While the Italians have always been good at building a DNA, the French are now following suit. The difference in Paris this time round however is the fact that many designers are no longer afraid to inject elements of their own personality into the brand they represent. As a result this season has seen more collecions that are personal and intimate.
Last season we saw Phoebe Philo loosen up and move away from the rigorous lines of minimalism. For autumn she took it once step further with a collection that was all about ease and understated femininity. She opened the show with a series of loose knits and tops matched with slip-on trumpet skirts that hugged the hips and flared out below the knees. Light pink mixed with grey on oversized bonded cashmere coats while tops came wrapped tightly around the shoulders (trend alert!) for a chic look. Then of course you had the checked jacquards, which referenced those plastic Amah’s bags. Difference was that these styles were covetable and super luxe thanks to clever cuts and high quality fabrics.
This was my favourite Clare Waight Keller collection. The Chloe girl this season is tough yet cool, with a fashion uniform that is unique to her from tailored pinafore dresses decorated with ruffles down one side to the bib dresses, animal print skirt and couture stripes. There was a masculine edge to many of the clothes although she wasn’t afraid to embrace her girly side with polka dots (80s throwback!) and gold metalwork tops that reminded me of fences. The coats were also outstanding from the wool cloaks to a tailored navy style with gold zippers.
I’ve always thought Riccardo Tisci was talented but could also sense his insecurity when it came to creating a collection that was a true reflection of himself (hence the overwrought concepts and strained collections of the past). This season he finally let go of everything to create one of his most intimate collections to date. Yes there were the signature Tisci references (Gyspies and Victorianism) but everything was executed with confidence from the covetable biker and bomber jackets to the beautiful ruffled paisley print and checked flannel/rose dresses (I am going to ignore the Bambi sweatshirts although no doubt they will be the most photographed). My favourite looks consisted of slouchy sweaters matched with embroidered tulle or maxi print skirts – tres chic.
It’s been more than 24 hours and I still don’t know what to say about the Saint Laurent collection. Hedi Slimane has always been a bit of a fashion outsider (he is based in Los Angeles and very involved in the art and photography scenes) but this collection made me wonder a) where he is going with Saint Laurent or b) if he’s even knows. Best described as “luxury” grunge, it was a complete 180 from his homage to YSL last season and appeals to young LA groupies with the Smells Like Teen Spirit checked flannel shirts, slouchy sweaters, baby doll chiffon dresses, Peter Pan collars and Swarovksi studded tights. Sure it was “young and cool” but is he offering us anything new? One thing’s for sure – you can always count on Hedi for a bit of controversy.
PS. Please invite me back next season!