It was in somewhat poor and outdated taste that Thom Browne, which back in August had an 85 per cent stake of the company acquired by Italian menswear group Ermenegildo Zegna, chose to show a collection that, while overtly inspired by all facets of sea life (the same theme emerged at Chanel, too), featured heavily outfits that bound their models hands and arms and prohibited them from being able to walk. Each ten-minute lap of the circuit it took to complete a walk round was heart-palpitating stuff, for the wrong reasons. While to begin with, it felt like a deep-sea-dive of a fashion fantasy, the tempo quickly changed. It was the girl posing as the lobster, her arms behind her back, towering platforms anchoring her feet, and no way to protect herself should she fall that really did it.
Thom Browne Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
The clothes besides that fell into ensembles that heavily mined the inspiration palette for whales and fish and sharks and crabs; be they as motifs or the models rendered accordingly, one with scale-y sequins and draped fishy tail sleeves, an exotic species, one imagines.
But as a girl walked like a robot for fear of her life, it’s hard to let the sense of artistry for which Browne is supposedly known wash over you.
Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Valerio Mezzanotti for NOWFASHION.
Paris, has been mostly all about Celine this season. And then Chanel when those waves began to lick the catwalk’s edge. An overriding theme has been the move away from layers of hoodies towards clothes rekindled from the past. We’re starting to move on from the effects of Demna Gvasalia, even his own Balenciaga collection leaving behind leitmotifs that began his career in the first place.
Sacai Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Bethelier for NOWFASHION.
At Sacai, these hybrids have long been part of Chitose Abe’s style. But this season, with too many floral additions and coat-jacket-shirt-tuxedo, skirt-shorts, the ideas didn’t seem as fresh and on point as they once had. Similarly, at Paul & Joe, there was too much of receiving the memo too late – sweatshirts and clashy florals underpinned the collection, which is always wearable and commercial from the outset, but fell short of bringing anything new to the table.
Backstage at the A.P.C. Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photos by Regis Colin Bethelier for NOWFASHION.
At APC, there was a move into more grown-up territory for twinsets and co-ordinated separates. It was all rather sophisticated with bouffants and eyeliner and a cardigan around one’s shoulders. This was a good look.
Atlein Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Bethelier for NOWFASHION.
As was Atlein’s move into more colour, a step on for the brand from the Paris designer Antonin Tron, who has also previously been nominated for the LVMH Designer Prize; it was a vibrant and wearable offering that continued his train of thought for clothes that work in the real world. And at Isabel Marant, the Eighties, a favoured era from the designer, formed a collection of denim and silver shine, high-octane pieces that secured the brand’s aesthetic affiliation with Balmain rocker music types.
Most notably, a prolific trend across the board has been print. Of the handkerchief scarf variety. Marine Serre-style. It’s not as simple as saying “florals for summer, how original” – there’s a bohemianism going on, a revisit to an early Noughties idea that feels busier this time round.
Vivienne Westwood Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Bethelier for NOWFASHION.
Similarly, there has also been a move into clothes that have a history. Details and design from both decades and centuries past: Olivier Theyskens, Poiret, there’ll be more to come with the relaunch of Jean Patou next year. So, maybe finally, just finally, we can put those hoodies away. But if Vivienne Westwood has anything to do with it, it’ll be to replace them with a scooter. Scooters, both on and off the catwalk, have been everywhere this Paris Fashion Week. Andreas Kronthaler at Westwood put bodybuilders on them to zoom around. I’m not so sure that will take off.