line-up was a draped high-neck top that was paired with a charming rock-candy printed wrap skirt. The colourful quilted jackets were reminiscent of classic pieces in her archives, and will likely have success with her fans the second time around. Judging by the French “It Girls” and Parisian editors on the front row, so will those cone-heeled slouchy boots.
Nina Ricci is a historic house with the most feminine of aesthetics. Young Dutch couple, Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh, were a surprise appointment at Nina Ricci. The couple have a young menswear label, Botter, whose oversized tailoring and energetic humor caught the attention of the fashion world last year. They’ve never designed womenswear. Not unpredictably, their debut leaned heavily toward tailoring.
“It was quite a lot of research,” Herrebrugh told Vogue. It makes sense, never having designed womenswear, that the duo would approach this project conceptually. This season, one of their literal references came in the unlikely form of a parasol, which they examined from every angle, taking it apart and positioning it on the body. It formed the basis for many of the patterns, including an elegant yellow silk organza dress – the fabric and cut created a sculptural but airy quality, like a sail caught in the wind.
The designers proved they have a contrarian streak: The maillot shapes that they superimposed on the bodies of coats and blazers were, they said, a riff on the traditional corsets found in Nina Ricci tailleurs of old. One technique that worked well was the patternmaking they did using a parasol. Opened and laid flat, it provided the template for the twisting shape of the show-opening blouse, which was as light and airy as what is expected at Nina Ricci.
Even the cap of the parasol played a part – layering cut-out images of it on photographs of models led the designers to the shape of the hats for the collection. Made in collaboration with Parisian milliner Chéri-Bibi, the domed crown and wide brim of the headpiece is reminiscent of the felt hats created by Nina Ricci in the '50s and '60s, a literal tip of the cap to the house’s heritage design.
Hermès, the iconic brand most known in the world for its leather goods, could be considered as being the mothership of all the fashion codes. Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, the womenswear designer, who pays careful attention to the house codes, defines Hermès as ‘classicism as a modern way of seeing life’—a timeless philosophy which lifts Hermès above any trends flowing through fashion from season to season. Hermès without any doubt exists above and to the side of fashion’s whims.
Its extraordinarily-made clothes and accessories are tooled to last for generations, not to be tossed aside in the never-ending cycle of consumption—old-fashioned behavior is literally the new ‘modern’.
‘I want to turn leather into almost a textile’, Vanhee-Cybulski told Vogue. Leather was omnipresent throughout the collection, sometimes edging wool coats, employed for riding jackets, modernized with zippers, or on a belted green coat with oversized utilitarian patch pockets and buckle closures.
Setting the tone, the opening look was a black suede skirt suit with graphic white contrast stitching, peppered with a constellation of studs in different sizes and shapes to give it an edge. Scarf-print silk blouses blazed with combinations of lovely rust tones à la Hermès orange. Their iconic color was also seen popping on the lining of a roomy ivory cocoon coat in double-face cashmere. The Victoriana dress in an ivory ribbed knit, with a discreet ruffled collar extending down the sleeve and highlighted with natural leather accents, perfectly embodied the collection’s mix of restraint and sensuality. The attitude was chic but not uptight and even sexy at times, with high-waisted shorts adding a cool edge — some cut more roomy, and others tight and sexy.
There were empty, squashy oversized totes being clutched, but it was the glossy, smaller-scale structured shoulder bags that landed nearest to being the most classic, and also the most ragingly fashionable item on that runway.
Whatever trendy fashion has to say on that topic, it’s Hermes that has the real thing.
THE MANY SHADES OF GLAMOUR
Yes, these terms, which were banned from the lips of the fashionable, while ‘streetwear’ and ‘athleisure’ reigned, are now being rehabilitated—couture, tailoring, and glamour being top among them.
It has all been about glamour and sexiness, represented in various shapes and forms.
While those qualities might not have been accepted by the mainstream before, they are very much front and center in everyone’s minds this season, made evident by the sweeping volumes and strong-shouldered tailoring that’s surfacing everywhere.
Olivier Theyskens’ dark romanticism, that the designer is best known for, came home to roost.
