Paris Fashion Week AW15

By Jo Phillips

Louis Vuitton 

The coolest girls in town want to be in Nicolas Ghesquiere’s gang. These girls are holding it down, cooly suave by day in tailored pieces and ribbed knits and rock’n’roll by night in shaggy fur, lace and leather. Chain belts and makeup case bags were among details that really stood out of this collection. 002-louis-vuitton 015-louis-vuitton 028-louis-vuitton 048-louis-vuitton

Alexander McQueen

On the day of the opening of the much anticipated Savage Beauty, the exhibition dedicated to the work of Alexander McQueen at the V&A, Sarah Burton showed a collection inspired by “the spirit of the rose”. Through its bloom and eventual decay, the collection did much the same, black vinyl bloomed into frothy dresses in pinks and reds, which eventually dropped into cascading full length gothic lace. Theatrical story telling is at the core of McQueen and the show paid tribute to that with this bitter sweet collection.

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Saint Laurent

Rock and roll with badgal edge at Saint Laurent. With Siouxsie Sioux eyes, red lipstick and ripped skin tight leather trousers, these girls are more than just groupies. It was classic Slimane, cigarette pants, leopard and a lot of black in leather and lace and while most labels showed a summer of love 70s chick, the Saint Laurent girl is steadfastly more girl at the rock show than Glasto.

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Chloe’s take on the current 70s mood in fashion right now was a grown up and elegant statement, which is apt for a label that epitomised the era fashion is currently playing homage to. Chic well cut coats and trouser suits played alongside Chloe staples, white dresses and boyish shorts. Soundtracked by Fleetwood Mac circa Rumours, there was more to this collection that dresses to waft through meadows in.

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For the Chanel show The Grand Palais was turned in a giant classically French brasserie. Lagerfeld showed a vast collection, 97 looks, but at the core it was held together with classic Chanel tweed, with some interesting deviations along the way. Something for every occasion here and recalling a time when the French brasserie was the absolute height of sophistication, cafe culture people watching at it’s best.

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Paul and Joe

A jaunty collection from Paul and Joe, a nod to the 60s and 70s with pussy bow collors, mini skirts and boots. Boyish trouser suits in velvet and tweeds with chunky lace ups were offset with girly styling and soft colour palette. The Paul and Joe girl will have much to play with here, a mix of simple separates and interesting details that make up this Parisian collection that this time had a bit of an Anglo/London twist.

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Sonia Rykiel

Luxe fabulous at Sonia Rykiel and a witty take on the 70s trend which has been awash over the catwalks this season. The perfect coats to snuggle into on the way out of a party, shaggy furs, velvet trousers and a couple of guys who popped up in mens versions of Rykiel’s classic knits. A rich autumnal palette combined with luxe textures to make a desirable and wearable collection.

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Miu Miu

A cheerful late 60s/early 70s outing from Miu Miu, it was quirky but never too cutesy and was too modern to be quaint. Brightly coloured, oversized patterns; dogtooth, vinyl croc and snake, checks and leopard print clash harmoniously. Neat shapes with double breasted coats, wide collars, pinafore dresses and the odd prairie frill, all with giant buckles and buttons. Accessorised fully with retro costume earrings, outsized sunnies, hand bags and cute shoes with big buckles.

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Anthoney Vaccarello 

Donatella Versace’s young prodigy has spread his wings and is now flying solo. The designer who was collaborating with Versace on the younger sister label Versus is now head of his own namesake label, one that is all about modern sexiness that is sharp, striking, and strong. The designer had subtle U.S references in his designs (possibly inspired by the time he spent there) such as fringe, suede, stars and studs.

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Designer Simon Porte Jacquemus is definitely one to watch, both by fashion empires like LVMH and the mass public. There is something so endearing about his carefree, childish, no-rules approach to fashion. He’s definitely a breath of fresh air for upscale Paris. This collection revolved around deconstructed silhouettes completed by surrealist makeup and bare feet. Put aside the face masks and nudity and one can find an array of beautiful garments that are stunningly unique in their construction.

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 Dries Van Noten 

The clothes created by Dries Van Noten always take one on a dreamlike state. He always finds just the right balance between old and new, traditional and modern, rough and rich. This collection in particular celebrated everything that is Van Noten (perhaps it has something to do with his second retrospective exhibition in his hometown of Antwerp). There was something for every woman (brocade, sequins, prints, fringe, feathers). The designer is always about female empowerment but he celebrates it in the most beautiful and subtle way.

