The Choice: Saint Laurent AW17

A few days ago I asked you on my Instagram stories to pick one of your favourite collections ever and I would make a collage with it. Here’s @elif.karadut’s choice: Anthony Vaccarello‘s autumn-winter 2017 collection for Saint Laurent! All dressed up, but nowhere to go… for now.

More of your choices are coming in the following days! If you missed the game, you can still write me your favourite collection and I will do the work. Got plenty of time. Culture isn’t cancelled, fashion isn’t cancelled!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

A Fresh Take On The Parisian. Patou AW20

Finally, there’s someone in Paris with a fresh take on the Parisian. It’s easy to imagine Guillaume Henry‘s Patou as a bit of a friendly girl’s club now. It has fun-silly signatures like sailor caps topped with pom-poms and ’80s pumps with rabbit-ear bows on the toes. But there’s nothing gimmicky about it. It’s a brand Henry wants people to rely on, for a great peacoat, a striped marinere sweater – and for really useful dresses. The point for Henry is that this is a brand that has been reimagined as relatable, very French – “Well, I am French!” – not insanely priced, and also set up to be as transparent and mindful about sourcing as it can be as it goes along. For instance, the wool and taffeta is upcycled, cotton is organic, and the company takes care to explain certifications and its supply chain to customers. Now a bit about the pleasing autumn-winter 2020 offering, which is all about comfortable, yet chic daywear (and eveningwear). The designer explained how Jean Patou had set up his company a century ago, with his new menthality for a French brand at the time. “He had a bar in his store so people could relax and have a drink, and his in-house shows would turn into parties after. And he was one of the first to design for the weekend, when everyone started going to Deauville and Biarritz and all that.” This sort of laid-back mood is perceivable in the collection and its fun styling. The JP logo, with its Art Deco 1920s feel is embroidered or knitted into sweaters. And then, of course, there’s the Jean Patou of the 1980s. “Christian Lacroix was here! And Karl Lagerfeld too. It was his first job!” Henry’s taffeta puffball skirts and Provençal lace blouses nod to Lacroix’s period, which is a witty thing to do.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Bourgeoisie. Ami AW19

Haven’t written about Alexandre Mattiussi‘s Ami for a while. But when I saw the brand’s womenswear, now getting bigger and better than ever, I kind of fell in love with this brand again. The Ami man and woman walk together, shoulder-to-shoulder, very, very well. Mattiussi called the collection “an homage to the bourgeoisie” and said he imagined his men and women as the sons and daughters of old Parisian money who were going for tea with their grandmothers, but planned big nights ahead. The many shades of beige, from coffee noisette to ecru, looked quintessentially Parisian, and the pink-ish and green-ish colour drops well added up to the palette. The boys wore shearling jackets and hoodies with Eiffel tower prints, while the girls had masculine coats, blazers and floor-sweeping shirt-dresses on. CHIC.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Frenchie. Paco Rabanne AW18

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The term ‘Parisian chic’ is tremendously polluted in today’s fashion. Yet still, Julien Dossena somehow makes it authentic. Not going too heavy on the brand’s signature chain-mail this time around, the designer of Paco Rabanne made Breton stripes look, yes, relevant. There was a trench coat. There was a beige turtleneck. There was a pair of straight blue jeans. While those might be basics, I bet Paco Rabanne will finally catch its customer the next season with these extremely simple, but honestly rare to find pieces. Of course, not everything about the autumn-winter 2018 collection was about Frenchie essentials. The eveningwear is incredibly good, with all the plastic sequins and metallics.

Dossena finds the proper balance.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Paris. Sonia Rykiel Pre-Fall 2018

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I’ve been quite absent for the last week, because of a really nasty flu – but this doesn’t mean I wasn’t peeking at the splash of pre-fall collections. Well, that already seems like a dull season, to be honest. But one label really did caught my eye.

Julie de Libran‘s take on Sonia Rykiel has fluctuating results – sometimes, her collections can be described as just ‘basic’, with no depth or any braver concept. However, as in case of pre-fall 2018, there are the right shots. “It’s just a sweater, a skirt, and a good boot,” she might have said modestly. Still, those look more than ‘just good’. And how Parisian (sorry for the cliché, but it’s a fact!). The leather coat-dress in ecru is gorgeous, just like the semi-sheer jacquard gowns in red and navy. Seems like a perfect New Year’s Eve go-to wardrobe, if only it came early enough to the stores… After more than three years of creative direction, it feels that de Libran and Rykiel brand built a strong bond. The designer revealed that she recently became a shareholder and partner in Sonia Rykiel. “I’m part of the family now”. With such great collections coming, Julie proves she succesfully continues the legacy of the late, Left Bank Parisienne.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Night Dressing. Paco Rabanne SS18

