Paris Fashion Week: IFM sets the ball rolling with feminist wedding dresses
XXL knitwear expanding in the fourth dimension, provocative sheer effects, tassels galore: the French Fashion Institute (IFM) kicked off Paris Fashion Week’s vibrant calendar at its 34 quai d'Austerlitz headquarters in the French capital with an experimental show, in which boldness was the name of the game.
The international graduates of the IFM’s MA in Fashion Design and Knitwear Design presented their collections (composed of five to seven looks each) in an event, previously held digitally, that was staged physically for the first time, with DEFI as the IFM’s official partner.
The show presenting the students’ 24 collections was held at IFM, a fashion academy located at the heart of Paris’ City of Fashion and Design. The event was produced by the OBO agency. Tasselled-leather looks and imitation-tapestry oversize down jackets followed one another in front of hanging curtains in cream linen, to a soundtrack composed by Blaise d’Anjeac and Antoine Gasse.
“Two of our students will head off to do national service after their graduation, and in their creations they wanted to give a fresh twist to the combat uniforms they’ll soon be wearing, a very touching gesture,” said Leyla Neri, director of the MA in Fashion Design, a course chosen by about 60 students.
South Korean graduate Gookhyun Lee dressed his ‘romantic army’ in tie-dye palazzo trousers, for a rather 80s look, and suit jackets with oversized shoulders. Young Taiwanese designer Po-Chieh Chiu decked out his ‘dreamy army’ in a surfeit of prints, his military looks featuring bleached cargo jeans, jackets with multiple zips and knitted head coverings.
Sologamy and cake dresses
“Just married, to myself.” To close the show, Eun Pyo Hong, a 27-year-old South Korean designer, presented an ode to sologamy, with her immaculate knitted wedding dresses. One of them, with a long train that read “just married” as though hand-written in cream on a cake, embroidered with lustrous beads and slit at the front to reveal glittering fishnet tights.
In addition, a yummy-looking cake dress, imitated a lavish confectionery centrepiece decorated with the white and pale-pink flowers typical of wedding ceremonies, and was complemented by a pair of platform sneakers “ideal for running, or fleeing from the altar,” in Hong’s own words.
“When you watch Disney movies, or TV series like ‘Sex and the City’, you can see the typical female anxieties and fears of being abandoned,” said Hong. “I’ve always wondered why women are so afraid of being jilted, even when they are princesses, when they have a wonderful life and a career of their own,” added Hong, who after graduating from IFM will join Alexander McQueen.
With her feminist collection called ‘I Said Yes, to Myself’, the Seoul-born designer, who has lived in Chicago and New York and did a stint at the Vera Wang studio working on wedding dresses, said she wanted to emphasise “the fun, positive attitude and the calm you acquire when you marry yourself. You can have your own cake, and eat it by yourself!”
A keen feel for craftsmanship
“Our goal is to combine very powerful creativity with a personal, experimental artistic dimension, and at the same time to achieve mastery in soft-focus work and tailoring, in dyeing techniques and fabric transformation,” said Neri.
According to the course director, who is passionate about fashion design and anthropology: “we must combine these dimensions in order to not just come out with pretty lines but to be creative, designing garments with directional style and finely honed technique.”
About 60 students attend the IFM’s MA in Fashion Design, some of which from the ready-to-wear sector, last year “had the opportunity to work at Chanel's 19M centre, which is where they developed this keen feel for craftsmanship and detail they have translated in their work,” said Neri.
Following this fall/winter show by the Fashion Design and Knitwear Design MA students, the 16 students of the Fashion Image course will showcase their work in April, while the students’ accessories collections will be unveiled during Paris Fashion Week in September.
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