From Coperni’s hemp forest to Marge Simpson’s Balenciaga debut, we’re giving you the rundown of our favorite shows from PFW.
CREDIT: Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times
Fashion Month has come to a close, with Paris Fashion Week reminding us again that the best is always saved for last (sorry Milan, but Fendace guaranteed that you wouldn’t make the top spot).
For the first time in 18 months, A-list celebrities, fashion editors and a regrettable number of influencers flocked to the city of love to digest what designers had cooked up. It was a week filled with endless parties, a poignant tribute to the late Alber Elbaz, the celebration of a decade of Olivier Rousteing at the helm of Balmain and even a protestor storming Louis Vuitton’s runway—someone must’ve forgotten to put Gigi on security detail this season.
Is your head spinning yet? Because I’m still surprised mine is sitting on my shoulders after this monthlong shit show of beautiful chaos. Luckily, we’re here to give you the highlights of what we found most intriguing at PFW.
To kick off the week, Anthony Vaccarello returned to the runway to show his latest collection for Saint Laurent at the Trocadéro. The 39-year-old displayed his pedigree yet again with a dazzling display set against the crisp, black night sky only to be cut through by the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower coupled with a waterfall that showered over a centered light display as models exited the runway.
The collection was influenced by Paloma Piccaso, it-girl of the ‘70s and ‘80s and the only muse of Yves Saint Laurent ever to inspire a collection for the fashion house. Traces of the style icon were apparent, with dark-haired models donning her signature scarlet lips. Picasso’s influence was discernible in the collection that was elegant yet practical. It felt both masculine and sensual, with strong tailoring defined by broad-shouldered blazers, jumpsuits that hugged the models in all the right places and prominent slits that felt classic but fitting for a post-pandemic collection.
Jonny Johansson gave us what felt like a glimpse into the future with his latest collection for Acne Studios. The venue was an intermeshing of opposing textures, set in a lofty warehouse with a runway draped in black, velvet-ey fabric and mirrored monoliths that could’ve been dropped down from outer space.
The garments were as equally juxtaposed texturally, with light, airy fabrics that looked as if they could melt away from the body from a single drop of water being paired with leather buckles and straps that would make any dominatrix turn their head. Deconstructed mesh sets and knit ensembles looked pieced together, draping the models, but not without intention or refinery. Exposed lingerie along with towering platform sandals displayed the deepest desires of the label’s Gen Z target market while pulling the best of old-world sexiness with reimagined corsets and garters. If you’re asking me, the all-black jumpsuit paired with its corresponding itty-bitty leather corset gave what needed to be given.
Set against a mundane, all-white backdrop, Jonathan Anderson’s latest collection for Loewe was the complete antithesis of it. It was bright. It was bold. It was maybe even a bit mod and quirky. In the Campy conglomeration of looks, rationality was tossed to the side. But why should fashion be rational? At a time where everyone is steamrolling toward a sense of “normalcy,” Anderson let us know he wasn’t quite ready for it.
Opening the show appeared to be your run-of-the-mill column dress constructed from stretchy fabric. However, as the models made their way down the runway, three-dimensional geometric shapes jutted out from the fabric. Anderson also incorporated breastplates reminiscent of Claude Lalanne’s work for Saint Laurent in the ‘60s and put the models in strappy sandals affixed upon daily objects. How about an egg? Any horse-girl would neigh at the sight of a stallion-emblazoned mohair dress. Whimsical would be the word to best describe the collection or “hysterical,” in Anderson’s own words.
With one of my hobbies being an avid Demna Gvasalia critic (Vetements was never it), I found myself surprised to feel so inclined to talk about Balenciaga’s show. While his silhouettes for the fashion house have been perpetually predictable, you must give credit where it’s due. The innovation and entertainment value of the show alone made Balenciaga the talk of the week and demonstrated Gvasalia’s forward-thinking ability in where the industry is headed.
“It’s more like a music or movie business, in the way you can convey things,” he said to Vogue concerning the fashion industry, equating it to more of an entertainment experience rather than only showing a collection. As the show’s audience sat in the Théâtre du Châtelet, they viewed a livestream of “guests” arriving at the theatre on a red carpet as live TV crews zoomed in on their looks and paparazzi clamored for photos.
Models and celebrities graced the pseudo-red carpet, wearing looks ranging from exquisite, avant-garde gowns showing Gvasalia’s skillset in couture to the usual oversized, streetwear-inspired tailoring paired with *checks notes* cyber-goth Crocs. The red carpet event was just a precursor for the main event: the premiere of a special episode of The Simpsons with the citizens of Springfield making their runway debut at the praise of Anna Wintour and Kim Kardashian. Marge Simpson closed out the show because who else?
The post-pandemic fashion mayhem is what we’re all living for. The unbridled energy expressed over the last week in Paris is enough for me to write a full 40-page dissertation on if Rowdy’s editors left me to my devices.
Honorable mentions of the week include Ludovic de Saint Sernin dishing up another serving of gender-neutral sexiness on a silver platter, Miu Miu letting us know that low-rise micro-mini skirts have resurrected and Stella McCartney letting us in on her mushroom obsession under the dome of the Oscar Neimeyer building.
The latest showcases of the best in fashion have shown us that things will never be “back to normal” in the industry, with designers showing us their hunger for new formats, new materials and a new world, to be quite honest. One thing is certain: We’re excited to come along for the ride.
Jacob McLean is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. When he's not hunched over his computer, drinking alarming amounts of coffee or searching for new music, you'll probably find him daydreaming about his future life in NYC like every other basic bitch. Find him on Insta at jacobmclean_