Celine Autumn/Winter 2014
Paris Fashion Week may have come and gone in a flash but the clothes are designed to last in your wardrobe for a lifetime. It was less about making a statement and more about creating practical yet chic clothing that women want to wear and keep. To add some fun to the mix, designers experimented with new treatments, innovative fabrics and luxe textures. Also get ready to ditch the heels as flats are back in a big way (hurrah!)
McQueen (left) and Chanel (right)
Wild beauty reigned at McQueen where the runway was covered entirely in moss and smoke (it was quite amusing to watch editors trip while trying to find their seats). Sarah Burton created a romantic fairytale although there was an underlying darkness in her 18th century gowns, capes and hoods. Trapeze dresses came in tiers or decorated with pleats and scalloping. The details and fabrics were strictly couture with organza cut to look like fur while feathers were hand applied to coats. The model’s cornrows were a cool touch.
What women doesn’t love shopping, whether it’s in a luxury boutique or supermarket? Karl Lagerfeld tapped into every woman’s dream by creating a luxe shopping center Chanel style, complete with branded goodies ranging from Coco Lait and Coco Cornflakes to Chanel eggs and floormats. This hypermarket however was strictly for fashionistas who took the aisles wearing trainers in pink and black and oversized slouchy tweed coats. Underneath they wore body hugging knits and leggings, adding a sporty vibe. And instead of bags they carried baskets made out of Chanel leather chains and trolley bags. One thing’s for sure – they will be hard to keep in stock come autumn.
Chalayan (left) and Dior (right)
People assume that Hussein Chalayan’s shows are all about theatrics and technical wizardry, but his recent collections prove otherwise. The inspiration for autumn was beauty products, but he worked the female form like an architect cutting a series of wearable coats that fell open across the shoulders, and colour block dresses with asymmetric folds There was a tongue-in-cheek glamour in the sheer long organza dresses decorated with rows of fake press-on nails in black and silver, and later in red and pink. A makeup palette was re-envisaged on a black dress covered in swatches of multi-coloured threads.
This season was probably Raf Simons’ strongest collection for Dior as he transitioned from spring’s floral garden to a cyber one complete with electric flowers shining from the ceiling like bright city lights. His woman was also different – powerful yet feminine but never too soft. Precise, masculine tailoring in the form of flannel or wool double breasted suits were given a feminine touch thanks to lacing up the side or brightly coloured jackets or furs thrown over the models arms. For the evening he sent out beautifully constructed double layered dresses, one short and one long, and decorated with a simple floral embellishment. More red carpet worthy were the embellished T-shirts layered under sheer embroidered dresses.
Chloe (left) and Comme des Garcons (right)
Clare Waight Keller has the Chloe girl down pat – she’s fresh, feminine and breezy, but isn’t afraid to inject boyish elements into her wardrobe. While the show opened with her timeless signatures such as wrap jackets and draped cashmere blanket coats, the look became undone as she incorporated textures and black and white prints. Bare legged models wore rainbow leopard-spot jacquard, shaggy or padded leather coats and separates covered entirely in fringing or gold hardware. She’s letting loose next season and we liked it.
Comme des Garcons
You never quite know what to expect from a Comme des Garcons show but that is part of the fun. This season Rei Kawakubo used the word “monster” to explain her lumpy and bumpy silhouettes which included bulky knits made up of dozens of sweaters, many with their sleeves tied together. Others wound around the body like soft serve. Proportions were also distorted as seen in an oversized Prince of Wales checked blazer which looked 10 sizes too big. Some of her looks bordered on suffocating – a black jumper was pulled over the head to completely cover the face. I can’t imagine Rihanna, who was in the front row, wearing them anytime soon.
After chanelling the energy of the street last season, Phoebe Philo created a collection that was about old world elegance with a modern edge. Black 1930s style fitted dress coats were brought to the 21st century thanks to her clever use of buttons, which were used as decoration, forming diagonal lines on the fronts and backs of coats in contrasting white. Tailored tops flapped open at the neckline but were matched with wide legged trousers for a cool look. She also played with knitted tunic and boot leg trousers which were stretched out to form long, lean silhouettes. The details however were pure couture as feathers appeared sprinkled on jackets while coats came with fraying hems and seams, and vertical slits behind the elbows.
Givenchy (left) and Haider Ackermann (right)
Riccardo Tisci’s left behind his exotic tribal goddesses of last season and embraced the house’s French roots with a romantic collection that still looked ahead into the future. His sheer silk blouses and pleated skirts came with ruffles, which fanned out across the torso in a butterfly shape (the insect also appeared in the prints, alongside faded leopard and other abstract shapes). It may sound overly feminine but some sharp tailoring anchored the collection including the boxy jackets and evening coats. Many came decorated with fabric strips in bold colours across the chest, back or even across the hips of trousers for a graphic, Bauhaus inspired look.
