Paris Fashion Week SS18: Issey Miyake, Alexis Mabille and Yohji Yamamoto

Paris Fashion Week SS18: Issey Miyake, Alexis Mabille and Yohji Yamamoto

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Text: Jolene Khor

Image: Imax Tree

Issey Miyake wanders to Iceland, Alexis Mabille flaunts his childish side, and Yohji Yamamoto explores the art of fastenings

The inspiration: "The landscape that one finds now is a fragment of proof of what once long ago nurtured us all," read the show notes, alluding to the designer's nostalgic collection that aims to pay homage to Iceland's once harsh landscapes — particularly its severe clefts, clear glaciers and moss covered rocks.

The collection: Designer Yoshiyuki Miyamae was literal in his translations. True to his desire to call on the past, his show opened with an interpretive dance performance, recreating an intriguing experience of nature reborn. The greenery, the water, the snow, and even the windmills all representing the expansive Icelandic scenery were shown in the collection in tromp-lœil form; giving life to the ethereal capes, asymmetrical tunics, toga dresses and cap-sleeved tops matched with similarly printed column skirts. So committed was Miyamae to his inspiration, the burnt browns on the screen prints were achieved using the traditional "Dorozome" mud dyeing method from a tropical island in the south of Japan. The play on proportion was also beautiful and the remix of nature prints with chevron and stripes lent much needed energy to a collection that could have easily rested, perhaps, too comfortably on its quest for serenity.

Buro loves: The satellite view of Iceland printed on the brand's unique Steam Stretch fabric. The sunken three-dimensional, soft visual effect needs to be seen up close to be really appreciated.

The inspiration: Paris is beautiful in spring and Alexis Mabille's spring/summer 2018, imbued with classic stripes and lace, was smart to not compete with it (because what can ever?). Instead Mabille sought to complement it.

The collection: A major fashion week takeaway so far is that heritage brands are designing for a younger and younger crowd with each season. Mabille, being a brand with youth on its side — it turned 12 this year — took fashion's obsession with age and turned it on its head. Pink, the official millennial hue appropriately led the collection entwined with fresh blooms; the youthfulness of the smoking dress in pink crêpe with satin scarf lapel elevated with the pink and gold passementerie belt. Then came a tulle dress, the very epitome of adolescent girliness — Mabille gave his cut-outs, stripes and tiers of black, pink and white flounces — and later, a gold perforated leather jacket with crystal snap closures. Tip: Pass on the jerseys with SS18 sequins stitched on the front. Skip the off-shoulder numbers as well. Instead, opt for the little peach dress with lace inserts. For those aching to make a brief exit out of Neverland, Mabille offered several shirting options. There was a shirt-dress with plastron and a belt-skirt decorated with ecru topstitching; a tunic-length white and blue-striped silk shirt paired with pleated track pants; and a cream button-down with pleated plastron and collar. Pretty.

Try this: Spotify the soundtrack. Da Pawn's bouncy pop song 'Pateando El Reloj' captured the essence of youth lost and youth regained.

The prelude: Yohji Yamamoto was in no hurry to send us out into the pouring Parisian evening. His spring/summer show was easily the slowest paced among his peers', allowing editors to not only examine, but also ponder on the garments as the models leisurely strolled by.

The collection: It's hard to blame anyone who thinks if they've seen one Yamamoto collection, they've seen them all. To the novice, the Japanese designer's tone-on-tone pieces, start melding together sooner than later; the design differentiation of one garment from another steady in its reduction. At a glance, his latest fare is a series of deconstructed asymmetrical cottons; take a closer look and you might find God in the details. Here, Yamamoto paid extra attention to the concept of fastening. A heavy majority of his outfits were held together by buttons; none of them purely decorative. Without them, more than a couple of sleeves would find themselves on the floor, and so would the bottom half of a trench jacket slashed diagonally across the back. They were also employed to trick the eyes into believing the buttons and holes are askew. Yamamoto created access fabric by manipulating the fabrication between buttons to look bunched up as though his model got dressed in a hurry. Well played. Zippers also gained attention, along with a row of silver hooks undone along the spine of his version of a cocktail dress — easily the highlight of the collection. Therein lies the magic. His techniques, if attempted by hands less experienced, would look like a hot mess. Few designers can take on his signatures — the dramatic draping, the jigsaw tailoring, the off-centre headgear — without rousing suspicion that something went awry in the production line. On the other hand, it's just another typical day of silent genius at the Yamamoto house.

Something you might have missed: Clothing labels in red, white and black — bearing the designer's name — traditionally sewed on the backs of articles were instead stuck on models' backs; as if to say it's not just the clothing that bears the brand; the wearers do too.

Catch up on all coverage from Paris Fashion Week spring/summer 2018