Paris welcomes theatrical, magical and inspiring fashion

Paris welcomes theatrical, magical and inspiring fashion

Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood brought true commedia dell’arte to Paris Fashion Week on Saturday with a collection of theater-inspired crazy hats as Lanvin continued to ramp up.

Here are some highlights from the Fall/Winter 2022 ready-to-wear runway shows, including why a Ukrainian designer, who escaped from Kiev and spoke to The Associated Press (AP), thinks it’s important to protest the war, especially within the fashion community.

Sialelli weaves the magic at Lanvin

He has been described as “the providential outsider”, rescuing Lanvin from the creative wasteland following the scathing departure of iconic designer Alber Elbaz in 2015 and a series of disappointing replacements.

Today, Bruno Sialelli – a virtual unknown before being exploited in 2019 – continues to weave his quirky magic into the age-old brand. This will likely come as a relief to many, especially the French, given the special place the house holds in their hearts as their oldest operating fashion house.

The unisex fall-winter show explored big shoulders and bold colors.

A cadmium blue fur coat begins the collection, worn over a little black dress with a plunging V neckline. A grand theme was heralded by a jumpsuit with theatrically large curved shoulder pads framing the silhouette like a tent. Humor – the Elbaz fire ground – was also on the menu, with playful prints on fur coats that looked like a funky mushroom or a coated femme fatale seen from the back.

It was a safe, yet highly salable collection that ticked all the right boxes.

Tribute to Ukraine

As Paris Fashion Week continues, many attendees’ thoughts remain with Ukrainians suffering amid the escalating conflict – and with some creatives unable to attend due to the crisis, such as Kyiv-based milliner Ruslan Baginskiy.

This is particularly the case of the only Ukrainian designer who went to Paris: Lili Litkovskaya. She would be the only Ukrainian designer to attend the shows this season, having fled Kiev on the first day of the invasion with her two-year-old daughter, but without a collection or team.

Litkovskaya paid tribute to her peers by displaying the Ukrainian flag inside La Bourse as part of the Tranoi fashion show parallel to Fashion Week.

On Saturday, she stood in front of the statue of Marianne in the Place de la République as part of the official demonstration against the war.

“My main message is that the fashion community needs to show what is happening in our country,” she told AP. “They have to say stop the war. This war is for everyone. We need everyone’s support.”

“It was terrible and difficult and we were stuck at the border for many hours, but that’s zero compared to what is happening in our country, because our children, men, women are being killed.”

Kronthaler goes theatrical

Westwood’s husband and creative right-hand man Kronthaler was in typical burlesque mood with the quirky Saturday fare that mixed ’70s styles with medieval – explaining that for fall-winter he intended to make tribute to the world of the stage.

“I wanted to make a collection about theatre, commedia dell’arte,” he said, referring to the first theatrical genre originating in 16th-century Italy that featured hyperbolic, often grotesque characters. “(I’ve been) very inspired by this since (I was) a teenager,” he added.

Cut to billowing funeral veils, harlequin diamond-patterned tracksuits, corseted dresses and golden chunky boots that screamed Puss in Boots-meets-Glam Rock.

Although Pulcinella, the black-masked clown from commedia dell’arte, didn’t make an appearance, the masks, gathers and drapes that inspired the character’s famous looks were all on show in droves.

Draping – a house signature – was also a big theme, alongside layering and deliberately contrasting styles.

American designer Rick Owens, who aligns himself with Kronthaler’s edgy and eccentric aesthetic, cheered heartily from the front row.

Trendy Elie Saab

The Lebanese designer, famous for his va-va-voom silhouettes and pastel palette, went in a darker direction on Saturday.

Crowning the black trend, Elie Saab is experimenting with eyelets this season. The golden holes swarmed over the black trouser suits. The V-neck – another fall trend – was also featured, first on flowing black silk dresses, then in a scalloped shape, which scooped out the torso with a beautiful Grecian gold hem.

The shoulders were rounded or cropped, in another nod to the season’s styles. But at times, this collection seemed to lack an overarching visual theme.

The visual deceptions of Marine Serre

Paris Fashion Week’s new darling prodigy Marine Serre’s collection boldly used bold, contrasting patterns to create dynamic, sometimes misleading visual effects.

The 30-year-old French designer cut her teeth at Balenciaga, and it shows.

A fashion-forward vibe permeated many looks that overpowered divisiveness: a red tartan encrusted on a long coat seemed to bleed into a Prince of Wales pattern, with houndstooth flashes in the sleeves on the lapel. A long winter scarf was made up of several contrasting and richly colored designs sewn together and worn royally as a belt.

There were plenty of humorous moments in this 48-piece collection. A large red devoured velvet face covering, which evoked a glamorous Spiderman, also commented on the pandemic, and how masks have become part of our daily lives.

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