12 top trends from Paris Fashion Week
Finally, clothes that remind us of the progress we have made.
Bleached denim, scarf prints, feathers and serious debate. Here are the key updates you need for your spring wardrobe, say a glossy posse of those in the know.
The Telegraph’s fashion team – Lisa Armstrong, Sasha Slater, Victoria Moss, Bethan Holt, Sophie Warburton – take a keen look at the trends emerging from Paris Fashion Week.
After years of kicking the can down the moral high-road, this has been the season when womenswear designers have consciously grappled with what ought to have been a central concern all along: how to equip a 21st-century woman with clothes for everyday life.
For years, fashion hasn’t really stepped up to that plate.
Too busy perhaps, focusing on global hegemony, the next It bag or trainer, chasing after red carpet trophies and pandering to a porny aesthetic that began as a semi-ironic affectation, complete with half-baked twittering about female “empowerment”.
But the past month of international shows has thrown up some unexpected moments of optimism.
And now there are glimmers of grace, elegance – not that strained, high maintenance Melania Trump kind – ease, movement, colour . . . there have been a lot of clothes to remind us of the progress we have made.
1. A fresh take on the trench
Akris creative director Albert Kriemler champions a sleek city aesthetic that goes down a storm with US working women, up to and including Angelina Jolie and Amal Clooney.
The Swiss label’s chic separates are often printed with pieces from his own contemporary art and photography collection but this season he worked with Romanian artist Geta Brãtescu on a more playful approach.
A star piece from the runway was this light fluid trench coat in soft cerulean blue decorated with a large naif eye. Brãtescu died on Sept 19 at the age of 92, but her joyful spirit lives on. SS
2. The tuxedo suit lives on
When you’re designing for the house that brought the world Le Smoking, that Sixties symbol of empowered sophistication, it would be silly, really, not to carry on mining its powers. Which is exactly what Anthony Vaccarello is doing at Saint Laurent.
His show was book ended with two black suit looks just crying out to be shot on a floodlit street by Helmut Newton; high-waisted cigarette trousers were worn with a tailored cape for the finale and a tuxedo jacket for the opening.
Python boots in a zingy shade of lemon gave the cocktail a twist of nowness. BH
3. Hermès trophy coat
Hermès showed on a racetrack – how fitting for this impeccably equestrian-minded house.
For a label that is so jaw-droppingly, account-depletingly expensive, Hermes does something interestingly stealthy with luxury.
For spring, it’s luxe sensibility rooted in pleasingly functional pieces such as shorts and parkas in a soothingly pragmatic palette – from khaki to hi-vis orange.
One stands out among plenty: this eternally chic woven coat with leather trim. Bourgeois Ascot fare this is not. LA
4. Soft power-dressing at McQueen
Sarah Burton has effected an extraordinary change in McQueen’s DNA, neither destroying it nor cloning it, just simply rearranging it.
All that was dark, hard and violent has become light and soft: it’s still romantic but mournful rather than morbid.
And the more it doesn’t immediately slot into the conveyor belt of trends, the better. It does something more meaningful by chiming with an overarching mood of soft female power. This is non-negotiable for her.
“It’s important women know we can be strong, vulnerable and even sad.” LA
5. Dior’s latest must-haves
What’s not to love about a luxurious functionalism that you can wear to dinner or to bowling (with clothes this pricey, you need to get maximum usage)?
Maria Grazia Chiuri’s continued quest for couture craft that doesn’t feel too precious to wear every day found expression in the wardrobes of dancers such as Martha Graham and ballsy feminists such as Germaine Greer.
We could have done without the fishnet tanks (there has been a plague of them all over the catwalks) but whether she’s working in silk jersey long day dresses or a dip dye denim jacket, Chiuri’s instinct for what makes a must-have item only keeps getting stronger. LA
6. The hot discovery
In Paris, “showrooms” – an alternative to the runway, where brands present collections straight to the buyers – are two a centime.
La Fetiche’s bright knitwear and confident silhouettes cut through the noise.
The designers, April and Orély (both ex-Sonia Rykiel), set about designing things they loved and wanted to wear.
The pieces are made between Scotland (where April lives) and France (where Orély lives), and are named after their icons: Helmut, Hockney and Yoko among others.
The knitwear is knockout, the craftsmanship is truly brilliant, and the new brand is exemplary when it comes to Anglo-European relations. SW
7. Utility gets a reboot
Get prepared, you are going to be hearing a lot more about “utility” next spring.
A practical (gasp) armour for everyday dressing has emerged: cargo pants reimagined as sculpted leg chinos, boiler suits are the new jumpsuits, jackets come with many pockets – as will trousers and skirts – see this marvel from the splice-and-dice maestro, Chitose Abe of Sacai.
Her light touch can make effervescent work of even the most military of inspirations. VM
8. Meghan’s wedding guest jackpot
Remember that big old fancy fashion show back in May in Windsor. Sorry, not fashion show, wedding. The wedding.
Besides the Duchess of Sussex’s couple of white hot numbers, many of her guests raised the stakes for what’s stylish in the summer event rally.
It was her Suits co-star Abigail Spencer who knocked it out the royal park in her dotty Alessandra Rich number and then Pippa Middleton wore a baby blue version to her nephew’s christening a few weeks later.
Helpfully, for anyone still ruminating over it, the designer has offered a slightly tweaked version for next spring. If it ain’t broke . . . VM
9. Revisiting the genius of Sonia Rykiel
On Saturday night, the late Sonia Rykiel became the first ever fashion designer – male or female – to be honoured with her very own Allée on the Left Bank, the area of Paris she became synonymous with, helping to define its renowned sartorial insouciance.
We watched on to see Julie de Libran’s beautifully crafted collection playing out Rykiel’s classic tropes to aplomb, the models snaking past the audience filling up the road of the street named after the founder. A pretty unique moment. VM
10. The new pyjamas
Loewe is fast-becoming the label packing a punch as a paean to intelligent, artful dressing.
Amid the sleek tailoring, minimalist cotton dresses and offbeat knits, designer Jonathan Anderson took it upon himself to give your day-to-night look an upgrade for next spring.
The starting point is a pair of silky pyjamas (a genuine 24-hour style solution, non?) then add feathers (this season’s tactile antidote to furs faux and real), be that a few plumes at the waist or a full gilet. BH
11. The colour palette to try
Who knew, when Christopher Kane first introduced that sunray pleated Lurex skirt four or five years ago, that it’d become such a long-term stayer?
At Valentino’s beautiful show, Pierpaolo Piccioli pressed pleats until they were barely there – more the faded skeletal shadow of pre-history vertebrate than usual stiff folds.
But we know what those pleats represent: movement, ease, volume without bulk. And his colours: saffron, ginger, su’mac – eat your heart out Yotam Ottolenghi. This was delicious soul food. More please. LA
12. The scarf print reloaded
Natacha Ramsay-Levi at Chloe is up there among the designers whose look you want to emulate when they take their end-of-show bow.
“Why, of course, the very thing I need to zhuzh up my blazers and T-shirts is a pair of paisley flares” was a genuine thought that crossed my mind.
The show was all about taking hippie-chic and giving it modern, grown-up appeal.
Those gorgeous scarf prints were way too luxe to have been picked up on a gap year jaunt.
The proof? Chloe’s horse motif appeared amid the swirls and florals. BH – The Daily Telegraph