The Return Of The Silhouette

When was the last time you saw your waist? And I don’t mean as a lasting result of any festive indulgence. I mean because you put something on that wasn’t baggy or layered or oversized. You’re having to think about it, aren’t you?

Because for a good two years now, the rise of streetwear and the proliferation of it into high fashion, has changed our daily wardrobe aesthetic. It became about big inflated bombers and grungy shirts, or shirting that pretended to be two or three at once. Dresses were loose, and that was fine. But that thing called your figure got lost with it.

But Paris, it seems, has had enough of this – perhaps a little ironic given that one could attribute the trend’s start point to it also. Vetements, anyone? Y/Project? And where they went, others followed – Milan got swept up in a new look last season that definitely had an air of all of the above. And London, even this season, still seemed to be borrowing a few ideas or whiffs of inspiration. Perhaps it comes down to the styling. Regardless, Paris just two days in has already offered something of a palette cleanse. It’s a return to the silhouette.


The Jacquemus Fall/Winter 2017 ready-to-wear show in Paris (by Anna Palermo for NOWFASHION)


Just look at Aalto and its chic tailoring, long and lean was its seasonal declaration. Pinstriped suits meant business and, even though they came with cut-and-paste collage affixations of all the components that make up a suit, it worked. It was precise – no fuss about it. No layers and layers, or mere hints of shape; this was the body actually at work.

Meanwhile at Jacquemus, the designer celebrated shape. A semi ode to Christian Lacroix and an imaginary Parisian woman. Coats stood out for their voluptuous dimensions that had something of a renewed Dior Bar jacket about them. Trousers were tight and short and kicked out into flares, and dresses were cocktail svelte. This was body-conscious and a return to celebrating the female form.

Which was something we also saw at Guy Laroche. “A return to sex,” described Adam Andrascik backstage. “It’s about precision, not minimalism, simplicity through subtraction.” Dresses cut on the bias were light and spun around the body, while knitted dresses in black and white variations accentuated the silhouette to neat effect; bandeaus brought new life to shirt dresses. It was a focused, modern and luxe offering five seasons in – and it was a return to the silhouette.

Of course what comes with silhouette is a sense of skill. It’s perhaps easy – actually - to hide behind layers of oversize, but enhancing the body, figure-flattery is a tricky thing. It requires attention to construction. Perhaps this is now the new art of conspicuous consumption.

At Rochas, too, we saw this at play – though silhouettes sometimes ballooned out at the back of looks unnecessarily. It was, however, as Alessandro Dell’Acqua summed up backstage, about: “Elegance, and the aristocratic”. In a macaroon pastel palette, dresses traced the body from svelte to A-line proportions, curvaceous brocade-pretty dresses, neat and sassy pencil skirts, backs exposed elsewhere on dresses, splaying skirts beneath be-bowed blouses.

Suddenly, the idea of rediscovering one’s figure seems really quite appealing. And Paris, right now, is positively encouraging you to.


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