Paris RTW S/S16 was liberating and a week full of surprises. From the beauty of the female physicality exposed under layers of mesh and lace, to van Noten’s understated sexiness of the flamboyant woman- and the mixed gender runways, mirroring the ever-evaporating lines between male and female. And while some stayed true to their signature aesthetics, others took us by surprise with refreshing new elements to their collections. There was innovation and renewal- and where one creative director said goodbye, another was welcomed.
Known for their leather craftsmanship, Loewe presented a collection featuring juxtaposed PVC see-through pieces, mirrored shards and silver plastic fringing. Raf Simons took the Dior aesthetic to a new innovative level- debuting a futuristic and simplified collection. Whether it was Rick Owens’s ‘controversial’ tribute to women with flesh-and -blood accessories or Raf Simons’s outrageously beautiful man-made meadow of 300.000 delphiniums – these shows stole the season. We loved A.F Vandevorst’s motorcycle défilé of models to the courtyard of the Faculté de Médecine Paris Descartes. The house presented a poetic and powerful collection, mixing romantic oriental elements with the toughness of military and biker uniforms. The femme fatales walked down the runway-with their helmets still on- or nonchalantly tucked under their arm- setting the mood of the collection.
A sense of familiarity we felt at Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons, who stayed true to their masterful deconstruction and sculptural creations. Yamamoto gave us what he’s best known for: dramatic constructed garments with a wistful dark feel. Poetic black held steady, followed by undone bodices, asymmetrical knotted fabric and tiered ruffles – closing the show with a single red dress. You can expect a show from the woman who drove a tank to David Cameron’s house in a protest against fracking just this September. Vivienne Westwood’s homage to Venice, its carnival atmosphere and tradition of masquerade, aimed to raise awareness on the effects of global warming on Europe’s historically floating paradise- slowly forced under water as a result of climate change. Venetian grandeur was expressed through concealed faces – glittering masks, exaggerated shapes and drapes of chiffon that descended from oversized hats.
This fashion week will also be remembered as one where Alexander Wang said goodbye to Balenciaga.“I feel like I’ve graduated; it’s the last day of school”- he said backstage, about his final collection as Balenciaga’s creative director. Shiny satin tailored in to clever cut dresses, strappy cargo trousers and white lace bedroom slippers made this Wang’s most ornate and sensual collection-and one to remember. The show closed as he took a selfie to capture the end of his Balenciaga adventure. And as Alexander Wang said goodbye, the exciting news reached that Demna Gvasalia (head designer at Vetements) has been appointed as Balenciaga’s new creative director.