Monday 29 May 2017

Paris, where the ultimate style sin is to be ordinary

The guests at Sacai's Spring/Summer show were among the coolest people at Paris Fashion Week

On the ramp: Karl Lagerfeld with child model Hudson Kroenig and Carla Delevingne
On the ramp: Karl Lagerfeld with child model Hudson Kroenig and Carla Delevingne
Hussein Chalayan
Fashion Chanel
Balmain
Yamamoto
Stella
Saint Laurent
Celine
Valentino
Alexander McQueen

Constance Harris

Sometimes, when preparing my Paris Fashion Week report, I fantasise about filling the pages not with the too-thin models so favoured by Paris, but rather with shots of the people attending the shows who are wearing the collections. Some may be 'friends' of the designer, others may have commercial deals to wear the label and some, are true fans.

Sometimes, when preparing my Paris Fashion Week report, I fantasise about filling the pages not with the too-thin models so favoured by Paris, but rather with shots of the people attending the shows who are wearing the collections. Some may be 'friends' of the designer, others may have commercial deals to wear the label and some, are true fans.

To my mind the attendees at the Sacai for spring/summer 2016 show were among the coolest people at Paris Fashion Week. Sacai is a label that attracts the design-discerning, the Japanese and consumers who love Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe and Commes des Garcons.

Even though the exuberant-dressing Anna Dello Russo went for her usual weird and wonderful look, among the other Sacai guests there were many amazing, striking outfits but which oozed substance and sobriety. In Ireland, Sacai is exclusive to Brown Thomas, Dublin and Samui in Cork. I spoke to Shelly Corkery, fashion director of Brown Thomas, after the show.

"I absolutely adored the (Sacai) show. Definitely ten steps ahead. It was outstanding," Shelly said.

"But really, this season in Paris, we are finding there were lots of good things going on. Celine and Valentino were amazing. Givenchy was really strong. I loved Chanel and Dries Van Noten. It is a really strong season."

The slip dress made a return, especially at Celine. Long and lean was another key direction. Or else very short.

For five or six years now, we have been looking at short, skater-style dresses. I am bored with them. But it seems Paris design houses aren't. Having just come from the dresses.ie relaunch and noticed the amount of stylish young bloggers wearing short dresses and in their collection, I guess it is an age thing, this love of the mini-skater dress.

Playing with volume was a constant trend across the collections. Bright prints were another consistent theme. Bandeau tops featured strongly and looked gorgeous and sexy, especially at Stella McCartney.

There was a lot of styling of trousers worn under skirts, which we wore and loved in the 1980s. In fact all the volume and layering I saw reminded me a lot of the 1980s - but I won't go there.

As in Milan, three-dimensional (often, thickly encrusted) embellishment was another strong trend. Many of the heavyweight labels were about three-quarter length, voluminous skirts and trousers and the lean, full-length dress for day.

I was struck by what appeared to be quite a sombre mood pervading many of Paris's presentations. Yes, there was some swimwear, shorts and vest tops as befits a Spring/Summer presentation as well as lots of pretty pinks and other fresh, pastel colours, but there was also darkness; think black, brown, grape, pewter, mustard with knocked-back, broken-down finishes and so on.

Valentino was dark, as was Celine whose vibe was a bit Downton Abbey 'stalking gear'. Think loose-shaped check coats, heavy wool pieces, rough looking trousers and the silk slip dress. Designer, Phoebe Philo was playing with volume and the waist from shoulder to hip ratio in a kind of similar way to the way Karl Lagerfeld did it for Chanel a few seasons back. It made for a dramatic silhouette. It was both retro and modern.

Everyone loved Chanel's show invitation - an airline-boarding pass. It was of course a clue to what the experience was to be at Chanel's always amazing show.

Chanel Airlines (surely, everyone wonders why there isn't such an airline already?) was a world of highly glamorously dressed, tall ladies dressed in layers of clothes and accessories wheeling along their Chanel luggage.

There was lots of pretty pink and lilac mixed in with the trademark black and white and pewter combos. Vest tops were teamed with full skirts. Over size, ski-like sunglasses were on nearly every model. It was about volume, knits, flowers, thick embellishment and layering. At the end, Karl Lagerfeld walked his catwalk, hand in hand with Chanel child model Hudson Kroenig and Cara Delevingne.

This season, Saint Laurent's wooing of the youth market culminated in a presentation that seemed to be saying that modern young women are alienated and anti-glamour and beauty.

Saint Laurent's models looked grungy and walked with attitude - nipples hanging out, in clothes that could have come from Topshop.

It was as far from the stunning tailoring Monsieur Yves St Laurent made his house famous for, as one could get. I truly wonder what is going on at the fashion house?

I know fashion houses are looking to cater to rich, youngsters, say, of Russian oligarchs and the new Chinese.

When Gucci was a staid old fashion house in the late 1990s, they hired Tom Ford and he succeeded in shocking people and attracting a new customer with his heroin chic styling but with great design.

But this Saint Laurent collection was not an act of genius. It was the ultimate fashion sin - ordinary.

Sunday Indo Living

Promoted articles

Also in this section