Hedi Slimane seemed to state it bluntly: like it or not this is me and now I'm doing it at Celine. His language is clear and hard wired in everybody's mind. No surprises, no shake-ups, just him and his image. The fleeting DNA of the french Maison easily lays itself open to different personal interpretations, as it has already happened with previous designers. In the Fall-Winter 2020 co-ed show, he declined all his stereotypes of boys and girls living in the memories of the London and Los Angeles 60s and 70s. The vintage flair was very strong with a lot of velvet, the good girl with blazers, silk shirt and jeans, the upper-class ladies with jupe culotte tailleurs, the bohemienne with long flowered dresses; boys were wiry, romantic and elegant with sharp tailored suits and tuxedos or more rock and roll with tiny leather jackets and skinny bell bottomed jeans, but always wearing silk blouses and heeled Chelsea boots. These are clothes that you want to wear, desirable and charming, but the Creative Director seemed to have lost a bit of the prose he used to have when he was engaging bunches of youngsters at the first look of the show. It seems that reiterating the same language he wants to turn it into a timeless vocabulary to state that he is the brand, despite the name. In his powerful position, he can move in safe territory, but the risk of becoming outdated instead of timeless is just around the corner.
Volumes, silhouettes and fabrics were the elements that Jonathan Anderson, Creative Director at Spanish brand Loewe, used to create the Fall-Winter 2020 collection. "I analysed the way Spain and its culture are perceived from abroad," explained the designer backstage after the show. "I worked on its past iconography to visualize the next wardrobe and I enjoyed to work with shapes and constructions. Last season the process was amusing, so I continued it." Everything had been remodelled and finely blended into a fluid gown that contrasted with the structure of masterfully draped wide shaped dresses, not collages but a new definitive look. Anderson showed a picture of Spain filtered through his lenses, never too folksy (even if the flair of the tradition was there), always romantic yet never mushy, more grown-up even if fresh and youthful. Craftsmanship is part of the brand's DNA, so artworks by Japanese ceramist Takuro Kuwata (nominated at Loewe craft awards in 2018) were incorporated into single pieces, dresses and the drawstrings of the clutches.
Creative Directors Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh at Nina Ricci went into their Dutch roots and explored the aesthetic of painters from the Netherlands that lived in Paris. The 2018 Petit Palais exhibition, "The Dutch in Paris, 1789-1914", seemed to sum up the inspiration for the collection showcased at Musee des Art Decoratif. Disassembling the look, all the references were clear: the soft colours of Jacob Maris and Joahn Jongking's winter landscape were in the froissé pale grey and blue associated with the silks of blouses and skirts, the scenographic hats reminded the colourful portraits of Kees Van Dongen, Piet Mondrian's geometric works were in the sharp cuts of the jackets and tops. Van Gogh's colours and nervous trait were in the bold orange looks and melangé wool blue coat as Frederik Kaemmerer's elegant ladies were stylized in the voluminous Flemish inspired dresses. The duo mixed all the references losing a bit of direction and created a look that was confused and unfocused. Hung between past and present, it wasn't contemporary or desirable and the silhouette wasn't properly fitted, which made everything look even messier.
Balmain's show was a throwback to the late Eighties and early Nineties aesthetics that Olivier Rousteing perfectly manages to keep up thanks to his love for excessive hyper decorated fashion. He went back to his childhood when he was living in Bordeaux, one of the most bourgeoise cities in France. As an adopted boy, he wasn't welcomed and this made him dream about being accepted, being under the spotlights and showing his skills. And he made it. The opulence, which Rousteing handles very well, was declined in the horse riding classics (they looked a bit too Hermès in the hues and prints) and in his signature six-button blazers were redesigned as evening dresses and evening outfits a bit too inspired by Gianfranco Ferre constructions. Despite the usual night richness, the collection showcased a lot of daywear and denim, that was very catchy and cool. The day of the show was very important for him as the docufilm about his life, "Wonder Boy" has been nominated for best documentary at the Cèsar awards. Good luck Olivier.