— Luxury shares the stage with the street-wise
sensibility and romantic styling running through some of
the most notable collections for fall. It was in with
the new, out with the old at Paris Fashion Week.
bright light of Paris fashion returned to the stage when
Nicolas Ghesquiere presented his debut collection for
the luxury powerhouse Louis Vuitton.
collection couldn’t have been more different in
Ghesquiere’s hands than it was under the brand’s
previous creative director, Marc Jacobs, who left his
post in Paris to focus on his namesake brand in New
Jacobs, Louis Vuitton was all about beauty for beauty’s
sake. But for Ghesquiere, it is beauty for function’s
sake, a direction that taps into the brand’s origins
as a luxury luggage maker.
the very first look — a slim, beautifully seamed and
fitted black leather coat with a luggage brown collar
over a cream mini-dress — it was clear that Ghesquiere
intends for these clothes to be worn, not just admired
from afar as a vision statement to support the bigger
business of selling accessories.
building block for the collection was leather, the
dominant silhouette slim on top, short and A-line on the
bottom, and the key piece a belted leather miniskirt
with a cool, single front patch pocket.
Vuitton, the fashion could be quite timid compared with
the leather goods," Ghesquiere said backstage.
"I wanted to integrate the idea of the bags and the
clothing to make it an entire proposition. What was
interesting was to use the craftsmen in the leather
ateliers to develop some pieces of the clothes, which
was new for them."
was a through-line, worked with panels of nubby boucle
on sleeveless dresses and sporty skirts with zipper
details at the sides revealing a sexy bit of leg; molded
into vests, jackets and pants that looked as soft as
French butter; and used as a canvas for sparkling sequin
embroidery on zip-front dresses, which were as close to
eveningwear as Ghesquiere ventured.
was also a handful of crepe dresses, masterfully
constructed in a softly architectural manner. One
particularly gorgeous design fused a belted black bodice
with a white, cape-sleeve top.
it came to the leather goods themselves, the star piece
was an LV-logo box clutch modeled after Vuitton’s
famous travel trunks, only shrunk to miniature
proportions — just large enough to carry a cellphone.
And the way the world moves now, that’s all you need.
to the supermarket
Lagerfeld transformed the Grand Palais into a Chanel-themed
supermarket and stocked the aisles with Chanel-branded
Flakes, Croustilles (potato chips), Jardin de Gabrielle
canned peas, and more were stacked Warholian-style on
shelves and displays.
weaved in and out of the produce and charcuterie
departments wearing brightly colored sneakers similar to
the ones that made such a splash on the Chanel haute
couture runway in January.
the looks shown were casual, layered, street-inspired
and knitwear heavy, with a nod to the Op art, Pop art
vibe that’s a strong trend for the fall season.
duster coats and metallic cardigans were worn over
sparkly leggings or baggy metallic pants, and long
printed jackets over miniskirts with sneaker boots.
group of looks brought to mind bonbons — a candy pink
sweater with embroidered blossoms, worn with a giant
knot of pearl necklaces. And the house tweed turned up
in unexpected places, encasing a cool pair of pink
sunglasses, and woven into models’ ponytails.
it came to accessories — the addictive salty snacks of
the luxury diet — some models carried their quilted
Chanel handbags in chain-link shopping baskets, and
others had heavy Chanel padlock chain necklaces around
their necks. A subtle wink at the cost of luxury
consumerism? No doubt.
bottom line for this collection was that it was full of
delectable goodies and casual style that made it as
friendly and shoppable as your local supermarket aisle.
stages another big win
a big night for his Saint Laurent brand on Sunday at the
Academy Awards, dressing host Ellen DeGeneres in three
elegant riffs on "le smoking" and
supporting-actor winner Jared Leto in a white tuxedo,
Los Angeles-based designer Hedi Slimane staged his best
Saint Laurent collection yet at Paris Fashion Week. The
clothes crackled with teenage spunk, even if the show
did make me feel like the uncool girl at the party.
Saint Laurent might have had Andy Warhol and Bianca
Jagger sitting by the runway in his day, but Slimane had
Catherine Deneuve, Azzedine Alaia and two guys who
looked like Miles Kane and Alex Turner from the Arctic
Monkeys popping Champagne, although it was really too
dark to be sure, which was probably the point.
commissions original music (the toe-tapping "Had
Ten Dollaz" by L.A. band Cherry Glazerr was the
tune, according to show notes) and a different portfolio
of artwork to go with show invitations each season (this
time, featuring works by L.A. artist John Baldessari).
message? He’s plugged in with the old guard, the new
guard and the crossing guards.
was announced via social media at show’s end that the
collection was made on 16-year-old model Grace Hartzel,
who has gone from Indianapolis to international runway
star in what seems like a minute.
even if you’ve never heard of Hartzel or Cherry
Glazerr, the collection appealed on a purely aesthetic
level, from a sleek, hooded red cape to a
crystal-embroidered tartan miniskirt, glittery go-go
boots to a miniskirt with a foiled print of handguns.