Editors have often accused Haider Ackermann for creating difficult clothes as his layered, twisted silhouettes don’t suit every woman. This season he stripped everything down to create a simple yet sensual collection that was still in keeping with his style. The palette was subdued with shades of grey and taupe while he also introduced knitwear and easy pieces like the funnel neck gray jumpsuit made from a men’s wear fabric. The washed cotton zip-up jacket still had the sporty appeal of a sweatshirt but looked chic. The floor length sweeping coats added grace and drama but there was still plenty to wear underneath.
Hermes (left) and Kenzo (right)
If you really want to experience true luxury then go to a Hermes show. It’s always the most civilised of the week with proper sofas and petit fours and champagne circling for guests. Christophe Lemaire matched it with an equally chic collection dominated by mannish silhouettes including double faced wool and cashmere oversized coats paired with mannish trousers. The chic colour palette was inspired by Persian carpets, with neutral shades of brown, blue and rust. Everyone was drooling over the ankle strap sandals with block heels. They were made from ultra luxurious croc – would you expect anything else?
When Carol Lim and Umberto Leon took on the job of designing for Kenzo they injected a cool street vibe into the brand with their logo jumpers and vibrant backpacks. This season however they added more to the mix as they collaborated with David Lynch on the soundtrack and other elements. “Tool” prints and embroideries clashed with zig zags on trouser suits, skirts, coats and structured bustier tops, with many pieces often layered together in one look. Favourites included the ribbed knit pieces embroidered with bronze and silver metal.
Louis Vuitton (left) and Miu Miu (right)
There was an air of anticipation surrounding the Vuitton show as we waited for Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquiere’s to make his debut (I don’t think we’ve been this excited since Simons took on the job at Dior). The venue itself was decorated minimally except for a series of metal blinds which flapped open at the start of the show, flooding the space with sunlight. The luxe yet understated looks that followed expressed his desire for “authenticity” and “timelessness” and couldn’t be further from Jacobs bold performances of past seasons. There were a series of A-line leather coats matched with sporty tops with industrial zips, tapestry prints and patchwork dresses in luxe materials like suede and croc. While the silhouette harked back to the 1960s with mod-style dresses, mini skirts and flat knee high boots, there was a modern ease in the entire collection. Then there were the must-have accessories ranging from the miniature LV trunks to the Alma bags updated with diagonal quilting. It was a solid start.
The PVC covered floors and scaffolding were an indication of things to come at Miu Miu, which was attended by recent Oscar winners Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o. Miuccia Prada lightened up for autumn as she returned to the brand’s roots with a playful and youthful collection, punctuated with sporty elements. Quilting, another big Paris trend, came on skirts, drop waist dresses and pastel coloured coats. Outerwear was also a big story with hooded nylon windbreakers layered under coats or long leather jackets featuring patchworks of colour. Later PVC raincoats and were matched with pretty rain booties decorated with bows and in girly colours like pink and green.
Margiela (left) and Stella McCartney (right)
Maison Martin Margiela
Masculine dress codes were reinterpreted at Maison Martin Margiela, but the result was definitely more wearable than experimental. It was all about deconstructing a classic men’s suit but with a feminine twist. Fabric traditionally used for suit linings was layered under lace to create off the shoulder tops or slip dresses while one black jacket came with the top half cut off. Harris Tweed and herringbone was cut into jackets with peaked shoulders (a Margiela signature). This silhouette continued through to the knitwear, which included an eye-catching navy and white fair isle sweater. For that final Margiela touch, a Harris Tweed label replaced the brand’s signature four white stitches on the back of each garment.
Stella McCartney is one of those designers who has always catered to women with her chic yet easy collections, but this season she had some fun. Her coats and dresses were covered in a floral motif created entirely out of zippers, while mountain cord added colour to grey tweed coats and jumpers. Tie dye prints and draped fringing in blocks of different colours appeared on a series of must-have short dresses. She also sent out head to toe knitwear in the form of jumpers and long trousers with matching bags that tie on the shoulder. Fans of her tailoring were not disappointed as she experimented with a narrower silhouette as narrow blazers came with sculptural sleeves and were matched stirrup trousers.
Saint Laurent (left) and Valentino (right)
Hedi Slimane may have joined Saint Laurent only a few seasons ago but we now know what to expect from his show from the too-cool-for-school gawky models to the hip soundtrack and rockers in the front row. Another thing to add to the list is a well-merchandised wardrobe with a rock edge and plenty of lavish, luxe details. For autumn he sent out perfectly styled looks from a spangly party dresses (one came with a gold gun print), biker jackets and skinny tux jackets (this time matched with bow ties). New this season was a retro vibe as spotted in the A-line dresses with Peter Pan collars, and more outerwear including a sporty green parka and some luxe furs. The Mary Janes and boots covered in red and gold glitter were a bit too Miu Miu.
Valentino designersMaria Grazia Chiuri andPierpaolo Piccioli also referenced the 1960s and sent out textured optic prints and dots on mod-style silhouettes. Then came their signature shapes from the capes to the long sleeved, high collared dresses with full skirts. These however became a canvas to showcase the incredible talents of the artisans in their Roman ateliers as lavish embellishments took centre stage. Metallic butterflies and flowers combined to form a camouflage pattern, while lace and tulle were crafted into ethereal evening gowns.