A sweet overhang from his Rochas days surfaced in the lingerie dresses that came in a variety of shapes, from pencil to flared, with wiring and bra cup constructions. His high-waisted large pants and dresses with slits and cutouts at the waist oozed Hollywood glamour, always leaning towards the dark side, in black and red satins, with mutton sleeves and long cuffs. A dress in a searing shade of neon pink added an unexpected jolt.
A feminine Forties flavor came through in the tailored skirt suits with defined waists and strong sculpted shoulders, channeling the wardrobe of the film’s protagonist, Rachael. One was all tweed in the front and black leather in the back.
The finale looks incorporated velvet and jet mourning jewelry — a new category for the designer who also bulked up his footwear offering, including towering satin platform heels, which enhanced the elongated nature of the silhouettes. They evoked glamorous widows, culminating in dramatic goth ballgowns with bustier constructions and hook closures that recalled the designer’s Madonna moment and underscored the “greatest hits” vibe of the show.
Did Rick Owens just make aliens… sexy?
‘I felt like I needed some grim, determined glamour’, the designer told Vogue backstage. No one does post-apocalypse chic quite like Rick Owens, but for Fall 2019, he was after something different. The lauded American designer again drew inspiration from Larry LeGaspi, the U.S. designer whose silver and black space-age looks were worn by rock bands such as Kiss. It was the same starting point as his provocative men’s show of last month: a sort of a reverential homage to LeGaspi’s bombastic styles.
The womenswear runway collection was, however, different from the men’s and was, indeed, genuinely frightening. Models in monster-like face makeup — horns, alien-like nose cartilage, billowing wigs, and giant black pupils — strode out inside the Palais de Tokyo venue. It had some guests gasping, and others reaching for their cameras.
The clothes were inventive and daring and wearable in the extreme. The first looks of the show focused on tailoring: streamlined jackets and coats with sculpted shoulders, platform boots, which elongated the body in a nod to 1970s glam rock. The second half of the show was focused on evening. That’s when Owens’ signature envelope-pushing began: in the form of giant, sheeny space-age sleeves that might as well have been a Martian’s answer to a leg-of-mutton design. Thick swaths of Fortuny-printed jersey spun asymmetrically around the torso. His signature grand ball skirts were replaced in favour of hip-slung wraps with floor-trailing trains. Bias-cut blood red columns were more covered-up, but no less sexy considering the gestural, figure-hugging way Owens draped them.
Opting for a different take on the 70’s than Mr. Owens’, Paco Rabanne’s Julien Dossena fused the glam rock look of the decade with contrasting feminine floral prints. ‘I want quality fashion, not parkas and sweatshirts,” he said backstage before his fall show.
He broke free of the brand’s chainmail heritage to articulate his own decorative vision. ‘I was searching for beauty, what does glamour mean now and how can you contextualize it in a contemporary way?’. The answer was in a mix of Golden Age Hollywood and early Eighties British dandyism with a dash of Fifties French couture fantasy. In other words, old world meets new wave.
Standouts included the clashing of patterns—ranging from mixed florals to animal prints—that felt fresh through unexpected layering and styling. Veering into glam rock territory, the collection included a series of metallic chain dresses, skirts, and accessories, which you'll likely see all over Instagram and Red Carpets next season. Look at the sparkling crystal net skirt layered on top of a black bodysuit twisted into a rosette at the neckline, with a slit open back, edged in crystals. Another spell-casting look was a sparkling crystal dress layered over another in floral silk. Although designers continue to look back to the 1970s over and over again, Dossena managed to do so in a way that felt new again.
Not forgetting the androgynous elements he’s also been exploring in recent seasons, Dossena added decorative elements to a tuxedo coat with extra-large jewelled buttons. He also clashed genres, by showing a gold-embroidered military coat over leopard-patterned trousers and a romantic floral print blouse with charming silk flower cut-outs at the neck.
Studs, sheer, and patent leather: the Balmain army came out in full force today in Paris.
