Since May of last year, I’ve been working as an assistant editor for one of Canada’s largest fashion magazines. Last week, they sent me to Paris Fashion Week.
When I entered the industry six years ago, Paris Fashion Week has been treated as the pinnacle of one’s career: if you get to go, you’re mingling with the industry’s elite, seeing the best designers and meeting the most influential buyers, clients, editors and stylists. So, when my press accreditation was confirmed and the invitations from PR started rolling in, it hit me that at 21, I was accomplishing a career milestone.
The week reaffirmed my adoration for fashion. Everything was extravagant, over the top, luxurious. The streets were crowded with photographers, snapping away at every step, no matter who you were. After all, you could be someone! They might just not know at the time. Even still, the world’s fashionistas paraded to and from major Parisian addresses wearing their best looks, draped head to toe in designer labels perfectly tailored to their petite silhouettes.
Overall, it was an optimistic season. Fashion has always been a focal point of history, as it tends to reflect the mindset of society, or the nuances of the era’s culture. After what felt like a heavy or dark period (think Heidi Slimane at YSL, or the Olivier Rousteg’s dark stages at Givenchy), the light has finally broken through. What this could be telling us is that our world is on the verge of turning around after the daily disasters bombarding the news cycle. Or, we’re just really f*cking tired of hearing how our world is doomed. Either way, we’re set for a more exuberant fall of fashion.
The runways featured bright colours, speckled by some grey and black sections that were kept minimal. The narrative was charismatic, showing solid hues of emerald, fuchsia and cobalt in between houndstooth and plaid maximally styled. The silhouettes stuck towards a masculine, streamlined shape, focusing on a powerful woman. This is reflective of the female empowerment movement that’s prominent in today’s culture. The tailored power suit is more prevalent than ever, appearing in the collections by everyone from Louis Vuitton to Celine to Dior to Each X Other.
Our feet will be thankful for the absence of heeled shoes come autumn, as flats have taken over once again. However, brands are straying away from sneakers and introducing arrays of penny loafers, oxfords, biker boots and even platform snow boots. It seems that leisure dressing is taking a back seat: the women are ready to come to WORK and dressing the like a CEO is just one way to show it.
Bags had a big presence on the catwalks, sometimes stealing the attention away from the clothes. Lacoste and MASHAMA were just two brands who showcased oversized totes that were almost bigger than the model. In contrast, Jacquemus made headlines for their micro-bag invites that can only fit a few coins. It seems that designers want you to be Mary Poppins or only carry an extra pair of earrings with you. Luckily, Mulberry is launching 4 new shapes to its iconic range of handbags, so may be some practical options in stores soon.
This past week also showed improvement in some of the industry’s major issues. Model casts were significantly more ethnically diverse than previous seasons, the most popular show being Tommy Hilfiger’s collaboration with Zendaya which exclusively featured models of colour (and a surprise cameo from the legendary Grace Jones!).
Brands also made a point to discuss their sustainability efforts. Long-time environmental advocate Stella McCartney presented a runway that was an homage to eco-warriors. Ungaro spoke lengths about sourcing their knitwear and using fake fur. Even CHANEL gave guests a USB lookbook in lieu of paper packages. The city has pledged to become the “Sustainable Capital of Fashion” by 2024, the year Paris is hosting the Olympic Games. The plan was announced just weeks before Fashion Week, highlighting three major themes: creating a circular economy; improving sourcing and traceability; and working on making certain processes more sustainable, such as distribution, energy, and communication.
While we can’t wait for the snow to clear and the temperatures to warm up, the F/W19 season has us eager for sweater weather once again. Or at least wishing we could’ve worn the new PARISTEXAS white mock-gater knee high boots for the past few months….because they’re very, um, practical.
What did you think? Which were your favourite collections? What pieces are you coveting? Let us know.