When relaunching their label last season - which had been put on hold to head the creative direction of Courrèges for three seasons - the creative duo Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant paid homage to the World Wide Web with, amongst other cheeky details, a Wifi logo-shaped bag. This season, the pair pursued its technological inclination by playing on the duality in the term of “safari” - both a journey and the search engine. Swype and app shaped leather goods popped up on sleek futuristic silhouettes fit for a 3.0 explorer (a nod at Internet Explorer), twisted with strings and hoops. Sharp tailoring, twisted and off-centred bias cuts, asymmetrical blazers paved the way to what the designers referred to backstage as “a science and progress inclined woman, that likes to pair suiting and futuristic techno, work and pleasure.” Held at startup hub Station F, the collection brought together paired down 60s lines with angular Helmut Lang-esque minimalism, all conveying an air of “Welcome to Gattaca” and an exciting outlook on progress.
Moscow-born Victoria Feldman and Latvian Tomas Berzins design their collections out of their atelier in the multicultural district of Belleville - which certainly explains their taste for their cosmopolitan but not globalized sense of chic. Their garments embodied a crossover of cultural as well as subcultural references: berets and punky pins gave an edge to fluid blazers and were paired with army pants; Ab-Fab-esque black and white peacoats came with fringed hemlines; mid-century dressed were turned on their head when worn with army boots. Washed out denim, vinyl miniskirts and ultrachic puffer jackets provided an interesting interaction with the twisted classics. Bags were also part of the affair, as a nod to travelling. All in all, the duo seemed to suggest a sense of multiplicity, not only in their surrounding but also in their perception of femininity.
Berlin-based Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient, the duo behind Ottolinger, are story-tellers: this time around, they angled the collection around the idea of a “utopian sci-fi alpine punk couture.” Think paper-thin dishevelled knitwear, destructured duffle coats, woolly cyclist pants, landscape-printed bodycon dresses held together by strings, lamé pants with a slit and, their signature, acid-burnt silk cut out into a mini skirt-suit. Both escapist and rooted in urban realism, Ottolinger continues to experiment with textiles and references for a complex woman. “I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste,” once said Marcel Duchamp. The same can be said about the designers.
This season, Anrealage’s creative director Kunihiko Morinaga quoted modulable architecture by constructing clothing out of interchangeable blocks. Bomber blousons, puffer jackets, trench coats came in bold, XXL volumes cut out of rigorously geometrical patterns. Circles and columns protruded out of shoulder lines and hems, in primary colours and graphic patterns, all complete with stacked wooden toy-like shaped heeled shoes. Somewhere between an architect and a playful child, Morinaga delivered a collection in equal parts wearable and conceptual. Hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa, the winner of the last LVMH prize dreamt up a presentation carried out by mannequins with faces inspired by traditional masks. In a theatrical setting, he stayed away from any cliché and proved once again his talent at impeccable and inventive tailoring. This included trench coats with apron-like floral prints layered over pleated skirts, rigorous shirts with extra-wide pockets, a play on feathered and fringed edges, all in clashing yet harmonious tones. Mature, multi-referenced, Thebe Magugu is as forward-thinking at the woman he designs for.