VALENTINO: DELICATE DANCER
Show set and inspiration: To the silvery tunes of John Cage and Phillip Glass — live at the show courtesy of French pianist, Vanessa Wagner — design virtuosos Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri showcased the season's masterpieces. The fall 2016 dress code? Ballet attire.
The collection: Built upon a foundation of skin-tight layers uplifted by the pizzazz of Chiuri and Piccioli's skillful embellishments, the Valentino collection surprassed immortalising the quintessential ballet entourage. Imbued with a sense of darkness, it was an enigmatic offering that would do Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan proud. The showmanship of the art form was hard to miss: Ballet flats given the rockstud treatment grounded ensembles (looks 52 and 79); leotards and dance tights peeked out under A-line sequined and tulle dresses (looks 12, 53, 64 and 68); and, instead of presenting their sheer, beaded confections on-skin as usual, nude ballet bodies were tucked underneath (look 81).
Ballet beauty: Considerably pared-back compared to the designers' usual whirlwind of impossibly pretty beading, embroidery and appliqués, it was nonetheless a prodigious effort in storytelling — the sophisticated and wordly Valentino woman can now add the art of ballet to her extensive checklist.
KENZO: ELECTRIC FEEL
The inspiration: Designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon cited Japanese manga Sailor Moon as this season's point of reference in their show notes. But, the anime kitch and quirk if anything, was down to a minimum.
The collection: The school girl skirts were executed in a decidedly '60s vein (look 8), while the puffed-sleeve blouses layered under dresses (look 53) and semi A-line silhouettes (look 25) were very Edie Sedgwick and Twiggy — given the circumstance that they'd taken a spill in a paint factory. The kitch and quirk was there alright, just not anime-like as we'd expected. Tiger stripes commanded the collection: From cropped tops (look 47), mini skirts (look 49), skinny trousers (look 43) to coats with oversized shoulders (looks 48 and 52). All very zany, and to be worn against the backdrop of strobe lights pulsating in an underground club. Electric.
Fashion forte: But, there aren't really any rules to womenswear, is there? What Carol Lim and Humberto Leon really excel in, is selling clothes, and this fall 2016 outing will sit right at home at their global chain of multi-label stores, Opening Ceremony.
For all coverage of Paris Fashion Week fall/winter 2016, click here.