An intruder at Chanel and a secret alliance: Highlights from Paris Fashion Week
Bringing the Spring/Summer 2020 fashion season to a close, Paris Fashion Week was an extravaganza of beauty and sagacity, proving why the city will always remain fashion’s pulsating heart.
Another fashion season has drawn to a close amidst increasing political and climate uncertainty. Paris, the epicentre of fashion and its creative apex, delivered collections that reiterated fashion's role in capturing the zeitgeist.
In light of the green movement sweeping across the world, brands from the French fashion capital took steps to mitigate their impact on the environment, be it by showing collections crafted from upcycled fabrics or designing runway sets that can be repurposed for greater use.
Through it all, beauty, magic and a sense of escapism prevailed. Here were some of the week's top moments.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Anthony Vaccarello has mastered the art of staging blockbuster runway shows that coalesce his vision for Saint Laurent and the House's reputable standing in fashion's ecosystem. Saint Laurent is, after all, a beacon of Parisian style so greatly admired the world over.
For Spring/Summer 2020, Vaccarello rolled out a collection that demonstrated his firm grasp of the House codes while the Eiffel Tower – another symbol of France –loomed in the distance. It was as French as it got: Sequinned jackets, bohemian dresses, sensual shorts and slouchy boots that evoked the hedonistic 70s were illuminated by swirling columns of light rays that stretched into the vastness of the night sky.
CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?
The New York Times called it “the collaboration to end all collaborations” and we couldn't have said it better ourselves: Christian Lacroix and Dries van Noten's partnership is one for the history books. It was also Spring/Summer 2020's best-kept secret, what with news of the collaboration heavily guarded during the five months it took to produce the stunning array of voluminous skirts, jacquard suits and feathered dresses. A rare fashion moment that was pure in its intentions, divine in its execution, and exuberant in its mood. What’s not to love?
GARDEN OF EDEN
In a season where sustainability was a topic on everyone's minds, how does one organise a runway extravaganza that doesn't detract from the ongoing conversation? Dior's Maria Grazia Chiuri turned to Coloco, a collective founded in 1999 that consists of botanists, gardeners, landscape designers and urban planners, to dream up a show space that doubled up as an inclusive garden.
Horticulture is integral to the story of Dior – founder Christian Dior and his sister Catherine (she provided a starting point for Chiuri this season) were avid gardeners. The 164 potted trees that lined the Dior catwalk will be planted in projects and urban groves across Paris, further underscoring fashion's responsibility towards the environment.
Whether at Balenciaga or Vetements, Demna Gvasalia has never shied away from using his runway shows to make a statement. For Spring/Summer 2020, Gvasalia explored the notions of power dressing through a presentation rife with political undertones. First, there was the set: A sprawling, Congress-like space coloured in a shade of blue resembling the one found on the EU flag. The cast? An assembly of models and professionals from all walks of life who powered down the circular runway with urgency in their steps. Gvasalia outfitted them in his interpretations of retooled uniforms accordingly: There were austere suits, bold-shouldered dresses, and coats that ran the gamut, from long and lean to bulbous and exaggerated.
DENIM... BUT MAKE IT HAUTE
Delicate crochet; playful polka dots; dramatic puffy sleeves... these are some of the trends you'll be hearing about come Spring/Summer 2020. Paris, however, demonstrated once more the enduring appeal of the classics. At the centre of all the attention? Denim.
At Celine, immaculate bootcut jeans served as a backbone to Hedi Slimane's retelling of 70s chic. Over at Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller cut the hardworking fabric into all forms of accoutrements as part of her mediation between the French bourgeoise and New York's gritty energy in the 90s.
WHO'S THAT GIRL?
Just when we thought Paris Fashion Week would sail by with nary a viral moment in sight... Bam! The Internet lit up with clips of a woman clambering onto the Chanel runway to join the rest of the brand's leggy posse for their finale walk, before Gigi Hadid swooped in and stopped her in her tracks. The intruder has since been identified as Marie Benoliel, a comedian and YouTuber who also goes by the moniker Marie S'Infiltre. Guess she really did live up to her name...