Fashion Ready For Reality At Paris Fashion Week
Thu 11 Mar
What a fashion month!
After a year of pandemic-induced fashion films and digital presentations, this Paris Fashion Week was a positive point of no return. This was the week we emerged from the loungewear lockdown chrysalis, bright-eyed and buoyantly ready to seize the day. Brands had upped the ante, and either rose to the digital occasion with innovation, personal bests and inviting ideas of glamour or failed to show their topical chops.
Two heavyweights on the schedule, Chanel and Dior, whilst not the most noteworthy, had brought forward their house-codes into collections that felt more in touch with the times than usual. Virginie Viard’s collection was her best yet for Chanel, bringing bouclé outerwear and fluffy ski-ready boots to Castel in Paris. Dior’s theme of fairytales and fantasy might seem insipid, but it was translated by Maria Grazia Chiuri through laser-cut dresses and detailed shirts that were more engaging than ever.
Those who had mastered the art of digital presentation did so with personality and style aplomb. Louis Vuitton presented one of their best collections under Nicolas Ghesquière; his self-referential ideas and dizzyingly splendid merging of sporty shapes and wild proportions were an instant hit. The collaboration with Fornasetti was an interesting addition. Brands who excelled this season managed to ooze personality and panache through the screen. The pandemic is no longer an excuse not to. Paco Rabanne achieved that ever-coveted tangible joy with a film that captured jumping models, the candy-wrapper silver dresses, embellished necklines and gloriously clashing textures jiggling and jiving. Miu Miu too, with their lingerie-cum-skiwear extravaganza filmed on The Dolomites in Italy.
Anrealage, known for thinking outside the box even before we were forced to, flipped the fashion show on its head, literally. Acid yellow wigs appeared where feet should be as ruffles with a utilitarian twang bobbed down the runway. Givenchy, however, Matthew Williams’ first show for the house, was a little less innovative. With Williams’ good eye for leathers, tailoring and accessories, one had hoped to see a bolt of modernity that would appeal to his and Givenchy’s wide range of clients. But between the exposed breasts and nods to McQueen, this wasn’t quite what we want to be wearing once lockdown is lifted.
Overall though, the shows captured an optimistic spirit and had us delighting at the thought of fashion on the streets, on the slopes and in the clubs once more. A sense of normality returning, with a refreshing snap of know-how and newness.