Welcome to our highlights from Paris Fashion week, where new creative directors stepped in and gave a nod to predecessors, taking labels in new and confident directions. Dior took us into a glittering cavern of mirrors and Dries van Noten looked on the bright side with a show entitled 'The Optimist.' The sequin was everywhere and the heel reclaimed its status over the sneaker. Old-world glamour was the common thread.
Isabel Marant had just two words for us this season – lace and sportswear. The IM girl stepped straight from the street to the shore or vice versa, with a collection where flirty dresses and boiler suits collided with sports lux surf chic. There was a beach life meets studio 54 vibe. Shimmering high-waisted pants gathered at the calf, were teamed with floral blouses and voluminous tops and swimsuits, all given extra glamour with delicate heels. Just the kind of thing you can imagine Bianca sporting back in the day, with a modern twist. Our girl could step off of the beach and into the party with the swift change of an accessory and a shoe.
Monochrome broderie anglaise swimwear and dresses were teamed with relaxed jackets. Asymmetric frills made an appearance on dresses, and voluminous tops and waists were cinched with surfer clip belts. Cutaway swimwear was paired with leather pants and trousers that referenced neoprene surf suits. Pinks and reds were combined again, and the rest of the palette was a spectrum of brights and metallics.
Notably, menswear also featured in the show, much to the pleasure of male supporters out there who have been campaigning tirelessly for their own line since Marant’s H&M collaboration. There’s no doubt that the Marant brand maintained its status as the flagship for the Parisian cool girls …and now boys. Wherever they are heading, outdoor or in, we want to join the party too.
This season saw the debut from Natasha Ramsay-Levi as the new creative director at Chloé. She has an impressive CV having worked as Nicholas Ghesquiere’s right-hand woman for 15 years and before that serving as Design Director at Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton.
As she stepped into the role held by the many talented designers past, she took a respectful leaf from each of their books and made her own story. There were nods to Karl Lagerfeld with standout hand-painted dresses and equestrian details like jodhpurs and horse-print suits referencing Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo.
The backdrop was the new Chloé Maison on Paris’s Rue de la Baume, the setting for exhibitions showcasing the history of the Chloe brand and its founder. This collection “sought to stay true to the independent and intellectual spirit of Gaby Aghion.”
Denim Jodhpurs paired with pointed knee-high laced boots to add a city feel. The palette was in warm desert hues, while the sharp tailoring gave it a Parisian edge. “Fashion has the ability to transform reality and instil confidence in those who embrace it,” the designer said. "I want to give women the opportunity to show their inner strength, not their power.” Pretty flowing dresses in petit florals were toughened with the same knee-high leather boots summing this sentiment. The standout pieces were the blouses and dresses in hand-painted folkloric prints and frills and the horse-print velvet suits and blazers. It was a unique homage infused with Ramsay-Levi's street-wise aesthetic, and we can't wait to see more.
Olivier Lapidus stepped into Lanvin’s limelight with just 40 days to create the collection after the brief tenure of Bouchra Jarrar. The fashion world was poised to see the results. It wasn’t an easy task, bearing in mind that Lapidus began during a period when all of Paris was on vacation. Left with a relatively empty studio, he looked to the past for inspiration “to find who is Lanvin,” he said.
Revisiting the archives, he reflected on Jeanne's favourites; kimono and pagoda sleeves, twisted or flared, flat bows, geometric cuts, clovers, jumpsuits and transparencies, each appearing throughout the collection with a contemporary twist. The shamrock broach so beloved of Madam Lanvin took the form of a lucky charm on several occasions. “We put the lucky charms in to help us,” he said, and so came a line-up of LBDs accessorised by a 60’s gladiator sandal-boot hybrid. The dresses were elegant, peppered with classic Lanvin details reinvented with a modern aesthetic. Some flirted with a rather less demure look than in Madam's day. Lingerie peeped through sheer slip tops, and blouses and dresses were slashed to the navel.
The initial palette was black with sharp tailoring and evening wear. After the noir, shots of colour infused the catwalk. Red and pink were paired, along with emerald green, cyclamen, ruby and pale blue, all favourites of Madam Lanvin. Dresses and skirts were cinched and buckled, the silhouettes and accessorising adding to the modern edge.
Notably, the Lanvin Logo in art deco font was emblazoned across a selection the pieces as if to reinforce the brand name. Perhaps a message that the label was as strong as ever after its recent changes in creative leadership. “This is where the story starts or stops,” Lapidus said. We wonder what Madam Lanvin would have made of it all; we are certainly intrigued to see more.