Paris Fashion Week AW21: Key moments of the show season
Best in show
Miu Miu's mountain escape
Out of the major fashion weeks for the autumn/winter 2021 show season, Paris Fashion Week specifically tapped on our growing desire to travel the world once again. And no other brand did so quite as brilliantly as Miu Miu. A fictional 'Miu Miu Mountain Club' was formed and took us to the mountaintops of northeastern Italy's Dolomites where the clear skies and pristine snow provided for the perfect backdrop. Models seemed to glide effortlessly across the ground in sufficiently platformed snow boots with faux fur everything to keep warm.
Lanvin's fun throwback music video
Lanvin may have seen some turbulent times post-Alber Elbaz, but creative director Bruno Sialelli has done a respectable job in bringing back the opulence and joy that's become part of Lanvin's identity. Autumn/winter 2021's music video concept is one that we're all bound to remember for season's to come. Set to the tune of Gwen Stefani's 'Rich Girl', the house took over the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris to capture that dream scenario of irreverence a group of rich youths (bravo for a diverse cast too!) could be up to. Then there's a cameo by Eve herself, rapping her solo live in perfect tune.
Chloé's Gabriela Hearst debut
From one Gaby (Chloé's founder) to another (Gabi just so happens to be the brand's newly minted creative director's nickname), Gabriela Heart's debut collection showcased the same free spirit that the Chloé woman has consistently embodied. The autumn/winter 2021 collection in itself was a playful dichotomy of femininity and functionality, with each bohemian-esque look getting bolder and stronger as the show progressed. The almost-destined similarity in name was but a happenstance. The show's venue however — starting from Brasserie Lipp to the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés — was a direct nod to one of the founder's earliest show venues.
Givenchy's arena-lit showstopper
It was as though Matthew M Williams sought revenge for not being able to properly make his debut for Givenchy. The autumn/winter 2021 show was an extravaganza that included dramatic light sequences and a water-filled arena that literally made splashes as models walked in energised synchronicity. And there was no way any of them could have glided through, especially with the chunky, armour-like footwear that completed almost all the looks.
Loewe's faux headlines
If there were anything positive to come out of the pandemic at all, it would be the creative stretches that fashion brands have had to delve into to showcase new collections. Loewe's creative director Jonathan Anderson has since excelled in conceptualising 'Show in...' ideas that have brought collections physically to anyone in the world. The autumn/winter 2021 edition saw 'A Show in the News' to mirror a collection that was as eye-catching as the medium. With bold colours, patterns and body-morphing silhouettes topped with sculptural elements, the collection was all that we loved from Loewe and then some.
Longchamp's return to its equestrian roots
Longchamp doesn't have an equestrian background per se, but the brand's name does come from Paris' Longchamp Racecourse that also inspired the jockey and racehorse logo. Creative director Sophie Delafontaine looked to the logo as inspiration for autumn/winter 2021 and crafted a collection based off of the equestrian universe, but in a manner that's not one would typically expect. To showcase the full breadth of the collection, it was held in the majestic (and surprisingly very clean) Battesti riding ring that's framed by a Gustave Eiffel-designed glass and steel roof.
Balmain's flight to nowhere
"I don't know where we're going, but I do know that we are going somewhere. The point is not the destination but the actual going; the journey, the leaving — and the escape," says creative director Olivier Rousteing. He's right, of course. The show started out grounded with a parked Air France plane before heading the stratosphere in a seemingly futuristic arena set among the stars. The collection embodied those two quite disparate elements too but both done deliciously luxe and in Rousteing's favourite top-heavy silhouettes. We're not going anywhere but who needs a destination (or a reason) for a plush Balmain coat?
Hermès' tale of three cities
Not one to be outdone by another other luxury house, Hermès staged a live-stream event across not two, but three cities. From New York City to Paris to Shanghai, the autumn/winter 2021 presentation was a dialogue of movements, fashion, and music that seemed at once separate yet connected all the same. The lack of travelling didn't stop Hermès from bringing together three different continents one after the other, and showed just how fashion and the arts can definitely bring communities together in trying times.
Sportmax's exploration of womanhood
It's pertinent now more than ever to redefine womanhood and femininity, and at Sportmax, 20th-century artist Claude Cahun informed the gender-bending exercise and ode to independent, strong women icons. The result was a collection that was rooted in tailoring with cuts that hugged and accentuated a woman's body in all its glory. There were moments of androgyny that was coupled with inherent strength as well as the freedom to chart one's path towards womanhood. After all, there isn't quite a linear meaning to the concept and the Sportmax autumn/winter 2021 exceptionally represented that.
Max Mara's queenly possessions
Say what you will of the British monarchy, there's no doubt that the Queen of England has provided as much style inspirations as gossips and binge-able television. Max Mara's autumn/winter 2021 collection was quite off-duty Queen by way of Italian savoir-faire. There were the unmistakably iconic headscarf wraps, lace-up outdoor boots, and all manner of delicious outerwear — those hours spent bingeing The Crown have made us very familiar with Her Majesty's off-duty looks. The crown jewels? Well, they're in the form of those Max Mara coats that have become synonymous with luxurious elegance.