PFW Dispatch 4: Playing New, Forgetting Old

Sunday in Paris was the setting for a whole lot of change in a little bit of space.


For the love of eyebrows, I feel like I’m watching a game of musical chairs. Chiefly because Phoebe Philo seems to have set a standard in fashion about the importance of minimalism and how inimitably chic, dare I even say French, the notion that less is more can be.

Other designers have followed suit and they’ve done really well. But just when they’re getting the hang of it–surprise!–Philo takes a page from the book of maximalism. When you think primary colors and prints and fringe and mesh do you necessarily think Phoebe Philo? Probably not–but why? If it’s true what they say, and you can tell a lot about a person from her preferred choice of footwear, shouldn’t we have expected something a bit more zany in the imminent pipeline?

You don’t just put furkenstocks on Daria Werbowy and call it a day.

As far as I’m concerned, the collection stands as one of the most interesting shows of the Paris season, perhaps only because it seemed so unexpected. Don’t get me wrong though, with a selection of black dresses and sleek blazers of the same color cloaking white sheaths, the Céline we’ve acclimated ourselves toward still underscores The New Message.

And where another fairly novel message is being written, Clare Waight Keller produced a safari of wearable looks for Chloé. Maybe my uneducated eye has become used to seeing fairly feminine silhouettes and fabrics used to represent the brand under the most recent proprietor’s reign, but Resort should have been an indication that slight changes were ahead, no? You remember the pin-striped suits and baggy, Carhartt-style pants. Should we have expected anything less than a ring around an androgynous safari that lands right back at an intimate tea party?

Eye of the tiger is no more at the helm of Kenzo but the flop of a fish may be The Next Big Thing. This show included a performance care of several installed ponds of water–yes, water. As Eva Chen put it, “where else can you see water dance?” It’s a good question and maybe the answer is only in the sea of scale-ing back.

Throw a tomato at me, just do it.

This collection was put through a unique ringer. The opening outfits, all cut in black and white, provided a nod toward minimalism into what really did look like a sea of royal blue, and a graphic print meant to appear as a slightly aquatic interpretation of fashion. Then there were the fish and a big chunk of silicone-looking overlays which ultimately ended in…a blood bath? Is that what the closing red printed looks are meant to emblematize?

Speaking of overlays, Maiyet as championed by Kristy Caylor provided the new-new for the season in ready-to-wear, hungry-to-buy formation. The show opened with a set of shirt dresses, finalizing the idea that without a large-sized men’s shirt for next spring, you’ve got nearly nothing to wear, and metamorphosed into a garden of hyper-sheer organza details, futilely but beautifully cloaking bras, slip dresses and little skirts. There were some great pieces of outerwear too–like a thigh-length vest adding a necessary bout of masculinity to a decidedly feminine, ethereal collection. It’s where the crystal embroidery closed the show that Caylor’s forte–a female’s hunger to change who she is using clothes–identified itself.

Who ever said you only have to be one person, anyway?

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  • Laura

    Do you think one day, your blog will be translated in french? It’s so painful, i can’t understand your articles. Please Leandra !!!!!!! for all your french readers !

    • Reut

      Hebrew translation will be nice too!, I meam English is readable, but Hebrew will be way easier for all of us Israeli readers…

      • Leandra Medine

        We will work on it!

  • There’s stuff I like and stuff I’m not so fond of, but you forgot to add who the designers were! (Sorry, your readers are a pain today!)

    Mafalda ❤

    • Charlotte Fassler

      Hi Mafalda- There is a grey caption bar that comes up under the photos when a new designer is shown, let me know if its not showing up! Thanks!

      • Thanks Charlotte, my screen is too small! So now I can say that I love the Chloé and Mayet collections!

  • Stacey Freeman

    Ugg, I just hate the Celine makeup. Those eyebrows are just wrong.

  • monkeyshines
  • Thegirlchic

    About celine i miss those definitions :
    “Philophiles, They have adopted the minimal or “pure” aesthetic of the brand under the creative direction of Phoebe Philo”
    “They are all different, but with the common thread of an appreciation for clothes that suggest something new but made to last far beyond fast-trend fashion.”

  • Kenzo was amazing. It’s only a matter of time before the ‘it’ kids start ruining it for everyone else. As for Céline, I think the whole French thing that seemed so cool is wearing off, partly due to the fact that everyone and their designer shih tzu is doing it. Clearly Phoebe Philo just wants to have that point of differentiation, and a 180-degree turn in aesthetic will give her that.

  • Lo

    The white dress and tux jacket both need to be in my closet.