No matter their reputation or regard in the fashion industry, world-renowned designers refused to forget their fashion house’s roots on the runways of Paris Fashion Week. Designers questioned their brand’s identity and beginnings through elaborate designs and nostalgic reminders of their label’s birth into the fashion world. Designers like Andreas Kronthaler tipped the hat to Vivienne Westwood’s first-ever pirate-themed runway show through thick gold embellishments and metallic material, while Bruno Sialelli honoured the legacy of Jeanne Lanvin through designs that resembled her elegant and feminine craftsmanship.
A quick google search of Lanvin and you’re bound to be bombarded with praiseful phrases like ‘elegance’, ‘femininity’, and ‘modernity’- characteristics attributed to the brand by its founder: Jeanne Lanvin. The Paris 2022 ‘Illusion of Fashion’ collection embodied these qualities.
For his 2022 Paris Fashion Week show, Bruno Sialelli looked back to Jeanne Lanvin’s gracious garments to cultivate a 1920s Hollywood inspired evening wear range that transported us back to the brand’s origins as the first fashion house in France. If Lanvin’s Hollywood inspiration wasn’t evident enough through the crushed velvet suits and floor-length gowns, Sialelli began his show with an opening sequence that mimicked Warner Bro’s iconic opening scene as the Lanvin logo was projected on a black and white vintage graphic. Nostalgically, the end of the show was dominated by lace, a material used notoriously in old Hollywood and even more so by Jeanne Lanvin herself. Sialelli incorporated the sheer fabric into couture and abstract poofy silhouettes to create chic gowns.
Despite the old-fashioned garments, the show was modern in its ethos. A diverse range of models like Paloma Elsesser and America Gonzalez stole the show in floral gowns and exaggerated boxy blazers. The collection was an exuberant ode to Lanvin’s history of crafting captivating evening wear.
Looking back to its equestrian roots, the Hermes show strayed from trends and fads, sticking to the classical luxury goods they know best.
The sound of soft, feminine musings whispered around the ill-lit setting as models cascaded the runway in traditional Hermes leather goods like structured purses and knee-high boots. Adding a sultry twist to the traditional collection was the frequent use of sheer fabrics. Model’s torsos and calves were exposed by see-through chiffon for a seductive take on high fashion.
Colour was largely omitted from the start of the show, as Hermes sent monochromatic black and white looks down the catwalk. Gradually subtle tones of sage green and cerulean entered the scene, taking the form of old-money flared collars and structured blazers.
Vivienne Westwood by Andreas Kronthaler
As weddings resume after the pandemic, designers are looking for wacky and wonderful ways to reinvent the traditional ivory clad bridal attire. For his FW22 Parisian Vivienne Westwood show, Andreas Kronthaler treated us to another bridal Bella Hadid moment but instead of a bouquet, the world-class model donned red pom-poms, sparkling tights, and a single rose to accessorise her veiled look. Even further from the traditional bride was Kronthaler’s black-veiled gown, reminiscent of sinister horror movie costumes like those in The Woman in Black. Kronthaler broke the mould of what is considered ‘normal’ bridal chic- tying the knot never looked so menacing.
Even more unconventional than his bridal couture was Kronthaler’s colour combinations. The designer paired eccentric colours like fluorescent pink and brown- tones rarely seen together- but somehow complemented each other marvellously. The rest of the collection focused on ruched and metallic material paired with heavy gold bling, likely a nod to Vivienne Westwood’s first-ever runway show ‘Pirates’ in 1981.
When seeking evening wear that turns heads, Elie Saab’s excessively glamorous collections are always our first point of call. For his FW22 collection, the Lebanese designer created buoyant and light-hearted designs celebrating lady-like charm. Huge flower-shaped materials emerged from the shoulders of models while others sported slim-fitting jumpsuits submerged in shimmering glitter. Capes, abstract cut-outs defined by medusa style gold rims, and fluffy fur trims all added to the outrageously extra collection. One look that caught audience members like Therese H off- guard amongst the extravagant feminine pieces was a floor-length gown covered by a hoodie, toning down the OTT evening wear to add a touch of casual flair to the collection.
In a statement released before the show, Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, admitted that going forward with his ‘360 Degrees’ Paris Fashion Week show was not an easy decision following the current crisis in Ukraine. But, instead of cancelling the show and ‘giving in’, he dedicated his work to ‘fearlessness, resistance, and peace’ in support of those suffering.
The snowy setting of the show was possibly Balenciaga’s finest set choice yet (even topping their 2019 tunnel scene). Audience members like Kim Kardashian perched on seats covered with the Ukraine flag behind a screen that showcased models trudging through synthetic snow and wind- a clever representation of triumph and resistance.
The garments remained faithful to Balenciaga’s fashion ethos of creating modern minimalist pieces through tight-fitting black dresses, chunky gold accessories, and baggy black boots with the iconic ultra-pointed Balenciaga toe. Juxtaposing the glamour of the show was the purses that mimicked the shape of a trash bag, a possible reference to the revolutionary ‘sack dress’ which elevated the brand’s popularity in the 20th century. The show ended with monochromatic blue and yellow looks as a final act of support towards Ukraine; ending the avalanche of modernist glamour with a heartfelt message.
Pink. It isn’t just a colour, nor a mere pretty hue. It is an expression, an art form, a vision of femininity, power, and love- pink is an attitude. Nobody has recognised the shade’s ability to inspire more than Pierpaolo Piccioli at his Paris Fashion Week show. To cultivate the message behind the collection, the iconic fashion house collaborated with artist Douglas Coupland to create an identity for the collection based on quotes like ‘minimalists are hoarding space’, demonstrating the collection’s message to go pink or go home.
Fashion industry experts like Leonie Hanne perched on the front row besides new faces of the brand like Zendaya, who dressed in a monochromatic look from Valentino’s new collection. Opening the show with a message from the designer, Piccioli addressed the current global crisis, deeming that ‘love is the answer, always’. The designer’s voice faded to the sound of romance ballads by Yazoo drifting around the vivid scene to reiterate the show’s message of love. Models trickled onto the flamingo runway wearing monochromatic looks, Piccioli incorporated the intrepid colour onto traditional Valentino silhouettes like poofy skirts and strong blazers before switching to all-black looks, juxtaposing the playful hue with a sprinkle of Valentino drama.
The show was closed by Kristen Mcmenamy in a flowing chiffon gown with a walk exuding as much power as the garment itself. Models assembled back onto the scene to create a chill-inducing army of pink; a true vision of solidarity in a time so bleak.
Words By Olivia Booth
Photo Credit: Gerasim Kutsarov