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The highlights of Paris Fashion Week

Image via Instagram/Issey Miyake
Words by Tess Macallan

Saved the best for last.

From J-Lo closing Versace, to one model’s unusual walk at Maison Margiela, recent Fashion Week shows seem to be in close competition for who can break the Internet.

On Sunday, Balenciaga garnered excitement with a genderless runway that had a mix of models and non-models, inclusive of all ages.

The show began with a masculine feast of black suiting and boxy silhouettes. No stone of shoulder pad was left unturned. Touches of lime green jacket lining turned into dramatic florals in hues of blue, and crazy logo-mania prints.

Not one to end with a whimper, cascading tin-foil gowns closed the runway, rivalling medieval church bells in shape and shaggy-dog mousse cakes from Breadtop in personality.

 

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But it was on the Friday that Issey Miyake stole the show. Newly-appointed lead designer, Satoshi Kondo, orchestrated a performance reminiscent of Alexander McQueen’s Spring 1999 show.

But this time, it was a refreshingly joyous affair.

Models in nude dresses descended the floor space before giving way to a catwalk ensemble of vibrant colour and billowing garments. Before long, models on skateboards appeared, gliding around each other with pleasing smoothness.

Large hoops strung with pleated fabric floated down from the ceiling, triggering memories of those rainbow parachutes from primary school. They turned out to be dresses, which the models donned gracefully. The show aimed to respect the way fabric moves on the human body and in earthly conditions, while remaining true to the artistry of shape that is distinctive of the brand’s ethos.

Both the runway and the clothes celebrated the human form in a way that seems absent from current trends. 

A less optimistic kind of futurism was seen at Marine Serre on Tuesday. The young designer titled her collection Marée Noire, which translates to ‘oil spill’. As Serre explained before the show, the collection imagines a world in the wake of a climate disaster.

Taking place outdoors on a rainy Parisian day, the show’s gloomy atmosphere was punctuated only slightly with pops of colour and a Pomeranian pup held by one of the models as she walked.

Patent PVC coats mimicked the slick of an oil spill and gas masks completed the neo-apocalyptic wasteland setting, which was fit for the Mad Max-style ensembles that cruised the pipeline runway.

Despite the sense of impending doom, Serre’s commitment to sustainable design — 50 per cent of her collection is made from up-cycled materials — brings hope to her vision.

While it seems like every collection that shows at Fashion Weeks this September is a statement about our current time, some designers continue to march to their own beat. At Céline, eyes were on Hedi Slimane as he presented a collection that echoed a ’70s Parisian woman and not much else.

If you squint your eyes, you can see a little bit of the old Céline, but you really have to try.

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