six things you may have missed at paris fashion week
From Thom Browne's lesbian icons to Stella McCartney's eco warriors.
Vivienne Westwood Lets the Clothes Speak for Themselves
During London Fashion Week, Vivienne Westwood staged a show that was more of a dramatic environmental protest than a regular fashion presentation. However, for the Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood show in Paris, the focus was on clothes, and they were great. Andreas presented a collection that riffed on the codes of Westwood while creating new propositions: draped dresses with snoods, military jackets with cartoonishly large shoulders, corsetry popping out of sculpting bodices, chintzy florals with a tough edge.
Stella McCartney Offers a Wardrobe for Eco-Warriors
Although Stella McCartney has been one of fashion’s great advocates for sustainability for quite some time now, the British designer put it front and centre of her latest collection in a way that she hasn’t previously. She used her show to bring attention to the Leuser Ecosystem, an Indonesian rainforest that is home to more than 500 animal species and under threat from palm oil production, logging and paper-pulping (many of the 150 million trees cut down each year to make fabric are logged). Her hashtag #ThereSheGrows allows people to dedicate a tree to someone, so the names were emblazoned across the catwalk. The collection itself was inflected with Japanese karate belts and draped silhouettes, although McCartney said she was looking to northern soul. Many of the pieces were made with fabrics from previous collections, as well as sustainable viscose sourced from certified forests in Sweden, organic cotton and eco-canvas. Set to Brooklyn rapper Leikeli47’s Post That, the show had a palpable sense of energy that eco-fashion so desperately needs.
Roses Aren’t Just Red at Noir by Kei Ninomiya
What Kei Ninomiya can do with fabric is remarkable, especially considering that the Japanese designer still has a small team and makes everything entirely by hand. As models emerged with floral headpieces by Azuma Makoto, the sweet smells of red roses filled the air. The honeycomb lattices that were on display in dramatic shapes were a result of Ninomiya’s stitchless technique, which means that fabric is knotted and plaited rather than sewn together. Biker jackets morphed into hybrid dresses with caged skirts, while dresses and tailoring were twisted beyond recognition into something altogether more sculptural. Ninomiya is a member of the Comme des Garçons family, a protégé of Kawakubo herself. It’s little wonder that he has been given his own platform by the brand, as he continues to show just how spectacularly talented he is.
Thom Browne Pays Homage to a Lesbian Icon
An archetypal corporate office complete with grey desks, reading lamps and typewriters lined the venue for Thom Browne’s show at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Each desk had on it a framed picture of Una, Lady Troubridge, the early-20th century lesbian literary figure. She was the partner of Radclyffe Hall, and part of a group of Sapphic women, which included Dorothy Todd, and which Marlene Dietrich orbited. The monocle and trouser suit was their uniform. The image of Lady Troubridge became a recurring motif in a collection that riffed on Browne’s signature hyper-tailored suits and coats. Models in uniform-like looks sat and typed, as more and more opulent ensembles -- embroidered gold coats, trompe l’oeil bouclé suits -- came down the catwalk with dog-shaped handbags (Lady Troubridge was a lover of dachshunds).
Kwaidan Editions Stages a Debut Show Underground
As fashion purists with serious pedigree (Balenciaga, Céline, Rick Owens, Dior), Léa Dickely and Hung La of Kwaidan Editions were always going to do something unexpected for their first catwalk show. So the duo chose to do one in the basement of a Parisian carpark. There was a purple carpet, no seating and Alan Vega thumping out of freestanding speakers. For their collection, they asked themselves some questions: “How to professionalise? How to be a woman? How to be taken seriously?” The answer was a sense of serious sharpness -- perfectly streamlined tailoring, old-school baguette bags and only hints of a double-life through rave flier swirl prints, funky zebra, kinky rubberised-leather coats and funky yellow zebra-prints.
Louise Trotter Gives Lacoste a New Direction
Louise Trotter made her debut at Lacoste with the oomph of a tennis ball hitting Federer’s racket. It was held at the Tennis Club de Paris, with set evoking a green tennis lawn. Trotter was previously at Joseph, where she revamped the British brand and offered up a wardrobe of smart, unexpected clothes. At Lacoste, familiar tropes given a Trotter twist. The Lacoste polo shirt was deconstructed with stripe-knit collars, layered as twinsets and exaggerated into oversized jerseys. The tennis skirt was transformed into box-pleated tunics and aprons, worn with wide-leg trousers. And that famous Lacoste crocodile was riffed on in myriad ways, from all-over prints to exploded patchworks to monograms on baseball caps that were worn with almost every look.