Power Surge

Should fash­ion be po­lit­i­cal?

WWD Digital Daily - - Front Page - Joelle Diderich

Nico­las Gh­esquière's

col­lec­tion for Louis Vuit­ton had one clear fo­cus: “This is about

my ob­ses­sion to em­power women,” he said af­ter the show. “There were so many dis­cus­sions the last

months about the place of women, and I

thought that this is re­ally an in­tu­ition to

want to give power when you are a de­signer.”

Shown in a maze of neon-lit tun­nels in the court­yard of the Lou­vre

Mu­seum, the retro­fu­tur­is­tic lineup mixed

his other ob­ses­sions, too: sci-fi im­agery and ex­ag­ger­ated vol­umes, par­tic­u­larly sleeves with bal­loon­ing or tri­an­gu­lar con­struc­tions, as seen here.

It's a ques­tion that has con­sumed ed­i­tors in a week dom­i­nated by the U.S. Sen­ate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee's hear­ing into sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions against Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh. For bet­ter or for worse, in the era of #MeToo, a hem­line is no longer just a hem­line.

While some de­sign­ers have shrugged off fem­i­nist read­ings of their col­lec­tions, and oth­ers ap­peared to de­lib­er­ately court con­tro­versy, Nico­las Gh­esquière em­braced the mo­ment with his lineup of retro-fu­tur­is­tic clothes, shown in a maze of neon-lit tun­nels set up in the court­yard of the Lou­vre Mu­seum af­ter dark.

“This is not a nar­ra­tive col­lec­tion. This is about my ob­ses­sion to em­power women,” he said af­ter the show. “There were so many dis­cus­sions the last months about the place of women, and I thought that this is re­ally an in­tu­ition to want to give power when you are a de­signer.”

He did that by tap­ping into a few of his other ob­ses­sions: sci-fi im­agery and ex­ag­ger­ated vol­umes. Do­mini­can model Am­bar Cristal Zarzuela, mak­ing her Paris de­but, opened the show in an over­sized blou­son with mille feuille sleeves fea­tur­ing photo prints of candy- col­ored ar­ti­fi­cial land­scapes.

The sleeves were the con­nec­tive tis­sue be­tween his eclec­tic band of in­ter­ga­lac­tic ex­plor­ers. They came in huge bal­loon­ing or tri­an­gu­lar con­struc­tions, bol­stered with tubu­lar ridges, and in caged and quilted leg-of-mut­ton shapes that brought to mind a suit of ar­mor. “I would say it's more a shell than an ar­mor,” Gh­esquière de­murred.

With its echoes of “Star Wars” and Pink Floyd's “Dark Side of the Moon” al­bum cover, the im­agery was rem­i­nis­cent of Gh­esquière's work at Ba­len­ci­aga — in par­tic­u­lar the curved white hats that looked like shrunken ver­sions of Cristóbal Ba­len­ci­aga's fu­tur­is­tic 1967 wed­ding veil.

Ditto a clin­i­cal white molded rub­ber coat that was a feat of con­struc­tion, in a sim­i­lar vein to Gh­esquière's re­work­ing — more than a decade ago — of the Ba­len­ci­aga co­coon coat. Nes­tled in the mid­dle were three out­liers: mas­cu­line suits shown on de­lib­er­ately an­drog­y­nous fe­male mod­els.

“It was my idea to try to be very am­bigu­ous, be­cause some­times ev­ery­one thinks when a woman dresses like a man, it's giv­ing her power, and I think you can be very vul­ner­a­ble when you wear a suit for a woman, so I thought it was very in­ter­est­ing to play with that am­bi­gu­ity,” Gh­esquière said.

Quite what he meant wasn't clear: was Gh­esquière try­ing to claim a stake in the an­drog­y­nous tailor­ing move­ment that is be­ing re­vived by Hedi Sli­mane at Ce­line? Or was he try­ing to demon­strate that a bro­cade flo­ral jump­suit could look just as tough?

Fig­ur­ing it out at 9 p.m. on the last day of a four-week run­way marathon felt like a tall or­der. Here's an idea: what if fash­ion went back to be­ing just fash­ion? —

Roopal Pa­tel, se­nior vice pres­i­dent, fash­ion direc­tor, Saks Fifth Av­enue

This was one of the most an­tic­i­pated Paris fash­ion weeks in some time, with Hedi Sli­mane's de­but col­lec­tion for Ce­line, Gucci mov­ing from Mi­lan and the first sea­son with­out Phoebe Philo on the run­way. The City of Light did not dis­ap­point. It de­liv­ered cre­ativ­ity, de­sign and beauty.

FA­VORITE COL­LEC­TIONS: Chanel, Dior, Valentino, Givenchy, Dries Van Noten, Bal­main, Is­abel Marant and Off-White.

TRENDS: Util­ity/cargo dress­ing, Eight­ies New Wave, Cali liv­ing, boho luxe, per­for­mance sport, jer­sey dress­ing, fringe, feath­ers, cro­chet, sil­ver, neon, vi­brant and bold col­ors, white-out, the jump­suit.

BEST VENUE: We felt like we stepped into “The Ma­trix” at Ba­len­ci­aga's dig­i­tal in­stal­la­tion. The show and the ex­pe­ri­ence are a sign of the dig­i­tal times we live in.

SAY BYE-BYE TO: Bye-bye, cold shoul­der; hello, one shoul­der.

MUST-HAVE ITEM OF THE WEEK:

Any­thing tie-dye. We saw ev­ery­thing from cou­ture tie-dye at Dior to denim tie-dye at

Stella Mc­Cart­ney.

