From Nicolas Ghesquière’s revisiting of 1920s trends to Virginie Viard’s 1980s-inspired collection, Paris Fashion Week looked at the past to gather inspiration for a sophisticated future. Did designers find the balance between all-time classics and unseen innovation? Find out below
Words by: Domenico Costantini and Gilda Bruno
After 9 long days filled with catwalks, fancy drink sessions, and a good dose of meme-defining moments — just think of Cardi B’s all-green outfit and the Balenciaga-powered episode of The Simpson — it is time for Paris Fashion Week to call it a wrap. Curious to discover what designers came up with this time of the year? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Dive into the collections presented during PFW and discover the latest trends in our curated recap, brought to you by Collectible DRY.
Nicolas Ghesquière brings to the Passage Richelieu of the Louvre a collection composed of clothes that collect the suggestions of the last 200 years, transforming crinolines and lingerie into 1920s dresses and tailcoat jackets. Moving in a time machine without space, he does not let himself be trapped by references to historical periods: instead, he abandons the method of cross-referencing and builds a collection thinking more like a costume designer of an era, rather than a designer inspired by a single image. The collection draws inspiration from the costumes the designer designed for the Irma Vep series that director Olivier Assayas shot for HBO Max, an adaptation of the 1996 film of the same name by the same director starring Maggie Cheung.
A clean, sharp cut, like a wound or a solution with no return: it is a reaction to the overcrowded reality of the product that leads Miuccia Prada to think of Miu Miu as being made from clothes that already existed which, with a stroke of scissors, she cut cleanly, transforming them into something new. Trousers become miniskirts and jackets rediscover Philip Garner‘s half-suit. In a collection where there is “no frivolous invention.”
Chanel plunges us into the nostalgia and irony of the 1980s or thereabouts, with Karl Lagerfeld at the helm of the great French brand and two large underground rooms of the Carrousel du Louvre brought together to host the Chanel Spring-Summer 2022 fashion show, with a set featuring a huge, long-raised catwalk around which photographers and guests sat along to watch the show. Everything suggests that Virginie Viard’s work is in continuity with that of her mentor and predecessor, with whom she began working in the very years mentioned in this flashback broadcast.
The film presenting the new “Co-Ed” collection (i.e. the prêt-à-porter line, while the couture line is called Artisanal), stemmed from an idea of the designer and Olivier Dahan, who had already signed Margiela’s previous couture line. The video is presented as a series of paintings in a syncopated montage, where images, music, and surreal scenes collide in a cardboard setting made from recycled materials. It is above all the figure of the fisherman that inspires John Galliano and the desires of a new utopian youth in the age of emergency.
Schiaparelli’s collection bubbles with surrealism and sparkles with baroque. After putting the brand in the spotlight with gimmicks that have set red carpets ablaze and iconised various celebrities, creative director Daniel Roseberry wisely thinks the time has come to dress up women’s everyday life as well. He imagines different wardrobes, from the city and the holiday-dedicated ones to those designed for a cocktail party, combining sleek lines, like true American ready-to-wear, and anatomical-decorative details, from the eyes to the nipples, and achieving theatrical effects without falling into abstruse experimentalism.
The invitation to the show contained few clues that would suggest the artistic director’s revolutionary idea: the location would be the Théâtre de Châtelet, where attendees would attend a screening, then go to the after-party. However, upon arriving at the Parisian theatre, celebrities, editors, influencers, and industry insiders found themselves parading down a red carpet in movie premiere style, while the whole thing was filmed and aired in the auditorium. It was as the guests entered to take their seats that they realised they themselves were the unwitting models of the new fashion collection. Demna Gvasalia wanted to rethink both the general meaning of fashion shows as well as the… signifier. With a final surprise to exorcise the funeral seriousness that often hangs over fashion shows: a special, Balenciaga-edition episode of The Simpsons.
With Towards an Architecture (1923), Le Corbusier wrote the book that gave birth to the movement and definition of ‘brutalism.’ “Architecture means building with the brute matter of emotional relationships,” reads the volume, a sentence that appears to have inspired Rick Owens to perform a similar operation this season. During Paris Fashion Week, the designer presented his return collection at the Palais de Tokyo, a collection that broke with the four fashion shows that took place amid the COVID-19 era at Venice Lido.
