Paris When It Sizzles

Draped lace, floral patterns, python prints, and a blazer with a plunging V-line opened Atlein’s show. Purposely quoting conventional codes of femininity, designer Antonin Tron intended to parallel the notion of natural beauty (both in its organic references and its revisiting of classic garments) with natural concerns. 

Designer by day and activist by night, Tron produced the collection entirely via local sourcing, short-circuit manufacturing, with upcycled materials, vegan leather and nylon woven out of recycled plastic bottles.

The clothes were intended to be played with: worn upside-down, back to front, coats turned into capes and dresses came with incorporated scarves. Prints were enlarged, giving an almost surreal, digital aura to the otherwise impeccably precise cuts. A master draper, Tron also included sharp tailoring, layered, military-inspired quilted jackets, and plenty of “flou” cuts. Without ever losing his main focus: his push for social work via fashion. Here’s a fun fact: even the makeup was loaded with meaning – black streaks across the models’ faces were, it turns out, based on anti-facial recognition techniques. Today, Tron proved that style and substance are not only possible, but urgent today.

Every season, Sébastien Meunier seems to delve a little deeper into his own take on the Ann Demeleumesteer heritage. This collection was no exception, and touched upon goth culture - both the art movement and the subculture. Which is an accurate way to describe his style: in equal parts entrenched in historical and subcultural references.

Opening with a tenebrous chapter, robe-like coats were kept shut by art-deco-inspired curved silverwear ornaments, dresses came with an almost indecently high slit and were layered with leather trousers, suits were deconstructed and given an austere yet underground tone. Then color came pouring in, with noticeably oversized velour lime and crimson coats, moiré overcoats and silk shirts in fire engine red.

His real strength was the almost poetic succession of textiles and shapes - ranging from heavy velvet to airy organza, rigid outerwear to bouffant skirts. Quoting a sense of femininity that is both somber and timeless, he delivered a new layer of complexity to the woman he designs for.

Always quoting, never appropriating could be the motto of Isabel Marant, who, season after season, provides us with a permanent sense of escapism. A paired down caftan (or was it a poncho?) opened the show, twisted with 80s-inspired boots. Floral blazers with extra sharp and equally wide shoulder-pads, fur coats worn with the ease of streetwear, and an XXL jumper with a belted waist and flouncy skirt pursued the Eighties road she seemed to have embarked on.

Knitwear — worn by male models — walked a thin line between heritage and conceptual; the collection also included fluid woolen dresses and spot-on suits for the shyer customer.

With her makeup-free face and undyed hair, Isabel Marant is her own best ambassador. She targets a transgenerational woman by offering her clothes that can be worn round the clock, a mix&match that makes her...let’s say it, impeccably parisienne. And there will always be a market for that.

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