Viva Highlights: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2019

The Viva fashion team highlight their favourite shows from Paris' spring 2019 runway shows


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A.P.C

"I’ve been an A.P.C fan forever, mosly because it does denim particularly well. The collection proved to be a well-rounded wardrobe of clothes men and women can easily wear every day, whether to the office or on the weekend. To make uncomplicated clothes really well is no small feat. Camp neck shirts and voluminous trousers with bomber jackets and Mackintosh coats are an easy sell for the label, but it was the neon knitwear for both sexes and the surprisingly prim prairie day dresses that made this collection feel simply chic."— Dan.

BALENCIAGA

"It’s taken a few season for me to really get into Demna Gvasalia’s take on Balenciaga. What big shoes to fill after previous designer Nicholas Ghesquiere’s very influential collections for the house during the mid to late noughties. Look around today, and there’s a reason why streetwear has cropped up on every retail shop front from the high street to luxury. Demna’s influence via his own label Vetements and his more sophisticated offering at Balenciaga has recalibrated the fashion industry’s eyes and captured the zeitgeist. This collection showcased a more mature take on his street leanings, with a focus on razor sharp tailored coats and elegantly draped dresses that pay the strongest tribute to the house archives since his appointment there. While cool kids will forever hanker after his questionable dad sneakers and logo laden sweatshirts, let’s hope this more sophisticated iteration of the brand continues." — Dan.

CHANEL

"How many times can you update a boucle jacket? The staple of the house has been unpicked and painstakingly re-stitched to the nth degree, however this time Karl Lagerfeld gave it a sense of ease and whimsy by teaming it with leggings and shorts, as models walked barefoot along a beach scene complete with waves and a sunny horizon. It was probably one of the best shows from the house in recent seasons purely for its ability to showcase the brand at its most youthful and carefree — ladies who lunch were replaced by the kind of person everyone wants to be right now when it comes to dressing — free moving, unrestricted, easy and modern. Nature has provided stunning backdrops at recent Chanel shows from fairytale woodlands, Arctic icebergs and Amazon rainforests. Could this homage to nature indicate changing seasons and a change in tide to come? As Karl gingerly made his way to take a bow atop a make-shift pier, one could only wonder — what next?" — Dan.

DRIES VAN NOTEN

"The Belgian designer is probably one of my favourites, and each season menswear or womenswear, he manages to surprise with his artful approach, particularly with textiles. This time around his thinking focused on a modern take on old school couture references, whether by the cut of a peplum over a pair of utilitarian looking trousers or the way the models languidly held their dinner coats over their arms. The focus was on capturing that attitude of elegance and style. What stood out for me this time was the use of colour, vivid hues against white, shimmering green pailettes and the chic way he manages to team a raincoat over a cashmere sweater and pencil skirt. His ability to inform the way grown ups desire to dress is what makes him a sensitive and thoughtful designer — something sorely needed now more than ever amidst a world of even faster fashion and slapdash streetwear brands." — Dan.

PACO RABANNE

"I have a soft spot for anything that nods to raves in Goa or the summer of love circa 1967, so this collection was probably my favourite out of the entire show month — and boy was it a long month. I wasn’t sure if it was ever going to end, but when this ray of light popped up I felt a renewed sense of faith and optimism. Known for its retro futuristic shapes, current designer Julien Dossena effortlessly marries the iconic brand’s Spanish heritage with French cool. Collage print dresses, and tie dye t-shirts worn with cold embellished wrap skirts exemplify a haute hippy aesthetic that’s prevalent amongst several of the collections this season — whether it’s carefree by the seaside (Etro, Michael Kors, Chanel) or tripping out in a field (Wynn Hamlyn’s NZFW collection). This collection reinforced the kind of mantra we need right now, clothes that can at least evoke peace, love and harmony in a volatile world? Yes please." — Dan.

MIU MIU

“Miuccia Prada's Miu Miu girl is my favourite kind of sexy — a bit off-kilter, not obvious about it, but cool and not afraid to wear something a bit artistic or wonky. The previous collection for Resort 2019 (remember, the celeb-fest where Uma Thurman closed the show) had a bit more of a Prada pop with the logos and touches of fluro, but this season felt more classically Miu Miu, weirder in a good way. The great styling is always what gets me — I've never felt such an urge to walk out of the house in just a belted shirt under a jacket, with knee-high sheer socks and my knickers on show.” — Rosie.

VALENTINO

“Pierpaolo Piccioli is truly a master of pattern-making, his designs almost seem to defy gravity with their weightlessness, but rather than being too delicate, they up space and aren’t afraid to be solid. One of the things I like best about Valentino’s ready-to-wear shows is the satisfying evolution of colours, shapes and prints as the show progresses. The show started with several black dresses of varying shapes, moving through to whites, reds, pinks and finally an explosion of prints inspired by Picasso’s love for Marrakech. In contrast to many other designers this season, Pierpaolo pushed back against the seemingly ubiquitous need for escape from current reality, saying: ‘Today, everyone is talking about escapism. But I don’t believe in that—l think everyone should just live their identities in the city, or wherever they are.’ If I were lucky enough to have Valentino pieces at my disposal, living my identity wouldn’t seem so bad at all.” — Rosie.

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

“After seeing what Hedi did (or didn’t do) with Celine, I now appreciate how challenging it is to take over a beloved fashion house as creative director and move it forward while still staying true to the essence of the brand. Sarah Burton makes it look effortless, with subtle nods to the heritage of McQueen woven throughout this season. Super low-slung trousers, ornate high-necked and wide-hipped dresses along with otherworldly hair and makeup were familiar references, while Sarah’s point of view as a female designer provided a refreshing perspective. Inspired by “the journey of a woman through birth, christening, marriage, sisterhood, womanhood and death”, it was a collection comprised of juxtapositions between vulnerability and strength, just as women are. Delicate lace dresses secured with thick dark leather and elegant suiting with chains preceded stunningly elaborate gowns as Sarah showcased her immense skill in the craft of design.” — Rosie.

MARINE SERRE

“Marine Serre is a very, very clever designer. At only 26, she has worked for Raf at Dior, Demna at Balenciaga and Blazy at Margiela (slightly making me re-evaluate what I’m doing with my life) and for her second runway show of her eponymous label, the LVMH Prize-winner showed everyone that she can definitely follow up her debut, raved-about show. Named Hardcore Couture, the show was effortful and effortless — off-the-street casting (some models had their kids in tow) and the industrial setting of one of Paris’s RER train lines added a dose of reality to her ingeniously-crafted pieces, 50 per cent of which were made from recycled materials. Marine is passionate about sustainability, but the way she does it is so fashion-forward, it’s anything but eco-hippy; she calls it ‘eco-futurism’. Stand-out pieces were the dresses crafted from recycled t-shirts, gowns made from fishing jackets, wetsuits and dollar-store fleece blankets, and sporty skirt-suits.” — Rosie.


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