NEW TAL­ENT: Ma­rine Serre's star con­tin­ues to rise.

Natalie King­ham, fash­ion and buy­ing direc­tor, Match­es­fash­ion.com

FA­VORITE COL­LEC­TIONS:

Valentino, Paco Ra­banne, Haider Ack­er­mann, Ba­len­ci­aga and Ma­rine Serre.

TOP TRENDS: San­dals and art­ful drap­ing.

MUST-HAVE ITEM: Sum­mer dresses at Valentino.

BEST VENUE: Ba­len­ci­aga's tun­nel of im­mer­sive graph­ics.

ARE BUD­GETS UP, DOWN OR FLAT:

Al­ways up.

SAY BYE-BYE TO: Stilet­tos.

TAL­ENT SCOUT­ING: Ger­manier.

Linda Fargo, se­nior vice pres­i­dent, women’s fash­ion direc­tor and store pre­sen­ta­tion, Bergdorf Good­man

A few re­mark­able col­lec­tions took us to new realms and well be­yond ex­pec­ta­tions.

FA­VORITE COL­LEC­TIONS: Dior was a stand­out as a col­lec­tion and an ex­pe­ri­ence, both ro­man­tic, mov­ing. Ba­len­ci­aga's im­mer­sive mas­ter­piece set­ting of tech­nol­ogy, vi­sion and fash­ion was one for the mem­ory banks. Dries Van Noten may have been one of our four-city fa­vorites, an in­spir­ing hy­brid col­lec­tion mix­ing glam­our and util­ity for real women. We also loved Junya Watan­abe's denim re­dux and Alexan­der McQueen's pretty and tough hero­ines. We went hap­pily along with Loewe's cool bo­hemian and no­madic jour­ney. With the per­fect tim­ing of the sparkling Eif­fel Tower, and the mod­els lit­er­ally walk­ing on water, we are all in on Saint Lau­rent's edgy, sexy glam­our.

TOP TRENDS: The amount of all­black looks was a bit sur­pris­ing, but ever-present, mak­ing headto-toe white-out looks all the fresher. We of­ten looked to street style for af­fir­ma­tion of run­way trends that would most likely stick, like suit­ing for the next gen­er­a­tion, the con­ti­nu­ity of train­ers, coun­ter­in­tu­itive mix-ups, util­ity de­tail­ing, Ladurée sweet col­ors, nov­elty trenches and calm­ing neu­trals.

MUST-HAVE ITEM: “It” items in­clude denim patch­work pieces, new util­ity, any­thing tie-dye at Dior, a cro­chet and wicker bag from Loewe.

BEST VENUE: Nu­mer­ous brands went all-out with su­perla­tive set­tings and venues — Chanel, Dior, Ce­line, Ba­len­ci­aga, Saint Lau­rent, Thom Browne, although sim­pler sets us­ing Paris' trove of his­tor­i­cal and in­dus­trial spa­ces were also trans­port­ing. Paris gets five stars for venues!

Mario Grauso, pres­i­dent, Holt Ren­frew

FA­VORITE COL­LEC­TIONS: Chanel of­fered amaz­ing pieces to wear to the beach or pool. We loved all the prints at Ba­len­ci­aga. The draped cock­tail dresses at the end were our fa­vorite. Ce­line, be­cause who wouldn't love a his-and-hers tuxedo? All the hand-painted tulle and dance-in­spired dresses at Dior were per­fect for sum­mer par­ties.

TOP TRENDS: Red, psychedelic prints, state­ment leather dresses and jack­ets, pleats, sheer and trans­par­ent evening pieces, util­i­tar­ian, over­sized blaz­ers, straw bags.

MUST-HAVE ITEM: Pleated red leather dress at Valentino. Any of the pleated tulle dresses at Dior. A Chanel beach hat. The Ce­line Johnny boot. The gold python boot at Saint Lau­rent. The straw bucket bag at Her­mès. A red in­spired black biker jacket from Noir. A printed evening gown from Dries Van Noten.

BEST VENUE: The im­mer­sive dig­i­tal set at Ba­len­ci­aga and Chanel's sand beach at the Grand Palais with ac­tual waves.

BUD­GETS: Bud­gets are up in Paris.

SAY BYE-BYE TO: Acid-wash denim and plat­form shoes.

Se­bla De­v­i­das, women’s buy­ing direc­tor at Bey­men in Turkey

FA­VORITE COL­LEC­TIONS: Valentino was my fa­vorite show in Paris. I also liked Chloé, Dries Van Noten and Jac­que­mus a lot.

TOP TRENDS: Def­i­nitely high­waisted pa­per-bag pants; denim de­cli­na­tions; mas­cu­line tailor­ing; tie-dye of any fab­ric, flu­id­ity of ma­te­ri­als; pop col­ors/ col­or­block­ing; dra­matic shoul­der and sleeve de­tails; ur­ban chic.

MUST-HAVE ITEM: Valentino's earth-col­ored pleated skirt and top, Valentino belts and feather san­dals, fuch­sia Ba­len­ci­aga coat and satin skirt and top, Jo­hanna Or­tiz's fringed robe de cham­bre, Chloé's one-shoul­dered satin nude dress, Dries Van Noten's cot­ton khaki suit with striped top.

BEST VENUE: Ba­len­ci­aga with the amaz­ing LCD screens all over and ob­vi­ously the Saint Lau­rent venue with the mod­els walk­ing on water. BUD­GETS: Def­i­nitely up in Paris.

SAY BYE-BYE TO: No spe­cific good­byes from Paris. ►

PHO­TO­GRAPH BY DO­MINIQUE MAîTRE

Dior

Chanel

Dries Van Noten

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