Saturday, 28 March 2015

Paris Fashion Week: A Summary

So fashion week season is over for another 6 months, and it ended on a romantic note. I wouldn't have expected there to be so much black on display at Paris, but the brooding disposition has spread across the channel. We're talking levels of brooding that Cathy and Heathcliffe would struggle to compete with. But the abundance of monochrome collections meant that when colour did burst through, it was almost blinding. Manish Arora lead the colour brigade and made you forget that the colour black existed, whilst Olympia Le Tan reminded us of the fun that can be had with colour, even in the Autumn/Winter seasons.
I've tried to keep a balance of monochrome and colourful collections in my selection of favourites, but regardless of colour, I think you'll agree when I say this season has been truly inspiring.

The first retro-style collection at Paris Fashion Week, but most certainly not the last. Miu Miu is renowned for chic, kitsch collections that put a smile on everyone's face. Long-sleeved cotton dresses, frilled sailor bibs, short-sleeved sweaters and Mary Jane shoes; this all sounds very sickly sweet. But throw in some graphic and animal prints in bright shades, and you've got a charming mix of youth and high fashion.

Moncler Gamme Rouge
Slipping into darker realms, this collection puts a shadowy twist on equestrian-wear. Quilted tweeds in blacks and greys, smokey PVC raincoats and leather-panelled jodhpurs work as textural contrasts, whilst blood-red jackets and bursts of gold keep the opulence of horse riding alive.

Louis Vuitton
Effortlessly cool vibes from a collection that touches on iconic rock 'n' roll themes. Shaggy coats, cut-out detailing, leather miniskirts and chain belts hark back to 70s Glam rock, whilst cool, fresh tones, ribbed knits and precise tailoring bring the collection forward 45 years.

Alexander McQueen
If you read my Savage Beauty post you'll know how much I adore Alexander McQueen and everything the label stands for. This collection only worked to strengthen my admiration for how Sarah Burton has kept McQueen's legacy alive. Inspired by a decaying rose, this collection brings to light the beauty of such a state. Organza and tiered lace helped to emulate the draped petals whilst lacy leather bras and chokers preserved the bondage themes that were so prevalent in McQueen's work.

Iris van Herpen
 Imagine, if you will, an alien comes to earth not to study us per se, but to study our fashion, and create. This collection is full of garments that verge on the realm of the extraterrestrial. Textures are jagged, with soft silks and organza contrasting with rigid pleated structures, quilting and rubber. The rubber bandeau dress reminded me of some kind of cosmic plasm, whilst iridescent silks, laser-cut leather and lattice work create precise intricacy. 

With all the excitement surrounding the Zoolander appearance, there was barely any mention of the collection itself, which is a shame, because Valentino's Medieval fusion was breathtaking. Fairy-tale silhouettes of the Middle Ages were teamed with dragon motifs and tessellating triangle raphics for a contemporary twist. 

A textural menagerie walked through the Chanel Brasserie,exhibiting tweed skirt suits and padded bow-tie quilting. The pairing of candy pink and black was delicately executed with sheer lace and ruffles.

Saint Laurent
This collection instantly brought Courtney Love to mind. The grimy rock chic classics of tulle prom dresses, leather jackets, laddered fishnets and leopard print made the models look like members of some grunge girl band you don't want to mess with. 

Esteban Cortazar
Contrasting fabrics and rich, heavy trims of laser-cut leather create empowering pieces in this textural collection. 

Sonia Rykiel
Iconic 60s pieces of flares, knee high socks and fur gilets were paired with metallic trousers and crushed velvet gowns for a rock 'n' roll edge. 

Vernoque Branquinho
A modern day Emily Bronte protagonist would suit these pieces well. Tweed and compact underskirts under long-line dresses and skirts created rural garments with a dark, brooding nature.

Giambattista Valli
A youthful collection featuring frills, flares, sequins and florals. Playful garments featuring such embellishments contrast dramatically with the sexy sandal boots that bring a glam rock element. 

A monochrome collection that's a feast for the eyes. Detailed knitted textures and pristine cuts are combined with psychedelic floral motifs on over sized jackets in cool Nordic tones. 

Seductive cut-out dresses in textural fabrics such as velvet and silk in jewel tones were the main feature of this opulent collection. The face jewellery, consisting of nose rings, cheek 'piercings and ear decoration brought a tribal, and quite primal touch to these grandiose pieces. 

Another take on the 70s trend, and I must say it was nice to see a retro collection that was refined and effortless. The colour palette was one of muted tones; pinks,purples, navys and greys. Plunging maxi dresses and billowing blouses glided down the runway, whilst Peacoats, waistcoats and corduroy showcased strong tailoring, but maintained a romantic feel. 

