It’s no secret that politics infuses fashion — and some critics are interpreting the mania for blue at Paris Fashion Week as a statement of “the blues” about the perceived rise of nationalism across Europe and America.
Here are some highlights from Sunday’s star-filled Paris shows — including how a 9-year-old fashionista turned heads at Valentino.
BLUE IS COLOR OF SEASON
While its exact symbolism is up for debate, one thing is certain: blue is the colour of the season.
A host of designers have all used the symbolically-charged hue in their autumn-winter collections.
Those include Britain’s Phoebe Philo at Celine, Italy’s Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, Japan’s Yoshiyuki Miyamae at Issey Miyake, Georgia’s David Koma at Mugler and Lebanon’s Elie Saab.
On the immigration front, France’s culture minister said that the Parisian fashion industry — which relies heavily on foreign talent — is under threat owing to the rise of nationalism.
What do you get if you combine Victorian-era styles with those of Italian Postmodern design?
Designer Pierpaolo Piccioli gave us a pretty good idea in his gentle and thoughtful Valentino collection on Sunday that took both for inspiration.
His high 19th-century collars fused with the geometry of the Memphis Group, a design and architecture group founded in Milan that created furniture, fabrics and objects in the 1980s. Silhouettes were softly geometric and hung loosely from the shoulder.
Colors were also gentle — raspberry, sage green, turquoise, sheeny black with white. A stylish flash of Cadmium yellow blossomed on a standout silken dress.
An ethnic, multicoloured patchwork coat was handled with subtlety — while long, soft pleats gently lined some of the most beautiful gowns seen this season.
CELEBRITIES PACK VALENTINO’S FRONT ROW
Actress Kristin Scott Thomas and model Natalia Vodianova hugged as they posed for photographers in the bright conservatory annex at the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild in Paris.
Joining them on Valentino’s front row was House of Cards actress Kate Mara, who stunned in a sheer embellished gown with delicate horizontal tiers from Valentino’s pre-fall 2017 collection.
A ray of sunshine peeped out between the rain clouds as she spoke to the AP.
“Well, the sun came out specifically for Valentino! This [conservatory] is incredible as they built this part just for the show,” Mara said. “I always feel really fantastic in this clothing. I love Pierpaolo — I’ve never seen a Valentino dress that I don’t love. Everything he makes is unique.”
IVAN, THE 9-YEAR-OLD FASHIONISTA
Valentino’s illustrious guest list normally causes a stir for its famous attendees.
But Sunday’s collection had heads turning for a different reason: Ivan, 9, whose feet didn’t touch the floor as he sat front row in the gilded salon.
Ivan wore a mint green fur coat, Gucci slippers and shades as he admired Pierpaolo Piccioli’s soft geometric designs. He didn’t let his age or the famous attendees intimidate him, and snapped pictures studiously as the collection went by.
“I’m Ivan. I’m nine. I designed the capsule collection for my mom who’s a designer, Natasha Zinko,” he told the AP, defending his decision to wear shades on a drizzly day. “It was sunny when I came here.”
He added he’s been following fashion “nearly a year maybe,” and has enjoyed attending collections by Dior and Haider Ackermann.
His mother said she brought him because she couldn’t find a nanny.
“He was [at shows] last year a few times, but this time there was no one to stay at home with him, so I brought him with me,” Zinko said. “He’s enjoying the weekend in Paris. And, now he’s going back to London to school.”
Designer Phoebe Philo seemed to shrink the models in her inventive, proportion-play of a Celine show.
A gargantuan, white knee-length necklace accompanied a one-meter canary yellow handbag.
While, a cape made of oversized sleeves followed a two-meter emerald green fringed blanket, alongside huge blown-up prints.
But the collection, despite its dramatic — and intellectual — musing, remained highly wearable.
It’s a rare feat.
Oversized tailored menswear jackets made an appearance, fusing into beautifully gathered gowns with Empire-line busts.
One of the best looks in navy, with this Napoleon-era silhouette, was given a sublime contemporary twist with exaggeratedly wide, long flappy shirt-cuffs.
It was the Wild West — but not as we know it.
Guillaume Henry saddled up his fashion horse and headed to America for Nina Ricci’s collection late Saturday.
The lauded designer tamed the styles of the American cowgirl for the chic Parisian audience with a beautifully soft colour palette, with lashings of pink and peach. Skirts and coats with hip cutouts evoked cowboy chaps.
Prints with cowboy and rodeo motifs speckled with stars followed buttoned-up shirts, belts with exaggerated silver buckles, checks and hanging pendants with cowboy- style silver clasps.
A standout long coat-pant look toyed cleverly with the rodeo style. Feminine soft turquoise replaced blue denim, and the big Western leather collar was given a feminine twist, flopping softly and delicately.
The golden age of couture — with a quirky twist.
That was on the menu for Bill Gaytten, who designs for the house of John Galliano, and took guests down the annals of fashion history. It made for a richly reverential show Sunday night that celebrated post-War styles and played with off-kilter proportion.
Black ostrich feather hats, popular in that era — were reimagined in exaggerated width.
Coats that resembled the influential 1947 Bar Jacket, invented by Christian Dior where John Galliano worked for 15 years, were given a tweak with bulbous lower part and military buttons.
And a dull purple gown that had the satine sheen of a classic Thirties Hollywood glamour puss — was twinned with baggy pants.