Paris Fashion Week: Hermès, Poiret, Thom Browne and Masha Ma get creative in the spring/summer 2019 season
In our new fashion week round-up, fashion editor Jolene Khor reports from the ground, the best-ofs of the day in 2s, 4s, and 7s — of surprising moments, trendy accessories and favourite looks from the runway
TWO MOST SURPRISING MOMENTS
- "Oh no" was the first thought we had upon walking into the Poiret venue. Separated by semi-opaque panels, by the floor of each wall of the maze entrance were red portable heaters. Their effects evident on a room full of stylish sweaty women fanning themselves with the invitation cards. A public relations executive remarked, "Welcome to the hottest show of the season." Truer words had never been spoken.
- Aretha Franklin had only just passed on, but it seems 'Respect' left a long ago in some people's lives. Without naming names, a lady on the front row was observed checking (and replying messages) on Twitter halfway through the Thom Browne's spring/summer 2019 presentation. Sure, the 40-odd models took their time on the runway as part of a performance, but none of what the American designer showcased was in any way boring. Shame, shame, shame.
FOUR TRENDIEST ACCESSORIES
- Stay tuned for more information on Hermès' latest bags.
- Called "techno-spartan sandals", the shoes du jour at Hermès is likened to gladiator sandals 2.0. Ordinary leather lace-ups, these are not. Constructed in powdery smooth suede, these babies pad your feet with a long tongue, their cushioned soles supported by stacked wooden heels.
- Versace did it, Marine Serre did it, and now Thom Brown joins the pack in their pursuit of pantyhose. Excuse us, tights. The Italian hit the nylon with neon flowers earlier this month, while the LVMH prize winner maintained loyalty to her signature crescent moon just a couple days back. Browne stretches the trend to the extreme — with cartoon lobsters, whales and anchors, in sartorial Surrealism vaguely reminiscent of Schiaparelli circa 1937.
- Even with our neck stuck out, it's hard to say if the tall checkered boots at Thom Browne are really made of raffia (the way some of the coats and clutches are) or just expertly woven leather (just, like it's no big deal). Either way, it's a cute take on summer footwear which will accent the hems of spring 2019 leading handkerchief dress wonderfully.
SEVEN FAVOURITE LOOKS
- Hermès look #6: "Sailor or saddler? We turn them every which way... Why choose between them?" read the Hermés notes handed out at the Hippodrome. Artistic director of women's ready-to-wear, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, sails on land and sea this spring season, taking with her an abundance of sumptuous leather for the journey. Like this apron she imagines her Hermés voyager "stole from her groom" which she turned into a skirt. A cable knit tube top protects the bosom from the sea breeze.
- Hermès look #23: Asked Vanhee-Cybulski, "Have we never once thought what if Corto Maltese had been a woman? Lord Jim a lady? Penelope a man and Odysseus his wife?" It's the kind of poetry intellectual women of today will gravitate towards as we once again fight fearlessly to be equally represented on the world stage. On Hermés sea and sand on the other hand, ideals mature into reality by way of a leather weave shift dress befitting of a modern captain.
- Poiret look #5: Did Chinese-born designer Yiqing Yin run to the hills? And by that we mean to ask if she took a page out of the great Ausangate Mountain of the Andes for spring 2019. On observation, one could say the distinct pink, orange, blue and lavender stripes on her silk dresses mirror that of the Peruvian terrain, the crinkled gold hoodie suggesting functionality and a setting sun.
- Poiret look #30: The idea is not dissimilar here, though more evident is Yin's training — as it was Poiret's — in couture. The manipulation of the fabric, carefully crimped to create a side hourglass shape, is the work of a master.
- Thom Browne look #3: What we know is a lie. We're not in Paris. We're in a quaint beach town in America. Nantucket, maybe. At least that's what Browne would lead us to believe with his relatively simple but to-the-point seaside set — sand, lifeguard tower, pastel palm tree. Simple, compared to the clothes. Nothing could come in the way of the designer's fantastical creations (thankfully), not even a majority stake acquisition by the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, as evidenced by this feathered ensemble no doubt inspired by the very seagulls whose chirps were borrowed for the soundtrack.
- Thom Browne look #32: Oh how tempting it is to remark that this might be Browne's catch of the day. It's all texture, texture, texture in the guise of his iconic suiting, not least of all a trompe-l'oeil and patchwork extravaganza. May he keep his head in the clouds, dreaming of a world beyond ours, even if his ready-to-wear is really couture bearing a commercial name.
- Masha Ma look #35: Turns out, Ma wasn't the Chinese designer to come out on top on day 7 of Paris Fashion Week. While there were intriguing plots at play, her romanticism of streetwear largely fell flat, the trend tired from its overdue rest from the pedestal. Even Balenciaga, with its return to tailoring in spring/summer 2019, knew it was over. Alas, all was not lost. The on-trend cargo Bermuda shorts in the final look will do well with customers as should the relaxed Bar jacket, smartly paired for a high-low finish.