PFW Fall/Winter came and went, and the whole mood of what is to be the rest of the Fashion Calendar is pretty clear. If you want to know more about the remaining dates, you can check them out here. To give you a quick overview, we now have the Spring Fashion Week in the big four main cities: New York, Milan, London & Paris to look forward to and later on, the November/December Pre-Fall Collections, before the cycle renews itself. Here we will study recurrent looks in the fashion runways presented in PFW and what they might mean for ready-to-wear fashion trends and the see-now, buy-now type of brands.
A silhouette is a representation of a shape that is easily identifiable, and typically the whole can be represented by a single geometrical form or identified by a singular characteristic. We will apply this definition loosely in order to categorize trends that affect the whole ensemble or define it in some way. The visual impact is such that the outfit creates a strong overall form or possesses a particularly impactful descriptor in its silhouette.
Key Trend: Power shoulders
Versace & Jean Paul Gaultier
The emphasis in this trend is to reinforce the weight or visual power of the shoulder area. It creates a sort of trapezoid that slims down towards the torso and legs. The resources used to achieve this are numerous, but mainly there is a smart use of the sleeves in samurai-like flaps, flounces and the long-lost shoulder pads.
Shoulder pads have been an on-off feature in women clothing, particularly in decades were women have been trying to reassert themselves, like in the 30s and 40s decade before and during World War II. Examples by Elsa Schiaparelli were softer during the first stages of this period and got bigger and harder as the crucial war times intensified. They reappeared again during the 80s when women seeked success in the corporate world and became an icon of women’s attempt to “smash the glass ceiling” and in the 2000-2010 decade during an 80s revival period.
It could be argued that such a resurgence in 2017 is a reflection of our convoluted political and social times, with women vying for reproductive rights, political representation, equal chances and equal earnings in high paying jobs. Women are making a place for themselves apart from the role of mother, daughter or nurturer.
Fendi, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexandre Vauthier, Galia Lahav & Viktor & Rolf
Chanel & Fendi
Yes, like the classic extraterrestrial movie in which a bunch of tired group of elders with aches galore and a general lack of life encounter a pool and by using it, they find a reinvigorating foutain of youthness… this is how we feel looking at this balooned sleeves and rounded capes. A change of pace from the typical and the overused hourglass, triangle and so on. This is an inspirational shape, that not only reinforces the concept of clothing creating a shape over the body but enhances the presence of the wearer. The visual impact is amazing when paired with detailed embroidery like in Fendi’s case, or very demure and proper like in the Chanel examples. We are definitely hoping to see more of this trickle down into the stores.
Ralph & Russo
Fluid dresses, vapour like silks and gauzes trailing the steps of a delicate godess-like skirt that fluters in the wind, such is the imaginery that comes to mind at the mention of the greek dress. Even so, the stereotypical greek dresses came from a hollywoodesque concept in the golden era of movies of what the greeks wore, regardless of the chiton, peplos, himation and chlamys that comformed the primary clothing items of ancient Greece. And yet, the reimagining of the greek ensemble dares for more in this new installment of an ongoing saga. Inter weaving of the fabric, like in the dress by Versace, is a nice touch both giving a feel of strength and armored constitution to its levity, while the fall and play of silk resembles the drapings of classic statues and the airiness of the cloths depicted in various art forms of yonder.
Versace – Ralph & Russo
Many thought of Mary Poppins when looking at Dior’s ensemble as it trickled down the runway and such an idea is not far of from what we think might have been the inspiration behind this look. Suffragettes were members of women’s organizations in the late-19th and early 20th centuries which advocated the extension of the right to vote in public elections for women. The term refers particularly to women in the United Kingdom, whereas a sufragist is used as a more general term. The most vocal figure head was one Christabel Pankhurst, who wore very similar garments to the ones depicted in the runway. There is an assentuation of the waistline, the use of round collars and small jacket flaps in masculine jackets paired with long pocketed skirts. It all seems very Wonder Woman in London in a fashion, and this proves how all media is interconnected and excerts subtle influence on one another.
Key Trend: Far East, a new take
Orientalism has been IN for quite some time now, but it looks like the market is a bit tired of kimonos and chinese dresses, also known as qipaos or cheongsams by true Asian fashion lovers. Finally, it is time for some other traditional asian clothing items to take front stage and revel in their moment of fame.
Jean Paul Gaultier
The revival of the sari or saree by Jean Paul Gaultier signals a shift towards India for inspiration and exotism. The very essence of the garment is that it consists of a drape varying in length that is typically wrapped around the waist with one end drapped over the shoulder. There are various styles, predominantly the ones baring the midriff and being worn over a blouse and petticoat. It is associated with femenine grace and is regarded as a traditional treasure of Indi culture. Truth be said, Gaultier managed to modernize the sari without touching it in itself, but appealing to the modern public with a whole ensemble pairing over the knee boots, tight pants or floor-length dresses with saris in different textures.
Alexandre Vauthier & Dior Haute Couture
In the case of Vauthier and Dior the inspiration seems to have been found on the Mongolian steppes both in the form of the deel and the kaftan. The deel is a traditional garment to Central Asia, including various Turkic peoples, and can be made of mutiple natural materials. It is for both women and men of rural backgrounds, particularly herders. It can look as a tunic when open or as a kaftan but the sides are usually folded against the body of the wearer, one over the other. It is very similar to how a kimono closes over the breast, but the collar and sleeves are very different. In this case, it has been turned into a short piece of clothing, held together by a thin belt and changing its rigorousness with folded sleeves and a ruched look. It certainly nails the comfortable and classy look. The kaftan is a variant of a robe or tunic, usually worn as a coat or overdress. Lavishly embroidered in floral mottifs, worn open and over very feminine dresses, it provides a focal point for the ensemble and a feast for the eyes with its detailed design.
The Asian or folded collar, be it from a karate gi or another matial arts training uniform, a chinese Tang Imperial dress, or an early Hanfu dress, is easily marketable and recognized as an oriental fashion. This take however, dares to play a little beyond what has already become acceptable and shows us that Asia still has a lot of treasures to discover.
Next up in Paris Fashion Week – Trend Legacy Part II we will be viewing some trends like the assymetric style, necklines, and lavish details. So stay tuned!