Slim coats, jumper dresses that sparkled like disco
balls, and fun furs added to the party mix.
if there wasn’t enough to buzz about already, decades
after Yves Saint Laurent was inspired by Picasso,
Mondrian and Warhol in the ‘60s and ‘70s, art was on
the runway again. Slimane showed three couture
mini-dresses made in collaboration with Baldessari,
which will be limited to a numbered edition of 10.
just like that, Slimane’s Saint Laurent went from
collection to collectible.
into place, grandly
York-based designer Alexander Wang delivered his third,
and most solid, runway collection for the French luxury
played with several classic Balenciaga standards —
including architectural outerwear and sculptural volumes
— infusing them with 21st century knitwear techniques
and action-sports-inspired utility details. The result
was a modern, urban look that felt like an elevated
version of what he did for his namesake collection in
New York: luxury for the speed-demon generation.
collection was anchored in strong, sports-inspired
outerwear with fur hoods, worn with fur-apron or
reflective-yarn accessories. Other coats appeared to be
knit but were actually embroidered for a trompe l’oeil
effect. The most show-stopping outerwear was a casual
yellow duffel raincoat that was anything but basic: It
was made of a cable-knit base laminated to glossy
perfection. A future classic.
marvels of construction that will look impressive in the
pages of a magazine? Structured short-sleeve leather
dresses hand-lashed together with knit skirts and
turtlenecks and rugby-stripe dresses composed of
laser-cut knit jersey links pieced together like chain
the more down-to-earth category, reflective canvas
chevron pinstripe pants and wool sack dresses with more
seam and zipper details looked cool and wearable. There
were also several tailored looks in black wool crepe:
for example, a jacket with a lapel morphing into caped
sleeves and a pair of pants with a skirted side panel
that had an edge.
there were bags aplenty, including fur and crocodile
totes with industrial-looking metal handles, almost as
if Wang were willing women into the stores.
needn’t worry. This collection will be money in the
bank for Balenciaga.
done minimalist sportswear, abstract art prints, slip-on
skate sneakers, Birkenstock comfort sandals. And the
world followed. But for fall, Celine designer Phoebe
Philo moved on to a look that’s more feminine,
romantic and dressed up.
long, lean, languid silhouette. Sweater dressing. Flared
pants. They’re all ideas percolating on runways this
season. But it took Philo, fashion’s great
prognosticator, to crystallize them into the kind of
collection that will move fashion forward.
took us to the garden, and her collection felt soft and
organic, from the flower-printed coats, to the
sculptural blossoms on lapels.
stars of the show were the coats, hugging the waist and
flaring at the bottom, or oversized with raglan sleeves
slipping off the shoulders. Knits were another focus,
more elegant than slouchy.
were all about softness too. Gone were structured totes
and color-blocked trapeze bags, replaced by squishy
styles. And in the fall, it won’t be sneakers but
winter wedge sandals that will keep Philo’s flowering
new romantics firmly planted.
with sporty vibe
designer Raf Simons turned the focus away from the
fantasy world of the red carpet, which the brand has
virtually dominated in recent years, and toward the real
lights were the inspiration according to the show notes,
but it was more about the pace of the city. These
clothes were made for speed, a sentiment underscored by
the pace of the models, who walked the runway in quick
succession, sometimes two at a clip, wearing
sneaker-stilettos that looked like they could handle the
was an undercurrent of athleticism throughout the
collection, from the bright color palette, to the sporty
lacing details corseting coats and mini-dresses, to the
quilted nylon used to create high-low gowns.
takeaway? Tailoring. Simons put the world on notice that
in addition to unforgettable evening looks, Dior is also
a destination for a great cashmere camel coat and a
superb double-breasted pinstripe wool jacket with a
decorative pleated flounce, worn over a white shirt
it came to cocktail hour, the most standout looks were
hybrid fit ‘n’ flare silhouettes layered over
mini-dresses, with a smattering of crystals nestled in
the pleats. They came in dazzling color combinations,
flame orange with royal blue, grass green with powder
blue, sunshine yellow with pink. Embroidered mesh gowns
layered over T-shirts or long jersey tanks also looked
comfortable and modern.
that Dior has got the buzz going (I mean really, is
there an A-list celebrity left that Simons hasn’t
dressed?), this collection should open the brand up to
the rest of the world. And that’s a powerful
a magical spell
scent of damp moss in the air, models floating across
the runway like fairy-tale heroines wandering the
forest, filmy white gowns trailing behind them.
Sarah Burton painted a wildly romantic picture at the
Alexander McQueen show. And it was impossible not to
fall under the spell.
to the show notes, the inspiration for the collection
was flora and nocturnal fauna, "Beauty and the
Beast" and wild romance. You felt it from the first
dresses in eyelet or silk chiffon that fell in soft
tiers, worn with flat boots made for wandering.
Supersized hooded fur coats finished with silk ribbons
at the neck made the models look like mythical
creatures, as did a downy soft dress decorated with
tiny, hand-cut fur pompoms.
was one of the best collections we’ve seen from the
brand in some time — soft, spirited and organic,
rather than stiff and engineered — more Burton than
the label’s late namesake designer McQueen. It seemed
like a return to the vision that guided her design of
Kate Middleton’s extraordinary royal wedding dress,
with all its traditional handiwork and pagan symbolism.
A welcome homecoming.