Dries Van Noten has never been a minimalist, but the excess in the show of the spring 2020 collection was unusual for him too: richly embroidered toreador jackets, skirts and opera cloaks that were so long and wide that they dragged on the floor, large feathers in the hair and on the shoulder, puffed sleeves and lapels, fluttering ribbons. And ruffles, ruffles, ruffles.
The card with two signatures on the roses on the seats in the Opéra Bastille could have betrayed it. It wasn’t until the end of the show, when Van Noten showed up with another man, that it became clear to most of the audience where the drama came from: the collection was a one-off collaboration with Christian Lacroix, a couturier who worked in the 1980s. and Ninety was highly successful – he will go down in history as the inventor of the balloon skirt, and his shows moved audiences to tears.
The haute couture of the eighties and nineties was one of the sources of inspiration for the collection of Dries Van Noten – a way to escape the gloomy current events – and the name Lacroix kept coming back. And then Van Noten took the unusual step of calling him instead of just paying tribute. Lacroix was available. His home was divested by parent company LVMH in 2009. It still exists, in a very modest form, but Lacroix is no longer associated with it and is no longer allowed to use his own name for his work. He now makes theater costumes. After asking advice from his astrologer, he agreed.
Dries Van Noten with Christian Lacroix.
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Turns out the @driesvannoten collection was a collaboration with @fkachristianlacroix #fashionmoment 🌹
Van Noten’s hand was certainly as evident as Lacroix’s: the gold and brocade platform boots, the daring combinations of designs, prints and colours, the fact that many of the evening pieces were made of nylon instead of silk, and the combining polka dot skirts with endless ruffles with white jeans and white camisoles; all elements that lifted the designs to the present. Apart from the spectacular result, it was also a heartwarming project: you don’t often see a designer sharing the stage at this level.
Aztec princesses with headdresses
The mix of color, monumental designs and camisoles was also reflected in Rick Owens. The collection was based in part on his Mexican family (his mother is of Mexican descent), translated to the Aztecs. Owens’ models resembled impressive Aztec princesses, wearing huge headdresses and dressed in dresses and tops with bulges at the shoulders or splayed hips, not only in Owens signature colors such as black, gray and off-white, but also yellow, gold, red and pink, and often set with sequins. The undershirts and T-shirts also somewhat brought the fantastic outfits back to earth in these shows.
At Rick Owens, priests in black cloaks were blowing soap bubbles on the edge of the pond of the Palais de Tokyo museum, at Nina Ricci everyone received a pack of ‘Ninaliscious’ bubblegum and there were earrings in the shape of chewing gum bubbles.
It was the second show for the label of Dutch designers Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter, also the duo behind men’s label Botter. Their debut was especially notable for the oversized pot hats. Despite the often clever constructions of, for example, organza tops whose shoulder line seemed to float above the body and thin, multi-layered yellow and pink dresses that again resembled a bubble gum, the headwear once again attracted the most attention: shiny , brightly colored hats that resembled an upturned bucket, just right for the ‘bucket bags’.
No pink, sequins and bells at Lemaire, but camisoles, or rather body stockings, which showed that the understated, stylish brand is not immune to the return to more close-to-the-body clothing that is in vogue. That was made very explicit by Ann Demeulemeester, where the collection for the spring was very different from the dark-romantic style of the namesake who left almost six years ago: tight skirts had slits up to the thigh, tops were transparent or consisted only of bands, a top was no more than a narrow stripe worn over the breasts. Also sexy, but in a much more subtle way, were Yohji Yamamoto’s designs, where sophisticated cutouts in his equally sophisticated designs occasionally exposed some skin.
In the previous two Paris fashion weeks, Celine had more or less had the last word: with the bourgeois seventies style for women, including culottes, and the reintroduction of the flared jeans for men, the Hedi Slimane-led label brought fashion – once again – back to the seventies. The women’s collection for next spring was a combination of the two: mid-seventies style dresses with a belt and boots underneath, and combinations of jackets, flared jeans and Celine’s version of the All Stars classic. Just as Saint Laurent, under Slimane’s leadership, kept returning to skinny pants and the grunge and post-punk style, so it seems he has found a formula for Celine too.
At Dior it was also business as usual: wide sheer skirts, bustiers and variations on Dior’s classic bar jacket, loose fit jeans and overalls, this time in earthy colors, with lots of floral designs and 3D crochet in the shape of flowers. The collection was inspired by Christian Dior’s sister, who ended up as a resistance woman in a concentration camp and became an avid gardener after the war – a feminist theme or role model is a constant guiding principle of chief designer Maria Grazia Chiuri.
Lively Louis Vuitton
More lively was the Louis Vuitton collection, which also clearly had influences from the 1970s, but via the style from the 1900-1910s, which was then reinterpreted. Jackets and dresses had puff sleeves and sometimes an Art Nouveau pattern, some models had their hair up in the way that was fashionable at the beginning of the 20th century. The colours, baggy pants, short flared skirts and platform soles were quintessentially 1970s, the materials and seemingly careless way of combining it all right now, as is the gigantic video projection, complete with nipples, of transgender artist Sophie.
Paris fashion week should have been the week of Virginie Viard, Karl Lagerfeld’s former right-hand man who has been named as his successor after his death early this year. Last Tuesday, on the last day of fashion week, she showed her first ready-to-wear show for the brand at Chanel’s permanent location, the Grand Palais. Entirely in the tradition of its predecessor, an enormous decor had been built there, this time a Parisian roof landscape, in those typical soft gray tones. What was missing in her collection were the old-fashioned and sometimes silly outliers that Lagerfeld sometimes showed in recent years. What was also missing were his audacity, irony and keen sense of the zeitgeist. There was little wrong with Viards because of the nouvelle vague, and of course Coco Chanel’s style and Lagerfeld’s interpretation of it, inspired tweed hot pants, flared short skirts, short jeans with striped tops (although those jeans did have a pretty frumpy cut) and evening dresses with frilly skirts, but that’s about it: the collection didn’t want to sparkle.