In an autumn-winter season that’s featured a fair share of fur on the runway in spite of growing resistance, Stella McCartney’s show was the ecological antidote at Paris Fashion Week.
Guests including actresses Kristin Scott Thomas and Isabelle Huppert were served up green juices with spirulina before the McCartney’s beautifully uplifting leather-and-fur-free collection inside the ornate Paris Opera.
Here are some highlights of the shows, including Giambattista Valli and Alexander McQueen.
There’s so much to feel good about in a Stella McCartney show. Monday’s ever-imaginative styles used artful deconstruction to produce a fresh fusion of menswear and womenswear styles.
A man’s suit was turned inside out and turned into a fluid dress with bare seams. Suit pants were cut at the knee as if they’d been guillotined. And a minimalist grey waistcoat featured a chic couture-like peplum silhouette.
Statement knitwear was a key theme. Traditional Aran sweaters — in big cable knit — hit a surreal note in multicolour with huge sleeves that made the arms completely disappear.
McCartney, a famed vegan, thus proved you don’t need fur to be glamorous and stay warm in winter.
The 46 styles were served up with an uplifting, foot-tapping soundtrack that provoked a moment of humour.
“Where the hell’s my phone?” it boomed out. “You’re holding it.”
iPhone-addicted influencers smiled in a moment of self-reflection.
McCartney joined the legion of fashion houses — such as Givenchy and Saint Laurent — which are now showcasing designs for men during the womenswear week.
The merging styles maximise the commercial impact for each season, but they also serve to blur gender lines and encourage the world to not see gender (and dressing) as so binary.
Monday’s show marked the official launch of the British-American designer’s menswear capsule with eight looks modelled on men. They styles — like a big blown-up check coat and an oversized cable knit sweater — mirrored many of the women’s styles.
Long, flowing and graceful were the silhouettes of the season for Giambattista Valli — who attracted socialite Olivia Palermo to his front row in the concrete labyrinth basement of Paris’ Palais de Tokyo.
The venue lent itself more to chaos than grace — and many guests were given erroneous seats or otherwise got lost.
Yet when the beautifully-executed collection began, it was all about patterns — more than making up for the earlier confusion. Checks, “GBV” monograms, florals, dots and thick stripes gave a kinesis to the styles, which had a feel for the 70s.
The ethnic styles in that era were a design touchstone — such as geometric markings on a bodice or myriad hanging pendants.
Center parts and glittery face paint on the models combined with these styles to evoke a very chic Woodstock hippie.
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN’S METAMORPHOSIS
Transformation was at the core of Sarah Burton’s fashion ode Monday night.
The Alexander McQueen designer used the idea of the metamorphosing insect — a softly armoured Scarab beetle or a butterfly — and creatively flew with it.
Silk dresses with a vivid, all-encompassing butterfly print gave way to unfurling black leather bustiers and sections of colourful material that peeped out underneath a black tuxedo like butterfly wings emerging from a black cocoon.
But the roving imaginative explorations were handled tightly. It was a collection that stuck closely to the house’s signature silhouettes of strong shoulders, narrow waists and exaggerated hip sections.
The idea of the insect transformation was also metaphorical from Burton, who’s known as an “intellectual” designer. It produced the strongest parts of the collection.
She developed on from the “morphing of one creature into another” into the morphing of “one garment into another.”
A tight black military coat cut an interesting style on model Stella Tennant as it transformed into a billowing striped, fringed poncho at the hem.
Beyond designer Clare Waight Keller’s gentle manner lies a powerful creative psyche that’s dark, brooding and gritty.
That revelation was brought into focus at Sunday’s strong collection for Givenchy in which the British designer shed her usual politeness and delved deep into the night.
Big pimp-style fur coats with stylish statement markings opened the collection alongside unfurling cuffed boots in soft leather that evoked the feeling of being hurriedly put on.
This season sees “the air thick with sleaze and danger,” said the house.
The sharp-edged styles — which included big floppy leather belts in brown, black and tan, houndstooth suits with razor shoulders, as well as zebra and leopard prints — set the time dial to the late ‘80s.
A spattering of menswear styles was a nice complement to the urban grit — including an oversized white coat and marl jacket underneath that captured the heady days of the Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards.
The collection shows that Waight Keller is growing in confidence at the storied label.
As many of his Hollywood peers were gearing up for the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Elba joined fashion insiders in Paris to see the latest chapter of Waight Keller’s evolving vision for the house a full year into her creative stewardship.
“I’m excited about it,” Elba, a rare face at Fashion Week shows, told The Associated Press.
Acting is still the 45-year-old star’s main preoccupation and he took the opportunity to talk about his latest projects. Currently filming the latest season of British series Luther, for which he won a Golden Globe, Elba is trying his hand at a new skill: comedy.
“The next thing that comes out is a thing called In The Long Run, which is a TV show about my life,” he said.
He acknowledged “it’s my first time jumping into comedy” — but said “I’m loving it” so far.
Elie Saab went to the “dark romance” of the Victorian era for inspiration for his brooding fall-winter offerings.
The house produced a predominantly black collection of high necklines, statement bell and Juliette sleeves, defined shoulders and lots and lots and lots of ruffles.
There was a delicacy to some of the fabrics and detailing such as in large velvet bows draped from collars inspired by the 19th-century paintings of France’s Auguste Renoir.
Saab fused that covered-up era’s styles with an exploration of all things floral — and served it on his bread-and-butter design choice, cinched-waisted gowns.
The collection, entitled “Winter Bouquets,” had blooms as prints, embroideries and appliques in white, blush, powder blue and burgundy.