Aesthetics discussed at Paris Fashion Week

Photo courtsey of Eva Rinaldi, Flickr

In the overall scheme of fashion weeks: London, New York City, Milan, and others, nothing stands quite as prominent and glamorous as what takes place in Paris, the city of lights. Despite particularly rainy days, some fashion houses dared to showcase their new collections in an outdoor setting, such as Lanvin and Rick Owens, providing guests with umbrellas and/or ponchos to combat the elements while they viewed the designer’s new collections. Some even had headsets on standby so that attendees wouldn’t miss out on the carefully curated soundtrack always present on high fashion runways. 

With the constant proliferation of the internet and technology, such as live streaming events, designers are constantly thinking about how to recreate their sets, along with exacerbating the level of theatrics included in the show itself. Rick Owens, for example, utilized ethereal bubble-blowing models draped in ceremonial robes, creating a field of bubbles around the other models donning headdresses and interestingly proportioned coats.

Balenciaga, as usual, pushed conventions and further merged the ideas of fashion and meme culture, showcasing male models on the runway holding “Hello Kitty” faced bags and wearing shirts with slogans such as “Top Model,” “X Rated,” and other off-kilter sayings.  

Thom Browne’s constant unconventional takes on conventional garments played into their show as well, with a cotton-dipped set that directly riffed on the ideologies of 18th century France and combined it with 1980s punk rock.  

Era aesthetics didn’t end with Thom Browne, however. Other designers, such as Celine and Ralph and Russo, took 1970s style codes and re-contextualized them for the modern day.  

However, the major topic for designers in Paris this season was sustainability, with the events of the week coinciding directly with that of the United Nations climate summit. It was an ever-present thought to consider the environment, aside from simply style.  

Christian Dior initiated a complete zero-waste policy for their runway, showcasing 164 trees arranged in a maze-like fashion for models to weave through. All 164 trees will be planted around the city of Paris in a biodiversity effort. On top of this, every element of the set will be recycled.  

Stella McCartney’s efforts in sustainability are already clearly documented, having been appointed LVMH Director Bernard Arnault’s special advisor on green initiatives back in July. For her runway show this season, that idea of sustainability was ever-present as well. Three-quarters of the garments that were made for the show were made using "zero impact” materials, such as regenerated cashmere, hemp, and sustainable raffia.  

The most talked-about moment of the entire week undoubtedly was the unforeseen collaborative effort between famed “Antwerp Six” designer Dries Van Noten and famous French couturier Christian Lacroix. Their nearly polar opposite design styles managed to come together harmoniously, creating a beautiful collection ripe with prints, puffed elements, and other cues that reflects the ethos of both designers respectively.