As the first physical iteration of Paris Fashion Week in almost 18 months draws to a close, Jack Moss reflects on the best shows and collections
A board-game themed set, created in collaboration with artist Anna Paparatti, set the stage for a cheerful, uplifting collection from Maria Grazia Chiuri – one she said hoped would strike an optimistic mood. Drawing inspiration from the tenure of previous house designer Marc Bohan, there was new clarity to Grazia Chiuri’s vision as she posited a sharp, 60s silhouette – mini skirts and shifts, swing coats, shrunken blazers – in a poppy primary palette. Read more about the show here.
Foregoing the traditional runway show, guests gathered at Théâtre du Châtelet to watch a live stream of a close-by red carpet on which members of the atelier, friends of the house, and a smattering of celebrities arrived in Balenciaga’s latest collection. What were they arriving for? A unique collaboration, it turned out – a special episode of The Simpsons, in which the residents of Springfield travel to Paris to walk the Balenciaga runway. An unexpected moment of levity and humour, the short film was perhaps the week’s highlight. Read more about the show here.
The glimmering lights of the Eiffel Tower once again provided the backdrop for Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent – a defiant return to the runway replete with a metres-high waterfall which came to life in the finale. Inspired by longtime house muse Paloma Picasso – Vaccarello described her as having a “glamorous toughness” – his towering woman for the season amplified her dramatic look with slit-front column gowns and jumpsuits, broad-shouldered tailoring and signature slash of red lipstick.
There was a distinct sense of nostalgia to Virginie Viard’s newest collection – not least in the playful set, which brought back the raised runway of old and surrounded it with a jostling mob of photographers. “I used to love the sound of flashbulbs going off at the shows in the 80s,” said Viard, who captured the joy and glamour of the era with a collection which recalled the first decades of Karl Lagerfeld’s tenure – Chanel-branded swimsuits, big gold buttons on shimmering black tweeds, chains and pearls – with a fresh eye for her contemporary consumer’s desires. Read more about the show here.
Transporting viewers to Vienna – the city in which the Ukraine-born designer studied and is now based – Petar Petrov said he wanted his Spring/Summer 2022 collection to have a feeling of lightness, of heading back outside. Cue sunlit photographs of Petrov’s woman walking the city’s streets, wearing his typically understated, but innately elegant, new collection which spanned 90s-inflected tailoring and trenches, cocooning teddy hoodies and Japanese double-denim sets.
“Flashes of future romance in a world full of noise” was how Raf Simons described his latest collection, which marked the first outing of his dual mens- and womenswear collection on the runway. It was a perfect melding of the two interchangeable worlds – the designer told AnOther’s Alexander Fury he was fascinated how an item of clothing could change context dependent on its wearer, “that a smock-like dress on a man could look gothy and edgy, and on a woman the epitome of couture,” as Fury wrote. Read more about the show here.
Plumes of white smoke, jasmine leaves scattered into the wind, the temple-like exterior of the monolithic Palais de Tokyo – Rick Owens’ newest collection was imbued with all the drama and emotion of a religious happening. Michèle Lamy, his wife and muse, led the charge for a defiant collection where tough brand signatures met cut-away bodysuits, trails of chiffon and liquefied bias-cut gowns, positing a definition of glamour which was all Owens’ own. Read more about the show here.
“You have to be aware of the past but always moving forward,” said Pierpaolo Piccioli, shifting his runway show to the Carreau du Temple – a 19th-century covered market – from the grand salons Valentino has traditionally shown (models even walked the streets of the Marais before entering the space). Piccioli recreated five archive pieces, setting them against a fresh, contemporary vision for the house – a little skimpier, more youthful, less defined by gender, but just as concerned with the house’s longtime pursuit of beauty, colour and craft.
Micro mini-skirts, pelvic-bearing trousers and an expanse of exposed midriff defined Miuccia Prada’s Spring/Summer 2022 outing – ostensibly a riff on workwear, corporate mores were torn up and reinterpreted in the designer’s brilliantly idiosyncratic manner. Boyish looks provided the opposition point, whether baggy pants or boxy tailoring, oversized cable-knit sweaters or New Balances on the feet – the latter marking the brand’s debut sneaker collaboration. Read more about the show here.
“Neurotic, psychedelic, and completely hysterical,” said Jonathan Anderson of his latest Loewe collection, which saw the designer work not from inspiration point but instinct. There were resin body casts and hammered metal chest plates, gowns which jutted outwards with pointed contusions, and a series of shoes where the heels were recreations of bars of soap, birthday candles or a broken egg. Together, it provided an unusually romantic vision of what we might wear next – proof Anderson is one of contemporary fashion’s true visionaries.
Celebrating 200 years since Louis Vuitton’s birth, Nicolas Ghesquière proved once again his near-peerless ability to travel between past, present and future in his collections. This time, he took over Passage Richelieu, said to be used by Vuitton to enter the apartment of Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, as her exclusive trunk maker. As such, the crinolines of the era were reimagined in bouncing skirts and dresses, intricately decorated with lace, beads and pom poms, echoing the shapes of the chandeliers which hung from the ceiling. Read more about the show here.
Sometimes it’s just about good clothes – despite the industry’s current propensity for the gimmick, the ‘Instagram moment’, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski has stayed steadfast in a clothing-first approach (that said, the airport hangar she held the show, lined with works by artist Flora Moscovici, provided an impressive backdrop). Vanhee-Cybulski’s hallmarks were evident in the beautiful collection: a deft use of colour, a focus on craft, and sumptuous leathers that called out to be touched – and for the lucky few, worn.
As for Givenchy, for his first runway show for the house, creative director Matthew M Williams said he wanted to “build on the tradition of [the label’s] history while also really looking towards the future.” The show featured several notable collaborations – with the artist Josh Smith on the collection, and with the rapper Young Thug on the soundtrack – and the clothes themselves seemed to embody several different dualities: “luxury and utility, lavishness and austerity, together with imperfect beauty and humanity,” according to the show notes, as well as that sense of reverence to the house’s past and a desire to press forward into its future.