The fourth day of Paris Fashion Week focused on the aesthetic wonders of storytelling. From Issey Miyake’s architectural constructions reminiscent of the ripples in a pond to Undercover’s fairy-tale vision, this day stirred the imagination in all of us. Anne Sofie Madsen illustrated a scene from Alien, and Yohji Yamamoto delved into surprisingly seductive designs. We also visited the worlds of AUDRA, Chalayan, Maison IRFÉ and AF Vandevorst.
Paris Fashion Week saw Philadelphia-born French-based newcomer, AUDRA, launch the proceedings of Day 4. Set in the shop front of fleuriste Stéphane Chapelle, the ‘Canvas of Evolution’ presentation played on the theme of refining change. The Savannah College of Art and Design graduate designer, Audra Noyes, dared to deconstruct American sportswear as if by hand; the playfulness of the approach coupled with French couture technique learned from working under Lanvin some years ago. Looks reflected a minimalist approach to fashion with whites-on-whites constructing clean and luminous aesthetics; pop-collar details and cubic mesh symbolism on trousers added symmetry and geometric motifs. But it was Noyes’ couture foundations that shone with a play on traditional lamé, toile and jacquard; draping over a live model to spontaneously create a rose peach gown in Italian silk ready to walk next season’s Oscar red carpet.
Titled “Moor’s Gaze”, Hussein Chalayan’s new collection evoked a spirit of Saharan princess with an evolutionary process of cardigans turning into skirts. Starting off the défilé were tailored blazers fastened at the hem and side slits on the skirts and pants. Prints made a big comeback for Chalayan, with flowing V-cut dresses in light, silky fabrics juxtaposed against graphical cardigans paired with black dresses. Overall, the collection was as true to Chalayn’s style as it was a breath of fresh air.
Once again, Issey Miyake gave a spectacular show that began with Ei Wada performing quirky, live music. It involved fluctuating balloons attached to spinning wheels; all connected to a piano Wada was playing from. The first six outfits opened the show in an anime-like utopia, firstly being all white, and secondly showcasing the label’s new technological evolution: 3D Steam Stretch. As each outfit lined down the catwalk, we were presented with either a voluminous jacket in beige that hugged the skin comfortably or a clash of grid-like prints in the form of a jumpsuit. This season was a pinnacle in the Miyake revolution and an exciting new discovery of Steam Stretch.
Olga Sorokina of Maison IRFÉ opened the show with an array of sophisticatedly cut black and white separates. Silhouettes were sharp in the use of graphic edges and razor tanks that accentuated shoulders. Military chic invaded the collection, with army jackets and bermudas in olive. A certain parachute dress and wide skirt with zipper detailing caught our attention. Ombré hues of navy, artichoke, and jungle green were translated into a variety of elegant looks, fastened together with buckled belts.
As we walked down the dark, dingy halls, giant cherries in the shape of skulls lined the middle of the Undercover’s catwalk. Innocence and corruption echoed within the catwalk, as if in an ‘Alice In Wonderland’ scenario. Blue-dyed tutu dresses were paired with beige leather jackets, blue feathered sleeves, and feathered masks. In contrast, dresses and skirts in a Bosch-like pattern narrated the dreamy story. Jun Takahashi transported us to another dimension this season.
Marking her very first runway show in Paris, Anne Sofie Madsen was all thrills after the défilé. “I can’t even describe how I’m feeling now,” the Danish designer excitedly jittered. Just like Madsen’s demeanour, her collection “Come Undone” was filled with emotion. Ruching, pleats, and fringe on neutral shades contributed to a quietly distressed look, as if Madsen’s woman had travelled through the cables of a broken time machine. “My starting point was the silent scenes in the Alien film where Sigourney Weaver is in her destroyed cotton underwear with her cat. These private, personal moments were very inspiring for me. It led me to images of women being alone in these situations,” Madsen described. A colour palette of bone, ash, and black was interwoven with tassels and noticeable stitching. Loose, relaxed fits juxtaposed daring scoop backs. Some models were tangled in ropes, while others sported coats that were falling apart. Madsen created deteriorating feminine silhouettes, the tremor that occurs in absolute silence.
First, a hefty gust of smoke and a video projected onto curtains. Suddenly, a platoon of Vandevorst soldiers marched down the runway in mountain-like sculptured dresses in green and black. Then, a jacket in cracked calf leather. Boasting a strong utilitarian vibe, models were dressed in parachute-like boiler suits in red and white paired down with a classic black military boots. Additionally, trench coats in black, red, and white were matched with tailored pants. The atmosphere heightened as masculine tailored garments increasingly became feminine with strapless floating dresses and skirts. Proof that this collection was an intricate and art-inspired creation with the right balance of hard and soft that A.F.Vandevorst know how to do best.
The exhibition “Brasil Beyond Fashion” tapped into the very heart of Brazilian lifestyle. In it, one can admire the work of 21 designers, all inspired by different aspects of Brazilian way of life. A variety of elegant dresses can be found, ranging from embellished cocktail gowns to traditional attire pieced together from local materials. Not only are there clothes, Brasil Beyond presented shoes, woven baskets, and exotic furniture. Also on display were portraits of Brazilians with necklaces and accessories. This exhibition was truly beyond Brazil. It illustrated an innovative lifestyle, culture, and art.
The runway show started with the slow, steady strumming of a bass guitar. Suddenly, the crash of drum cymbals, then the gradual introduction of piano into a whimsical number. Yohji Yamamoto’s new collection turned heads as the master of long, black silhouettes explored new territories of daringly sexy pieces. When Yamamoto first started designing for women, he wanted to cover their bodies so that men would not gaze upon their flesh, and perhaps then find an inner sensuality within the women. This season, the dressmaker rejoices in the female body by not hiding it, but by setting it free in his loose cuts. Garments were pieced together in a distressed fashion, giving way to peak-a-boo backs and ultra-short asymmetrical dresses. Models’ eyes were splashed rosy and eyebrows sketched under the leadership of Pat McGrath. Hair stylist Eugene Souleiman sculpted a finger wave in the front, but added volume and chaos around models’ heads – the perfect symbol of Yamamoto’s design aesthetic. The designer embraced the female form with floral motifs on silk and added a dose of glamour in shimmery, silver lace. The final look was an elaborately decorated bride, with violet flowers, orchids, and beading emerging from the waist and bust. The show was a beautiful illustration of Yamamoto’s creativity in uncharted grounds.