Paris Fashion Week is a wrap. Not just any old wrap, one with a scalloped hem, maybe in silk moire, a kind of mock-cape shawl wrap perhaps? The eternal allure of attending shows on shows in the city that Haussmann built is a given, Paris is special. But in the nippy words of Business of Fashion, PFW AW18 was “a tiring ride with little that could be said to move fashion forward.” What’s French for “damn, how you really feel”? Press fatigue aside, there was enough buzzy fash fodder to be had: a traffic-stopping frenzy at OFF-WHITE, Riccardo slinking over to London, Poiret being revived as Céline slumbers and everyone taking selfies with Macron. Let’s flick on a few highlights.
Comfort level on googolplex at Jun Takahashi's UNDERCOVER - which won't be showing at womenswear week in the future - this season. Classic staples from teen Americana uniforms touched by Takahashi brought a cinematic warmth and interesting jollity to this collection. Polo jumpsuits, varsity bombers and baseball jackets paired with textured caps spurred on an adolescent reawakening that the slogan ‘Total Youth’ spelled out for you. And yes, that’s Sadie Sink - or Max - from ‘Stranger Things’. Look cute in a silken track suit as you spelunk through the Upside Down.
It’s hard to imagine Y/Project was not founded by Glenn Martens, as it has become synonymous with his name. You can’t help but think that Yohan Serfaty, the original ‘Y’ and founder of the label who sadly passed away in 2013, would be proud to see what his brand has grown into under the care of Martens and his small team of five. The sublime ruching, slouching, nipping, draping, layering, magnifying, fake-fur-manipulating that only Y/Project can compile into coherence is a treat to see each season.
This was as Balenciaga-y as we have come to expect from team Demna, but that doesn’t take away from its merit. The unisex sculpted hip pads (in 3D-printed version this time) are here to stay, as confirmed earlier this year by Dior Homme, and if you were hoping for an all-enveloping hoodie, snowboard parka or neon tights, you won’t have to go without next season. It’s also a challenge to plan your next Pride outfit without having Balenciaga rainbow flag logo gear top of mind (a few rungs below Walter Van Beirendonck’s AW18 collection, of course). Biggest highlight? The 250K donation the brand made to the UN’s World Food Programme as well as the logo merchandise benefiting the fund. Philanthropy, but make it fashion.
J.W. Anderson will give you an absurdist moment – a nude bra tacked onto a calf-length, fur-trimmed pied-de-poule print dress or zany yarn-wrapped four-part ‘gown’ – and then turn around to serve the most practically elegant piece you’ve ever seen. The house’s storied leather savoir-faire jumped out in anything from subtly topstitched coat dresses to austere full-leather tabards and jarringly spliced shirt dresses.
You simply can’t get enough of Galliano’s Margiela. I dare you. Who makes negligé nylon parka hybrids? The apocalypse is obviously nigh – no, I haven’t forgotten that ludicrous Polar vortex – but Maison Margiela doesn’t seem worried. Those Mackintosh padded half-sleeves, security sneakers, décortiqué salopettes and gargantuan Klein blue nylon technical coats will see you through anything. If all else fails, you can shimmy out of harm’s way in a stunning marabou-covered turtleneck handkerchief layer dress.
Live, laugh, Louis Vuitton. I’d take that emblazoned above a country-style kitchen hob any day. Past meets future was last season’s motif and Nicolas Ghesquière is never fully done exploring this train of thought: take the unhinged duality of garments starting out with retrofuturist uniform stripes on top and then shifting into Parisian lady-who-lunches midway. If you listen closely, you can hear both Chloë Sevigny and France’s First Lady chuchoter with glee at each outfit. It's literally 'trop chic', too chic.
Par for the course, the unofficial theme of the week, Haider Ackermann brought mouth-watering colour, immaculate tailoring and luxury fabrics to the party. Waist-wrapped outerwear acted as protective life buoys while suits in salamander shades of orange felt quite literally traffic-stopping.
Miu Miu is coming for the Outerwear Crown and won’t stop till every wardrobe is bulging with an extravagant cinched-waist coat. The original Diet Prada is still carving out a path of its own, officially sponsoring the 60s girl gang fantasy you’re running in your mind (featuring Slick Woods, of course).
The piece that inspired Rei Kawakubo’s AW18 exorbitant collection does say it best. In the 1964 essay ‘Notes on “Camp”’, storied activist, writer and filmmaker Susan Sontag wrote: “Camp sees everything in quotation marks. It’s not a lamp, but a “lamp”; not a woman, but a “woman”. To perceive Camp in objects and persons is to understand Being-as-Playing-a-Role. It is the farthest extension, in sensibility, of the metaphor of life as theater”.
Pierpaolo Piccioli has well and truly blossomed from talented custodian of the Valentino legacy to an integral part of the brand's fabric. His divine couture outing earlier this year is fresh on everyone's mind and the sensational tubular Moncler Genius creations recently debuted were another affirmation of his gift. The flouncy era of yore, when Dior's Maria Grazia Chiuri was co-piloting signore Valentino Garavani's iconic house, has been steadily replaced with a masterfully modern but always elegant signature. Proving his keen sense of colour is no crutch, several all-black looks rounded out the captivating, inclusive, mini-but-maximalist, floral Arcadia plucked from Piccioli's mind.