Paris Fashion Week is coming to an end, and what a ride it has been! As usual the SS20 collections and street style looks have given the fashion world a much-needed shake up.
The European summer of style continues, with much-anticipated Paris Fashion Week wrapping up for another season, after the veritable fashion smorgasbords of New York, London and Milan.
Paris Fashion Week has brought us exciting runway shows from Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Givenchy, Valentino, Saint Laurent, Dior, Alexander McQueen, Off-White and many more fashion industry behemoths.
The spring/summer collections have featured everything from oversized silhouettes, feminine florals and sports-luxe tailoring.
The City of Love and Fashion
The Paris spring collections have a suitably revolutionary air about them. Gender is merging and fluid for SS20. Similarly, established silhouettes are being ignored in favour of jumbo oversized looks.
Givenchy outfitted catwalk models in flowing silhouettes that begin suit-like at the neckline and evolve as they cascade to the floor. Balenciaga has brought the shoulder pad back from the dead, with decidedly 80s-inspired power dressing on the catwalk. The exaggerated square shoulders evoked zoot suits of the 40s, fitting the models with instant gravitas.
Spanish luxury fashion house, Loewe, presented us with deconstructed lace garments at every turn- the familiar twisted into engaging new forms through interesting takes on structure and piping.
PFW favourite Saint Laurent stayed true to its monochrome vision, bringing us deconstructed workwear suits and shirts with a touch of sex appeal. Sequins and shimmer brought the all-black ensembles to life on the runway.
Dior saw a return to a pastural existence, with straw hats, beige plant-embroidered suits and cornflower-blue button-ups evoking a mix of country life, tropical getaways and Vincent Van Gogh’s troubled eye for colour and texture.
Check out some of the best designs below:
Sources: Harper’s Bazaar
Traditional notions of gender are well and truly on the chopping block, with collections across the board merging menswear and womenswear staples into collections that channel androgyny and trend-bucking aesthetics. Designers are getting on board with 2019’s evolving discourse on gender and sexuality.
The visual codes for what is masculine and feminine have gone out the window, with men’s handbags going from a taboo item to a must-have in recent times, on the runway at least. Purses are no longer within the female domain. The colour palette for SS20 was dominated by soft pastels, pinks and purples.
Rick Owens fitted his male models in 6-inch platform heels. Raf Simons offered raw-hemmed tunics up for consideration, with garments that are more dresses than dress-like.
Stella McCartney flirted with tradionally masculine uniform-inspired fits in her womenswear show. Typically hyper-feminine label Chloé had the notable inclusion of mens-style trousers and a long pinstripe coat. Lanvin also opted for the large suit jacket and trouser combo for women.
Many brands, including Sacai, simply merged their mens and womens collections entirely. These trends were echoed in streetwear.
Oversized Is the New Black
This season saw a definitive return to the favouring of fun and artistic expression over straight functionality. This is best shown through the season’s predilection for very, very oversized fits. Imposing structures loomed across all manner of runways.
Balenciaga gave us sneakers, graphics and most notably, boxy jackets, blazers, coats and trenches for men and women. Shoulders were large and oversized, with outlines always nipped in at the waist for dramatic effect.
Proportions have been brought straight out of the political arena, which designer Demna Gvasalia calls a “Balenciaga parliament or assembly”, addressing “power dressing and fashion uniforms.”
Gvasalia is taking inspiration straight out of UN summits,
“We looked at pictures of women politicians, of what they wear campaigning. We took this type of tailored daywear dress and tried to make it cool—not an easy challenge, to be honest,”
The result was to “make them more boxy and cocoon-y, which is quite Balenciaga. So many body types can wear it. Democratic and easy-to-wear volumes.”
The middle of the show revealed more huge shoulders and fashion glitziness reminiscent of 80s oil-tycoon rich-bitch bravado.
Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton paired sketches of endangered flowers with embroidered guipure lace
Burton states her intention with show as slowing down, “a lot of the fabric industry in this country is endangered, so it was this idea of catching things before they disappear.”
“[it’s] about slowing down time. There’s so much noise in the world, everyone is so rushed, we all constantly feel like we have no time. And embroidery takes a long time. So this season was about having a moment for us as a community to be with our own thoughts and consider what we think, rather than listening to anyone else.”
Previous season items have been reworked for the SS20 collection, rejecting notions that fashion is throwaway and ephemeral.
Often the most interesting fashion at any fashion week event is worn off the runway. Whether it’s found on influencers, off-duty models, celebrities, fashion industry heavyweights or simply fashion fans, street style is a great way for the spirit of the season to find its real footing.
In many ways, PFW street style echoed what we saw on the catwalk. Shoulder-pads and unorthodox fits reigned supreme. Oversized jackets and outwear helped devotees brave the weather. But we saw a decidedly more functional approach to this, with moveable silhouettes and comfortable combinations of staples and accessories. There were some amusing exceptions to this of course.
Clashing patterns and prints featured heavily. Plaids and tartans were mixed with pinstripes and embroidery to create jarring ensembles. Even tie-dye made an appearance, slotting in alongside leopard print and feather trims.
Camouflage print and army boots were a favoured option for those eschewing heels. Goth and Victorian-era aesthetics also featured, with chains and black quilting resulting in a more baroque and punk look for many. Harnesses and patent finishes are very much still on the cards.
Interesting takes on the cut-out was a clear trend, with holes adorning everything from jeans, sweaters, harem pants, dresses and Louis Vuitton bags.
Check out some of the best street style looks below:
Image Sources: Elle
What were your favourite looks from Paris Fashion Week? Let us know in the comments below!