In Paris, Stella McCartney and Sacai put on energetic shows, Zimmermann and Dundas play with romanticism
Two trends stood out on the eighth day of the women's ready-to-wear shows in Paris. On the one hand, an everyday and energetic style, as illustrated by Stella McCartney and Sacai with their AW23 collections. On the other, a more romantic influence with Zimmermann and Dundas, where models dressed up as sexy sailors.
An equestrian vibe at Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney plunged us into the equestrian world and she did so, as always, in her own way, by putting the animal centre stage. Seven magnificent Spanish horses, guided with gentleness and complicity by Jean-François Pignon, a pioneer of free-roaming dressage, trotted, twirled, reared and even rolled on the ground at the École Militaire riding school, alongside the runway as the models walked.
The show opened with a series of garments cut from tweeds and large check tartans. The looks were both sober and casual. Waistcoats from three-piece suits were used as tops, skirt panels were open, pea coats were paired with thigh-high boots, sleeveless coat were transformed into strapless dresses worn with riding hats, jackets with patch pockets stoped right under the chest revealing the navel. From wide-legged trousers with pleats to maxi coats that sweep the ground, everything was easy and comfortable.
The designer, who has always advocated an ecological ethic, put aside classic equestrian outfits to showcase the animal. Rearing horse prints could be seen on jacquard jumpers, dresses, T-shirts and jersey skirts. The horse head was used as a crest or printed in XXL format on maxi polo shirts worn as minidresses. While waistcoats and hussar jackets appeared furtively here and there.
Fur-lined coats and jackets as well as cozy worsted wool pieces resembled the speckled coat of a white horse, while a suit was cut from a quilted saddle blanket. This garment, like the boots and some of the bags, are all made from alternative materials to leather created from mushrooms, apples, grapes and more.
"My mother and father ride every day. We are all horsemen in the family. Living in harmony with nature and animals... That's where it all started and where Stella McCartney was born. This collection is centred on the equestrian theme, the horses, the relationship of trust that is established between humans and animals. I wanted to show this relationship with a wild animal, it's magical, it's a gift from nature. I wanted to celebrate this relationship of trust," explained Stella McCartney at the end of the show, recalling her commitment. "With my brand, we don't want to kill any animals, we want to save the planet," she repeated.
Sacai's reinvented classics
Sacai revisited the classics with unusual cuts and the result was breathtakingly modern. Typical black wool sheets, banker's cloth and grey flannel have been cut into large rectangular sections and reassembled to make long coats, skirts and maxi dresses with simple, elegant lines. These typical men's fabrics were sometimes mixed with other materials, like the emblematic white shirt, where the collar, shoulders and sleeve were replaced with transparent tulle.
The skirt suits were lively in their construction. Chitose Abe is once again a virtuoso seamstress, endlessly superimposing the same fabric horizontally or folding it vertically for a mille-feuille effect. The same process was used for white blouses, which appeared to be ruffled through multiple layering. Wide pleats redesigned two-tone trench coats, while elsewhere fine slits were made in the folds of skirts, like the scalpel cuts in Lucio Fontana paintings.
The tweed ensembles were tapered, pulled, frayed and fringed. Another unique idea was the long external straps that the Japanese designer added to some dresses. Attached to one shoulder, they lifted the garment on one side to accentuate the opening of a slit. She also attached a bag in the form of a removable pocket. The designer also stitched a fine white thread on pleated skirts, black jackets and coats, as if she were tracing the seams of the garments with chalk. But she let the threads hang, floating in the air like the imperceptible, fluctuating traces of an unfinished garment.
The Dundas sailor woman
Back on the Parisian catwalks, from which he had been absent since July 2019, Peter Dundas wanted to do things in a big way choosing to show under the ornate ceiling panels of the Opéra Garnier. The inspiration for the collection comes from the designer's Norwegian origins and his childhood memories on the Atlantic Ocean, with his family working in the navy. He imagined a wardrobe for a long-distance captain.
The models came out under a red light wearing caps and heavy midnight blue woolen capes with martingales, gold buttons and red lapels, long capes or pea coats. The maxi coat was one of the highlights of the collection, available in white, yellow or grey, in vinyl or fur, or with just a fur collar and Brandenburg buttoning. This maritime theme also included ribbed jumpers with large zippers and classic sailor trousers in different materials, while golden bows and cords were used to embellish some of the dresses.
The designer has not forgotten the fluctuating mini-dresses that have always been his trademark. In impalpable chiffon, devoured velvet, or in silk printed with Celtic motifs. For the evening, the outfits were longer and open in the back, going so low that they revealed sexy undergarments.
Lace galore at Zimmermann
Zimmermann oscillated between past and present. The Australian fashion house showed for the second time in Paris on Monday at the Petit Palais. With its antique-like mosaics and its line of columns, the 1900s baroque-style building was the ideal setting for this romantic collection, in which period dresses had pride of place. Trimmed with embossed lace or devoured lace fabric, or made of guipure, they were reminiscent of the pretty doilies of yesteryear.
Lace, a real passion of Australian designer Nicky Zimmermann, was everywhere. It extended a linen tunic, it climbed like flowers on the puffed sleeves of a blouse, and was even applied in a 3D effect over tulle dresses and tops. This period style was accentuated by prints inspired by Renaissance or Impressionist paintings. Frilly dresses with full ruffles and bodices or sleeves with huge frills, as well as jackets and bathrobes in cream satin duvets completed this wardrobe for special occasions.
At the same time, the Zimmermann woman is firmly anchored in her time and does not hesitate to swap her precious outfits for more everyday pieces that she sometimes mixes together. Like a perfecto slipped over a glamorous cocktail dress or a guipure blouse worn with jeans or a double denim jacket. She also dresses in leather pilot or tartan suits.
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