Fashion month finished off with vivid colors, cool tones, and a fresh start for Spring 2020.
While chic simplicity and a more pared back aesthetic ruled the runways, designers chose this moment to make a statement. Whether it was Hermès’ honoring of their craftsmanship, Olivier Rousteing’s exploration of his roots in his Balmain show, or Elie Saab’s celebration of the diversity of the African savannas, this seasons collections each designer was more powerful than the last. Explore CRK’s favorite moments from Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020. Balmain
Olivier Rousteing had a lot to prove this season, looking to dispel certain public opinion that still surrounds him as a young creative director, along with the recent release of his new documentary, Wonder Boy, which explored the designer’s origins. Balmain’s S/S20 runway evoked a feeling of nostalgia, with a show inspired by early 2000s glam and featuring a soundtrack that included tracks by 90’s divas Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Rousteing paid tribute to his newfound self-discovery with pleated silks in hues referencing the bold, bright colors of his African roots, while strong monochromatic black and white looks reflected his racial identity, and the journey he has undertaken to understand his heritage. Make no mistake: Rousteing has arrived.
Pierpaolo Piccioli took us back to basics with his reimagining of the white shirt, which sashayed down the runway in a variety of different guises: with oversized ruffles, billowing sleeves and feathers, or in simple shift dresses and tunics. The stripped back, all-white aesthetic served as a contrasting canvas for the eccentric neon taffeta gowns and jungle-print pieces that followed. There were still nods to the signature looks he has created at the house, including his trademark voluminous silhouettes, but overall his vision for spring took a more pared back approach, using fluid georgette crêpe fabrics to evoke a cleaner, simpler look.
This season, Hermès chose to honor the foundation of their heritage by creating garments that reflected those worn by their expert artisans, from leather structural silhouettes that echoed their aprons to moss green utility trousers and work-wear jackets. Creative Director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski successfully balanced tradition and modernization in the slick show, with equestrian style topstitching sitting alongside grid patchworks on simple, straight-lined tunics and coats. There were plenty of clever details, like the leather used on cargo pants and dresses, which was stripped down to a semi sheer material that made it flow like silk. Celebrating the talented artists in their factories is a smart move: Vanhee-Cybulski knows that the values of artistry and craftsmanship that the luxury fashion house is famous for will long outlive any fast fashion trend.
Richard René’s creative direction for his S/S20 collection embodied ‘the liberated girls and boys who, for a few 500 franc notes, contributed to the splendour of France’. That aesthetic explains the money-print textiles on oversized blazers and the exposed cut-outs on denim pieces that pushed boundaries to their limits and left little to the imagination. The provocative look made for sophisticated designs and the fashion house gave a nod to the Seventies – the era of the season – with the use of the original GL logomania, which was printed on silk dresses, shirts and trousers, as well as the retro carpet the models strutted down.
Elie Saab’s latest collection was designed as ‘a reflection on the diversity that animates the great savannas of Africa’ and saw abstract Dutch prints take to the runway alongside Nefertiti-style accessories, with beaded jewellery and jewel coloured turbans. The collection featured the house’s signature embroidered silk and chiffon dresses, but with a twist – instead of the romantic aesthetic we’re so used to from Saab, S/S20 featured utilitarian undertones, with khaki and desert shades offsetting some of the femininity. The finale, featuring a parade of show-stopping gowns, packed a powerful punch that reminded us why he remains one of the masters of eveningwear.
Against the rainy backdrop of Paris Fashion Week, Giambattista Valli’s use of floral motifs in his S/S20 collection was a breath of fresh air. Valli said the inspiration for the collection came from extraordinary women like Peggy Guggenheim and Gloria Vanderbilt, whose passion was their garden; their love of beautiful landscapes was evident in the gowns he sent down the runway, which blossomed with natural femininity. Sheer fabrics were matched with oversized puff sleeves and the designer’s signature ruffles, and dresses were embroidered with flowers to create a look that was retro yet modern, understated and eye-catching. Valli’s vision of a garden collection is the ultimate reflection of spring.