Winter has never felt more exciting, as with the various interpretations of outerwear this Paris Fashion Week. On the eighth day, we visited the surrealist world of JC de Castelbajac and the romantic rock ‘n’ roll jam of Valentin Yudashkin. Fatima Lopes, Zuhair Murad, Matthew Williamson, and Shiatzy Chen are the other designers we explored.
It is not often we begin our mornings with a taste of burlesque. We made our way through the jazzy entrance of Paris’ illustrious Le Lido, passed the limpid light fixtures and arrived at a plush red velvet booth. With the clap of an invisible hand, crystal chandeliers lowered and a shadowy curtain lifted. A psychedelic backdrop emitted geometric installations of gold to foreshadow the three-dimensional designs of Portuguese designer Fatima Lopes. Triangular-cut bodices fashioned out of crinkled leather emerged in shades of muted olive and rose. Multifaceted, verdurous knitwear revealed exaggerated, cylindrical sleeves while final looks included feather headdresses coupled with black contemporary conceptual dresses.
JC de Castelbajac highlighted the feminine surrealism of artist Meret Oppenheim in his sophisticated and fresh sportswear collection. The French designer opened his show with a variety of striped colored scarves and braided tops. Textural elements were key, including the mélange of cashmere coats and fur blazers. Castelbajac also created a few jackets with architectural napkin pleats that allowed gracious movement at every step. Lastly, we couldn’t forget the garments with printed faces that gave the collection an artistic urban groove.
Valentin Yudashkin channelled romantic rock ‘n’ roll grit with his new collection of leather jackets and dresses of crocodile skin. Aside from interweaving rose branches with flowers from black lacquer, there were also geometric ornaments used to give a luxurious rock feel. Yudashkin experimented with 3D pleats around the waist, and ultimately excelled in outwear, with coats with large lapels and one with a hood.
Floating lamps shaped like blossoms trimmed the decorous Zuhair Murad showroom, appearing like glimmering floral fireflies. Fittingly, the Lebanese designer’s A/W 2014 collection was an entomological, microcosmic spectacle of monochromatic, dusky evening gowns. Murad spun a multifarious web of glistening chiffon, satin, and jersey to create an ethereal aesthetic magnified by breathtaking lace details and intricate, plunging backs.
English fashion designer Matthew Williamson presented his 70s-inspired collection full of lively energy and textural play. While staying true to his diaphanous dresses, Williamson embroidered stars and polka dots throughout the season, among fresh colours of soft blue, mint, and fiery red. He was moved by vintage household interiors and that lifestyle, and then crafted a series of retro jeans, double-breasted dresses, and beautiful transparent velvet numbers. Williamson even fashioned dresses out of chain-mail.
Shiatzy Chen found inspiration in “Ink Stone,” one of the Four Treasures of the Scholar’s Study in Chinese culture, among brush, ink and paper. The collection unfolded with a myriad of colours and textures, from baby blue peat coats to a lime green furry qipao. Chen explored flamboyant looks of bubblegum pink trousers and sparkly dresses, interpreting the ancient Chinese symbol of the ink stone in a modern way.
Words / Sheri Chiu and Chloe Rash
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