For the past week, all eyes were fixed on Paris. Fashion week in the capital of style is a hallowed tradition that has evolved from its humble beginnings with couture presentations to the global media phenomenon that we bear witness to today. It’s not just a runway for designers to showcase their mastery of garments and seams. It’s a platform for them to subtly address the worldly issues that revolve around the otherwise constricting bubble that is Paris Fashion Week.
Hot topics like feminism and diversity are in particular the most widely discussed. While we have Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli who freely embrace the former in their respective collections for Dior and Valentino respectively, Hedi Slimane’s first season as Celine’s creative director drew a considerable backlash from critics.
But the controversies that occurred did not dampen the mood in the City of Lights. As the week progressed, the overarching trend of SS19 was clear. This is the season of swimwear. Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Jacquemus all had their own ideas of what resort life meant. Don’t be surprised if you see throngs of Chanel-clad beachgoers at lazing on a Maldivian sunbed next year. Keep reading on for a recap of what happened during Paris Fashion Week
Saint Laurent models walk on water under the shimmering lights of the Eiffel Tower
Parading his models in front of the Eiffel Tower for the past few seasons was not enough for Anthony Vaccarello. For Saint Laurent’s SS19 collection, he created the perfect beachfront fantasy with white palm trees and an infinity pool which the models walked on. Yes, it takes the whole notion of ‘walking on water’ to a whole new level.
Besides sparkling party dresses and star-spangled jackets channelling a Studio 54 vibe, what good would a beachy runway do if there wasn’t any swimwear? The rock’n’roll fantasy extended into chic swimwear silhouettes that were adorned with sequins and cut fit for an Ibiza vacation.
Chanel recreated a beach in the Grand Palais complete with sand and waves
Every season, be it for couture week or ready-to-wear, the fashion jet set eagerly awaits to be let into the Grand Palais to bear witness to another one of Karl Lagerfeld’s dreamscapes. We’ve had a supermarket, a space shuttle, and La Pausa, their own cruise liner. This season, the set designers did the impossible and installed a fully-functioning beach in the halls of the Grand Palais.
Karl drew inspiration from his adolescent years holidaying on the German island of Sylt, famed for its long white beaches. While the clothes were probably not meant for a dip in the ocean, they would certainly be the most appropriate attire for sipping mai tais by the beach bar.
Men’s lifestyle and resort label Orlebar Brown gets acquired by Chanel
Since it launched as a digital brand in 2007, Orlebar Brown has amassed a cult following of men who delight in their smart tailoring that lets you transition from the beach to lunch. It gained even more traction when Daniel Craig wore a pair of their shorts in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall. Now, the brand will go under the billion-dollar Chanel empire alongside their other swimwear label, Eres.
It’s a sensible move for both Chanel and Orlebar Brown in the wake of a growing global menswear market. Besides, the acquisition complements Eres and lets Chanel dip their feet into yet another boat that’s not looking to sink anytime soon.
Jacquemus goes bigger and bolder for beachgoers at Cinque Terre
When is Jacquemus not celebrating the sunny weather? A casual glance at his SS19 collection titled ‘La Riviera’ is all it takes to know that the French designer is anticipating the hot climate set to envelop the tropics next year. With the rise in temperature, there are only a few places his clientele will retreat to – the chic, private resorts along the Italian Riviera.
Easy, breezy, beautiful seemed to be the key themes for this clothes as they flowed through the open-air catwalk in the Ambassade d’Italie. But pulling off these looks would be anything but easy. Jacquemus’ moodboard seems to grow bigger and bolder each season, and quite literally so. After introducing the sensational oversized straw hat La Bomba last season, this time it’s an oversized straw bag with fringey raffia trails that’s set to take over Instagram feeds. The bold magenta summer dresses and big hoop earrings only add to the glamorous silhouette that Jacquemus plans on injecting into the Mediterranean.
Louis Vuitton closes out PFW by looking to the future, again
Nicolas Ghesquière does not rest on his laurels. Season after season at Louis Vuitton, he is constantly looking towards the future (remember last season’s spaceship that descended upon the Louvre?). For SS19, the sci-fi signature of Ghesquiere was again ever-present as guests sat in specially constructed containers under the glow of bright white neon lights.
The clothes, however, bore no sentiment of being the uniform of a dystopia. They were colourful, well-tailored, and beautifully androgynous. Grey suits with wide lapels overlayed pink shirts dotted with prismatic brush strokes; a white dress fitted with elliptical mirrors played parallel to the reflective pool that sat in the middle of the courtyard where the show was held. For a maison so deeply ingrained in the ethos of travel, it seems that Ghesquière is taking things beyond our atmosphere, possibly building the foundation for space travel’s aesthetic. It is also heartening to see that in a time where designers are playing musical chairs with creative director positions, Ghesquière is staying put at Louis Vuitton where he renewed his contract this past May.
(Featured image: Chanel/Hero image: Getty Images)