I needed to get it and I got it. Most often than not, “you become what you talk about”. After it was done, I said to myself, (almost like a whisper) “I got what I want”. Now, let’s have a quick review of the top 6 luxury brand shows of Paris Fashion Week Fall 2019 inspired by vogue international with the author as NICOLE PHELPS.
Chanel – Tribute to the Late Karl Lagerfeld: There was an icicle-like tinkling on the soundtrack. Models assembled, one by one, on the snow-covered steps of a faux alpine hostelry, the Chanel Gardenia. It was hard, the suppressed anticipation of what was going to happen next. What is the correct form for honoring someone at a fashion show, someone who was always so fixed on waving away vulgar sentimentality, and who always had something hilariously skewering to say about the posthumous hagiographies of anyone he cared to mention?
Karl Lagerfeld was the least sentimental of people. He loved his job and always regarded it as the task of continually living in the present. He reveled in letting it be known he had a “contract for life” with Chanel, which he enjoyed to the maximum moment.
Louis Vuitton – Nicholas Ghesquière: There’s been a lot of talk about bourgeois dress codes—we’ll soon be inundated with camel and culottes. But this was a different view of Paris, backward-looking, in some ways, to the 1980s, yes, but with less prescriptive results.
Louis Vuitton clients with a sartorial streak might fancy the tomboyish tailoring. Craftier types will appreciate the quilted floral-print jacket and oversize vest, almost country-ish in their attitude, which qualified as the most surprising elements of the show.
For the women who go to Louis Vuitton for its savoir faire with leather, it will be the Damier check pencil skirts. Eclecticism was the collection’s virtue—and its audacity. Sitting at a café in the Fourth Arrondissement, or anywhere, you’re going to watch these clothes walk by, not stare into your smartphone.
Alexander McQueen – Sarah Burton: To research this collection, Burton took her team to northern cities outside of Manchester, to Macclesfield, where she was raised, and nearby towns where mills still produce the textiles used for men’s suits in the United Kingdom and abroad. For the show, the audience sat on bolts of fabric from these mills, the very made-in-England wools used in the collection (both for the samples and, ultimately, the production.
Burton wanted to showcase the products, tradition, and culture of the England in which she was raised: the woolens, the local festival traditions (in which there are rose queens), the history of suffrage and its white-clad campaigners, the Brontës (regional heroines), and the codes of punk and new wave, which are ingrained in Burton even if she is too young to have seen Joy Division before it all went tragic.
There is a silver dress in the collection that appears to be made of elongated metal paillettes, but the show notes reveal it was made from a loom’s heddles cut into sequins and studded with bugle beads. The noise the dress makes as one walks is meant to mimic the sound of a shop floor. And there is a coat of Prince of Wales check in which the skirt is covered in a swirly, ruffled embroidery made from the scraps of selvage edges left on the cutting room floor.
This coat is one of the chicest nods to upcycling in any collection, and perhaps the only instance of upcycling from a major house this season. It is both elegant and relevant. And this is perhaps the real triumph of Burton’s collection.
Balenciaga – Demna Gvasalia: Here are one or two things that stood out: his retooling of Cristóbal Balenciaga monastic silhouettes as “incognito” high collars and hoods that obscured the wearer’s face from side view—an extreme, intellectually witty extension of Gvasalia’s reputation as a maker of hoodies.
The erasure of trainers, dad-like or otherwise, in favor of square-toed black leather shoes and new high boots for men. The young men carrying fistfuls of B-branded shopping bags. “It’s real,” said Gvasalia. “When I’m on the streets of Paris, that’s what I see.”
Yves St Laurent – Anthony Vaccarello: The designer’s other subjects this season were Yves St Laurent’s Opium moment and the haute couture “Scandal” collection of Spring 1971.
The former produced all manner of lavishly worked beaded evening jackets, worn with micro-shorts, Swiss-dot stockings, and knee boots for a modern vibe. The latter was Vaccarello’s Pop reinterpretation of Saint Laurent’s own revisionist take on World War II–era clothing, which was critically panned at the time but went on to become influential in the street.
This section of the show was harder to see, with the models walking behind a wall of glass, in black light, with a Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room mirror situation behind them. Vaccarello has made a signature of these “second acts,” but this collection hardly needed one. He had most of us at that coat inspired by Betty Catroux.
Celine – Hedi Slimane: There have been all sorts of jokes about “old Celine” since Hedi Slimane took over. But in his third showing for the house, this—and everything that followed—was his turning of the tables.
This was old,old Celine—exactly the kind of politely classy merchandise originally sold under the label before LVMH acquired it, long before even Phoebe Philo’s predecessor, Michael Kors, was drafted to make runway shows out of it.
In our time of so much fashion, this was Slimane’s moment to iterate, and reiterate, his version of French fashion from a time of nonfashion—a niche of Parisian upper- and middle-class style that he must have understood from being a boy growing up in France.
In a way it was exactly what Slimane has always done—taking the subject of a seam of preexisting street style and drilling into it for all it’s worth.”