As fashion month draws to a close, we look to the couture capital of Europe to view the final offering for AW14. The aesthetics of London, New York, Milan and Paris vary wildly, from the British rebel to the New York downtown girl to the Milanese glamazon, the Parisian woman is undeniably elegant with her sartorial choices, understated and subtle in her manner and outfits. Feminine designers such as Chloe, Vanessa Bruno and Alber Elbaz at Lanvin are the epitome of Parisian fashion with their penchants for loose silk tailoring and soft colour palettes. Paris Fashion Week is renowned internationally for playing host to some of the world’s most intricate couturiers, so the shows are always eagerly anticipated. Designers such as Vivienne Westwood and the late Lee McQueen moved over to Paris from London as their collections developed in style and structure, so there will always be a British presence in the midst of Paris. We’re always keeping an eager eye out for some of our favourite brands during fashion month, so read on to see what we thought of this year’s Paris Fashion Week…
Ms. Marant has had a huge presence in fashion this past year, most notably on the British high street, with her capsule collaboration for H&M selling out in less than a day in November. Everyone wanted to get their hands on a little bit of the Marant brand, which is famed for its embodiment of Parisian luxe Bohemian lifestyle. Isabel Marant said backstage “I never have feelings for fancy, frilly things in the winter. I like very comfortable, warm clothes – things you can go around being secure in.” Gone were the peasant blouses and floaty chiffons, in came the military aesthetic worked in Marant’s signature way. Belted waists, quilted leather, sparkles here and there and oversized knitwear created a collection for AW14 which was an undeniably Marant in its presentation and style and will be on the wishlist of every Marant follower next season.
As news circulated that Vivienne Westwood and her husband Andreas Kronthaler had been rummaging around the design archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum, anticipation for her AW14 collection reached new heights. Dame Viv’s ability to take inspiration from old archives and turn them into something new and doubly powerful has always been her greatest attribute. Her inspiration for AW14 clearly came from the mid-nineteenth century designs of the first couturier, Charles Frederick Worth. The overall outcome was thoroughly Westwood, her passions of socialism, environmental activism, anthropology and sublime draping were all evident throughout each look creating a collection which epitomised the Vivienne Westwood we all know and love.
“Un Grand Magasin” was the starting point for the focal show of Paris Week. Under Karl Lagerfeld’s creative direction, the Chanel show for AW14 followed the concept of SS14 which was staged in a supermarket to mock the art world under the double C symbol. The stage was set convincingly with extreme attention to detail, featuring shelves full of hundreds of items, all displayed at 20% or 50% more than the usual price. Everyday household items were re-coded in Chanel language, favourites including chain saws made with actual Chanel chains and a garbage bag (sac poubelle) re-branded as a sac plus belle. The show was both a celebration and satire of consumerism, an inside joke for the House of Chanel which the rest of us became privy to. The models were a vision in colour, Chanel tweed and bold silhouette tailoring formed the looks, topped off with belly chains and sunglasses, finished with trainers. Another incredible concept has been suggested by Mr Lagerfeld in a stunning performance which elevates his fashion status once again.
“Wild Beauty” was the focal point of the Alexander McQueen show, designed by his successor Sarah Burton. In past seasons prior to his passing, Lee McQueen would always be quoted as saying he felt like he had to offer his audience something spectacular to revive them after a long few weeks of shows and travel. As the audience filed into the training stables of the Garde Républicaine which was adorned with ten thousand heather plants and illuminated by spooky moonlight, one can only imagine what they must have been anticipating. Sarah Burton, who has recently become a mother, said she wanted to free her McQueen woman from the corsets of past seasons and give her a new lease of life. The result was a stunning collection of trapeze shapes and flowing silhouettes, all with a fairy tale twist. This twist was elaborate with feathers and broderie anglaise gracing the garments, followed by a darker side of fur and skunk topped off with dark eye make up. The result? Another incredible, awe inspiring collection from Ms Burton, the only woman who could carry on Lee McQueen’s extraordinary vision.
All images are courtesy of style.com