PARIS FASHION WEEK Spring/Summer 2022: Highlights
Paris saw a New Mood of Optimism and a Newfound Desire to Reveal and Seduce, with Designers turning to Colour, Shape and Texture to Tempt and Titillate.
All Image and Video Credit Paris Fashion Week and Brands Featured
Paris Fashion Week, indisputably the pinnacle of the bi-annual fashion calendar, ensured there were copious quantities of drama on the runways and in the digital offerings. The capitol has come alive for a week of unadulterated celebration of everything fashion-obsessed, the streets bustling with a visual feast of epic proportions, with fashionistas dressed to the hilt making their way across town to see (and be seen), to visit runway shows and discussions, exhibitions and presentations.
Street fashion, the side-kick to the main shows, has always been a stand-alone fashion event in its own right, and this season has been no exception. Evidently fashionistas have come out of hibernation and in more ways than one it feels like we’re back to pre-pandemic times when the fashion set and their entourage routinely made the pilgrimage from London and Milan to Paris and onwards, ambushing these cities for a week at a time. Hooray!
We saw quality offerings, compensation perhaps for having been fashion-starved for far too long! New (to Paris) talent Thebe Magugu wowed with a fresh, African-inspired collection that took our breaths away, Isabel Marant produced the quintessential boho chic Eighties-inspired pieces that never fail to make us dream about lazy Ibiza beach holidays and Chloé’s girlie and colourful dresses were so covetable and summery they tempted us to book that trip to Lake Como, pronto!
As a contrast to the above brands, Japanese heavyweights Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake worked their magic (pure black magic in the case of Yohji Yamamoto!) with pieces that were nothing short of genius in their design and execution. Avant-garde maverick Rick Owens conjured up (with smoke billowing out dramatically as a backdrop to the show) those unmistakable Owens silhouettes that we’ve come to anticipate over the years: statuesque, otherworldly, science fiction-like and darkly imaginative.
Balenciaga had a quirky surprise up their sleeve (watch the video of the show) and wowed with a predominantly black collection that was a mad celebration of shapes and silhouettes, the showstopper a voluminous tulle ballgown that made us gasp for breath.
Legendary design duo Andreas Kronthaler and Vivienne Westwood were up to their usual antics with creative director Andreas Kronthaler putting a personal and characteristically theatrical/ punk/ medieval/ spin on their ‘deadstock’ fabric and trims during lockdown. The result was an accomplished and cleverly crafted (albeit somewhat eclectic) collection that shone the light on the issues around sustainability, recycling and repurposing in the fashion industry.
Without further ado, feast your eyes on these incredible offerings!
Undisputed queen of Eighties-inspired boho chic, ISABEL MARANT thrilled with a collection in which smiley models showed much flesh and glowy skin! Pieces included sports- and swimwear, playsuits, strappy lacy dresses, leg-of-mutton sleeved pieces, exaggerated shoulders, plenty denim and Isabel Marant’s beloved speciality item: the Eighties shellsuit.
Watch Isabel Marant’s show here:
CHLOE’s wonderfully girlie, ultra-feminine and super luxe collection was shown on a beautifully sunny day outside beside the Seine. It was as free-spirited as ever and featured a series of pieces that played very cleverly with colour: some came in the form of geometric patchwork shapes, others in knotted in macramé-esque fringing and crochet. The collection oozed with delightfully breezy pieces: kaftans, strappy dresses, sandals and tote bags all shouted ‘summer holidays’!
Watch Chloe’s show here:
THEBE MAGUGU is a luxury South African brand known for their ingenious use of colour and extraordinary printed fabrics. The colour blocking in this SS 2022 collection was nothing short of inspired, the shapes typical of Thebe Magugu: sleek, forward-thinking and classic with a twist. This collection entitled ‘Genealogy’ takes an endearing look at the influence of old family photos on the designer’s journey.
RICK OWENS’s muse and life partner Michelle Lamy symbolically lead his epic procession of models into the open air at the Palais de Tokyo (with smoke billowing and space-tech music as is customary at Rick Owens’ shows) in a very bold comeback after the pandemic. The Rick Owens silhouette was sharper and as characteristic as ever: models in not-for-the-fainthearted platform gladiator boots, oversized leather jackets with extensive shoulders, skin-baring classically-draped dresses, bias-cut skirts reminiscent of the Thirties, stretch bodysuits, bra tops and space-age jewellery stomped down the runway – an erotic skin-baring/skin-covering dichotomy as only Rick Owens will dare to create.
Watch Rick Owens’ show here:
ISSEY MIYAKE’s ingenious art of pleating (mostly circular this time), rib-knitting and clever folding techniques made for a breathtakingly beautiful collection with pieces – unusually slinky and body-hugging for Miyake – that reminded one of an exotic underwater world of anemone and other aquatic sea-life. The show was appropriately filmed around the diving boards of an indoor swimming pool with its pale blue tiles.
Watch Issye Mikake’s show here:
YOHJI YAMAMOTO, master craftsman and old-school aficionado of the art of avant-garde cutting, pinning, tucking and draping, made a stark statement with a Spring/ Summer collection that was vitually all black (bar a few white brush strokes across a handful of garments). However, there was a nod to seasonality in that skirts were shorter than usual, there were many sleeveless, asymmetric and bias-cut tops and dresses and the fabrics were predominantly cool and cotton-based. A very striking series of hooped skirts so voluminous they required the entire runway to themselves, finished off a superbly crafted show. We wouldn’t have expected any less from this exceptional artist.
Watch Yohji Yamamoto’s show here:
ANDREAS KRONTHALER FOR VIVIENNE WESTWOOD conjured up what one may describe as a deliciously eclectic albeit somewhat rambling collection, which allegedly came about as the designer was thinking of ways to utilize their ‘deadstock’ during the pandemic. It was also a very personal collection, with one of the models wearing a cuddly toy and pieces of scrap fabric tied to her head which allegedly were Kronthaler’s very own baby toy and blanket. The brand’s inimitable dramatics and unbeatable theatrics were ever-present in the draped and corseted dresses, the ripped fabric (some of the trousers were slashed to reveal a model’s left buttock), there were plenty men in skirts, there was the usual stripes, tartan, PVC and this time even a touch of the medieval.
Watch Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood’s show here:
BALENCIAGA produced an elegant and playful collection with bold shapes and opulent and wildly extravagant fabrics. Unbeknown to the audience, the Spring/ Summer 2022 red carpet performance was in actual fact part of the build-up to the film premiere of The Simpsons/ Balenciaga, where Marge ends up modelling in Paris! (See the video of the show below if you’re a Simpson’s fan.) The pieces were almost exclusively black bar a few exceptions and literally covered a spectrum that spanned from mammoth-sized gowns to streetwear: ripped jeans, track bottoms and cyber-goth platform shoes.
Watch Balenciaga’s show here: