Paris Day 8: Sacai’s New Silhouette

Working on their own codes and evolving them, while still keeping its soul, is always the biggest challenge for a designer. Doing it in the right way is even more difficult. This season, Chitose Abe at Sacai did it, and she did it well. Her touch is still unmissable, but she worked on a new silhouette: first, she stretched it to max (sometimes with couture-like volumes) and then re-scaled it to be more elongated and fitted to the body. 

Sacai Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

Her signature cloth blending is still the starting point, but she enlightened the layers and components so as not to lose her spirit. Abe inset a masculine touch with big herringbone, Prince of Wales, and blanket-like felted wools; she also re-sized the oversized men’s denim jacket, turning it into a new womanly hourglass shape to accentuate the glass. Her capacity to put more garments in one item is the ability that made her unique; even if sometimes it’s risky to be in a style cage with no escape, this time she masterfully found a successfully way out.

Stella McCartney Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

Connecting generations was the keyword of the Stella McCartney collection, as she said backstage. “I didn’t have a specific decade I was inspired by, but I just related to the past, present, and future, evolving my usual aesthetic contrast between strength and softness. I wish this collection would be an education tool for tomorrow for the messages it contains.” Fluidity and structure were the fashion fil rouge where slouchy dresses and big shouldered coats and jackets alternated in the show. Utility boots were made in collaboration with Hunter. “It’s the most sustainable company and I’m English, and, as you know, we have a lot of rain, so I feel that these are made to be used, not as a show trick,” she explained. As usual, upcycling and sustainability have a big impact on her (the second message): the multicolored dresses are made with used t-shirts, stripped and re-knotted in order to create nice colourful fringed dresses. Last but not least, she invited artist Sheila Hicks to create the adornments, using indigenous techniques to be worn like badges of honour.

Giambattista Valli Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

The Giambattista Valli girl was more frilly, sensual, and carefree. She loves nature, but just by walking in imaginary Claude Monet gardens observed with the voyeuristic eye of iconic photographer Guy Bourdin. The key pieces of the collection were the calla shaped skirts and dresses that show and hide the legs. “I imagined a woman that lives today; she doesn’t think about the past and does not look to the future,” explained the designer. “She is very beautiful and enjoys what she sees, and she catches the pleasure just for herself.” The collection picked inspiration here and there: flows of flowery prints, masculine tailoring, touches of vinyl, puffy sleeves, and his famous long evening train dresses.

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Sarah Burton’s Alexander McQueen collection started from a trip in Yorkshire and the North of England, the place of her childhood, and thinking about the British photographer John Bulmer’s images from the 60s with red brick buildings amid a foggy and moist atmosphere, the place where the yarn mills flourished. “Some of these companies are still open and have incredible abilities in producing high standard fabrics and yarns,” explained Burton. “It was interesting to observe how these towns developed around the mills. While there, we realized how all the production is the result of a strict connection between the man and the machine, and this has perpetuated for decades.” That’s why one of the dresses was made with replicas of the needles from the weaving machines. The tailoring approach merged with the atelier’s couture side to create a complete collection. The masculine look was inspired also by suffragettes’ sense of independence and the couture finale by the roses of England. The North of England in the Sixties inspo was very exciting as it would have been the perfect box to contain the masterful tailoring of the house along with the delicate touch of the McQueen femininity celebrating the working-class aesthetics in every shade. It would have been an unexpected expedient to move away and upgrade the beautiful signature looks that are becoming a McQueen cliché.