As fashion month comes to an end, the world turns their eyes, cameras and notepads to the runways of the City of Lights…
If New York, London and Milan all spell fashion, then Paris spells it with a capital “F”. Paris Fashion Week always delivers, and the AW19 collections of power-house designers and emerging labels has not disappointed. Opening on February 25th and running until March 5th, the global fashion capital saw many a nice ‘fit but also the construct of incredible shows; combining art, fashion, media, culture and technology into one big message for those who were lucky enough to witness it. In case you missed the big moments – don’t stress, we’ve rounded them up for you.
The runways saw a catalogue of different looks, from Valentino’s romantic touches full of rose motifs and tulle gowns, to Balenciaga’s tailored silhouettes and minimalist, ready to wear designs – there was something for everyone. But there is a reason Fall 2019 is now being labelled “the season of the suit”, with models flaunting boss-bitch suits in every shape, colour and pattern, from copious names including the likes of Louis Vuitton, Thom Browne and Chanel.
Where there was a wave of suits, there were also a number of curious pieces sprinkled across the calendar that caught our eye. Jacquemus designer, Simon Porte Jacquemus, took the phrase “less is more” to heart by continuing the micro-bag trend in his AW19 show titled, “La Collectionneuse”. The show took place in an industrial warehouse that was transformed into a trop jolie South of France style town square, lined with colourful shops and remarkable details.
The real star of the show, however, was a little less obvious; in a “hard to miss but even harder to see” moment, models poured down the runway, balancing tiny bags on the tips of their fingers. The bags, aptly named “Le Sac Chiquito”, were handed out as Jacquemus invitations to the show and, for something that is no more than twelve centimetres in length, the bags have made serious waves. It’s hard to determine what exactly could fit into these doll-sized accessories but it’s easy to say we kinda LOVE them.
We also love brands who aren’t afraid to make a statement and use their big names to tackle big issues – and there was no lack of this during Paris Fashion Week.
Stella McCartney’s audience (which included Oprah Winfrey!!) was greeted with a show heavily focused on the conservation of our environment and, in particular, saving the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra. Not only did the designer urge the audience to dedicate a tree, donate and raise awareness for the cause but she painted this message onto her runway. All the clothes from the AW19 collection are sustainable, with vegan leather and faux fur to dresses made from sustainable viscose sourced from certified forests or from vintage tees that were going to be thrown away and burned.
After the show the designer said to the press: “We’ve tried to create pieces that you want to hand down from generation to generation, pieces that you want to keep forever…”. Clothes are “donated by the past” via upcycling, and “dedicated to the future”. Just like the first step to planting a tree, we dig this Stella.
Keeping the activist juices flowing, Christian Dior’s AW19 show encompassed the brand’s artistic director, Grazia Chiuri’s vision to promote feminism. In her quest to create “global conversation around femininity”, Chiuri continued to produce that timeless Dior look but by pairing a cinched waist with a t-shirt emblazoned with feminist directives, she also achieved her goal. The proclamation that decorated these t-shirts was more than just words, rather the cover art of Sisterhood is Global, Robin Morgan women’s movement anthology. Chiuri says in an interview with Vogue that, “It’s a promotion for the book… I want Dior to be about collaborating with other women to support one another’s point of view.”
Staying true to her theme of “power to the woman”, the Dior runway was also designed by 88-year-old artist, Tomaso Binga, who photographed herself completely nude, bent in the shape of letters, which, when put together, spelled out one of her poems along the walls of the Musee Rodin. The black and white images surrounded by a red grid outline was the perfect frame for such a puissant show that delivered not only a great message but also a collection of brilliant designs full of boxy blazers, bold patterns and the bucket hat. It is safe to say that Dior lived up to its reputation this season.
Another stand out show making waves was the Tommy Hilfiger runway. Collaborating this season’s collection with multi-hyphenate power woman Zendaya, proved to be more than a success. Fusing the Americana spirit of the brand alongside major 70s vibes, this season’s new collection celebrates more than just tailored denim and paisley prints, rather an important moment in fashion history.
In an interview with W Magazine, Zendaya discusses her muses for the collection, “This whole night is about a tribute to these women, and the new women that are coming up, but also the women who paved the way for all of us to be here… I think it’s about celebrating all they’ve done for our industry and our community.”
The women that she is talking about are the models of the “Battle of Versailles” fashion show that took place in 1973, in which Stephen Burrows cast only models of colour for his collection, just like Tommy and Zendaya have done at PFW19. The Hilfiger runway saw not just only women of colour but powerhouse women of colour, including disco queen, Grace Jones and the world’s first black supermodel, Pat Cleveland, alongside the young faces of today like Winnie Harlow and Jourdan Dunn – the runway was as memorable as the collection.
Just like we all had to wait for Chanel’s show at Paris Fashion Week, I have made you wait to read about it. With the recent passing of one the fashion industry’s greatest talents, there was no doubt we would be seeing tributes to Karl Lagerfeld across the Paris Fashion Week calendar. Dior’s audience were presented with a gift in the Kaiser’s honour, a note left on each of their seats that read in both English and French: “In homage to the alchemist of elegance and beauty, Karl Lagerfeld.”
But nothing can compare to his fairy tale finale, the Chanel AW19 show, where the only “Lagerfeld detail” that was missing was the man himself. Set in a winter wonderland surrounded by chalets and covered in snow, the audience was greeted with a sketch on their seat; an illustration of Karl and Coco alongside with the words, “The Beat Goes On”.
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Today, the beat will go on… The #CHANELFallWinter 2019-20 Ready-to-Wear collection will be presented in #Paris in the #GrandPalais, today March 5th #PFW #CHANELintheSnow #KarlLagerfeld #VirginieViard | Visit espritdegabrielle.com L'héritage de Coco Chanel #espritdegabrielle
Beginning with a voice recording of Lagerfeld, then following with a sweet but sombre minute of silence for the late designer, the show was commemorative from the very start, in the best kind of way. The runway then burst to life with Chanel (and Lagerfeld) favourite, Cara Delevingne, opening the show in a stunning full-length houndstooth coat over a checked tweed jumpsuit. The collection featured a classic Chanel look with a touch of your finest ski couture; from timeless black and white coats to colourful puffer jackets and all white ensembles, the collection was fit for its dazzling surroundings.
It wasn’t only the runway that was decked out in Chanel; the A-list audience, including stars like Naomi Campbell and Kristen Stewart, were also donned in as much Chanel as they could wear in a tribute to their late friend. The room was filled with subtle and sweet hints of Karl, with Penelope Cruz, who made her debut on the runway, walking with a simple yet beautiful gesture to honour the designer – a single white rose.
There was no short supply of emotion, with many both on and off the stage shedding a tear for the Kaiser, but all-in-all the show was a celebration that was beautifully designed and beautifully executed. Even though the brand has lost one of its greatest leaders, Chanel lives on and this show certainly attested that.
So, there’s some of our most memorable moments, shows and pieces from the final curtain call of Fashion Month – Paris Fashion Week. With big collections, big shoulders, big statements and small tributes, it has come to yet another glorious end.
What was your favourite moment from Paris Fashion Week and Fashion Month? Let us know in the comments.