Prefer a museum or concert? During the last days of Paris fashion week, which ended on March 8, after nine days of parades, different brands took over cultural places or paraded pop stars on their catwalks – one did not prevent the other.
Despite her musical heritage, Stella McCartney instead turned to the fine arts and invited her guests to the Center Pompidou, in the long transparent corridor of 6and floor, which offers an unobstructed view of Paris. “I wanted to parade here because Beaubourg has one of the best collections of Frank Stella’s works”, explains the designer. Indeed, the collection is rooted in the work of the American painter, known for his geometric abstractions in the 1950s and his three-dimensional color explosions in the 1970s. “His minimalism and maximalism appeal to me and resonate with the brand’s universe, where the clothing often shows a masculine sobriety, but can also be completely explosive. †
Frank Stella’s geometric lines skilfully transition into highly graphic black and white coats or suits, or wool patchwork sweaters with zigzag stripes. Dresses in stretch viscose are overflowing with colors and abstract prints, like a palette where gouaches have been mixed. The prettiest dresses are monochromatic, in shiny silk georgette, with open sleeves that swell up like balloons when the wind blows through them. As always with Stella McCartney, the artistic dimension is doubled by an ecological concern: this season she has developed a new vegetable “leather” made from grape skins. “All the wine you drank during the lockdown was turned into handbags! †she smiles.
That same day, Vuitton invited another Parisian museum, in Orsay, with whom the house entered into a new partnership, in addition to its long-standing partnership with the Louvre. “I like the nave because of its light, its colors, this strange aura that radiates, like a temple”, explains Nicolas Ghesquiere. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a more beautiful setting than Courbet’s marble statues and paintings to present a collection focused on adolescence, “period, tailors spoken, without conformism, consisting of mixtures, dissonances”. In the flowery ties that are hastily knotted, the large lanky-looking leather jackets, the canvas sneakers like Converse or the striped rugby shirts, we find styling cues from the student (rather tough than mathematic).
Adolescence is also represented by portraits of young strangers, captured by fashion photographer David Sims early in his career, printed on T-shirts or embroidered on floral polo shirts. “It could be T-shirts that teenagers buy after concerts. Or like a teenage room with its floral wallpaper covered with posters of its idols », imagine the creator. If the references are clear, the wardrobe stays true to the Ghesquière aesthetic, all in hybridizations (long live the scarf skirt) and skilful constructions (a millefeuille of colored silk muslin that gives the impression that the garment is rubbing against the skin). To embody it, the artistic director called on the pop culture star of the moment: the heroine of the series Squid Game Jung Ho-yeon opened the parade.
Zebra coat and marshmallow dress
Proof that you don’t necessarily have to be a juggernaut to parade a star: several young creators have bet on the surprising appearance of a celebrity on their show. Singers are especially popular. For example, the duo Victoria/Tomas opened the festivities by parading Louane in a large zebra coat; designer Nix Lecourt Mansion dressed the pregnant Amel Bent in a marshmallow dress; the novice Alphonse Maitrepierre asked Arielle Dombasle, in blood-red sheath, to interpret his song in a refined playback I wish you love. Fashion becomes performance, clothing is no more than an element of a global and cheerful culture.
The atmosphere is also adorned with glitter and pop flavors at Germanier and Vivienne Westwood. The first, a 30-year-old Swiss who imposes a colorful and outrageous style with sequins, denim and recycled pearls, a kind of Thierry Mugler fed with Hello Kitty and introduced to Greenpeace, launches his first show, in the large siècle salons of the Baccarat- crystal factory. Divas in feathered knits, creatures in sparkling clothes, mutants with masked faces… “I wanted to move away from the princess aesthetic I could explore before, for darker tones, emphasizes Kevin Germanier† A crazy scientific side creating its aliens: that’s what I am after all! †
At Vivienne Westwood, artistic director Andreas Kronthaler also gives the big show. On the stage of La Nouvelle Eve, a cabaret in Pigalle, the patched outfits of vagabonds, satin curtains adorned with boas à la Zizi Jeanmaire, ballerinas with Pierrot pompoms and Harlequin prints, fishnets and rococo jackets appear. Festive references shared by an exalted audience.
Baggy caps and pants
Givenchy also invites its guests to a performance hall, in the Paris La Défense Arena, the largest concert hall in Europe, which can accommodate 40,000 people. Of course, the show is on a smaller scale, with a stage within a stage, raised several meters above a transparent floor, allowing us to see the models emerge from the wings. Creator Matthew M. Williams chose this location because it “feels at home”, he whose fashion career is closely associated with music – before Givenchy, he worked with Kanye West and Lady Gaga. A defector from a universe other than luxury, it took him a few seasons to find his way into this house whose DNA is at times fuzzy, torn between the classic elegance of its founder, Hubert de Givenchy, and the influence of streetwear. introduced by former artistic director Riccardo Tisci.
Matthew M. Williams deftly navigates between the two in this mixed fashion show, with a chic wardrobe for women, all with references to Audrey Hepburn, and for men a cooler range, based on hoodies, caps and wide trousers. “Since my arrival in 2020 I have developed a language and improved techniques, says Willems. I perfected used denim, which I treat with the same care as duchess satin. Or peplum dresses, whose ruffles are getting lighter and finer. † The American designer has yet to really make his mark on Givenchy, but he is now playing with his heritage effectively.
Isabel Marant has taken up residence, as usual, in the gardens of the Palais Royal, a stone’s throw from the Ministry of Culture. It was to the pop rock riffs of the New York group Blonde Redhead, installed on a stage at the end of the stage, that the Parisian designer sent her proposal for winter 2022-2023. A fresh wardrobe, built around legible and easy-to-inhabit pieces. We find the designer gimmicks, printed trousers, large men’s jackets associated with long thigh boots, leather or denim jumpsuits, or even short dresses for the dance floor. The look is cheerful and relaxed, as you imagine the atmosphere of an open-air concert in the summer. A bubble of lightness, in the middle of a strange season, touched by the geopolitical context.