Paris: Lasting Impressions
That's it. Paris is over. Spring/Summer 2017 is done – even though strictly speaking we've not even had it yet. But that's the clever thing about fashion and that's (kind of) the way it works. The last two days wound down, here's what you missed from two of its biggest players as well as its other shows.
Louis Vuitton Fashion Show Ready-to-wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 Paris
Even though every season comes with its own soap opera, it felt like this one was especially dramatic. There were changes at the big significant houses, ones we thought were probably safe(r) from the revolving doors situation that has become something of an epidemic of late. A fashion whisper that stepped into that conversation over summer, and which was subsequently denied, was that Ghesquière would be leaving Louis Vuitton. He hasn't, he's there, and for next season he's loosened up a little with a continued exploration into those softer silhouettes that began in the resort collection in Rio. He took luxe tailoring and sinuous shapes and combined them into deconstructed blazers and draped gowns that fastened into place at the hip. Ghesquière, known for his exquisitely sharp design sensibility, let go a beautiful fluidity to the Eighties shapes and silhouettes that saw Ziggy Stardust moments combine with boardroom power for double-breasted waistcoat jackets which were neither either nor the other, and dresses that sculpted the body in panels, both there and not.
In monochrome and gold, there was military precision to execution as always but also in theme for uniform detailing and staple-style rivets that followed the lines of the body expanding out into those feminine shapes that fluttered around the body with impact.
Cross-body detail and the hips were the erogenous zones of choice and while we can look across fashion week and search for and note countless trends, we know that they really only come from a few houses. And Louis Vuitton is one. It's all very well a thousand designers doing something at once, but then that's no longer cool. Louis Vuitton does cool.
This was sequin-slashed and a little bit band groupie – two-tone boots the big hit, layered lace with indie T-shirts, and lovely leather. Bustier dresses sculpted the body and will be your best friend, while the beaded finale dresses cleverly took the previous run of twisted tailoring and incorporated them in there too for a demi-dressed up feel.
Ghesquière has been at the house now for three years, the first artistic director after the brand's first ever artistic director, Marc Jacobs, who left to focus on his own label. Regardless of rumours, Ghesquière continues to define the future of Louis Vuitton to cult effect – today, everybody had switched their Chanel quilted bags (from yesterday; Gucci before that!) for their LV numbers instead.
Miu Miu Fashion Show Ready-to-wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 Paris
What are the prerequisites for next season's Miu Miu wardrobe? An open-front apron skirt, a flower swim hat, a great mac (either plain in pastel or a jazzy geometric print), a towel for a stole, and a fuzzy towelling robe. Yep, Mrs Prada did her version of the seaside this time around, riffing on a beach-hut colour palette and the wardrobe you might find hanging up in it. So swimwear was the focus here – those swim caps so elaborate for show and more accessible as flowers festooned into bags or as prints on Forties-style bikinis. Other knitted looks took cues from proper bathing suits and day dresses in zesty prints, belted (Spring/Summer 2017 is a season of belting!) came in the plenty. You need a mac too if you're going to be the Miu Miu pin-up – again an item that has had significant presence among the Paris catwalks. Swimming pool blue, coral pink, and sunny shades to match, where the designer had used feather boas in her mailing collection as her finishing-off note, here it was the humble beach towel revisited, revised, and reincarnated. One imagines this will oddly become a surprise hit, as it is so easy to replicate. But she upgraded them some more for fuzzy bathrobes that looked snug as much as they did stylish – which is really one of those things only Prada can achieve. And by comparison to fashion's current busy mood, this felt like a palette cleanser and semi-minimal too.
Kenzo Fashion Show Ready-to-wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 Paris
Kenzo - Paul & Jo - Moncler
Have you noticed: No one wears their Kenzo jumpers anymore? They were great at the time – but it's time to move on: to the brand's über cool T-shirt dresses instead! And add a slinky chainmail bag to that shopping list, too. With a distinct Eighties appeal, though the show notes referenced Studio 54, this was a disco bright collection with lots of shimmer and party dress shine. Downtime pieces came by way of casual denim and these were great basics, but the party frocks did the most talking and took Kenzo out of what was perhaps becoming a slightly predictable style zone. Paul & Jo isn't a high fashion brand and that's no problem – don't expect the avant-grade or the overly directional here; but do expect some cute patchwork denim, some noughties shapes and styling, and beachwear utility notes. And from beach to beach! Moncler's sand dune catwalk set the scene for a far more ornate and embellished offering from the brand known for its classic puffa jackets. Though there was a uniformity to be found in the non-puffa pieces and a strict white and navy and red colour way. Puffas are practical and they are now also pretty, apparently.
The biggest trend of all the shows? En masse catwalk exits: walk, walk, stop, allow time for picture, wait a moment, one more, and walk walk walk. The end.