Paris Fashion Week: The crazy beautiful things from Vivienne Westwood, Hermès, Givenchy and more we’ll give up life savings for

With abandon

Text: Jolene Khor

This is how Carrie Bradshaw’s “I like my money right where I can see it — hanging in my closet” quote takes life form. Read our reviews with caution

On 28 February 2018, Andrea Kronthaler, creative director of Vivienne Westwood, the fashion house, and collaborator, friend and husband of Vivienne Westwood, the woman, wrote a letter to his muse on the Eurostar. "Dear Vivienne," he began in all capital letters, with a heart by its side. "God how long have we known each other! I want to pay homage to you [...] After examining myself, I felt like looking at you and the different decades of your life in fashion and what it means to me." Kronthaler's recount of his favourite Westwood creations continued on paper, though best witnessed at the sun-drenched Pavillion Ledoyen on the first warm day since Paris Fashion Week commenced. Could love have something to do with it? Some of Kronthaler's references, fans of the house would be familiar with: such as the dainty floral wallpaper (also relevant at Isabel Marant and Dior this season) seen on the open finger gloves, the manic "trash bag" ruffles on toga dresses, and the devil-may-care headgears which were surprisingly wearable this season — by Vivienne Westwood standards anyway. Others were private observations Kronthaler made. He claimed the "mohair punk sweater" we're guessing he translated into a shirt dress and skin-tight sweat suit in looks 13 and 31, are copies of the piece the designer made for herself. Somewhere in the line-up is a rendition of a cat-suit Westwood borrowed from Sara Stockbridge that she used to wear when the couple first met. He ended the note with, "I still think to this day that you are the best dressed woman in any room"; he ended the show with a young Madonna in headscarf and disco lingerie, flowers in hand. We may be drawing our own parallels here, but there is hardly anything more pure and more maddening than amour. Ah, to be young (at heart) and in love is indeed a wonderful thing.

Hermès ready-to-wear gets better with time. Most critics and clients didn't necessarily warm up to Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski's spring/summer 2018 turn for the bourgeoisie label. The chatter surrounding her fall/winter 2018 fare however, may be imbued with more enthusiasm. For one, the presentation was, by leaps and bounds, marked with improvement. Immersive. Stunning even. Certainly Instagrammable. Almost as beautifully designed as the clothes; see reference picture in above gallery. The designer said she wanted to create an "enchanting winter garden" to "inspire a new dream at twilight". Such an enigma. Appropriately, the garments too had their secrets to hide. What appeared to be a large odd shaped bag approaching us turned out to be a shawl — and later a cardigan and Canadian coat — secured and hanging from calfskin straps, simply because the 2018 woman shouldn't have to struggle with holding on to her outerwear. Hello world, this should have been thought of sooner. Also, a regular mixed material jacket, look 38 is not. Upon closer inspection, note the shearling collar secured like a harness around the shoulders. Bri-lliant. And no, those are no commonplace toggles on the duffel coat either — they display the clou Médor prism proudly. What is it that they say? The devil's in the details? This rings truer in Hermès than most houses, a concept well-versed in the leather goods department. It's high time Vanhee-Cybulski applied that in RTW too.

Paris can be a scary place to be at night. Getting lost within the pebbled maze is charming before dark; when the traffic dies and the commotion move indoors, "sleaze and danger" ensue. In Clare Waight Keller's first fall/winter collection for Givenchy, she imagines a film noir starring "a pair of star-crossed outlaws drifting through smoke," as expressed in the show notes. One thing's for sure: don't expect Keller's femme fatale to live out of her suitcase. This imaginary woman may be on the run, but her closet is firmly rooted in sophistication. Conjuring the glamour from the grit, Keller sent out belted intarsia fur coats, tulip and pleated skirts that trail behind her when she flees, and sheened leather cut to short-sleeved biker jackets, pencil skirts, trench dresses, oversized bows and floppy kitten booties — all accompanied by a remixed soundtrack of the metro underground. When her Bonnie wasn't in incognito, a phoenix arose. That fringed burgundy lace Tinkerbelle slip was worthy, only later to be outshone by the art deco silver slithering numbers and the final three looks that can only be described as a cross between fine gemstones, wet paint and cream frosting. Clyde is complementary: coats and blazers match in whispered pinstripe, his pants deliberately a couple inches too long for simultaneously refined yet relaxed suiting. Unexpected was the single button houndstooth jacket, particularly because Keller paired it with slinky skinny trousers under a dramatic off-white outerwear, conveying only an undercurrent of rebellion, not in construction, but in styling. Two thumbs up.

All coverage from Paris Fashion Week fall/winter 2018


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