The Show Must Go On
Drama. The good kind of drama. The one that exudes strength, confidence, and power was all over the runway shows this season. A lot of luxury brands – the major industry players such as Louis Vuitton, Balmain, and Chanel delivered their regular dose of drama on the runway, but the independent labels also made for quite a show.
Y/Project Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
Glenn Martens at Y/Project, for instance, impressed with his most mature collection so far. Inspired by classic 18th century architecture and Art Déco aesthetic references, Martens showcased a range of twisted, sophisticated, and highly feminine statement silhouettes. One of his master pieces – a voluminous, floor-skimming dress worn by the Dutch-Iranian singer Sevdaliza – came with a true va-va-voom factor, and was the beautiful culmination of a collection that revealed the designer's ability to mix and match various influences, styles, and legacies in an eclectic way.
Vivienne Westwood Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
Equally eclectic, but way more experimental and less feminine, Andreas Kronthaler's collection for Vivienne Westwood was nevertheless a feast for the eyes. While respecting Westwood's heritage, Kronthaler played with body language, deconstructed apparent structures – both physical and metaphorical ones – and experimented with fabrics and cuts in order to elevate the identity of the Vivienne Westwood woman.
Anaïs Jourden Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photos by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
On the last day of Paris Fashion Week, Anaïs Jourden also presented her powerful take on femininity. She dissected "the transformative power of clothes," as she calls it, in a context of high society elegance. In this sense, Jourden worked with stark silhouettes of female emancipation – think 20s biased-cut dresses and refurbished 80s power suits, as well as 90s flavored outfits that suggested a certain form of freedom and sensuality.
Haider Ackermann Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.
Sensuality was also Haider Ackermann's leitmotiv this season. The designer is a true industry fixture and his must-have ready-to-wear pieces revealed several new wardrobe staples such as a color-block overcoat, graphic printed pants, and impeccably tailored jackets that continue to play on Ackermann's masculine-feminine archetypes. Olivier Theyskens, for his part, punctuated his timeless vision of femininity with a ready-to-wear collection that was infused with a sense of dark romance. His ultra-feminine, sculpted bodycons and women's suits were a tad eccentric and quite desirable.
Noir Kei Ninomiya Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.
But the ultimate sense of drama was unleashed at Rei Kawakubo's show for Comme des Garçons and her protégé's show, Kei Ninomiya. At both runway shows, symbols of dramatic narration were cut up and combined to constitute an otherworldly, almost apocalyptical story telling around the clothes. Both Kawakubo and Ninomiya reflected on subversion, nostalgia, and decay and ultimately offered the most impressive and intense take on dramatic femininity. Ninomiya's beautiful embellishments and high volumes adorned his distorted evening gowns, while keeping a spirit of dark romance alive, long after the runway show ended. After all, even if fashion week is officially over, the show must go on – so let’s take a bow.