For Fall 2019, Olivier Rousteing reimagined some of the house’s signatures, like deconstructed tweed suiting, by dousing them with clear PVC panels, denim, and cut-out details. Rousteing may have been inspired by troublemakers, but it was a gateway to one of the more conventionally wearable collections he’s shown to date.
The collection being in mostly black and white and a series of pastel looks—ranging from tailored suiting to ultra-feminine skirts—made for an unexpected color palette. But it was the studs and leather that stood out as the most impactful. Rousteing weaved patent leather into a series of evening looks from cocktail dresses to a dramatic polka dot cape that was the real star of the show.
The brand that has made jackets with linebacker shoulders its stock and trade went light on the look, and in a season when it’s turned up everywhere from Yves Saint Laurent to Dries Van Noten, too. Instead, Rousteing leaned more on romance, channeling his rock ‘n’ roll spirit (and a few winks to Rue Cambon) through Easter egg pastel hues, pleated miniskirts resembling armor, looser tailoring, and lighter fabrications, for a vibe that was “sweet poison” as he called it.
He worked black silk georgette panels into a boucle check cardigan jacket and maxi skirt, as well as a duster coat with armor-like white boucle shoulders, for a lighter take on tailoring. There was also a lot of denim to love: clean, baggy white jeans or cuffed blue jeans topped with soft knits with feathers, for example. Or the more decorative pale blue distressed options shimmering in all-over clear-sequin embroidery are sure to send many women’s hearts racing.
Hedi Slimane's debut show for Celine back in October sent the fashion world into a panic. Where was "Old Celine"? Where were the boxy fits? The epic takes on menswear? The cant-live-without-them boots?
The superstar French designer, famed for his love of black, was dubbed the ‘Trump of fashion’ after trashing the legacy of his much-loved feminist predecessor at Celine, Phoebe Philo.
However in his second show Slimane threw out his black ‘crotch-skimming cocktail dresses’ for wafer-thin teenage vamps that had so infuriated the critics the first time round. Rather than the too-cool-for-school night owls of his ‘Paris at night’ debut, Slimane went all bourgeois as he tried to double track back towards Celine’s more romantic roots. This collection gave us, quite possibly, too many pieces to covet for Fall 2019: pleated skirt, aviator frames, the requisite blouse, and to-die-for boots—capped off with an oversized menswear-inspired blazer.
While there was some slight nods to the Philo’s legion of grieving followers — who have made her past Celine collections collector’s items — Slimane leapfrogged over her minimalism to go deep into the brand’s archives in search of inspiration.
Like he's done in the past, Slimane re-interpreted street style, this time of the '70s and '80s, and mixed it all up in a way that feels right for the brand, and on tone for his take on things. That oversized culotte now gets worn over a thigh-high leather boot; sparkle-covered cardigans now get paired with pleated and checked ladylike skirts. If you thought you were finished getting dressed, you're mistaken. Throw on an oversized fur or wool cape, or a cropped bomber in glitter or fur. Before you leave the house, make sure to grab your new aviators.
This embrace of romantic, comfortable country glamour marked the return of silky pussy bow blouses worn under sensible coats and cardigans. There was a kind of prim suppressed school-marmy sexiness about the whole showcase, with the ultra respectable look undercut with a glittering gold blouson jacket, leather trousers or some other touch of decadent Slimane urban glam.
Entitled 'Lovestruck', the autumn / winter 2019 collection by Elie Saab was positively dripping in dazzling mystique and a dark romance, with jewel-toned sequins, plush velvets and dreamy prints scattered throughout. The Lebanese designer presented a collection rich in all-out glamour and detail - confidently minimal ballgowns brought a pared-back elegance to proceeding collections, while caped, embellished blazers delivered a sense of theatrics.
‘This collection is filled with a little bit of romance and a whole lot of love’, the label posted on Instagram shortly after the show, which was held at the exclusive Hotel Salomon de Rothschild.
Asymmetrical necklines and demure pussybows imparted a ladylike finish on eveningwear, while thigh-high leather boots lent a Seventies edge. A stand-out element was a swirled, teal, royal blue and black print, cast across gown with balloon-sleeved minis, which encased a series of hearts at its core, grasped between delicate fingertips. The charmingly whimsical detail will, we imagine, win the hearts of the A-list on next season's red carpets.
