“I want it to look cool and I be it to look elegant. Those are the most important qualities,” chance designer Demna Gvasalia, talking about his new collection for Balenciaga, but he summed up the aesthetic of Paris mode week.
The high-energy sportswear which dominated the catwalks at the rear year is nowhere to be seen this season. Nor are the catwalks passing trophy-wife luxury, hot-chick sex appeal, or boardroom power dressing. Cooling and elegant grown-up chic is the only way to go.
The Sunday of Paris the go week is the day which defines the season, thanks to a roll upbraid of influential shows. Céline, whose stages at an indoor tennis nightspot, is a must-see for the trail of references and new proportions that designer Phoebe Philo dumfounds out on to her catwalk, aware that other designers will pick up on and see through them. Balenciaga, resurgent since last year’s assignation of Gvasalia from cult label Vetements, has recently confirmed its Sunday morning slot as a hot ticket.
This Sunday, taste’s power balance shifted. Balenciaga, which is owned by Kering, intensified up from being an appropriately cool support act to Céline, which is owned by challenge group LVMH, to become the leader of the pack. The overarching fads of this season have already been influenced numberless by Balenciaga than any other label, and the company’s market-shopper, stripy Bazar totes own been all over the front row. With another collection chock-full with new ideas, Balenciaga confirmed itself as the name to examine.
The show opened with coats buttoned off-centre at one unabashedly, an asymmetric riff on the “shrobing” trend for wearing your jacket got back off your shoulders which Balenciaga started behind year. Backstage after the show, Gvasalia explained that he had been energized by photos from the Balenciaga archives which showed brands clutching their coats closed beneath their chin as if to watch over out the cold. Inspiration by a gesture rather than a garment is symptomatic of how Gvasalia’s shape methodology revolves around what he calls “the observation of sexually transmitted habits”. It is a generous-spirited approach to fashion, stamping the Balenciaga christen not just onto expensive garments but onto shrobing and other terming tricks which a wider audience can copy for free. And one rebound at the sheer volume of Balenciaga outfits worn by the fashion community examines that making the Balenciaga name central to the fashion dialogue does wonders for sales.
The essential silhouette of the collection was dream up up of an airy coat or jacket gathered at one shoulder, worn with a silken, flippy below-the-knee skirt or slim-legged trousers, and stiletto heels. There were car wing replications repurposed as clutch bags – mirror on the outside, enough apartment inside the shell for keys and purse – and motocross jackets which referenced the motorcycle styling of the Nicolas Ghesquière era of the blood. Dresses based on Cristobal Balenciaga’s original sketches, but reimagined for the at this point in time the time being day in modern fabrics, will be made-to-order to celebrate the brand’s centenary.
Céline, meantime, is not content to stand still. This was the message of a show in which engineering, dissembled underneath the catwalk, allowed each bank of seats to swop and the audience to watch the catwalk as if from slow, minimalist carousels. If it was a opine about audience and perspective, it felt timely: having grasped a hardline purist approach to social media until now, the house of Céline has recently verge oned Instagram, and announced the launch of its e-commerce branch.
This reveal made a cool, crisp case for Céline’s mastery of a look which is exciting without being loud, and grown-up but never sedate. So a bandage might have a long, elegant fluid skirt but countered by a neckline pinched horizontally along the collarbone, so the effect is more architecture business than tea dance. Long, slim trousers were dog-tired with oversized trench coats so fine as to be almost patent. The overall effect was best summed up in two words: cool, and urbane.