PARIS FASHION WEEK A/W 19
The collections both in Paris and Milan have obviously been a very emotional two weeks, because they have been overshadowed by the fashion world losing its greatest Master in the person of Karl Lagerfeld. Obviously Karl had worked on both the Fendi collection and the Chanel collection. I think at the Fendi show, everything was so raw; it was almost impossible to look at the clothes, which were youthful and there were wonderful accessories – but I think that it was just too close. Since we have had some time to reflect, by the time we reached today which is the closing day of Paris and we saw Chanel; I know that everyone very much wanted to honour Karl and his great sense of design and how he had always so brilliantly interpreted the code of Chanel. Because, whatever collection it might be, it was still a Chanel jacket, a Chanel handbag, a Chanel tweed and a Chanel check; all of which we saw this morning set against a backdrop of the Tyrolean (I think that it was the Tyrolean ski village) and we were literally walking through the snow as we were walking through the sand, last season.
There were many strong directions that we took away from the collections this season. One of course was a rather brooding sense of romance. A lot of designers such as Valentino, McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada really did look at a sort of Gothic romantic, fractured rose notion. It was the idea of love maybe being destroyed or love having been missed, hopefully love to come; but it was definitely something a little melancholic and romantic about it whilst also being very grown up. Another idea that we kept coming back to as we were watching all the collections was that they seemed to be much more adult, and sometimes more nostalgic. This notion was particularly apparent at Celine, where Hedi Slimane went back to an idea of a very adult French movie star with beautiful, simple coats, sweaters and skirts. I felt that idea of clothes being much more discreet was acknowledged in other design houses, such as Hermes which was very much in tune with how people are feeling right now.
¨I just feel that this is the wave that we are seeing here in Europe and I felt that there were many designers both in Paris and Milan who were doing what they do; following the codes of their house brilliantly and beautifully. But, then there were also a handful of designers who are actually saying that it´s 2020 and this is what is going to be happening in the future and that’s what I was the most intrigued by.¨ – Charles Daniel McDonald
What we are not seeing is a lot of exposed skin or midriffs and cut-outs. Everything is much more elegant, the sleeves are long, the necks are high. There is a real sense of that ´it is more about the woman and less about the clothes´. If we look at a designer like Rick Owens who’s known for his very conceptual shows, you would see that he pulled back and did something which was much more adult and romantic and grown-up. I also want to mention how we also saw a huge amount of checks and menswear tailoring with suits. Whether it was trousers or skirts, the menswear idea was prevalent. At Givenchy, it was a great success with a show of check and leather and a real emphasis on shoulders, but not in an aggressive power suit way. This was a strong notion which was also seen at Balenciaga where the girls came out practically running down the runways; their collars were up, their heads were down and their shoulders were definitely inching forward like a footballer on the field.
Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent completely respects and understands the heritage of Saint Laurent and I think that he too believes in a strong woman striding into the next century. Obviously, there were great menswear tweeds at Versace and a strong sense of eclecticism in the fabrications of Versace bringing back high profile glamour. I actually feel that so many of the female designers were outstanding. Vera Wang was terrific back in New York, but I feel that Maria Grazia was as well. Here, we are now looking at Miu Miu and looking forward to seeing what the future will unveil within the house. You can feel at this is a time, designers were thinking very deeply about what fashion means and what image they are trying to project. They are not following the momentary ideas of passing trends; they are really thinking deeply about where the world is, where women are and what the they should reflect as a for philosophy moving forward.
I look at what John Galliano is doing at Margiela and how he is reflecting the gender-fluid world that we all believe in. Then, there is Stella McCartney, who I think obviously must be feeling so proud and vindicated right now because of the climate control report that was published last year. This is an issue that Stella has championed for the last 20 years and now the world is finally paying attention. Looking at a younger generation of designers, obviously, they are very concerned about sustainability. A lot of them are working with existing fabrics and upcycling. You can feel that there was a sense of eclecticism in fabrics. We saw that at Gucci, Etro and there was some degree of patchwork at Marni with one fabric on one side and another fabric on another. Daniel Lee at Bottega Veneta is someone that we feel will absolutely grow into the heritage of that great house as he has a very distinctive point of view. I feel that he will become someone that can help to define the new direction of fashion in the way that Jonathon Anderson and the others are.
I think what we were the most drawn to as a generation was confirming the notion of ´what was youth´? I felt that the collections throughout Europe were very much with that in mind and the clothes in no way seemed disposable or of a moment; they seemed to have importance. The set at Louis Vuitton was extraordinary and I think the reason why Nicholas Ghesquière was so fascinated by that particular museum and its opening was that it was very much about being together and I just feel that this is the wave that we are seeing here in Europe. I sensed that there were many designers both in Paris and Milan who were doing what they do – following the codes of their house brilliantly and beautifully. But, there were also a handful of designers who are actually saying that it´s 2020 and this is what is going to be happening in the future and that’s what I was the most intrigued by.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Images: Each Prospective Fashion House