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Paris Fashion Week: The Calm after The Storm
martedì, mar 15, 2011, 12:53 / Paris, France
Paris Fashion Week has had a bit of a rocky time lately, despite keeping its position intact as a major magnet for international talent. It started with Carine Roitfeld leaving Vogue Paris last December after a 10 year reign as the editor-in-chief and continued with John Galliano being fired by LVMH a few days before the Dior and Galliano shows, following the outrage caused by his racist and anti-Semitic remarks recorded in Café de la Perle with a camera phone. The news sent shock waves throughout the industry, signalling the end of an era and causing insecurity amongst fashion houses. It was, without a doubt, the most discussed topic during Paris Fashion Week, giving way to endless speculation and a flurry of name-dropping for potential candidates. Alber Elbaz from Lanvin, Riccardo Tisci from Givenchy, Haider Ackermann and Hedi Slimane were some of the names on everyone's lips, but no one seemed to know exactly what would happen. In fact, we still don't know who will take over, but what became clear is that the notion of a star designer – or a star editor – no longer sits well with the powers that be. We are entering a new age of realism, which was reflected on the catwalks, designers’ showrooms and trade shows. The main message from Paris was a return to opulence and the triumph of real clothes over fashion concepts. Any designer trying to avoid the pragmatic route this season could only be perceived as deceptive and trying too hard.
The tried and tested formula was the only way to go, as evidenced by the throng of buyers and press crowding around the stands of Tranoï Bourse. With 160 contemporary designers shown in a central location, Tranoï Bourse confirmed its influence as a powerful trade show and unavoidable destination. The place was almost mobbed during our visit, while other fairs in the same area seemed relatively empty, showing major business discrepancies within the city. As far as trends were concerned, there were no real surprises. Designers showed clothes that were wearable and slightly minimal, with an emphasis on intricate cuts and quality fabrics. Colour was present, too, giving an optimistic touch to the proceedings. The only daring moment was the return of gold, found in all kinds of fabrications and effects, often faded, lived-in or even cracked as on leather shoes. It was more about the idea of luxury than a direct evocation of that world. A sense of subtlety and restraint seemed to feel fresh again.
That does not mean, however, that everyone played it safe. For his first presentation in Paris, Belgian designer Jean-Paul Lespagnard brought his unwavering sense of humour to a relatively quiet week. His printed t-shirt dresses, PVC coats, textured leggings, wooden platform clogs and sportswear-inspired shapes offered an alternative to the bourgeois mood seen at other shows. It was interesting to find out that Anne Chapelle – the power woman responsible for the success of Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann – was lending him her support and trusting him with his choices. He had complete carte blanche for the collection, which felt like a significant move from Chapelle's part. After all, new generations will never get their breakthrough moment if experienced industry players do not give them a chance.
Compared to London Fashion Week and its ongoing focus on young designers, thriving creativity and sartorial innovation, Paris Fashion Week needs to prove it can support its talents and help them grow. Such dimension still seems to be missing from the calendar and it's time the organisers changed that. Other countries have understood the importance of promoting new names, such as Belgium with Showroom Belgium, which was held in the same Bastille location as last season. Joining designers from Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders, it offered attractive, commercial collections with fuss free clothes and beautiful accessories. Highlights included Eric Beauduin's beautiful bags, entirely made out of upcycled leather garments, and Monsieur Bul's shaggy textures, sharper cuts and bird printed dresses, which were a departure for the designers who are more used to retro looks and girlier shapes. Another successful initiative was Vantan Tokyo, Vol. 3, an interactive platform from Vantan Design School – created in 1965 – helping young Japanese designers, as well as other creators, to network with a global crowd. The theme of the exhibition was “Japanese Futurism” and included sleek, stylish fashion lines, such as Kabuto by Masahito Kaji -who was inspired by Samurai traditions- and Dummyhead designed by Meiji Kakuin and focused on avant-garde menswear styles with a genderless feel.
In fact, trade shows and international projects developing around the notion of promising, independent designers – such as Capsule in Garage Turenne – demonstrated they could be dynamic and attract serious visitors. This season, approximately 2000 people came to its large venue located in le Marais, recording a 15% increase compared to last season. One of the key trends at Capsule was the emergence of a “glocal” design culture, with companies manufacturing their lines locally, as opposed to outsourcing their production elsewhere. This will surely create a following within the fashion world, at a time when sustainability and ethics are strong buzzwords. This more mature and responsible approach towards fashion was a perfect illustration of what was happening in Paris during Fashion Week. In other words, time to grow up, people.
Philippe Pourhashemi | TribaSpace
Buying, Ready-to-Wear, Other, Sales, Accessories, Promotion, Publishing, PR
Mercati: Other, Women's, Children's, Men's
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