Adroitly mixed with a seasonal twist, this was a floor-filling compilation of crowd-pleasing women’s wear, which elevated even Elie Saab’s, to leave his audience wanting more.
Virgil Abloh showed a "His and Hers" collection for Fall 2019, which successfully hit his personal musts - graphic, cool clothes that stand out in a crowd. Oversized trenches and fuzzy shoes led the way, with a puffy tote in tow…‘I’m intrigued by the empowered woman who wants to dress in a feminine but chic way’, Abloh said backstage.
If you scroll back through Off-White womenswear collections, it’s noticeable that one of Abloh’s signatures, besides his labelling of everything in quotation marks, is glamour and sexiness. While those qualities might not have been accepted by the mainstream before, they are very much front and centre in everyone’s minds this season, with all the sweeping volumes and strong-shouldered tailoring that’s surfacing everywhere.
When Abloh puts out giant A-line puffer coats and slick leather tailoring, it’s as a now fully acknowledged member of the general trend conversation. What sets this house apart is that a quintessentially Off-White version of a classic tuxedo suit is the seasonal serving of his underpants look: a cropped silver satin midriff-baring jacket with matching micro-shorts, accessorized with crystal gloves and a clutch bag.
What was less apparent was Abloh’s use of fabric as an embodiment of change. The draped, wrapped, asymmetrical dresses—shapes inspired by twisted car-crash sculptures—were cut from material ‘that’s native to Off-White, like hoodie and T-shirt fabric’, he said.
The finale, of course, had its now traditional drama, with friends of the house Karlie Kloss and the Hadid sisters sweeping to the finish line in super-billowy, leg-baring gowns. ‘I have views on red carpet’, admits Abloh. Just wait until May to see who will be manoeuvring the yards of that egg-yolk yellow train tethered to the swimsuit up the steps of the Met.
THOUGHTS OF OLD-SCHOOL FAVOURITES
What you see in Paris, is certain kinds of fashion camps. There’s always the old-school favourites such as Issey Miyake and Junya Watanabe, who boast a cult following and their heritage harks back to a cutting edge back then as opposed to now. Though at Miyake, fabrications were brilliantly mind-boggling in their buoyancy and shape, and at Junya Watanabe the collection was of course mind-boggling.
Junya Watanabe called his Fall 2019 collection “Kawaii,” after the Japanese cult of sugar-sweet cartoon girliness. The pairs of young models who proceeded out in wigs tied up in infantile bunches had their fake eyelashes askewed, their pink lipstick laid on too thickly – looking like dolls which had been played with by a child.
There were intended ironies coded into the chopped-up flower prints, which were reassembled as grunge patchworks, and worn over jeans with either spiked biker boots or (the best thing) fancy silver leather-trimmed suede Western boots. The collection continued in the collaged style of joining one part of a familiar utilitarian garment with another, which is a familiar Watanabe practice (in his menswear collections he does it with lists of collaborating brands).
Watanabe’s women’s collection was full of comfortable and utilitarian clothes which have the rare inherent quality of having nothing difficult about them. The irony is that Junya Watanabe designs collections which are identified with and worn by women of all ages and sizes from multiple backgrounds, around the world.
Comme des Garçons
Kawakubo presented her Fall 2019 collection called ‘The Gathering of Shadows’, where she drew on a repertoire of the most civilised dresses, but mutated her finery with hard industrial elements, in an extremely impactful and stunning way, looking at the society through a glass darkly.
The darkness of this season’s collection feels to be directly reflecting on the world. Kawakubo would barely be alone drawn in such thoughts with the current state of global affairs. The clock is ticking. The end is near. Some models walked with faces obscured by hoods and there were literal readable elements in the form of a print of what seemed like newspaper coverage of a war. There was no mistaking the darkness of the free association going on in the forms of the clothes, though Kawakubo pushed the imagination of the guests of the show. Her models looked like birds plucked from an oil spill, beauty draped in a Stygian slick. The sheen was also reminiscent of reptile scales and insect wings, the luxuriant silhouettes of the natural world.
