Close cuts and monochrome rule the Paris catwalk

With Paris Fashion Week reaching its climax, we look at what is causing a stir on the catwalks.



- Vive le close cut! -

Oversized has been cut down to size. For the last two years the catwalks have been awash with sulking teenagers hiding in their hoodies, huge trailing trousers and enormous coats inside of which you could shelter a small family and their fridge.

But with the look now filtering down to the high streets, fashion is off again in another direction.

Paris Fashion Week has been remarkable for how the Spring/Summer collections are bringing clothes back to the body, with a much closer cut to shake off the studied shapelessness of the last few seasons.

Even Virgil Abloh, the en vogue American designer at Off-White so beloved by rap stars for his riffs on sweatshirts and streetwear has embraced the well-cut power suit, matching a double-breasted white jacket with bicycle leggings.

Everything looks much more classic, wearable and designed to flatter. Even Rick Owens, the over-the-top Los Angeles radical who took oversized to extremes, seemed to be cutting his cloth much tighter.

- Black and white -

Black and white isn't so much a trend for next spring and summer as the rule.

Although pastels and strong colours usually dominate the spring and summer collections, this year many brands have gone right back to the essentials of black and white.

The list of those who have gone binary is long, from sexy Saint Laurent, Off-White, Balmain, Mugler, Isabel Marant, Ann Demeulemeester, Paco Rabanne and Yohji Yamamoto to Junya Watanabe, Drome, Lanvin Andrew GN and Lutz Huelle.

Silvery greys are also in with Guillaume Henry in particular using them to very polished effect for Nina Ricci with safari coats and French military jackets with epaulettes topped with Foreign Legion kepis.

- Good sports -

Sportswear is everywhere.

At first look it might seem like fashion has finally surrendered to the football shirt-wearing masses.

Koche the smart French label set up by Christelle Kocher -- who is known for her couture savvy -- sent out a series of re-imagined silky Paris Saint-Germain tops.

Despite the pearls and the exquisite detailing, there was still something of a sharp intake of breath -- was a style Rubicon being crossed here?

Fashion has been embracing sportswear for a long time now, but there is a tension about how far it can go.

Kocher, who also heads up label Lemarie that specialises in feathers and other haute couture fripperies, managed to stay just about onside by successfully feminising a very male piece of kit.

PSG stars Neymar and Dani Alves even turned up on the front row at Balmain, the footballers' wives label par excellence.

Lacoste, which has quit New York for Paris, delivered their reliable fare for the sporty uppercrust with tennis star Novak Djokovic looking on.

Elsewhere, Veronique Leroy gave the swimsuit a couture-over, layering her creations on top of bikinis and one-pieces, while Glenn Martens at Y/Project pulled Bermuda shorts way up the market. And polo dresses made an appearance at Carven as well as up-and-coming Atlein.

- Big in Japan -

The Japanese always turn heads: be it their crop of insanely gifted designers or the incredibly "looked" tribe of fashion editors, bloggers and photographers who follow the fashion circus around the globe.

But this week they have been outdoing themselves with Junya Watanabe at his brilliant best giving black and white prints from the Finnish textile house Marimekko a whole new and completely unexpected punk life.

There was also a new vampire-gothic sexual edge to Yohji Yamamoto's deeply black collection.

Yoshiyuki Miyamae's very ethereal evocation of Iceland for Issey Miyake with shimmering dresses and capes also had many admirers, and you could not but love the sets of zany 1950s "twins" that Underground sent out in outfits loosely inspired by the US artist Cindy Sherman.

 

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