Birthday party for ten years of creative direction by Olivier Rousteing, who arrived at the helm of the brand at the age of 25. Years lived with a stubborn determination to break the rules, with ten years spent building a brand in his own image and likeness while respecting its history and avoiding being trapped by its past. From a personal archive, the recent one built over the course of the last ten years, come the re-editions of some of the designer’s favorite dresses that, not surprisingly, are worn by the historical top models. Naomi Campbell opens the grand finale, followed by Nadege, Natasha Poly, Mariacarla Boscono, and a rediscovered Milla Jovovic.
Demonstrating his keen sense of perception and respect Nicolas Di Felice, artistic director of the historic transalpine brand from September 2020, focuses on an opening of the show that leaves nothing to chance, with a contemporary reinterpretation of Courrèges‘ heritage and vocabulary. Three elegant and geometric capes are inspired by a rounded design from 1968, a triangular shape from 1969, and a square silhouette from 1995, respectively. Claiming the value of the know-how of the atelier of this brand founded in 1961 by André and Coqueline Courrèges.
Gender-queering, contrary to some current thinking, is not a Gen-Z phenomenon. On the fashion front, Steven Cox and Daniel Silver of Duckie Brown have been working on it for nearly 20 years. The non-binary style of Duckie’s collections has become more apparent since they left the runway and wholesale system five years ago. Selling their collections by private appointment from their West Village studio has allowed them to indulge not only their more irreverent, category-erasing impulses but also those of their customers.
“Ostal24,” the title of Marine Serre‘s SS22, means home in Occitan, a historical language spoken in the area of southern France where the designer grew up and where she learned to know and make her own those values that she then implanted in her collection. A wide collection made up of 90% recycled or regenerated fabrics and embracing a broad spectrum of materials and processes: from patchwork regenerated denim to embroidered Dutch tablecloths, to recycled nylon socks that are reborn in capes, hats, and bottle cages dominated by the now iconic crescent moon logo, symbol of the brand. All objects of common use, familiar that are reassembled in a sort of “Family Lexicon” if we really want to discomfort.
The setting is cheerful, colorful, a bit childish, it’s a huge goose game with the models passing from one box to another: it was designed by Anna Paparatti, an artist from the Sixties. But it’s with the clothes that things get interesting. In place of the New Look (the revolutionary style launched by Christian Dior in 1947, narrow waist, wide skirt, calf-length hems), there is the Slim Look designed by Marc Bohan, director of the fashion house from 1960 to 1989, and perhaps the least known of those who occupied the role. Bohan was very important as he introduced ready-to-wear, thought up a line for young people, the famous Miss Dior, and reasoned in industrial terms making it modern. The result is dry lines, short hems, no embroidery, no pastel tones; the looks seem to be made with a ruler and a square, the colors are full.
Homage to Alber Elbaz
Alber Elbaz, the tribute to the legendary designer, crowns the end of Paris Fashion Week. 45 designers participated in this unforgettable show. The fashion show in honor of the late designer, to whom his colleagues paid tribute by reinterpreting his creative and human legacy, was held at Carreau Du Temple. Among the participants, just to name a few, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Rick Owens, Tomo Koizumi, Raf Simons, and Virgil Abloh, as well as the great Maisons: from Gucci, with Alessandro Michele, to Fendi with Kim Jones, passing through Dior of Maria Grazia Chiuri and more. One thing is certain: the memory of Alber Elbaz will always remain vivid.
Anderson does not abandon his references to art, only that he moves towards the hysteria of Renaissance painting by Pontormo from whose “Visitation,” or even from the “Deposition,” he draws not only the technique of draping but also the intuition of the volume of the dress built through the position of the “added bodies.” The added bodies in architecture allow to give a volumetric development to the constructions that also affect the shape because they are sudden additions on a structure that is often linear.
Rather than as a Pontormo-like painter, Anderson at Loewe acts as an architect and positions added structures on the shoulders, on the torso, or as prominent, pointed spires rising from the belly. And then he proceeds to superimpose metal sculptures that, when added to the dress, re-form the shape of the bust while simultaneously moving the buttoning point of a jacket to the back to form a sculpted dress on the front. But the work proceeds with random draping that recreates involuted volumes, unexpected ruffles that swell bustiers and bomber jackets while torn cuts on fabrics open sudden cuts and portholes in which to insert a leg to better manage an evening dress in glittering sequins. And in this contorting of the body while drawing a vertical line, Anderson gives Loewe a very important re-beginning, a point and start that projects it towards a dimension of transformation more organic to a feeling of a fashion that must change and break away from habits if it wants to survive telling the world around it.