Luxury may have been something Kawakubo had in mind with her collection. Ruffles, panniers, peplums, bustiers, a pouf, a puffball, a big, bowed cape, a pagoda shoulder… But she mutated such finery with hard industrial elements: vinyl, pleather, black rubber, grommeting, buckles, latches and knobs, like ornate jewelled embellishment. The impact of this dystopian couture was stunning. Society through a glass darkly.
The workmanship in these garments was phenomenal—whether in the sculptural rubber pieces, emitting their simultaneous signals of submarine hulls, or warheads, and fetish dungeon, or the intensely layered 3-d embroideries.
"Many small shadows come together to make one powerful thing," she offered by way of explanation. Of course, that is a double-edged statement, indicating the human potential for good, as well as for evil. The showcase from the Japanese mastermind was an undeniable wakeup call that it’s time to stand up and be counted, not to look away.
Issey Miyake turned a school gymnasium into a catwalk for Paris Fashion Week on Friday, presenting women’s winter wardrobes in a kaleidoscope of colours.
The brand is known for its pleats as well as use of technology and Miyamae played with volumes and textures in the Autumn/Winter 2019 line, making tops, skirts and coats seem multi-dimensional. Designer Yoshiyuki Miyamae sent out models in a mainly dark palette of grey and black coats, jackets and dresses, at times printed, before apple green, purple, yellow and aquamarine creations burst onto the runway.
Show notes said the creations were made with a new resin printed “Blink” fabric, meant to resemble a kaleidoscope-like pattern of colours. ‘One of the characteristics of this new fabric...is that it starts from something two-dimensional but then when someone wears it, something 3D-like goes into the clothes’, Miyamae said backstage. Prints came in abstract patterns with geometric shapes and swirls, which Miyamae said were inspired by everyday sensations. Colourful printed coats as well as long-sleeved tops had large or high loose collars. Trousers were loose, legging-like or cropped above the ankle. ‘I wanted to achieve this mixture of colour, that you sometimes get by chance. For instance, this morning, it was raining quite heavily, but later it became really sunny, so the quality and colour of light keeps changing’, Miyamae said.
‘I am losing all my competitors you know’, Yohji Yamamoto told Vogue backstage. He was, of course, referring to fellow masters and friends Azzedine Alaïa and Karl Lagerfeld. ‘I feel so lonely and struggling in Paris mode’, he said, using the French word for fashion. Which is why, rather than an expression of mourning, he wants to reassure us that this collection signaled a renewed spirit. He materialised this feeling of lonesomeness on the catwalk mid-show, with a draped black dress that featured a hand on the neckline, with the proverbial middle finger put up in the air.
The man is a punk in spirit, and all the better for it. That was a high note in a wonderful show that was the iteration of Yohji-ism.
Picture black, black, and more black, and then dresses that looked like pieces of them were peeling off, or featured impromptu draping, gathered volumes, monastic lengths. The lineup was defined largely by its vertical thrust, from the beautiful column-like fluted pleating extending down coats to the long, slim sleeves and stand-alone upward collars. There was tufting and tacking, wrapping and tearing, draping and cape-ing—most of it controlled enough to wear. A few outfits were painted with gestural, expressive brushstrokes, looking like an artist's canvas turned into a wearable piece. Other outfits were run by blanket stitches.
The magic of Yohji is in the fact that his shows somehow always look the same, yet they never are. This season there was quite a lot of energy to the whole collection, as the sea of black conveyed a positive, vital feeling. Black is a whole range of feelings and possibilities, and Yamamoto has a lifetime of work to testify to it.
#ParisFashionWeek #PFWAW19 #FashionWeekReview #FashionWeekFall2019 #Womenswear #ParisWomenswear #Trend2019 #Chloe #Loewe #IsabelMarant #NinaRicci #Hermes #OlivierTheyskens #RickOwens #PacoRabanne #Balmain #Celine #ElieSaab #OffWhite #JunyaWatanabe #CommedesGarcons #IsseyMiyake #YohjiYamamoto