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Sometimes, you fall in love with a collection since the very first moment you’ve seen it. But sometimes, you need some time to get the point behind it. This is what I felt with Julien Dossena‘s Paco Rabanne spring-summer 2018 fashion show. It’s difficult to revive   the most ‘contemporary’ brand of 20th century in 21th century, especially in 2017, where defining anything is quite a struggle. However, Dossena understands well what a today’s woman wants and enjoys in fashion – just like Paco did in the 60s. “It was sort of disco boogie-nights,” Julien said backstage of his show, “but then we cleaned it up. I wanted something a little over the top, but precise and refined.” The brand’s cult chain-mail was intriguingly mixed with paisley print, pastel-pink transparency and athleisure-fit, elastic fabrics. But all that very Parisian glow and this chic ‘party’ attitude is what looks like a great way for dressing to celebrate the upcoming festive season. Whether you style it Space Age, Barbarella-mod or more Françoise Hardy, the New Year’s Eve in Paco might be it.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Inner Strengths. Chloé SS18

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In fact, Natacha Ramsay-Levi is present in the French fashion for years, if you haven’t noticed: first she worked at Balenciaga with Nicolas Ghesquiere and after following the designer, landed a job at Louis Vuitton. But her new role of creative director at Chloé is the first time she’s in the solo spotlight. Succeeding Clare Waight Keller (the Givenchy debut is just around the corner), who kept Chloé in an eternal rhapsody of boho dresses for about six years, Ramsay-Levi also leads a brand previously designed by Karl Lagerfeld, Martine Sitbone, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo and Hannah McGibbon. That’s what you call an impressive line-up. However, the newly appointed designer’s debut was a nod to the Chloé founder, Gaby Aghion. As the show note stated, Natacha decided to stay true to “the independence and intellectual spirit of Gaby”, while embracing femininity and giving women an opportunity to show their inner strength through clothing. And the spring-summer 2018 collection was just that.

Don’t want to use clichés, but that what the designer did was the best possible version of contemporary Parisian chic. Structured mini-skirts, dresses of different lengths covered with prints by a Bombay / Barcelona based artist Rithika Merchant, a timeless camel coat, velvet suits in horse motif and celestial bright gowns. A mix of eclectic, well-curated pieces that resemble Natacha’s aestehtic sense – unconventional and intimate at the same time. The accessories were also très cool, from Chloé it-bags (slightly pimped up with heavy-chain handles and straps) to irresistibly good boots. In some moments, the collection felt like Louis Vuitton in the last few seasons – but that reflects Ramsay-Levi’s signatures that used to be hidden under the brand’s logo. The designer’s lesser known, whimsical side was definitely felt through the jewellery. One of the gold-plated necklaces looked like the prehistoric sculpture of Venus. Summing it all up – I already adore the Ramsay-Levi and Chloé affair!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Grandiose. Saint Laurent SS18

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The passing of Pierre Bérge, Yves Saint Laurent’s partner in private and business life, wasn’t meant to be reflected as a mourning in Anthony Vaccarello‘s third collection for Saint Laurent. Rather, the spring-summer 2018 collection was a celebration of the ‘l’amour fou’, the crazy love that the two shared. And that was a show that matches one word: grandiose!

From what should I start? The venue was an open-air platform situated in the most precious viewpoint in the French capital – yes, the twinkling Eiffel Tower was the runway’s backdrop! THAT’S PARIS, and Vaccarello loves to highlight that Saint Laurent is the most Parisian label you can think of, in terms of style and its faces (for Yves that was Catherine Deneuve; for Anthony it’s Charlotte Gainsbourg). Second, the collection with an impression that was just as strong as of the venue. It was divided in three parts, the women’s ready-to-wear, menswear and ‘modern-day’ couture. The first part was very lace-y, very bohème and Courtney Love / Lenny Kravitz-cool. In other words, that’s what you see a Parisienne wear on the streets, no bra, just pure confidence. Menswear was simple and chic. However, the couture-ish part was my favourite. What a contemporary ode to Yves and his memorable appreciation for the ‘custom-made’. Puff skirts and very, very mini-dresses of huge volumes (one of them was so short that the model’s panties were visible – they were elegantly embellished with a rhinestone Eiffel Tower). Use of feathers, that referred to YSL’s autumn-winter 1987 and his costumes for Zizi Jeanmarie, was killer. Can’t get enough of all these boas, feather-y shoulders and thigh-high boots covered in plumage. That was so over-the-top. A fashion moment I anticipated so much, but thought will not happen in this decade. With his best collection up-to-date, Vaccarello really proves that Saint Laurent is the perfect place for him. Bravo.

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Collages by Edward Kanarecki.

Beach, Lips and Jeanne.

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Jeanne Damas is the synonym of today’s Parisian woman. She reflects contemporary French chic and stays far from a book-writing cliché. No, she’s not a Frenchie wannabe with a baguette, a là the ones you see all over your Instagram explore page. In other words, when I hear ‘Jeanne’, I simultaneously think ‘Jane’, ‘Françoise’, ‘Isabelle’. If you know what I mean…

Now, after a brief moment of admiration for Jean, here’s the thing. Rouje is her womenswear label and it’s a love letter to flirty dresses, romantic floral shirts and high-waisted denim. Spring-summer 2017 is Jeanne’s second season and it has just dropped on her on-lineon-line page, accompanied by dreamy, Mediterrean-hot look-book (starring the designer and her friends). Red-lips, a fruit market near the shore and vintage sunglasses: oui, it’s perfect.