5 Ideas to Take From the Best Shows at Paris Fashion Week Fall 2018
We've come to the end of fashion month with the Paris collections, which concluded last week. We began in New York, where I asked a set of questions that come up for me every season about the value of fashion shows, moved to London, where I largely celebrated the clothes, then Milan, where we shined the spotlight on Gucci and Prada, whose thought-provoking collections prompted consideration of the broader fashion system.
There was plenty to delight at from the French collections. Here's what stood out, with an added twist: an idea to take away from each of the shows and incorporate into your wardrobe.
Y/Project by Glenn Martens made my heart swell and my knees weak and the like. The materials! The draping! The unexpected architectural details! When the pieces themselves were more straightforward, there was plenty of artful layering to provide visual interest. There was a concept here, and a sense from Martens that our clothes should bring us enjoyment via their aesthetic appeal and also make us think. This collection did both.
Images: Luca Tombolini/Indigital.tv via Vogue.
Idea #1: Buy a few yards (or meters) of gorgeous silk chiffon fabric (try to make it 100% silk if you can- a silk remnant would be perfect for this) and drape it creatively around yourself. Try anything! Everything! Report back!
Can we just officially declare proportion play a winning strategy in the annals of good design? Everything about this collection felt so right, from the clothes themselves, to the presentation, and the photography. What I liked most, of course, was the clothes, broadly, and the shirts, specifically, which felt dismembered from a design perspective and re-assembled with deftness and ingenuity. I liked that so many of these pieces felt intentional but not fussy, a delicate balance to strike.
Images: Natalia Alaverdian
Idea # 2: Wear a crisp white shirt backwards. Leave the sleeves unbuttoned for some volume, or cuff them! Or unbutton one and cuff the other!
Oh these light, airy dresses from Anaïs Jourden were such a dream. The ruching of the soft chiffon, the billowy silhouettes, and the cuts made for a collection of clothes somewhere between romantic and modern. And while the sheer material at the bodice is not my thing (I wear layers at the beach!), the cuts and materials were well done enough for me to envision a slinky slip worn underneath to address the sheerness.
Images: Giovanni Giannoni/Courtesy of Anaïs Jourden via Vogue
Idea # 3: If you have a mid-length dress (extra credit if it's either chiffon or ruched!) consider adding a strapless top above the dress (note: bi-directional layering is always where it's at). They needn't necessarily go together, either from a color perspective or from a material one. In fact, the coolness of the look might derive from some dissonance in its parts.
I thought for some time about why this collection left an impression on me, especially because no single piece was in itself a showstopper. I think it's this: these clothes felt like a rather cohesive perspective from a designer on the things a modern woman might want in her wardrobe: simple dresses, clean coats, and splashes of print for fun. In short, pieces designed carefully to trim off the excess and leave only the essential. I admire seeing this kind of discipline from a designer, and the clothes were clearly better off for it.
Images: Courtesy of Christopher Esber via Vogue
Idea # 4: Invest in one simple monochromatic piece for your wardrobe that is stripped down to only what is essential. Maybe try a dress. Or a trench coat. The best part? You get to define what essential means for yourself. The second best part? Keeping me posted.
I already think a great deal of Thom Browne. I still think he might be the most interesting designer in fashion, and if anything, this collection made me double down on that sentiment.
So much of what challenges me about the fashion industry today is the ubiquity of unremarkable fashion (read more about this in the review from Milan). This might be a symptom of the time we're living in. It might be the result of the tremendous pressures designers are under to create commercially successful collections season over season, year over year, in what can seem like an endless cycle. These kinds of conditions don't nurture creative talent, and they don't necessarily support the creation of great fashion. It is against this backdrop that Thom Browne consistently emerges with a show that combines the classic principles of tailoring and construction with a clear perspective, which is to say that this designer has something to say and something to sell, not just the latter. Add Mr. Browne's customary theatrical element and you have a fashion show that does exactly what it's supposed to do: inspire and delight, and move the needle on fashion in some way.
Images: Courtesy of Thom Browne
Idea #5: Through the magic of vintage fashion, secure a little corset (Etsy has a lot of options, Dolce & Gabbana is a good starting point). Once you have procured said corset, add it on top of a dress. If both are satin, even better.
Finally, Bill Gaytten for John Galliano was so fun. Frothy tulle dresses layered over pants, with big hats, and long pearl necklaces. There were hints of 1920s flapper, and others of the classic 1950s party dresses, yet the collection felt grounded in the present.
Images: Indigital.tv via Vogue
Idea #6: Find something tulle! Could be a dress or a petticoat or skirt (again, Etsy is key to this project). Try to find quite a sheer material if you can. Then wear it over something else! A pair of jeans! Or a sequin skirt!
That's a wrap on Fall 2018. We'll pick up again in September with the spring collections!