Home run! Overall, it was a great season for designers showcasing at Paris Fashion Week. Let’s discover why…
Text by: Elisa Carassai & Gilda Bruno
Cover image by: Inez & Vinoodh courtesy of Chanel Fall-Winter 2021/22 Ready-to-Wear collection imagined by Virginie Viard
“I could have spread my wings + done a thousand things, I’ve never done before. I’ll never know… my heart took flight. / I could have danced, danced, danced all night,” reads the incipit of Vivienne Westwood’s digital presentation played by none other than Caroline Polacheck. No lines could have sounded more appropriate in times of COVID-19. Inspired by Bernard Shaw’s theatre play “Pygmalion”, the fashion house’s digital presentation turned the brand’s Davies Street shop into the stage of a performance combining futuristic fashion looks with the songs of the early 20th-century musical. One thing is for sure, this won’t be forgotten!
Crossing all borders, although merely digitally, Hermes’ FW21 show was a globetrotting spectacle, celebrating the power of dance in today’s society. Presented in three acts, in New York, Paris and Shanghai, the French brand took it to Paris to showcase the actual collection, a minimalist memorabilia of warm neutrals with pops of red and denim.
A dark kind of glamour circulated at Rokh, as sliced away peeling dresses and serious-looking tailoring with a touch of sparkle, were showcased during the brand’s digital presentation. Inspired by a 90s minimalistic sensibility, Rok Hwang brought the darkness of the nightclubs to the open.
At Jil Sander, the couple in life and in work made up of Luke and Lucie Meier presented a collection where baroque vests of pearls, bauble-like handbags, chintzy floral embroideries and distinctly Milanese retro prints all took centre stage.
A continuation of themes Browne had been toying with since Spring 21, the American designer presented a collection dedicated to the Olympics: a collection which juxtaposed formalism with athleisure, pleats with knitwear, all set atop a snowy mountainous hill.
At Givenchy, Matthew Williams presented a collection that juxtaposed the concepts of micro and macro, playing with the volumes of skate-wear in more sartorial lines; experimenting with tactility through the use of faux crocodile or neon fuzz; presenting insta-worthy accessories that had a memorable, sculptural quality and almost felt out of place.
At Lanvin, creative director Bruno Sialelli provoked the audience with an extravagant, fashionable digital presentation that spanned across the numerous connotations of luxury: from high-class, gold-plated, Wes Anderson-looking hotel rooms to shimmering dresses, colourful furs, and feathered accessories. Gwen Stefani’s ‘90s hit “Rich Girl” set the pace of the live-streamed fashion show in a moment transcending every possible definition: watch and judge by yourself.
At Schiaparelli, Daniel Roseberry’s play with surrealism continued, as he presented a collection full of oneiric elements: golden, sculptural jewellery covering ears, fingers and the body; classic, Rive-Gauche inspired tailleurs; cream-coloured knitwear; bags that become Hellenic-looking sculptures with leather female busts or curious clutches that exhibit eardrums and earpads almost as if to steal mysterious secrets.
In “Disturbing Beauty,” Christian Dior’s digital presentation, the French fashion house presented the public with an unexpectedly tensed atmosphere: a cast of dancers dressed in nude-coloured bodysuits moves underneath the moonlight in what appears to be a forest, progressively entering a sumptuous palace where models take over the runway. In line with Dior’s tradition, the collection is the perfect mixture of elegance and craftsmanship, as also proved by the nonchalance with which the brand combined wool, velvet, organza, and silk in the garments of this season.
Who said we can’t board on aircraft because of COVID-19 was totally wrong or, at least, this doesn’t seem to be true for Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing. Literally set in an airport, the fashion brand’s digital runway made us feel nostalgic about the good old times where we could have our feet up in the air travelling to all sorts of destinations. Still too vague? Let us explain. At Paris Fashion Week, Balmain presented the public with models rocking their outfits walking in and out of aircraft as well as on top of their wings. “I don’t know where we’re going, but I do know that we are going somewhere. The point is not the destination but the actual going; the journey, the leaving—and the escape,” Rousteing said in a statement attached to the live-streamed presentation; words with which, we bet, too many will resonate. Featuring tones ranging from military to fluo, green was the colour that dominated the future-inspired collection that, thanks to its innovative feel, succeeded in projecting the audience into another dimension.
Coats of all fabrics and textures paired with sparkling accessories, coordinated sets, and mini-dresses enchanted the public during Chanel’s digital presentation: a showcase of outfits that seemed to pay tribute to the elegance and inventiveness of women as they make their way out into nightlife. Entirely shot between the streets of Paris and the walls of a local venue, the fashion house’s live-streamed runway celebrated the countless expressions of femininity through a wide variety of outfits designed to amplify each woman’s personality.
At Ann Demeulemeester, the designer presented a collection imbued with a 90s nostalgia and a dash of longing for a Patti Smith sensibility (being the singer the designer’s longtime muse), where sensual, yet expertly crafted tailoring took center stage. Shot by Willy Vanderperre and stylist Olivier Rizzo, the Belgian designer’s video had a moody, romantic feel.
TAKAHIROMIYASHITA TheSoloist’s digital presentation immersed the audience in an enigmatic punk atmosphere, where black-and-white dressed models making their way on the catwalk alternated with the close-up of a girl in what came off as a dreamy vision of the brand’s creative director. Black berets, chains, and silver brooches set the collection apart from the other ones presented at PFW by portraying a woman willing to break with fashion conventions. One thing is certain, the show didn’t lack personality.
Set in Cortina, Miu Miu presented a collection inspired by the mountains. As if emerging from hibernation, models strutted around a snowy landscape wearing daring oversized ski-suits, dusty pastel boudoir satins, knitted balaclavas (that double as a face mask), girly and glamorous takes on Fair Isle jumpers, and ski-onesies.
At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquiere collaborated with Barnaba Fornasetti, on a collection which not only showcased Fornasetti prints all over dresses, tops and knitwear, but was also inspired by an odyssey into Greco-Roman antiquity, as the culmination of an aesthetic of unquestionable primacy.
Parisian glamour meets a fresh, conscious sensibility at Chloè, as Uruguayan designer Gabriela Hearst makes her debut at the esteemed French fashion house, with a collection made up of Haute homey pieces, which we’re sure will be coveted by many women in the season to come.