Balenciaga’s resort 2019 look-book got released this morning, and it couldn’t be more Balenciaga – as we know it from Demna Gvasalia. True, there are less hoodies and much less sneakers (now, replaced by more classic looking black men’s boots). But the hybrid trench coats for him and her, voluminous pussy bow blouses, pleated dresses (in cheesy-chic flag print this season), dad jeans, oversized duvet jackets and XXL bazaar bags are all here. Those are the already-cult pieces that seem to be here with Balenciaga for years, not for a few seasons. Other than new colour combinations and a number of tailoring additions, the pre-collection brings nothing new to the table – except the fact that Gvasalia’s designs have completely synthesised with the maison he designs for. Still, there’s one element that will surely catch your attention if you seek the newness. “The symbol on the bags is the one for transgender.” The arrival of the pink and the blue leather shopping bags printed with the black circle, arrow, and cross couldn’t be better timed. First, they look great, second – they defy Trump’s intention to erase the transgender agenda. “I often try to include some messages that are important to be spread,” Gvasalia says. “It’s almost like advertising an idea, this very strong symbol.” Love it or hate it, he can’t go wrong.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
The sudden death of Azzedine Alaïa, the master couturier who understood a woman’s body like no one else, hasn’t only deprived the fashion world of an ultimate genius, but as well left his brand in an uncertain position. The spring-summer 2019 look-book that was released last week, however, assures that Alaïa – as a fashion house – isn’t going the wrong path and won’t end its existence as many French houses did after their founders passed away (waiting for years to be bought by a bored millionaire). The Maison Alaïa studio team proves to be loyal to the brand’s codes, and what’s more, isn’t lead by an outside creative director. All the people who work on today’s Alaïa collections were trained by Azzedine himself. Many pieces from the new collection aren’t that new. The offering comprises separate collections, éditions, that consist of archive pieces that have been perfectly replicated as new ready-to-wear and labeled according to original dates. A denim jacket from 1986. The striped dress is from 1990. Another gown saw its runway debut back in 1984. Cotton shirtdresses and woven raffia details were mastered in Azzedine’s last collections to perfection, and they reappear here too, just like python leather garments. The soul of Alaïa is there, in each cut and stitch. The effect is more than beautiful, and you really wish of seeing these clothes in real life. It’s a tribute collection, but not in a Versace spring-summer 2018 way. The studio is expected to rework Alaïa’s original designs in future collections, supplying the stores with the brand’s all-time classics.
Still, there are few new additions that smell with forced commerce: espadrilles made in collaboration with Castañer (ok, that must be heaven comfort) and a capsule collection of dresses, t-shirts and accessories emblazoned with the words Mon cœur est à papa, the expression of love attributed to Naomi Campbell, who considered the Alaïa her father figure. This isn’t presented in the new season look-book (shot by Karim Sadli and styled by long-time friend of the house, Joe McKenna), but, well, it’s a necessity that just has to be accepted. By the way, for the nay-sayers, Alaïa himself did a capsule collection of logo t-shirts in collaboration with Comme des Garçons back in the 90s (very treasured vintage). No one will return Azzedine. But it’s a great relief that his heritage is in good hands and his fashion continues to be praised with so much grace and respect.
Collages by Edward Kanarecki.
While Nicolas Ghesquière‘s autumn-winter 2018 collection for Louis Vuitton was a bourgeois wardrobe fantasy, this season the designer returns to his all-time favourite themes: sci-fi, 80s call-backs and the clash between the old and the new. Innovative, rubber-like materials were used in architectural coats (that instantly recalled Nicolas’ brilliance at Balenciaga). The way the designer combined over-sized, space suit sleeves with meticulously embellished mini-dresses was so, so good. Need a fashion space-suit? Ghesquière has you covered with a floral ensemble. But there were also more approachable, easy clothes. Take the perfectly tailored blazers and boldly printed tank-tops. Oh, and the models! The casting stunned with beautiful diversity, from gorgeous new-comers and androgynous girls to runway veterans and transgender males. For Nicolas, the future is now.
Also, it’s the end of my Paris fashion week coverage. And a very happy good-bye to the fashion month.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
For Miuccia Prada, femininity isn’t just pretty. At both, Prada and Miu Miu, the designer surprisingly kept the lengths short this season, but not overly saccharine. But it was Miu Miu’s spring-summer 2019 collection that felt not just relevantly feminine, but real. I might even call it my favourite dispatch from the entire Paris fashion week. ‘Cracked’ frocks with exaggerated ribbons; masculine blazers worn over satin shirts and chunky knits; sheer (and faux python leather) pencil skirts combined with below-the-knee stockings; denim shirt-dresses brightened up with rhinestones… each look was a gorgeous styling inspiration. Some of the pieces were very retro – take the Gatsby-esque sequined mini-dress that closed the show – but somehow not pretentious. The model casting was insanely good as well, as the girls’ personal features elevated every single garment. Those aren’t armors, that’s for sure. But also, it would be a mistake to call Miu Miu’s latest offering ‘girly’. Multi-faceted, bold, mature, but not boringly formal or elegant, are closer connotations. Whatever it is, Miu Miu is intriguing, and that’s something I missed from other brands in Paris.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.