Wednesday, October 4, 2017

PARIS FASHION WEEK: DESIGNERS TRY TO AVOID ‘CONFORMITY’

Paris Fashion Week was notable this year for the strong sense of wanting to shake things up and to use fashion design to raise awareness about certain issues.

Guests of French designer agnès b., for instance, received tote bags with a specific message:  “protest against the rising tide of conformity”. It was her way of saying that everyone is become too predictable, following trends.

agnes b. evokes the Caribbean
The designer’s mantra has always been that she “doesn’t do fashion” - she makes clothes; and the Spring/Summer 2018 collection illustrated this philosophy. The garments were supremely wearable while still being distinctive. They portrayed comfort with individuality, according to one observer.

Some of the designs were meant to pay homage to the spirit of the Caribbean, through vibrant colours, Rasta themes and feminine cuts, alongside the motto of “vive les ȋles” (long live the islands).

But agnès b. said she also wanted viewers to remember the Caribbean islands ravaged by recent hurricanes: Saint Martin, Barbuda, Dominica, Puerto Rico and others.

In addition, the collection included easy daywear – shorts, skirts and dresses - in khaki tones, as well as pastel-hued evening dresses that were striking in their simplicity.

SIRLOIN

Some designers believe that consumers really shouldn’t get all worked up trying to fit in with fashion trends.

Sirloin
“Sometimes you look better when you go out in your pyjamas,” says Alve Lagercrantz, who runs the Shanghai-based brand Sirloin with his partner Mao Usami.  
“Rather than trying too hard, just take things easy,” Lagercrantz advises.

For their Spring / Summer 2018 collection, the duo said they drew inspiration from Miami, and were also exploring “how China is mirroring American prosperity in the 90s and becoming the new land of possibilities”.

What this has to do with pyjamas is anyone’s guess, but most of the designs were loose-fitting, and played with the idea that the models were in their own episode of the classic Miami Vice television show.

Part of the playfulness centred on the concept that underwear can be “outerwear” as well. Why is a swimsuit not a suit, the designers asked. Their answer: it could easily become one, for those who have the “non-conformist” gumption to wear it away from the beach or pool.

Sirloin: comfort is everything.
Earlier this year, Sirloin presented their Fall/Winter collection in the historic lavatories beneath Madeleine Square in Paris. But this time, they “got an apartment” (to use Lagercrantz’s words).

Located in an upscale neighbourhood, the apartment was an appropriate setting for models who sauntered from room to room, sometimes pausing to slouch on an armchair or to stand staring off into space with an expression of ennui.

The clothing matched the mood – baggy trousers paired with silky tops, slack dresses in summer yellows and whites, and, of course, underclothes.

The two stylists, both graduates of Central Saint Martins arts and design college, have said that their “ultimate vision is to create a full wardrobe ‘literally’ from inside out” and to make people feel comfortable stepping out in pyjamas. They seem well on their way.

 ISABEL FELMER

For her Spring/Summer 2018 collection, French-Chilean designer Isabel Felmer used the sumptuous locale of the Chilean Embassy in Paris to good effect, contrasting futuristic designs with the classic decor of marble fireplaces and moulded ceilings.

Isabel Felmer designer
“I love the idea of mixing the future with the retro,” Felmer told Tasshon. “And this is the perfect place for it.”

Her show took the form of a performance rather than a straightforward défilé, as the models strutted around a wood-floored salon to techno music, striking poses from time to time or simply gyrating on one spot.

The three performers - representing different regions of the world also draped their arms around doll-like mannequins dressed in suits or evening wear.

At first glance, it was hard to distinguish the live models from the statues, as together they evoked a space-age distance, a kind of future-to-the-past sentiment, which tied in with the stylist’s aims.

The designer.
Felmer said her designs - both in white, and in bold splashes of colour - were inspired by the Japanese model and actress Sayoko Yamaguchi, who was one of the first Asian supermodels.

Here too, these garments were for those who possess a strong individualistic streak, as Felmer paired masculine cuts with a flamboyant look for the white suits. 

In the more colourful designs, she imprinted photos that she had taken onto the various fabrics. - Tasshon