Paris Fashion Week: Days 1 and 2

by Paige Reddinger

Strict romance. Luc Besson’s ’90s era film La Femme Nikita provided the inspiration for Theyskens this season. But there were still plenty of the softer Victorian elements that so often play into Theyskens’ collections. There were fish-eye hook dresses, ruffled black mourning dresses, corsets, and light silk and chiffon dresses. Still, there is a certain toughness or restraint built into that time period. This collection, however, is for a modern woman…or stylish assassin. The contrast between an era when women lacked voting rights and the idea of a gun-toting female government agent as a top secret spy was a clever and cheekily suggestive nod to the current feminist issues of our time.

Simon Porte Jacquemus’ signature is reworking suiting and shirting elements. For Fall, he offered up several glamorous iterations that we’re already itching to wear. Whether it was a dramatic one-sleeved ruched crop top or a more structured sleek sleeveless V-neck, it’s possible to imagine wearing these any number of ways in a wardrobe, but Jacquemus’ pinstripe crop flare pants are a starter. Here he also offered up several great black overcoat options. The perfect black overcoat, like a white dress shirt, is incredibly hard to find despite the overabundance of options. The exaggerated collars and interesting take on pocket placement combined with mostly flattering silhouettes are sure to find a home in many discerningly chic closets.

John Galliano continued in the vein of last season with the see-through cut-out elements permeating the collection. The idea was particularly cool in classics like a trench cut-out to reveal the plaid underlay and given a sweetheart neckline treatment, or in a classic varsity jacket that became decor instead of utility exposing a conservative Prince of Wales check dress suit. Black goat hair handbags were worn as hats not unlike the ones worn by the British Royal Guard. Other chapeaus were cut-out to leave the scalp exposed. We’ll never know for sure what’s going on in Galliano’s head—especially because he no longer speaks about his collections and hides backstage in his clinical white coat and suit uniform—but it’s clear he is nothing short of a very deep well of creativity.

Jeanne Lanvin was one of the few female designers to put women in pantsuits, sports clothes, and cloche hats, and was the first to offer menswear alongside womenswear, according to a recent article in W magazine. Madame Lanvin was also known for her exquisite embellishments. Bouchra Jarrar was of course a natural fit for the creative director role she recently inhabited. Known for merging masculine and feminine elements, Jarrar tapped into both sides of the seasons with embellished blazers and suit pants. A gorgeous romantic ruffled dress was worn with a leather vest, while on the other hand a shawl of roses or a ruffled neckline adorned pale pink dresses in lace and chiffon. Jarrar is known to have a love for nature and it was best expressed in the clothing than in the accessories like chokers, bracelets, belts, and pins adorned with crystal encrusted birds.

To celebrate his 100th runway show, Dries Van Noten brought all of his favorite models and prints back to his runway. There are certain women that embody a brand’s aesthetic; for Dries, it’s women that have a certain combined look of strength, femininity, and an intellectual side. That means models like Amber VallettaCarolyn Murphy, Alek Wek, Erin O’Connor, Esther de Jong, Guinevere Van Seenus, Kirsten Owen, Liya Kebede, and Nadja Auermann.

Designers like Alexander Wang employ Stella Lucia, Molly Bair, and Hanne Gaby Odiele every season because they look the part of his rock ‘n’ roll attitude. Meanwhile Marjan Jonkman (also a Wang staple) didn’t look particularly natural in Ralph Lauren at the Madison Avenue townhouse for Spring 2017. It’s a rarity when you can have the absolute perfect cast, but here it was achieved and it communicated the overall brand messaging perfectly without any extra theatrics. These women weren’t marching for anything other than fashion, but if they were, you could just as well imagine their agenda.

This was a quiet collection from Alessandro Dell’Acqua for Rochas. But the simplicity served him well. A simple pale pink mock neck dress was the kind of thing that could live in a wardrobe for more than a few years—a chic option for day-to-evening. A baby blue chiffon tie neck dress had a similar effect, and a full caramel-colored fur coat and a lace floor-length evening dress exuded timeless luxury.


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