Paris Fashion Week Wrap-Up
My feet and liver have never been happier.
Paris Fashion Week is over and my feet and liver have never been more relieved. Although my current level of exhaustion is a sign of a busy week, it might be fair to say that there were not too many memorable moments from the past eight days.
Fall Winter collections are never as upbeat as the summer presentations: drab colours and significantly less skin - on and off the runway - but this doesn't detract from the impact a designer can create. For the media and fashion houses, though, budgets are tight and the result is a shift towards the Chinese market and collections that are less adventurous (albeit more commercially viable). It's very telling of the current retail climate, but the weather at this time of year is bad enough, there's nothing wrong with having fun with fashion.
Thankfully it wasn't all bleak. Here are my top moments from the week.
Dries Van Noten
The Dries show is the perfect way to start the week: beautiful venue, beautiful clothes; understated but interesting. It's serious fashion and I don't mean "serious" like it's McQueen, I mean "serious" like he is never going to have a ubiquitous 'it' bag or put Katy Perry in the front row. This season had a strong eastern influence with the use of Chinese and Japanese prints from the Victoria & Albert museum in London. It was, as always, anti-trend/anti-hype/anti-Anna Dello Russo. Although Dries does have an army of obsessed fans, they are far too cool to be on street-style blogs.
If you're born into the Fendi family and you refer to Karl Lagerfeld as "like an uncle" then you're obviously on a winning ticket, but Delfina backs it all up with talent. I'm a huge fan of her surreal influences - from religious totems to Greek columns and deadly insects - and I love the way in which she executes them. My favourites this season were the giant resign beads which had bejewelled bees trapped inside them and earrings that were fingers complete with fingernails covered in white diamonds.
Comme des Garcons
Thank you Rei Kawakubo. It was as though we had all been sleep walking through the week until this collection came along. Oversized felt silhouettes in bold colour marched down the runway one after the other. The collection was an exploration in 2D: two pieces of fabric were sewed together an inch from the outer edge, and the models with their plastic helmet-style bobs looked like acid-tripping Lego women from the future. Who is going to wear it? Who cares!
When two of the late Serge Gainsbourg's women are in the one room? Jane Birkin in the front row and Bambou who closed the show - you know you're about to experience something very special, and, well, French. Hermes is the epitome of French luxury and was the frontrunner with one of this season's key trends, leather. Working with a gaucho influence there were pants, ponchos, slouchy boots, and even a long-sleeved, mid-calf dress crafted from leather and suede. The highlights for me were the tailored wool pieces - masculine and very cool.
This season was my first Chanel show and I would liken it to getting ready for a school formal. Seriously, this is a total girling out moment. I'm relieved no one saw me when I skipped out of the house and grinned like an idiot in the cab on the way there. The set this season was like a fortress of crystals and the models fiercely stalked the runway in dark tweeds with fierce glitter eyebrows; that might sound like an oxymoron but, really, they were impressive.
Kanye West's after party
Note the reference to 'after party' and not 'show', although, the show was a highlight for me because it was a wonderful spectacle in an otherwise tame week. As you may have read a few days ago the front row was filled with super stars and go-karts hooned around the runway prior to the finale. When I arrived I had to hustle with Sean 'Diddy' Combs and Big Sean to get in. To be honest I didn't recognise Big Sean, but in my defence neither did the paparazzi who were going crazy over him. "Who is that?" I asked one of them. "I have no idea," he replied before taking another 100 shots.
As for the collection? It was an improvement on last season. But the party? That was another story. There were performances by Azealia Banks, Big Sean, Waka Flocka Flame, Mos Def and Common. I could not tear myself away and had to call a colleague from the bathroom to tell her my post-show notes so I didn't miss out. It's not everyday you seen Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry race go-karts or dance next to Karlie Kloss and Joan Small. OK, I didn't so much dance as stare, and had to move further away to do so because those girls are gigantic! I got a neck cramp looking up at them.
Why have a runway when you can build a steam train? At some stage in the past month Marc Jacobs woke up and asked himself this very question. Lucky for him he has the backers to make it happen. Louis Vuitton has always been about travel and this season the inspiration was ladies travelling from another time, with porters no less. Embellishment was a big part of this collection and dresses were heavy with jewels. Jacobs cemented another key trend this season, as seen at Prada, and that is the cropped pant. I would like a pair of those and a porter to carry my bags, please.