Nina Ricci and Christian Wijnants pump up the volume, Olivier Theyskens goes skintight
With the popularity of sportswear, womenswear has evolved a lot over the last few seasons, progressively putting more and more emphasis on comfort. Although the sporty trend has now given way to allow for the return of a certain elegance, silhouettes continue to gain volume through increasingly generous and loose clothes. This style could be seen to a certain extent at the Loewe and Balmain shows on the fifth day of Paris Fashion Week, but was present above all at Nina Ricci and Christian Wijnants. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the hyper-sexy, feminine aesthetic is still a solid favourite with brands such as Redemption and, more notably, Olivier Theyskens.
Nina Ricci entered a new dimension this season. Having taken the reins at the Parisian label a little over a year ago, Hyères Festival-winning couple Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter are now fully settled in and decided to execute a sharp change in direction for their third season at the brand. Gone was the bourgeoise of yesteryear and the polite young lady seen in more recent seasons. For this fall, the Nina Ricci woman jumped headfirst into contemporary fashion with an all new wardrobe, notable for its cool minimalism and wearability.
Aside from a few dresses and blouses in organza and ruffled lace, and the now famous colourful cloche hats, the collection's overall feel was simpler, more laid-back, seeming to prioritise comfort with loose clothes tailored in fine fabrics. Oversized trousers, for example, were made in supple leather, reversible coats in felt, while taffeta dresses were pleated like parachutes and maxi cache-coeurs were offered up in cosy wool. Elsewhere, satin pyjamas appeared in a choice of black or zesty orange.
As they often do, the two designers also had fun with deconstruction, remixing codes and playing with all kinds of details. Blazers ended just below models' chests, a bit like spencers, and were worn over long shirts, while banker suits were cut with short sleeves, black pea coats featured white buttons, and trenches were ruched up under the collar, flaring out like capes. A khaki coat and a leather jacket were also transformed into mini-capes, and skirts were slit on all four sides.
Over at Christian Wijnants, the Belgian designer signed off on a beautiful collection for next winter, injecting a simultaneously aqueous and aerial quality into a wardrobe where knitwear reigned supreme. Loose, flowing trousers were paired tone on tone with jumpers, shoulder pads or tunics, sharing the runway with combed-wool coats and knitted coat, jumper and skirt ensembles in the same shade of ecru.
The clothes felt both enveloping and open, occasionally leaving the models' arms and back exposed. The proportions were all stretched, without ever being exaggerated, not even in the XXL pants in wool or weightless viscose, or in the padded jackets with large lapels. Taffeta was wrapped around one model's body like a draped dress or sari.
The designer's wardrobe was no less free-flowing and rhythmical in his fishnet dresses, which featured a myriad of colourful strips to create a shaggy fringe effect, or in the outfits that he decorated with zigzags of wool. This energy was further accentuated by intense explosions of electric blue, emerald green and orange, which contrasted with a palette that, in other places, was soft, almost washed out.
There were no half measures with Olivier Theyskens, who will split his time between his namesake brand and Azzaro next season, having recently taken over the artistic direction of the latter. For Fall/Winter 2020-21, the Belgian designer gave a punchy remix of his signature romantic style. This season's wardrobe was dominated by black and ultra-short cuts, even if one or other longer or lighter look did sneak its way in. Most importantly though, the collection's spirit was sexy throughout, with invariably skintight clothes.
Sunglasses, leather gloves and high heels set the tone, while the little black dress was this fall wardrobe's star piece, offered in silk or leather, with long or short sleeves. A number of suits consisted of little jackets and micro-skirts, but powerfully cut men's suit also put in an appearance, albeit often worn directly over the model's bare chest, or with nothing but a bra.
Lingerie could be spotted here and there, as could a kinky touch of bondage, visible in the knee-length leather boots, as well as in a full jumpsuit in the same material, and in trousers and dresses in satin that shone like patent leather. For the evening, Theyskens sent out long monochrome dresses that flowed down to the ground with a refined simplicity.
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