Paris Fashion Week seemed to be a homage to the old. Designers did this in their own ways, through exploring their own brands’ aesthetics and significance or by taking us back to the atmosphere and traditions of history.
Alexander McQueen paid homage to the old by reusing materials from old seasons, repurposing tulle and pattern cuts. There was a focus on sustainability and community, with designer Sarah Burton stating she loved the ‘idea of people having time to make things together’. She created this by involving the entire team at Alexander McQueen in the process of producing the collection, even the security guards. Burton’s homage to the past played through in these themes, her desire to create a community space where everyone makes sure nothing goes to waste. Personally in the past I’ve felt Burton’s McQueen has been lacking something, this collection brought that something. It was exciting and inspiring, the intricacy and beauty all created through this community motif, made the show feel quite like it never had. There was also a strong sense of the original McQueen with the impeccable suited tailoring and the haunting classical music.
The 1970s are still here! Altuzarra created inspiration from the past with wide flares and big collared blazers all encompassed in beautiful tailoring. Altuzarra’s focus was heirlooms with his own heirloom of knitting, a family importance after his mother and grandmother taught him. He was inspired by the pieces he wore as a child. The focus on taking individual elements of the past, whether your own or from history itself created a sense of nostalgia. The idea of heirlooms brought a discussion of sustainability to the collection, a benefit of creating long lasting pieces held in family tradition is that pieces aren’t thrown away and are used for as long as they possibly can be.
Balenciaga used the past but made it modern, specifically by adapting longstanding traditional Balenciaga aesthetics. Balenciaga has always been about experimenting with volume, especially in the billowing silhouettes of ballroom dresses. This was brought to a modern age through the use of space-age like materials, such as the dress pictured above made out of a tinfoil like material. Balenciaga’s volume was also brought to the modern age through the use of facial augmentation, resulting in what seemed like an appropriate commentary in today’s age of extreme plastic surgery and Instagram filters which completely alter your face. Models strutted the runway with huge lips and cheekbones, creating an almost science fiction effect.
Giambattista Valli’s runway saw models adorned with floral facial accessories. Valli’s two passions are flowers and women’s fashion, therefore for this collection he combined the two to imagine powerful women and their gardens. Valli created a sense of the old in his own way by focusing on people’s relationships with nature and the beauty of it. He transported us away from the modern technological age to an ethereal like time, where the pastoral world was celebrated. Valli still continued his well known aesthetic of the extreme ruffled dresses, which could seem to be getting tiresome, yet there’s a beautiful elegancy about them which creates a magical atmosphere.