THE NEW GLAM SLAM

Paris brought the cur­tain down on the Fash­ion Month merry-go-round – and what a spec­ta­cle for the senses it was, re­ports Re­becca Lowthorpe

Grazia (UK) - - Fashion -

YOU’VE GOT TO HAND IT to Ni­co­las Gh­esquière, the artis­tic di­rec­tor at Louis Vuit­ton, the fi­nal show that wrapped up Paris and the month-long merry-gor­ound of spring/sum­mer ’18 shows. Be­cause it was his col­lec­tion that so neatly summed up ev­ery­thing that’s rel­e­vant about fash­ion now: that high-low mix of glam­our and street, the un­apolo­getic flog­ging of the T-shirt and trainer that’s now ev­ery global megabrand’s bread and but­ter, the es­sen­tial need for re­al­ity (truly con­vinc­ing pro­pos­als for work­ing women), along with a deep crav­ing for glam­our, ro­mance and beauty. In other words, all the gor­geous, dreamy stuff that serves as vis­ual es­capism from the hor­rors of the world. Last week, it was Las Ve­gas and the worst mass shoot­ing in US his­tory, the knife at­tack in Mar­seille and the ev­er­p­re­sent threat of ter­ror­ism that prompted height­ened se­cu­rity at ev­ery show.

So, past the check­points of guards and muz­zled dogs, through air­port-style X-ray ma­chines we went, deep into the heart of Paris, quite lit­er­ally, un­der the glass pyra­mid of the Lou­vre, where we sat in­side the walls of a medieval fortress with the Great Sphinx of Ta­nis poised at the foot of the run­way. And in front of the Louis Vuit­ton au­di­ence that boasted Cate Blanchett, Michelle Wil­liams and Ju­lianne Moore, Gh­esquière pro­posed deca­dent 18th­cen­tury frock coats (the glam­our) with silky run­ning shorts and souped-up train­ers; ath­letic sports­wear meets cou­ture. Back­stage af­ter the show, when asked about his sur­pris­ing sport-glam mix, he said he didn’t even con­sider it sports­wear any more, since it’s now so em­bed­ded in our daily

clos­ets. ‘It’s just our clothes, street clothes – we all walk in sneak­ers. It was the idea of anachro­nism, to put them with flam­boy­ant cos­tumes that felt sur­pris­ing and ro­man­tic. To­day we all need a bit of that.’

Look­ing back over the week, Paris’s other lead­ing de­sign­ers were on the same page. Some­times, you only had to look at the footwear to catch the beat of the mo­ment. At Cé­line, some mod­els pounded out in hefty train­ers with li­lac soles, giv­ing Phoebe Philo’s work­ing woman-of-the­world a mul­ti­task­ing speed and pur­pose to her re­al­ity-based wardrobe. Philo’s in­stinct for fun­nelling new­ness into sim­ple sta­ples like trench coats, trouser suits, shirt­dresses and mod­ern even­ing­wear (the most strik­ing in liq­uid black se­quins) had her au­di­ence glee­fully mak­ing men­tal wish lists.

A big dose of re­al­ity was also seen at Loewe, where Jonathan An­der­son also pro­posed sneak­ers – of the curled-toe Rumpel­stilt­skin va­ri­ety. ( Yes, re­ally, and you’ll see them on the feet of ev­ery street­style ‘in­flu­encer’ come Jan­uary.) In fact, his bold­est state­ment – aside from pretty dresses in ditsy flo­rals or patch­worked with asym­met­ric hems – was a sim­ple white tee worn with black pants and ac­ces­sorised with one of his fab bags – the type of raw wo­ven gem you might find on your trav­els, only lux­u­ri­ously made by Loewe’s spe­cial­ists. So strik­ing was this out­fit’s nor­mal­ness,nor­mal­ness , it was as if a young fash­ion ed­i­tor had just got up from the au­di­ence and joined his army of mod­els on the cat­walk.

Stella Mccart­ney also had some­thing to say about hum­bling glam­our. Her T-shirts came big and boxy over washed taffeta ball skirts. She also threw in stonewashed denim and big slouchy sweat­shirts for good mea­sure. ‘Glam­our for glam­our’s sake I’m not re­ally in­ter­ested in,’ she said. ‘It’s all about the mix, tak­ing some­thing high and wear­ing it with some­thing low.’ We saw this magic mash-up all over: at Is­abel Marant in the sporty washed silks and se­cond-skin ath­letic tanks worn with high-shine trackie bot­toms; chez Vanessa Se­ward, who put her chic Parisi­enne in jump­suits with their top halves rolled down and sleeves tied at the waist ( the new way to wear your all-in-one). Even Valentino de­signer Pier­paolo Pic­ci­oli – he of the ex­quis­ite dress in all its cou­ture-crafted in­car­na­tions

– of­fered up cagoules and trans­par­ent rain macs with flashes of sporty neon and hy­brid sock-train­ers. Nat­u­rally, his came be­jew­elled.

