MAISON MARGIELA: PLAYING DRESS UP
The inspiration: According to the show notes, John Galliano sought to blend unexpected influences for his FW16 collection. Like a dog with a bone, the designer has continuously pushed the envelope with the very same concept since his second season (SS16), slowly but surely, forging an all-new raison d'être for the French maison.
The collection: Inspiration aside, the Maison Margiela fall offering had a nostalgic quality about it. The oversized waist belts, earnest layering, and accessories worn in all the wrong places reminded us of days spent raiding the parentals' closets — playing dress up in a heady mix of wide-eyed and unadulterated glee. Leg warmers were popped over sleeves (looks 1 & 18); tulle tops jammed over knit polos and jumpers (looks 7 & 9); and capes thrown over for sheer theatrical effect (looks 5 & 28).
I spy: A cue from Miu Miu spring/summer 2016. The girly organza nighties on Galliano's runway, however, were a lot more coquettish, true to the designer's provocative nature.
DRIES VAN NOTEN: ACADEMY OF STYLE
The collection: A lesson on how to do aristocratic preppy chic the decadent way. Inspired by Marchesa Luisa Casati, the eccentric signature of the Italian heiress was interwoven into the collection. Case in point: Leopard print capes, pant suits and trousers (looks 2, 9 & 13) clearly drawing from Casati's obsession with cheetahs. But the real highlight of the collection were the collegiate pieces that will have you enrolling into a boarding school just so you can wear the ensembles from day to night. Preppy blazers and crisp white shirts embroidered with emblems (looks 1, 18 & 37), Hogwarts-esque ties, and silk bathrobes with matching pants (look 33). Sign us up now.
Accessories: Ornate pearls were the accessory du jour at Dries Van Noten's FW16 show. Designed and presented in the most unique permutations, pearl accessories came in the form of velvet chokers accented with a pearl pin, sheer opera gloves lined with pearls, and the most intriguing of all, pearl body harnesses (looks 60 & 62). So delicate yet so badass.
Lust-worthy: Those plume chokers that added additional drama to the opulently dark collection — another nod to Casati's quirky habit of plucking feathers from her peacocks to use as an accessory.
ROCHAS: GIRL MEETS WORLD
The collection: More often than not, the Rochas lady is unapologetically dainty. This season, however, designer Alessandro Dell'Acqua made sure that she was unapologetically quirky. Not one to do things in halves — click here for a refresher on the recent 180 degree pivot to grunge at N21 — the entire fall collection offered up an almost-awkward vein of sexiness, achieved through layering and accessorising that was totally on-point. See the platform peep-toes paired with intentionally bunched socks (all looks), sexy slip dresses undermined by lace blouses (look 10), and coats worn completely buttoned up (looks 8 & 19). The result? Much like a pubescent teen finding her footing in the dizzying world of womenswear, it was endearingly geeky and oddly refreshing.
I spy: Narrow sunglasses that looked like it was plucked straight out of The Matrix (look 18), not quite in line with the girl meets world vibe Dell'Acqua was chanelling.
Buro loves: The texturally rich florals. Brought forth in iridescent sequins and tiered tulle, the perennial favourite was less contrived and more crafty.
LEMAIRE: GIRLS WILL BE BOYS
The collection: If we had to describe Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran's fall/winter offering in one word, it'd have to be 'defiant'. The design duo have never taken the conventional route to femininity, preferring to follow their own formula. The fluidity of balloon sleeves — big for Lemaire this season, appearing on dresses (look 1), blouses (look 12) and even knitwear (look 21) — offset the abundance of fabric all around, while the contrasted allure of the décolletage was the pièce de résistance (looks 4 & 23). Victorian collared shirting replaced the turtlenecks of spring/summer, and, what's the Lemaire woman to do without borrowing a look or two from the boys? This season, the stolen goods came oversized with smart, piped seams (looks 28 & 29). Score.
Something you might have missed: The classic topcoat made seductive with thigh-high slits (looks 10 & 27).
Bringing back a trend: Remember the unfortunate dress-over-jeans ensemble that spread quicker than the common flu back in the early 2000s? Fast forward to 2016 and by way of Lemaire and Tran, it now comes in sleek tone-on-tone pairings (looks 3, 8 & 9).
For all coverage of Paris Fashion Week fall/winter 2016, click here.