FIVE days of shows down (with old, new, emerging, and hyped names among them) and it’s the ideal time to check in and see what the lay of the Paris land is. What does it mean now?
Front row this week and talk quickly turned to the early arrival of certain editors at the beginning of Paris when in the past we’ve been used to seeing them show up maybe for Lanvin, definitely for Dior, checking out for the weekend and arriving back spritely on Monday morning to catch up with the likes of Chanel, Valentino, Louis Vuitton. Not so anymore.
Tuesday night and Paris was already brimming with headline editors and buyers catching the Jacquemus show. Simon Porte Jacquemus, along with Vetements, and a handful of other new names – plus the hype that now follows Vaccarello – have made those first few days as important, if not more at the moment, as those traditional mega-weight labels that usually anchor the schedule.
“It's now the new and the innovative that people are keen to see as the way forward. This then means taking time in Paris and arriving early to see more shows, more late night, off-schedule, and beginners’ offerings,” observes fashion journalist and former editor-at-large for Vogue Australia, Tony Glenville.
It’s all happened quite quickly – this time last year we were seeing the first whiffs of it and Demna Gvasalia was still just about under the radar and Glenn Martens hadn’t yet been plucked out to be credited on the LVMH Designer Prize shortlist for Y Project. Jacquemus was quite likely still Facebooking editors. And then Paris exploded.
“Two years ago, before I moved here, I wanted to do what they are doing. Now, they’re doing it. They represent something new,” says Quoi Alexander, a Central Saint Martins graduate, now based in Paris, who specialises in creating woven pieces that explore the idea of couture in a very modern way. “You can really see that tribes are emerging, there are new waves of aesthetics,” he points out.
VIDEO | VETEMENTS READY TO WEAR FALL WINTER 2016 PARIS
VIDEO | VETEMENTS READY TO WEAR FALL WINTER 2016 PARISDiscover the collection online now.#Vêtements #DemnaGvasalia #PFWPosted by Nowfashion.com on Friday, March 4, 2016
It’s almost as though there are two Paris Fashion Weeks: the beginning and the end. Friday to Saturday is the passing of the baton as we go from one wave to the next.
“The divide between those seeing a show in a car park and those who don't care is big; those who realize it's now and we must try and see as much as possible so get going, and those for whom Paris still means arriving for Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga, etc. and those rushing to some derelict loft at 10pm to see some wild unraveling clothes are two sides of the fashion coin,” notes Glenville.
Which means “trends” – if they do so exist anymore, though perhaps a better way to describe them is “moods” – start to appear throughout the week, not just those last three days when we wait to see what Chanel or Vuitton or Miu Miu has up their sleeves.
And so far? Paris hasn’t been so romanced by the dress-up spirit that seemed to so enamor London and Milan. A case in point was Rochas: it was whimsical, yes, and there were light-as-feather dresses with trailing ribbons and ruffles, but that Gucci layering was left at home. It was cleaner, concise, to the point. And that is certainly what Paris is about. It’s here that you know what you’re going to get at certain shows. That’s why you go to them. They’re cult brands and the audience reflects that – customers and life-supporters filling the seats over publications that ride the fashion waves of what’s in or out or makes a new news story. It’s die-hards or don’t-bother. Yohji, Undercover, Junya, Comme des Garcons, Issey Miyake, Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens et al – these are your stalwarts. And once they were the Vetements and Jacquemus’ of their generation. But we forget that.
“New generations of social-media-savvy observers are not interested in past references. To them, Vetements and Jacquemus are new. Looking back at Martin Margiela, Xuly Bet, early Helmut Lang is not of interest or importance,” agrees Glenville. “You might say they have no fashion memory or reference points, but fashion moves forward.”
Right now, that direction is more of the same when it comes to the layered streetwear styling that has so dominated the landscape so far and personality-driven dressing (surely what Paris has really always been about anyway) still leads the way: Isabel Marant sent out Eighties-fuelled looks that came with ample sass and attitude as they did that innate wear-me thing she does so well; Balmain was pastel power dressing; Lanvin was an ode to Alber – missing the point, but jewels and trinkets and ruffles and lace strongly featured; and Dior was a sophisticated and sharp scenario with Matrix styling and seriously good accessories.
Interestingly, when it comes to new names at heritage houses, the cuteness has cooled down at Carven. Alexis Mabille once held that same crown for cute, but he too has increasingly been leaving this – and his signature bows – behind in favour of something cleaner and more polished. Carven’s girl was still youthful, but a little less obviously fun. Perhaps more grown-up, sexier even.
VIDEO | COURRÈGES READY TO WEAR FALL WINTER 2016 PARIS
VIDEO | COURRÈGES READY TO WEAR FALL WINTER 2016 PARISDiscover the collection online now.#Courreges #FW16 #PFWPosted by Nowfashion.com on Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Meanwhile, at Courrèges and Paco Rabanne, a sense of modernity is streaking through collections as they focus on rebranding or building these houses for now and in just the right way – you won’t find any pile-it-on-additionally accessorising here. They have enough to think about without adding mixed messages to what, if they’re not careful, will be mixed messages. That’s the presently overriding predicament with new-old houses – aka new designers at old houses now.
Four more days of fashion week loom – among them the big B, Balenciaga; the big C, Celine; and then we run into Givenchy, Saint Laurent, and the like. Another day, another big name – it’s just that now that elastic band of big names is being stretched out to run from beginning to end. And that’s exciting stuff.
VIDEO | JACQUEMUS READY TO WEAR FALL WINTER 2016 PARIS
VIDEO | JACQUEMUS READY TO WEAR FALL WINTER 2016 PARISDiscover the collection online now.#Jacquemus #PFW #FW16Posted by Nowfashion.com on Thursday, March 3, 2016