Per­haps we have his for­mer Valentino de­signer com­pa­triot, Maria Grazia Chi­uri, now well into her stride at Dior, to thank for this whole street-sport-glam thing. Re­mem­ber her ‘ We should all be fem­i­nists’ T-shirt? And how she took the ‘J’adior’ logo and ran with it? It was Chi­uri who made the case for a gi­ant lux­ury house to of­fer the slo­gan tee, denim and train­ers, and in do­ing so reach out to Mil­len­ni­als (with her own 21-year-old daugh­ter in mind). This time, her fem­i­nist slo­gan, em­bla­zoned on Bre­ton stripes, read, ‘ Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ And on ev­ery seat, an es­say on the sub­ject by art his­to­rian Linda Nochlin. Need­less to say, she is one of fash­ion’s most as­tute mar­ke­teers. Her true-blue denim, worker’s caps and berets, bags cov­ered in the Dior mono­gram and black-and-white che­quer­board sneak­ers will no doubt sell as fast as freshly baked crois­sants. As for that other great fash­ion mar­ke­teer, Mi­uc­cia Prada, who shows Prada’s sis­ter line, Miu Miu, in Paris, what did she have to say about high-low, re­al­i­ty­check-fash­ion? Socks! They came in neon brights with the Miu Miu logo. Also in the spirit of the mo­ment – which in­cluded a cast­ing mile­stone where more than half of the 57 mod­els in the show were non- Cau­casian – she tipped the glam scales by open­ing with low-key grey suits be­fore ramp­ing up the sub­ver­sive Mi­uc­cia-isms with wall­pa­per print haus­frau coats and naughty lace dresses that ex­posed big knick­ers be­neath.

And what of fash­ion’s flip sides? Paris is like a crys­tal prism, re­fract­ing mul­ti­ple points of view; it can never be pinned down to just one thing – too many bril­liant minds with much to say. This is the crème de la crème of fash­ion cap­i­tals where you get to be awed by Rei Kawakubo’s gar­gan­tuan sil­hou­ettes at Comme des Garçons smoth­ered in sur­real art­work and

kawaii (cute) plas­tic toys; Junya Watan­abe’s punks with metal skew­ers in their hair and spiked train­ers on their feet; Mai­son Margiela’s wildly scis­sored macs worn with swim­ming caps and a bold slash of lip­stick; and Rick Owens’ oth­er­worldly women wrapped up like hu­man parcels. Phew!

It’s also the cap­i­tal where de­signer-hot­seat shuf­fling is cen­tre stage. There was huge an­tic­i­pa­tion for Clare Waight Keller’s de­but Givenchy col­lec­tion, where she made a promis­ing start with a show chock-full of sharp tai­lor­ing and floaty ruf­fled dresses. And at her old stomp­ing ground, Chloé, Nat­acha Ram­say-levi proved that the much-loved la­bel is in safe hands, as she cap­tured the mo­ment with skinny cropped jeans, go­ing out-out tops and multi-buck­led boots.

As for fash­ion’s su­per­sonic mo­ments and the shows that lifted our spir­its beyond? Chanel. Not with a rocket to the moon this time, just your av­er­age 15-me­tre high cliff face and six wa­ter­falls stream­ing down it. That’s right, Karl’s Grand (eco) Canyon had been shipped to the Grand Palais, com­plete with wooden foot­bridge and ac­ces­sorised with 90 mod­els in iri­des­cent frocks and trans­par­ent plas­tic hats, boots and pon­chos. Rain­wear (for the chauf­feur-driven) par ex­traor­di­naire! And at the qui­eter end of the es­capist spec­trum was Sarah Bur­ton’s epic Alexan­der Mc­queen show, in­spired by the gar­dens at Great Dix­ter house in East Sus­sex. With a back­drop of flower-strewn per­go­las, the de­signer sent out mod­els with rain-soaked hair in the most ro­man­tic dresses, some­times wrapped in ei­der­down coats or waxed jack­ets. The de­tail was in­cred­i­ble – even the boots had flow­ers em­bed­ded in their trans­par­ent soles. Ap­plause, too, for her cast­ing of di­verse body types. If only more de­sign­ers would take note: women with breasts and hips want to buy your cre­ations, so why not re­flect this on the run­way?

And fi­nally, back to glam­our, the over-arch­ing trend in Paris means the last word goes to An­thony Vac­carello at Saint Lau­rent, who pre­sented the week’s most awe­some glam slam. We were un­der the Eif­fel Tower, no less, which sparkled on cue, light­ing up the se­quins, crys­tal and glit­ter. Vac­carello has proved him­self a money-maker for the brand, par­tic­u­larly with his state­ment thigh-high boots. This sea­son’s ver­sion pounded out in os­trich feath­ers – kerch­ing! He’d dug deep into Yves Saint Lau­rent’s ar­chives and come up with a thor­oughly mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of pure, he­do­nis­tic glama­zo­nian gear for girls who just want to have fun. And if there’s any­thing we need in our lives right now, it’s that. Fun. With a cap­i­tal F.

S SHIRT G T- TALKIN

TION DIREC NEW ’S CHLOE

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