Paris Fashion: Westwood gets theatrical, Lanvin gets magical
PARIS (AP) — Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood showcased a veritable commedia dell’arte on Saturday at Paris Fashion Week with a mad hat collection inspired by the theater, while Lanvin continued to go from strength to strength.
Here are some highlights of ready-to-wear fall-winter 2022 shows, including why one Ukrainian designer, who escaped Kyiv and spoke to The Associated Press, thinks it’s important to protest against the war — especially within the fashion community.
SIALELLI WEAVES MAGIC AT LANVIN
He’s been described as the “providential outsider,” saving Lanvin from the creative wilderness after the stinging departure of iconic designer Alber Elbaz in 2015 and a string of underwhelming replacements.
Now Bruno Sialelli — a virtual unknown before being tapped in 2019 — continues to weave his quirky magic into the age-old brand. It will likely come as a relief for many, especially the French — given the special place the house holds in their hearts as their oldest continually operating fashion house.
Fall-winter’s co-ed show explored big shoulders and bright color.
A traffic-stopping fur coat in cadmium blue began the collection, worn on a little black dress with plunging V-neck. A big theme was announced by a jumpsuit with theatrically large, curved shoulder pads framing the silhouette like a tent. Humor — the terrain of the late Elbaz — was also on the menu, with fun prints on fur coats that resembled a funky mushroom, or a coated femme fatale seen from behind.
It was a safe, yet highly sellable collection that ticked all the right boxes.
TRIBUTE TO UKRAINE
As Paris Fashion Week continues, many attendees’ thoughts remain with Ukrainians suffering amid the escalation of the conflict — and with some creatives unable to attend because of the crisis, such as Kyiv-based milliner Ruslan Baginskiy.
This is especially the case for the one Ukrainian designer who did make it to Paris: Lili Litkovskaya. She is reportedly the only Ukrainian designer attending the shows this season, having fled Kyiv on the first day of the invasion with her two-year-old daughter but with no collection, and no team.
Litkovskaya has paid tribute to her peers by flying the Ukrainian flag inside La Bourse as part of the Tranoi fashion trade fair running parallel to Fashion Week.
On Saturday, she stood in front of the Marianne statue in the Place de la Republique as part of the official anti-war demonstration.
“My main message is that the fashion community must show what’s going on in our country,” she told the Associated Press. “They have to say to stop the war. This war concerns everyone. We need the support from everyone.”
“It was terrible and difficult and we were stuck on the border for many hours, but that’s zero compared with what’s going on in our country, because our children, men, women are being killed.”
KRONTHALER GETS THEATRICAL
Westwood’s husband and creative right-hand man Kronthaler was in a typical burlesque mood with Saturday’s eccentric fare that mixed 70’s styles with the medieval — explaining that for fall-winter he intended to pay homage to the world of the stage.
“I wanted to make a collection about the theater, the commedia dell’arte,” he said, referring to the early theatrical genre originating in Italy from the 16th century that featured hyperbolic, often grotesque characters. “(I’ve been) very inspired by this since (being) a teenager,” he added.
Cut to billowing funeral veils, tracksuits in harlequin diamond patterns, corseted gowns, and gold truncated boots that screamed Puss in Boots-meets-Glam Rock.
Though Pulcinella, the commedia dell’arte’s black-masked clown, did not make an appearance, masks, ruching and draping that inspired the character’s famed looks were all featured in droves.
Draping — a house signature — was also a big theme, alongside layering and intentionally contrasting styles.
U.S. designer Rick Owens, who himself aligns with Kronthaler’s eccentric fashion-forward aesthetic, applauded vigorously from the front row.
ELIE SAAB IS ON TREND
The Lebanese designer, famous for his va-va-voom silhouettes and pastel palette, went in a darker direction on Saturday.
Crowning the trend of black, this season Elie Saab experimented with eyelets. The golden holes teemed over black pantsuits. The V-neck — another fall trend — also was featured, first on floaty black silk gowns, and then as a scallop shape, which scooped out the torso with a beautiful Grecian gold hem.
Shoulders were rounded or lopped off, in another nod to the season’s styles. But at times this collection seemed to lack an overarching visual theme.
MARINE SERRE’S VISUAL DECEPTIONS
The collection of the new darling wunderkind of Paris Fashion Week, Marine Serre, used clashing and contrasting patterns with aplomb to create dynamic, sometimes deceptive visual effects.
The 30-year-old French designer cut her teeth at Balenciaga, and it shows.
A fashion -forward vibe pervaded many of the looks that mastered discord: A red tartan inset on a long coat seemed to bleed into a Prince of Wales check, with flashes of houndstooth in the sleeves on the lapel. A long winter scarf was constructed of several clashing, color-rich patterns stitched together, and worn regally like a sash.
There were many moments of humor in this 48-piece collection. A large red devore velvet face covering, which evoked a glamorous Spiderman, also made a comment about the pandemic, and the way in which masks have become a part of our daily lives.
Deborah Gouffran in Paris contributed to this report.