Spring/Summer 2015 Chanel

Bloggers’ obsession with street style has reached fever pitch here in Paris, and that might have been on Karl Lagerfeld’s mind when he erected hoardings of a typical Parisian street, “Boulevard Chanel”, inside the Grand Palais. Show-goers had to look twice to realise it was hoardings and not an actual bricks-and-mortar street (no expense spared here), there were even real puddles by the curb, because even a Chanel street isn’t immune to the occasional downpour.

Models came out en masse, alone or in twos and threes chatting as though they were out for a casual Saturday stroll. The clothes they wore felt like their own, which might have something to do with the familiarity of them. It felt like a heritage collection, exactly the sort of clothes that Chanel’s moneyed customers come to this house for. There were countless interpretations of tweedy suits every one as fabulous as the next whether they were rendered into flared trousers or micro minis; splashy painterly florals over silks, kicky box-pleated skirts, sometimes layered over narrow black trousers; and mosaic cocktail dresses made up of rectangular pewter plastic tablets, arranged like bricks, which echoed back to the architecture of the show’s surroundings.

An appearance by Gisele was also thrown in for good measure, dressed in one of Chanel’s signature striped cardigan dresses. There were some newer pieces spotted here too, like last summer’s hit Art bag – itself a street star sensation, captured by Tommy Ton in every fashion capital.

What’s a street without a protest? For his finale, Lagerfeld staged a mock demonstration complete with banners that read “Tweed is better than tweet”, “Be your own stylist”, “Make fashion not war”, “Free freedom”, and “Ladies first”, with Cara and Gisele on quilted Chanel megaphones screaming, “What do we want! When do we want it?”

Those street style snappers would have been all over it.


Spring/Summer 2015 Balmain

How to redefine power dressing while giving a woman a uniform to climb her career in – and one that can bring a man to his knees? This is Olivier Rousteing’s brief at Balmain, because this is what his army of rich, glamorous customers demands from their wardrobes.

The majority of looks were caged in graphic black leather lattice work, the dresses were long, lean, zip-backed and to the shin. There was a heady waft of Tom Ford’s Gucci in the supremely flattering wide-leg trousers and that high octane sexuality. There was a nod to Givenchy in the white trouser suit, the jacket cut away and knotted at the stomach, while the Mondrian colour palette recalled Yves Saint Laurent.

Yes it referenced collections that have gone before and of course there was a vintage energy here (it wouldn’t be Balmain without one), but on the runway these clothes became entirely modern: Eighties or Nineties or now – the sight of Jourdan Dunn slinking past in a pair of dazzling yellow and black flares is always going to be fabulous. And proof that while trends come and go, the desire to feel fierce will never go out of fashion.

To shop more Balmain visit: www.balmain.com or click below to shop the latest Spring/Summer 2015 Balmain collection:


Spring/Summer 2014-15 Alexander McQueen

Sarah Burton built upon her own personal and treasured collection of antique kimonos picked up during trips to Japan during her early days at McQueen. Those precious pieces informed the palette of blossom pink, red and black and brought about a blown-up floral on structured engineered jacquard lantern-sleeved dresses, which were so stiffened they looked like they might stand up of their own accord were a body not even in them. And so the theme developed, extending too to hair and make-up, which served to enhance the Samurai warrior feel, with faces covered in angular black lacquer masks and hair aggressively pulled back into neatly folded ponytails.

The set was staged with Marc Quinn’s gargantuan painted bronze orchid sculptures, one male and one female, which were on loan from London’s White Cube. It lent an air of erotica: Burton made a point of opening up necklines and slicing slits into sleeves to reveal windows to flesh. It was strict but not Geisha-girl covered.

There was some movement; her finale dresses swished about the body as buoyant skirts were festooned in hand-cut floral ruffles, while up top hand-painted petals were attached to wet-look black harnesses.

Alexander McQueen is not a house where one can typically shop from, nor is it a show where one looks to tick off the emerging trends of the season (OK, granted, a mean pair of flares did pop up here, and yes, that Japanese theme is also shaping up to be a spring story) but what is so refreshing to witness – and a delight – is how Sarah Burton never wavers from what this house stands for. At a time where so many other designers are riffing on others, sidling up to an aesthetic that doesn’t typically ring true, to see a collection that is so wonderfully, boldly unique is a powerful thing.

 

To shop more Alexander McQueen visit: www.alexandermcqueen.com or click below to shop the recent Spring/Summer 2014-15 Alexander McQueen collection:

 


Autumn/Winter 2014-15 Giambattista Valli

IF there’s one thing that Giambattista Valli knows how to do it’s pretty and this collection could have almost been designed with a Valentine’s Day theme in mind – such was its spread of red and pink, rose-strewn, typically lovely creations.

Shapes were soft to match the colours – this was a romantic collection of lace-layers and botanical prints, metallic shine and ruby-maroon shades for plunge-front but shapely dresses and caped coats.

It wasn’t cutting edge but it doesn’t need to be – that would defy the point of what Valli does – and what he does do, he does very well.

To shop more visit: www.giambattistavalli.com or click below to shop the full Autumn/Winter 2014-15 Giambattista Valli collection: