On The Runway

Paris Fashion Week: McQueen, Chanel, Chloe and Stella McCartney reviews

Couture at Alexander McQueen (above). All images courtesy of style.com.

Alexander McQueen

When we lost Lee McQueen over a year ago I was convinced that there was no one out there capable of continuing his legacy, but Sarah Burton has proved me wrong. Not only has she faithfully upheld his vision, but she has also added femininity and softness to his dark and complex take on fashion. While her show lacked McQueen’s theatrics, the clothes were just as incredible.

It is impossible to even begin to describe the techniques and craftsmanship involved in creating the gorgeous hourglass dresses and flouncy skirt suits that looked like they had been dipped into liquid gold. Feminine ruffles cascaded from short printed dresses, while black leather, bare breasts poking out under sheer chiffon and lace added a fetishist element that Lee would have loved. The historical references were there but this was modern couture at its finest.

Under the sea at Chanel (above).


The sea creatures, shells and larger than life coral that were scattered around the all-white set at Chanel on Tuesday seemed relatively low-key for a man who once shipped in a glacier from Norway as the centrepiece for his show. The piece de la resistance, however, came later when Florence Welch emerged from a giant clam… But I digress…

The 70-something looks Lagerfeld sent out were light and airy. The colour palette was inspired by the iridescent sheen of pearls, which also decorated the models hair, face, waists and bare backs. The Chanel skirt suit came in a new lean silhouette with a cropped jacket and pearl buttons, while separates including the house’s signature tweed featured graphic black lines against all white. As usual it was an accessories fest –  short silver booties, heels shaped like coral, pearl decorated clutches. If anyone can pull these off with finesse, it’s The Kaiser.

Easy and breezy at Chloe (above).


Chloe is finally getting its act together thanks to a spiffy new designer, ex-Pringle creative director Clare Waight Keller. There was a waft of vintage Chloe in the airy and light pleated white dresses and tops, the edges painted with coloured stripes, first in tan then in blocks of green, red and coral.  I was on the fence when she sent out colourful embroidered flowers on white trousers but I liked the boyish separates with eyelets for a summery touch. The foundation has been laid, but the real test will come next season.

Sporty chic at Stella McCartney (above).

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney really knows what women want to wear. There are no fancy tricks just fab clothes that make you look and feel good. Her tight one shoulder or tank silk dresses were chic and sporty at the same time thanks to panels of airtex mesh and lace. Others were decorated with swirling wave-like cord embroideries for a 3D effect. Then there were the easy pieces – lightweight cotton knit polos, tailored trousers and jumpsuits, and even a PJ set that I would wear out of the house. Instead of colour, she used print including paisleys, circles and spots which added a fresh look.

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