Hedi Slimane’s vision of women is precise and strong; his design is unmistakable from miles away. The alluring imaginarium he created when he started his womenswear at Saint Laurent still lives in Celine prêt-à-porter. Two human types were facing on the catwalk: the sophisticated upper class lady and the still rich, romantic bohemian girl. The glossy 70s were heavily present in the collection: the chiffon bourgeois dress in powder pink with heeled knee boots, the pussy bow shirt, the boyfriend gold buttoned blue blazer, the trenchcoat, the checked jacket, and the culottes. As counterpart, all of the iconic items of the boho chic were there: the airy flower dresses, the used look denims (shirts, pants, and skirts), the leather jackets, and the foulard à la Loulou de la Falaise, Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic muse and jewelry designer (was this a coincidence?). All the fans of the designer are surely drooling for every single item (both garments and accessories) that he sent on the catwalk as they are feminine, desirable, and powerful. But it seems that Slimane's signature aesthetic is still linked to the memories of the years when Paris was the epicenter of that glamour and Monsieur Saint Laurent was the cornerstone.
This turbo society makes our lives glide on the surface of everything we see. Questioning something seems like a waste of time, and going against the flow is almost impossible. No depth, no second layers, no information aside from that which we see at first sight. Jonathan Anderson, for the Loewe collection, lifted up the surface and elevated the depth to a higher level, giving significance to what is usually hidden and highlighting different craftsmanship excellences, all the while combining them to create a new tradition to be shown. The aristocrat elegance existing in the precious details of XVI and XVII undergarments were valuable executions which became décor for the outside. Nightgowns turned into delicate white dresses and gracefully adorned with handkerchief hems; the lace was not schmaltzy, but just elegant enough when used on dresses with reinvented proportions and modern panier that looked cool instead of obsolete. The poncho was reinvented with proportions growing into balloon coats with huge and funny sleeves. Again, the Northern Irish designer masterfully played with inspiration, creating a collection where he also gently injected some Spanish flair without being too literal: a collar or a hem immediately reminded us of the country where the brand originated.
Olivier Rousteing at Balmain once again explored his obsession for the Seventies and Eighties, but this season he also stepped into the Sixties with a series of optical decorations in black, white, emerald green, yellow, and metal for the first part of the show. The vibe was powerful anyway, the beat engaging and the Balmain addiction didn’t fade. Rousteing has the capacity to infuse his touch into every reference without being too literal, adding his vision, sometimes in a very strong way, a skill which has become famous worldwide. There were also some pieces of fine jewelry using the most sustainable diamonds from Diamond Foundry, the world’s only carbon-neutral producer. Even if the show was highly captivating, it looked a bit repetitive, principally in the evening wear where the combinations of colours and volumes became redundant without adding excitement.
Satoshi Kondo, a close collaborator of Issey Miyake, debuted with his first collection following Yoshiyuki Miyamae. His impact on the collection is positive and clear as it looked more up-to-date and focused on the clothes than it actually was. “I wanted to express my feeling of joy, and I want this to become the trademark for my collections,” explained the designer backstage after the show. Body and movement are their DNA staples so they played with them, emphasizing the fluidity of the silhouette while still keeping the Miyake aesthetic solid. The new course seems promising, but the show formula should be updated: the billowing dresses with the skateboarding girls were a good idea, as were the parasol dresses falling from the ceiling; but the other performances killed the energetic happy vibes. It would have been better to focus only on the first two and then go for a more powerful, even if “traditional,” défilé.
The bubble gum turned in a crystal clear cute earring is the meaning of a Nina Ricci show: a childhood nostalgia made of candy colours, playful sand buckets used as hats that sometimes can be turned into bags. It was all about summer joy and positivity with an injection of lightness in shapes and fabrics. Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter proposed weightless blouses and dresses, transparent composée, and flemish-inspired collars. But on the other side, their menswear background made them elaborate some pintuck tailoring and pointed shoulder trompe-l’oeil raffia python jacquard coats that seemed out of tune. In an overall view, everything looked disconnected: the rigorous constructions versus the flamboyant pastel looks did not express the joyful story that was the starting point of the collection.
The impossible construction seen on the catwalk of Yohji Yamamoto was a testament to his signature flair for shaping clothes through the art of draping, cutting, deconstructing, and re-constructing. But this collection was not only about silhouettes and fabrics. It also pointed the finger at those responsible for the state of the world in which we are living, through his always-enigmatic sense of humour. As discreet as he is, the Japanese designer didn’t hold back from expressing himself regarding the state of the environment: the cuts, slashes, and holes on the garments were an artistic way for him to convey a message about global warming. As if to say, it’s a real issue. We need to cool down, but not by using air conditioning; rather, by helping oneself. Every shape mirrored natural elements. The curved jacket and skirt hems for sculptured ensembles curled like the waves of the ocean, while the two vibrantly colorful dresses (in an almost completely black collection) were symbolic of gorgeous fauna. Even Yamamoto, himself, was a messenger of his own message. When he took his final bow, he was wearing a coat emblazoned with “No future” on the back side.