12 parisian designers to follow in 2016
They might not all be French, but these designers are defining the new creative spirit of Paris.
The Belgian designer Glenn Martens has made it to the top of the French fashion world in an incredibly short time. His fashion universe is created from equal part 90s grunge and romantic goth, clashing with a traditional vision of Paris -- often too canonized and nostalgic. His collections are unisex and his identity is bold and deep-rooted. Martens has a sincere and strong approach to clothing, which is exactly what Paris fashion needs.
Christelle Kocher is part of a new generation of French designers who understand that luxury and the street are vital to each other -- and that this interdependence can lead to wonderful things. As well as running her own brand, Kocher is also the artistic director of Maison Lemarié, one of the specialist ateliers owned by Chanel. Her debut show, which took place between the closed shops in Parisian shopping mall Les Halles, displayed her bold identity for the first time. It set out her stall perfectly, luxury and savoir-faire infused with street spirit.
Fashion is often considered a minor art form, purely commercial, which pushes the whole fashion world to blow things out of proportion to gain legitimacy. But the duo of creators hiding behind the iconic name of Courrèges, Arnaud Vaillant and Sébatien Meyer (who had already seduced everyone with their work at Coperni), excel in the art of refinement and understand that such a vision is often more powerful than extravagance. Courrèges sits perfectly in its time, just as it used to when the brand was in its first hey-day in the 60s.
Last September, the incredibly talented Johanna Senyk presented her first collection in a warehouse that had partially burned down a few years ago. In its 90s prime, the place was well known for its amazing parties, and the show itself was as an homage to youth and real girls. The girls who walked the show were strong, sexy and confident: "A girl can be sexy without having a breast on the table. And she can also be elegant while smoking cigarettes sitting on the floor," Johanna told us right after her show. Wanda Nylon is clothing for the new Parisian girl. Voilà.
The young French designer has received a whole lot of awards -- she won the Hyères price in 2011 and followed that up with the ANDAM in 2015. Léa believes in elegance. She puts her zeal, intensity, and spirit at the service of an extremely beautiful aesthetic -- one that looks like art. It's a very precious approach to fashion, a too rare one as well.
Virgil Abloh, who could be described as the discreet prince of street wear, is about to present his first Paris menswear show, following on from his womenswear debut last season. Virgil whispers a lot of good ideas in the ears of Kanye West during the day, DJs at night, and pretty much invented the modern creative director. The Off-White studio and ateliers are all based in Milan but the designer has chosen to establish the legitimacy of his very luxury vision in Paris. Talking to i-D a few months ago, he spoke about how he was willing to change things. Virgil declared "Streetwear is like disco. When it started, disco was cool but the term didn't age well, and neither did the genre." We can't wait to see the result.
"My brand isn't about Paris and Tokyo. It's about suburban France and Hokkaido. That's where I'm from." This is how Noémie Aiko Sebayashi -- a young Franco-Japanese designer -- presented herself in an interview for i-D. Employing deconstructed logos, a dismantled vision of street wear and a crazy sense of detail, Nattofranco follows the path that revolutionary brand Vetements started tracing in the French capital city.
Finnish designer Tuomas Merikoski -- who came up at Givenchy and Louis Vuitton -- launched his own brand a year ago and based it in Paris. Aalto is the fashion reflection of a European youth, inspired by a collectively shared mythology and modern history. Between its free parties and dismantlement, ultra cool pieces, Aalto is capturing the aesthetic of the right here, right now.
What would French fashion be without female suiting? In 2013, the designer -- who was more used to making mock ups for big fashion houses -- launched his first capsule collection. Since then, the two tailors Daniel Pallas and Veronique Bousquet have taken the brand out of the shadow of the big French houses. For that, they hired the incredibly gifted Allegria Torrassa and Nikhi Pauls to work on developing the brand.
If you don't know their name yet, don't worry -- you will. This collective was created in 2014 by a group of young and anonymous designers. Based between Lille and Paris, Drône are reinventing French street wear as something full of African motifs and technical details. Their work mirrors an aspiring new generation, both extremely conscious and aware. Their reflective jackets glow like meteorites and have seduced a few adepts within the French rap scene.
Freedom, movement and simplicity: with those three watchwords and a few collections, Etienne Deroeux imposes himself with a disarming serenity with the French fashion landscape. Straight cuts and franc monochromes meet sculptural stripes (designed as an homage to Brancusi). His chic sportswear is designed for our generation rather than his. His clothes are cleverly thought but don't give lessons.