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In one of H&M’s most talked about shows, creative director Ann-Sofie Johansson sky-rocketed us all to the moon, and she managed to get outstanding cast of smiling models with her (Caroline de Maigret even opened the show). The show was the ultimate presentation with the set, the smoke, and the music. The collection featured an array of space-inspired outfits, psychedelic prints, and lust-worthy utilitarian jackets.

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Roland Mouret

Designer Roland Mouret has departed from his body-hugging pencil silhouettes that we’ve been accustomed to towards an aesthetic that is refreshingly younger, smarter, and sexier in a different way.  There was a perfect balance as hemlines became shorter and fits became looser. Thankfully, Mouret still kept his graphic geometric aesthetic, modern prints, and mixing of monochrome shades with powerful colors.

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Guillmane Henry created an ultra chic modern Carven girl, and designers Adrien Caillaudaud and Alexis Martial continued on the same path with this very Parisienne collection that mixed hard and soft. The standout piece was the gold amulet necklace that was paired with more romantic looks to create a unique contrast.

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Creative director of Balmain Olivier Rousting conjures up a collection that is inspired by Paris in the 70’s. Fashion icon Loulou de la Falaise in particular was the starting point. It was definitely one of his most colorful collections to date (green, fuchsia, red, blue, yellow were all in the mix). However, it wouldn’t be Balmain (or like Rousting for that matter) to send a collection that excluded sharp, modern looks in black.

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Rick Owens

Designer Rick Owens doesn’t need to do much to create a buzz; his avant-garde architectural shapes speak for themselves. For this collection, Owens sprinkled on sequins on some of the minimalistic pieces, painted the model’s faces in gold and silver and created a startling image, and wrapped them up in cocoon coats.

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Only Alber Elbaz can make imperfection look so perfect. The designer paid homage to wrinkles, raw edges, and frayed hems but still managed to create polished silhouettes. The leather detailing gave the ladylike looks a contrasting edge.

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J.W Anderson has been killing it season after season. His work for both his own namesake label and Loewe have been merging together but, at the same time, each has their own distinct identity. There is always a contradiction in his clothes; feminine vs. masculine, polished vs. deconstructed, muted tones vs. vibrant color. There is something quite fearless about the juxtaposition of the shades, the fabrics, and the lengths. Something tells us that we’ll be seeing dresses worn with pants a lot next season.

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Christian Dior 

Raf Simons nevers gives you something straightforwardly. This collection was proof. He articulated the fact that he was creating something that’s sophisticated yet animalistic. Animal prints were blown up, an ode to Christian Dior himself, and made to look quite abstract. The patent leather boots were definitely a big hit.

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Isabel Marant 

Like everything Marant does, this collection has commercial success written all over it, and something tells us we’ll be seeing a lot of spin offs of these gorgeous pieces. She kept her urban-meets-tribal DNA while introducing a new silhoette that’ll be on everyone’s wish list: the high-wasted rib-hugging pants.

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Comme des Garçon  

There is always something so moving, poetic, and dark about Comme des Garçon. Fashion doesn’t even begin to describe what she does. Art, sculpture, architecture are better descriptions. Rei Kawakubo was exploring concepts and traditions of mourning of death (wearing white in the East, black in the West) and adding gold to represent the ornate embellishments in tombs, death masks, and burial rituals in Ancient Egypt.

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Humberto Leon and Carol Lim know what they’re doing. This fabulous set design alone has made photos from the show viral. Strip back the incredible light reflecting columns and the clothes are just as incredible. They’ve moved away from focusing on prints and have established themselves as designers with a skill for outerwear. The oversized white/blue and green/black leather and shearling jackets are two of the standout pieces form the collection.

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Pheobe Philo has been letting herself go with Celine and it’s beautiful to witness. These collection felt free, grounded, while being experimental with the details (fur pompoms, oversized bell sleeves, raw hems). The most memorable pieces were the padded duvet-like dresses.

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Riccardo Tisci ticked all the boxes with this hauntingly beautiful collection. Victorian, couture-like, goth. It was all those things and so much more. Like the couture show, the face jewelry was exquisite and somewhere between beautiful and horrifying. The Givenchy narrative is consistent yet always moving.

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Stella McCartney 

Oversized. Understated. Effortless. Designer Stella McCartney has delivered an immaculately beautiful collection as she does every season. The huge sweaters that are slightly deconstructed were one of the best pieces she sent down the runway. The most refreshing part of this show is the fact that it’s sustainable and fur-free.

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