Emanuel Ungaro
Spots and dots were the main motif among this collection. Featured on flawless laser-cut leather, knits and sheer maxi dresses, the monochrome palette only helped to emphasise the patterns as well as the cuts and lines of each silhouette. The black lips took it down a notch from feminine to feminine grunge. 

Olympia Le Tan
This collection reminded me very much of the toy scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The models were like dolls come to life, in luxe textures of tweed, cotton, tulle and velvet. Playful hues of dusty pinks, burgundy and Prussian blues were worked into ballerina motifs and illustrations or skirts that mirrored theater curtains. There was intricate detailing in the oversized organza sleeves and tutus, but my favourite aspect were the bags masquerading as books. A subtle touch that puts a smile on your face when you notice it. 

Comme des Garcons
This collection was all about fabric and what it can do. Forget silhouette. The body didn't matter here. Cream, white and black lace featuring ornate bows were layered upon eachother to create extreme forms. I saw one member of the audience call it 'Queen Elizabeth on acid' on Instagram. Collections like this is where fashion meets art. 

Vivienne Westwood
There are certain features you come to expect from a Westwood show: Tartan, jacquard, structured jackets and THAT neckline. These are iconic of her label. I always admire how she makes them work in collections that vary in theme season from season. This one reminded me of the Lost Boys from Peter Pan. I think it's the colours and textures and the oversized outerwear, like the models need to grow into them. There's a disregard for the female form here, with big shoulders and loose-fitting romper suits. Tigerlily style hula skirts and thigh-high leather patchwork boots are all part of a mismatched, childishly rebellious collection. 

Elie Saab
This utilitarian collection was surprisingly elegant. Yes there was military structure, with khaki capes and stiff, stand-up collars, but fur trim, defined waists and jacquard floral dresses brought a hint of bohemia. 

Tsumori Chisato
Slap bang straight out of a comic book, the model heroines were decked head to toe in bright colours and cartoon graphics. 

Haider Ackermann
A collection Oscar Wilde would be envious of. Folds and peplums of fabric such as tweed and shimmering boucle created complicated waist lines. There was androgyny in the smoking jacket forms that hung loosely, as if top buttons and ties had been undone nonchalantly, a mood emphasised by the silky, spotted scarves. 

Junya Watanabe
The most tactile of collections, with concertina lantern shaped skirts, crisp white shirts and buoyant lattice capes. The 3D spiked scarves looked like an 8-bit snake whilst again, monochrome helped define the lines and shapes. 

Yohji Yamamoto
Structure and silhouette were the central focus of this collection. With an all black palette, other than the odd dramatic splash of red or silver, scaffolding and frames took center stage. Draped in lace, the figures were haunting and foreboding. The less extreme garments were three-piece suits in decadent velvet, and lace evening gowns sporting over sized sleeves and cloaks. 

Maison Margiela
Another nod to the rock 'n' roll femme fatale, with perspex heels, suede and leather maxi coats and tartan mini skirts. The sex appeal is though the roof, but so is the wearability. 

Issey Miyake
Experimenting with illusion, geometric and kaleidoscope patterns in over sized, sporty structures 
made you want to view the garment from every angle. Colours that should clash created a two-tone effect of autumnal hues. 

A lesson in precision walked down the runway as sharply cut jackets and partition dresses demonstrated the art of exposing what's underneath

Barbara Bui
Demonstrating the fluidity of leather, this collection flowed down the runway like water. Navy blue and black were the colour-blocking hues of choice, and they were a match made in heaven. The leather high-slit maxi skirt was my favourite, but the cape with large silver embellishments was a close second. 

AF Vandervorst
I can't quite put my finger on it, but this collection reminded me of Silent Hill. It may be the smoky charcoal greys, reminiscent of ash that coated every garment. Appealing to any Nu Goth out there, the urban meets classic grunge rock mix is new and intriguing. 

Black and brights is my new favourite pairing, and Balmain's collection shows how it's done. Mustards, oranges, purples and metallics in high-shimmer fabrics almost jump out at you. It's a sensual collection oozing 70s glamour. 

Ann Demeulemeester
The Obi belt is back. This slim-lined, monochrome collection showcases wraps at their best. With polished Obi belts defining the waist, the layers of sharp lines and cuts are reminiscent of Samurais. 

Manish Arora
This is colourful done right. It's extravagant and out-there, with a warrior pop-princess mentality. If you watch Adventure Time, you'll know what I mean when I say Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant in it's human form. 

Light play featured heavily in this collection. The majority of the garments appeared to be all-black at first, until spotlights projected onto the chest revealed monochrome detailing and colourful floral bursts, which disappeared as soon as the models stepped out of the light.