The last and arguably the most important of the four fashion weeks, Paris is where some of the greatest names in fashion show their stuff. From classic houses like Chanel, Balenciaga, and Rochas to quirky labels like Yohji Yamamoto, Miu Miu, and Viktor and Rolf, there is something for everyone in the city of light.
Dark romance was definitely in the air at Yves St Laurent, Lanvin and Jean Paul Gaultier. There was a variety of simple but dark separates at YSL, where head designer Stefano Pilati described the collection as â€œpowerful clothes a woman might want to wear. A sort of versatile uniformâ€?. At Jean Paul Gaultier, dogs, cats, and birds paraded down the runway with the models, but the clothes were feminine and wearable, as was the case at Lanvin. There, Alber Elbaz showed a streamlined and luxurious collection that fit right in the mood.
Perpetual heavyweights Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu were some of the hottest tickets in town, and Vuitton, at least, did not disappoint. This fall is all about layering, and Marc Jacobs is a master of the art. A grown-up, more colorful version of his eponymous lines, his Louis Vuitton collection consisted of chunky knits in slouchy silhouettes punctuated by bold or liquid metal bags. This season was also the first Paris show for Miu Miu, and the first time the clothes were crafted with â€œcouture touchesâ€?. Standout pieces included ruched leather clutches and flirty little dresses.
Phoebe Philo’s former team has taken over the reins at Chloe, and the label’s trademark hippie chic look was there, but a little disjointed. Too much volume can be a very bad thing. Another fan of oversize dresses, Stella McCartney, showed a collection filled with her trademark styles â€” nothing new, but definitely nothing bad either.
Paris is also home to some of fashion’s most avant garde designers, such as Yohji Yamamoto, Viktor and Rolf, Hussein Chalayan, and the elusive Martin Margiela. The last two both showed collections with a similar inspiration (furniture!), but Chalayan’s was the more wearable of the two. Viktor and Rolf’s collection was a bit off-putting at first (the models were wearing masks), but the clothes were feminine and graceful. The Belgian duo’s show culminated in a spectacular silver-dipped dress – yes, the dress was actually coated in silver. Yamamoto, always light years ahead of his time, showed a futuristic collection that featured voluminous silhouettes and oversize, well, everything.
It’s not Paris without Chanel and Balenciaga, and both collections were memorable. For Chanel, Karl Lagerfield interpreted Coco’s classic style with a youthful sixties edge in a mostly black, white, and pale pink palette. At Balenciaga, Nicolas Ghesquiere delivered a collection that Cristobal himself would have approved of â€” interesting volume and textures. Some of the highlights were the sweet little plaid suits (with some very unique proportions) and white brocade dresses; the equestrian hats hoe showed with them probably won’t be worn off the runway, however.
Last but certainly not least, Olivier Theyskens at Rochas and Alexander McQueen both delivered stellar collections. Rochas, as always, was pure romance with more than a hint of Gothic, and McQueen created his best collection in recent years with a show that was inspired by Scottish weddings and concluded with a hologram of Kate Moss as a goddess in McQueen organza.
The overall mood in Paris was a pretty and romantic with a somber, Gothic edge. All the black, the leather, and over dark feel of the collections kept things from getting too saccharine, and the new silhouettes (layering is key) gave all those historical details a completely modern feel. Once again, the city of light was the city of fashion.