Paris offers satire, normcore and androgyny


Paris Fashion Week was a series of emotional highs and lows, mixed in with refreshing designs and noteworthy runway sets that had attendees rushing out of their seats. There was high anticipation as ex-Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière debuted his collection for Louis Vuitton, being sure to honor his predecessor, 14-year Vuitton veteran Marc Jacobs, in a heartfelt typewritten letter presented before the show.

“Today is a new day,” Ghesquière penned. “A big day. You are about to witness my first fashion show for Louis Vuitton. Words cannot express exactly how I am feeling at this moment. Above all, immense joy at being here, in the knowledge that my stylistic expression is at one with the Louis Vuitton philosophy. The proud legacy. The inspiring history that looks to the future and to the world. The quest for authenticity and innovation. The desire for timelessness. Does not every designer ultimately seek to create something timeless? I salute the work of Marc Jacobs, whose legacy I wholeheartedly hope to honour. And I thank you for being here to share this moment with me. Thanks to all of you who have helped me to tell this new story and who make Louis Vuitton what it is, and especially to those who work with me. Thanks to everyone who is here on this day, this morning. Right now.”

Model Freja Beha Erichsen made a return to the runway, starting off the show with a black leather trench buttonsnap-front coat with a sharp burnt orange collar over a cream colored dress with an off-white knitted turtleneck layered underneath. Her black leather knee-high boots pulled the look together, bringing to the surface a modernized 1960s aesthetic. The rest of the show featured leathers and suede in various forms, mainly skirts, jackets and of course shoes and bags. High-waisted trousers with tucked blouses were among the mixture of A-line miniskirts and coats.

Miuccia Prada took a different approach to the normal grandeur of Paris fashion week with Miu Miu. The collection featured simple windbreakers and quilted skirt suits, offering a “normcore” version of the typical Miu Miu girl we once knew. While the collection exposes the practicality of fashion, there is a tinge of overt chic-ness that overpowers the tangibly functional moments.

Céline offered 1930s vibes with androgynous oversized trousers and double-breasted coats. The designer, Phoebe Philo, exhibited impeccable tailoring in a number of forms with the femininely fluid pleated pants peaking under long, forceful coats or oversized knits, which sported extra long sleeves. Throughout the show, different textures snuck in, displaying animal prints, checkered prints and collaged jewels. The platforms aided with the structured feel that tied the collection together as a whole.

Chanel was among the most-talked and tweeted about with the Parisian “grand magasin” set of shelves adorned with Chanel-ed water bottles, detergent, a produce display and even home goods featuring a branded chainsaw. Karl Lagerfeld’s satirical observance of consumerism became a pop culture phenomenon on its own, featuring battered workout sets and elaborate pantsuits with corresponding sneakers, “meat” saran-wrapped handbags and decked-out grocery baskets.

The 2014 fall and winter collections, as a whole, generated a reviving atmosphere, featuring old faces on the runway and new faces behind the scenes. The designs themselves generally remained true to the history of the brands, even in newly rebranded Saint Laurent, which sent glitzed out rocker-chic models down the catwalk.

This season also was seasoned with celebrity sightings, most notably Rihanna, who was spotted at every major show.