Paris Fashion Week: Loewe, Victoria Beckham, Yohji Yamamoto and Schiaparelli
A magnificent show by a Northern Irishman; an impressive debut by a UK star; poetic fashion from a Japanese veteran and a moment of homage to an American. Displays by four foreigner designers in the past 36 hours have rarely made Paris Fashion Week seem more international.
Loewe: Coveted repetition
Jonathan Anderson telegraphed his concept for his latest stellar collection for the house of Loewe by sending every guest an invitation that included a bright red anthurium flower with central poker-shaped spathe.
The same flamingo flower - made of plexiglass - greeting guests at the show, staged inside the Garde Républicaine equestrian stables. A flower so large it looked like it might grow through the giant glass roof of the building. A 3D rendering of an actual tropical flower, which managed to be both sinister and yet comforting. What Jonathan called “an Eyes Wide Shut” moment.
Anthuriums then appearing in over a score of looks. On just one foot of the pumps worn below the opening bell-jar shape dress worn by actress Taylor Russell. Or as a breastplates for several micro frocks; sprouting from shoes; or even dangling from side totes.
“I like this idea of something in nature that looks fake but is real. The idea of iconography, and things that remind you of something else,” explained Anderson post show.
Yet the biggest news was Anderson playing throughout with proportions - tightening, deflating and exaggerating.
Like a slim moss green dress, fronted by a back-to-front men’s blazer. It shouldn’t really have worked, but it did, so well. While other beige or egg shell blue silk dresses looked like they were draped upwards, rising to a series of peaks at the neckline.
Anderson will always love an outrageous shoe, and this season he made several in hundreds of deflated balloons, like rubberised mops.
He kept repeating variations of his ideas with slight changes throughout the show, in an almost meditative process, playing playfully with silhouettes.
Every so often a glitch, like the print made up of squares, as if a video screen had frozen. And some marvellous reduced Barbour-style waxed raincoats cut like mini A-Line coats and a series of micro shearling bombers that screamed 'must have!'
Anderson’s ability to balance craft, creativity and commerce never ceases to impress. Under his guidance, Loewe has grown almost four fold in revenues, which are expected to break one billion euros in 2022.
Plus, this collection felt like a huge hot artistic hit from the very first passage, ushered in by huge piano chords.
“I had a vision of Taylor Russell opening the show. She’s a really good friend of mine. This precision in someone who already seems the future of acting or performance. I like the idea, how do you make austere positive? And she did this and set the right tone,” concluded Anderson, the most fertile imagination in fashion today.
Victoria Beckham: Graceful in Val-de-Grâce
The hottest ticket in Paris this Friday was to see Victoria Beckham, to witness the British designer making her Paris debut with a graceful collection inside a cloisters at Val-de-Grâce.
Besides her family - including hubby David, eldest son and daughter-in-law, Nicola Peltz - two of the hottest designers in France sat front row - Simon Porte Jacquemus and Nicolas Di Felice of Courreges.
Any Anglo-Saxon taking a collection to Paris always runs a risk. French and continental critics can be unforgiving. But, this turned out to be a triumph for Beckham, with a collection made with her finest fabrics to date, updated tailoring and impeccable draping.
Little wonder, after several tricky years of restructuring, the house is poised to return to the black. This collection will make that happen more rapidly.
“It’s been a dream for such a long time to show in Paris, and the fact that we are really here is amazing. And I told myself, I’m an independent brand and I always get nervous before shows, but I’m really going to enjoy every single moment!” enthused Beckham, in a pre-show preview.
Beckham spent a decade showing in Manhattan, before decamping to London four years ago. Generally staging tight shows inside relatively intimate settings on both sides of the pond, from the Public Library on Fifth Avenue to a Regency ballroom in Whitehall.
In the Paris cloisters, stands outs in tailoring included a really cool biker jacket with embossed spiky lapels; or a classy soft pink blazer with embossed peak lapels. Even a simple stretch mesh semi sheer blazer had tremendous élan.
Beckham took plenty of risks with her tailoring; in particular a mannish black linen blazer, made with an open back held together with just a cross strap. But they all paid off.
Yet, the heart of the matter was her slim-line dresses, artfully draped or ruched or bias cut and made in linen, chiffon or organza shell prints at the finale. Plus, Victoria added a risqué touch with monogram lace leggings and tights.
Being true to herself, with a silhouette that recalled her earliest days showing in intimate presentations for barely a dozen people within an Upper East Side townhouse in New York. Though elevating her ideas for Paris with more advanced techniques, like adding tassels, which were also used in a series of new bags.
Beckham, whose first shows in NYC used obscure but sharply models, also splashed out on her casting, in a cabinet des mannequins that included Gigi and Bella Hadid, and opened and closed with Rianne van Rompaey.
Inside sources are predicting that revenues will reach £60 million this year, with a booming beauty business accounting for half.
Aided by this impressive French debut. After almost 15 years of runway shows, this collection must rate as one of Victoria’s three best-ever.
Schiaparelli: Homage paid to its ready-to-wear
Le tout Paris took themselves to Place Vendome on Thursday afternoon to witness the Spring/Summer 2023 ready-to-wear collection of Schiaparelli.
Kylie Jenner came to pay homage, as did Chiara Ferragni, to Daniel Roseberry and his latest body parts driven display. Staged inside the Hotel d'Evreux, where hundreds of fans and street photographers had gathered in the rain outside.
Bold graphic cutouts greeted one entering, from which hung scores of hand bags bedecked with golden metal ears, eyes, mouths and noses. The same parts that appeared on ravishingly well-cut bias cut silk dresses.
Just a trio of live models wandered around the opulent salons, one in a beautifully cut blazer, finished with nine golden and pearl buttons. While Roseberry revived Elsa’s iconic cello dress, updated with another series of golden buttons. Even making one version in denim.
For rock goddess after parties there was a faded blue denim jacket emblazoned on the back with a gold Aztec sun. For truly surreal moments, a hand-painted golden torso on top of a black leotard.
“I call it pret-a-couture,” explained the patron Diego della Valle, at the presentation.
Yohji Yamamoto: Poetry in city hall
A poetic moment and a salutary lesson in draping by Yohji Yamamoto, almost completely composed in black and white.
A brilliantly jumbled up meeting of historicism, femme-fatale fancies and askew corsetry pulled together by Yamamoto’s skills.
Presented underneath a huge ceiling fresco, whose heroines being saved from angry gods oddly echoed the collection on the runway. Except many of Yamamoto’s gals wore leggings and fab new sneakers.
“I wanted to blend 17th-and 18th-century costumes with today’s streetwear to make a new modernity,” explained Yamamoto, before receiving praise from Tyga.
The busiest fashion fan in Paris this week, Tyga has been showing up at multiple shows including Rick Owens.
As the show progressed, the Japanese designer added in great gilded architectural prints and Japanese script. A meeting of east and west that continued on the sound track. It again featured Yohji, ramping up huge chords on a steel guitar as he sang a Japanese version of Lou Reed’s 'Take a Walk on the Wild Side'.
Which this show felt like, the latest expression of Yamamoto’s poetic style, and an unmissable collection for true aficionados.
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