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Paris Fashion Week mixes history and future in fall ready-to-wear collections

Paris Fashion Week mixes history and future in fall ready-to-wear collections


PARIS — Paris Fashion Week's fall shows on Wednesday traveled an encyclopedic journey from history to the future, blending tradition and cutting-edge innovation.

The designers dug into the archives to reinterpret the past while projecting forward with futuristic silhouettes and materials. From utilitarian details that ground regal aesthetics in the contemporary to surreal interactions of form and texture, the collections celebrate the industry's ability to innovate while honoring its past.

Even in an increasingly digital age, the enduring tradition of elaborate, handcrafted invitations was also a poignant reminder of the industry's commitment to the personal touch and craftsmanship.

Here are some highlights of the fall-winter 2024 ready-to-wear collections:

Belgian designer Dries Van Noten is a storyteller in the fashion world, sewing story, tension and elegance into every look. Her latest womenswear show is no exception, kicking off with a display of grandeur met with a contemporary twist. The opener, a thick, royal-looking beige coat, was immediately grounded in the present with a utilitarian studded collar, reminiscent of a choker, avoiding vintage territory.

Van Noten, a master in the art of mixing old with new, further demonstrated his expertise with a simple gray skirt draped in a way that was both avant-garde and evocative of the turn of the (last) century . A loose top managed to straddle the worlds of sportswear and the refined elegance of England's Princess Anne, showcasing Van Notens' unique ability to navigate different eras and styles.

The spectacle was a visual feast of illusions and contrasts. The sleeves have been cut to make them almost two-dimensional, an innovative play on perspective that catches the viewer's eye. The sweaters seemed to come to life, embracing their wearers in a dance of fabrics and shapes. This play of textures and colors created a dynamic energy and poetry that became a Van Noten trademark.

In an age where digital communication reigns supreme and environmental awareness is increasing, the fashion industry's beloved practice of creating elaborate, often handmade invitations continues to thrive. Each season, these unique pieces of art travel through Paris, hand-delivered to guests, serving as a creative prelude to the spectacle of the fashion shows.

Despite the digital shift, top fashion houses remain committed to creating imaginative invitations that hint at the theme of their upcoming collections. For example, Loewe's invitation, a watercolor set in a tree-lined landscape in a soft leather frame, showcases the brand's commitment to combining art and fashion. Meanwhile, Chloé's Invitation, a giant leather keychain adorned with a gold-plated banana, introduces a playful element to Chemena Kamalis' anticipated debut. Rick Owens personalizes the experience with a white fabric lanyard bearing the guests' names. Yohji Yamamoto's invitation, an enigmatic black plastic cutout of a human face in profile, adds a layer of mystery.

These invitations, rich in creativity and craftsmanship, highlight the fashion industry's appreciation for tradition and the personal touch in an increasingly virtual world. While they may seem at odds with growing ecological concerns, they also reflect the industry's ongoing dialogue about balancing innovation and sustainability. As the fashion world evolves, these invitations are a testament to the enduring value of artistry and personal connection in high fashion.

In a salable monochrome exhibition, Nicolas di Felice unveiled his latest collection for Courrèges on a clean, sanitized white runway, drawing fashion insiders into a world where André Courrège's space-age heritage meets allure enigmatic scuba diving clothing, while channeling a touch of 90s nostalgia.

Fall was a study in cool, energy-efficient sophistication. Each piece featured minimalist utilitarian details, flap pom poms, caps reminiscent of scuba gear, and geometric panels with hollow shapes that spoke of intergalactic adventures. The arms of one of the models were often loose, appearing bare, tucking into the front of a garment, as the sleeve it was supposed to occupy hung stiff and empty at the side in a surreal touch. This geometry, a reverential homage to Courrèges' founding vision, has been reinvented through the contemporary eye of Di Felice.

Of note were the avant-garde elements such as the pale body panels which played cleverly with the silhouette, erasing the traditional torso shape and introducing a new narrative about form and space. The '90s influences were palpable, from layering skirts over pants to a coat that wouldn't look out of place in Game of Thrones Jon Snow's wardrobe.




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