Paris Fashion Week SS18: Chanel, Moncler Gamme Rouge, Thom Browne and Louis Vuitton
CHANEL: COME RAIN OR SHINE
The set: In the middle of Grand Palais were man-made rocky waterfalls reminiscent of the Georges du Verdon canyon from the South of France. It reportedly took two months to build and nine full days to set up. The treehugger in us rested easy knowing that the 25 metre pool of water used for this fixture will be recycled, and the trees employed to spruce up the rocky cliff will be returned to their respective nurseries.
The collection: When Karl Lagerfeld does something, you bet he's going to go all out, guns blazing. His inspiration from nature manifested itself most prominently in the transparent fisherman hats, raindrop-like jewelled raincoats, capelets with miniature hoods, burlap sag bags, and rainboots of varying lengths. His affair with tweed saw new treatments for spring/summer 2018: Cropped tops, denim skirts, Bermuda shorts, and ankle-grazing culottes — all fringed. Afloat too were long collared tops with winged shoulders and halter/cap-sleeved shift dresses tailored with a mix of tweeds. In particular, the sea foam green mandarin collar chevron top captured our attention. For the YAs, Lagerfeld offered lace patchwork denim separates lined in iridescent fringe; sporty little sleeveless tweed numbers with tiered ruffle skirts; and a millennial-coming-through drop waist pink frock, before the white out crescendo leading to an explosive final and 89th look. That fuzzy top and high-low skirt... A+ in effort and execution.
Buro loves: Every last one of the accessories, from the quilted PVC fingerless gloves cuffed with oversized crystal and diamond bracelets, to the teardrop pearl earrings (a similar style in belts) and those clear water-resistant hats that we won't soon forget.
MONCLER GAMME ROUGE: DIRTY DANCING
The set: A group of giant disco balls twirled on the stage, sending sparkles onto every inch of the show space. This is what we imagined glitter floating in the air, bouncing in slow motion, would look like.
The inspiration: It wasn't hard to guess designer Giambattista Valli took to contemporary dance, especially when the body positive girls of HIPLET — a classically fused hip-hop ballet group — opened the show; flaunting their en pointe technique to Ed Sheeran's 'Shape of You'.
The collection: Sheeran wasn't the only recognisable vocalist during Moncler Gamme Rouge's three-part spring/summer 2018 presentation. Missy Elliot, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj's pop hits were on the playlist to harmonize the youthful pieces — looks Jennifer Grey's iconic character, Baby from Dirty Dancing, would have proudly worn on and off the dance floor. Let's see: The dusty fleece leg warmers that ran knee-high and taffeta flats were no brainers. So were the grey jersey sweaters (worn cropped with a large embossed Moncler logo) made into a sweatshirt looped on the front, or as a base to a feathered dress, delicately wrapped under a blush knit resembling the ribbons of a ballet shoe. Florals for spring are hardly groundbreaking, but Valli's appliqués were dreamy — especially the little jacket he placed with a sheer skirt hemmed with macramé. Another standout piece was the itty-bitty shorts, hand embroidered with rose gold pearls that shone with every step.
THOM BROWNE: SICK OF SWIMMING
The inspiration: Do you have dreams or do you have nightmares? Thom Browne married both in his spring/summer collection, a concept he drew from his sisters. "Shhhhhh. Jeanmarie and Marybeth are sleeping next door. They have the most amazing dreams or nightmares. If you're quiet, you may be lucky enough to be part of one. And this one you will remember," read the show notes.
The collection: Browne anchored his dreamland with nautical motifs and marine life. Think bigger-than-life anchors, cable knits and clam shells. True to the subject matter, his dream of the deep blue sea contained elements of enchantment and fear. The squid-like suits his first two girls wore throughout the show — they tip-toed around and peeked curiously at other models from start to finish — conjured those feelings precisely; as did the crew neck tartan dress slithered with eel embroidery. Editors were in sync; our collective gasps throughout the show a mirror of our landslide approval, from the choice of song (The Little Mermaid's 'Part of Your World'), the layered shimmering fishtail, the suspended wave skirts, to the various artistic renderings of sea anemone — most notable were the disproportionately swelled navy jacket with jellyfish floss skirt; the orange-blue-green organza sprout jacket; and another voluminous outerwear in beige finish with a France-friendly paint job. Lest those are not menacing enough to tickle your subconscious, the black and white looks that came after, especially the topless tuxedo dress, will sort you out.
Buro loves: This one is hard to do, but if you somehow missed the giant unicorn at the end of the show, stop reading now and scroll down to see it. Our descriptions will only spoil it for you.
LOUIS VUITTON: THE GOOD FIGHT
The inspiration: All signs pointed to the medieval times when show-goers were directed to the moat beneath the Louvre Museum. The winding space is what's left of a castle that existed since 1190 AD, until it was demolished in the early 16th century to make way for the Renaissance palace.
The collection: Designer Nicolas Ghesquiere sent his models out in French aristocrat jackets — brocade, embellished, metallic and sharp as hell. Tailored close to the body and parted at the midriff to accentuate the female form, his medieval warriors — unlike those from a thousand years prior — were women with tastes divergent from those of their male counterparts. They ditched the stuffy doublets and cavalier hats (God forbid) for flirty pastel boxers, ruffle cuff peasant tops (sometimes cropped, sometimes with pussybows), sporty Americana stripes and the odd chunky sport shoe. When she did wear vests, her pockets were shaped like a knight's crest. So. Cool. And they, like their topcoats, were stitched proudly with blooms. Her strength is further validated in the silver drop waist dresses, chainmail style. Also, the patent leather trousers were sewn with supportive kneepads; reminding us that this is 2017 and we are more than capable of making our armour, fighting our own battles. On the other hand, we don't mind our leisure days either. That's when the flouncy empire waist dresses with elbow grazing off-shoulder leather sleeves come in. In short, the Louis Vuitton woman is the knight, the blacksmith and the princess in the Ghesquiere history chapters. And that's one hell of a message to close Paris Fashion Week with.
Something you might have missed: Jaden Smith and Fan Bing Bing were in attendance. We caught the former shying from the crowds during his photo op before the show and the latter giving an interview with Vogue after.
Catch up on all coverage from Paris Fashion Week spring/summer 2018.