While Milan sheepishly played with colour and prints, Paris’ spring/summer ’10 collections offered an all-out display of multi-faceted colors and artisanal fabrics. The runways were dominated by a sense of humour, playfulness and bold statements, but simultaneously brought the sense of masculinity to the forefront.
The main inspiration for the Louis Vuitton spring/summer ’10 collection centered on the constant stampede of bike messengers that consistently fill the busy streets of New York city. Ever the visionary, creative director Marc Jacobs peppered the collection with sharp yellow tones, knee-length shorts with a rugged thick cuff and bright red sunglasses that balanced the popular rectangular shape with the currently prevalent circular frame. Jacobs playfully incorporated bursts of clementine orange paired with his own variation on the porkpie hat and sports jackets with tie-dye influences. The bike messenger theme emerged most promisingly in versatile accessories that transition a daytime look into a more dapper evening outfit.
Lanvin, too, was active in sports, but more subtly than the rest. Creative director Lucas Ossendrijver merely hinted at the subject in visor caps that accessorized his winsome collection of streamlined silhouettes and suits in deep saturated colors, which provided a perfect counterpoint to the puffed, exaggerated shoulders of jackets and high-waisted tapered trousers in rich fabrications. With Lanvin departing from its languid looks of seasons past, Raf Simons abandoned the angsty adolescent boys that defined his namesake label for a decidedly more mature collection. There were simple black suits with white shirts underneath as well as classic blazer and trouser combinations. Clearly, the Simons male has grown up, but there were also hints of rebellion in the leather belts that wrapped blazers and in the snake printed tanks that were so transparent that they appeared like tattoos against the models’ skin.
Jean Paul Gaultier proved, once again, to be the ultimate rebel, however. Never one to steer clear of the blurred notion of gender roles, s/s ’10 was filled with bustiers and skirts—items typically reserved for his female collection. Toying with the idea of denim and hints of bondage, bustiers often appeared underneath blazers or even on their own. He described this collection as an attempt to gear toward a younger audience, one that can internalize his vision and subsequently test the waters of fashion. In the same vein, the runway was plodded with transparent converse sneakers—a further indication of his desire to attract a younger JPG audience. While the wearability of this collection is definitely in question, it is apparent that Gaultier marches to his own beat, and sets the rules as he goes along.
The Dries Van Noten show was one of Paris’ highlights this season. Contrasting fabrics were paired with conflicting exotic prints, but somehow it all worked together—and could even be worn in a casual state. With suits exuding a more relaxed vibe, the whole collection seemed to slow the pace with comfortable silhouettes and revamped structure. Taking an unexpected route from what we have typically seen on the runways, Van Noten presented baggy slung trousers with pleats, which added a note of utility and form to an otherwise draping silhouette. With exotic patterns galore and hints of street-wear, it all came together seamlessly.
Comme des Garçons too exercised a chromatic play with prints that required a customer with the stylistic brevity of Harajuku fashionistas. Many of the jackets, trouser and sweaters exhibited a mash up of stripes in varying sizes overlapping with ethnic decoraions and Fair Isle knit patterns. Paisley and striped ties were sewn into jackets, pants and legging were worn underneath mini skirts as well as cream and black graphic combinations—a surprising mixture but it wouldn’t be a CDG show without some sartorial trickery and irony.
Henrik Vibskov had all the elements present in order to create a feast for the senses, yielding what may have been the most innovative collection to grace the Paris runways. There is a certain energy about Vibskov’s collection that is strictly for the obscenely confident fashionisto—a certain visual energy embedded into the collection. Often cited as the sole individual responsible for bringing back the Harem pant, Vibskov has a vision that is uniquely and individually his own. While its wearability can be questioned, there is no doubt that Vibskov’s collection gears towards the fashionably outrageous—those who have the underground fashion world under their feet.
Rick Owens isn’t usually one to explore color, so it was quite the shock when Mr. Owens embedded subtle hints of denim throughout his s/s ’10 line. Skull caps with large oval cut outs graced the craniums of many a model, but the show stealer was undoubtedly the footwear—a hybrid between Nike’s Air Force Ones and a variation on the moonboot. Paired with knee-high black socks and asymmetrical meshing, the dark color palette seemed to have a bit of life. Overall, Owens has stayed loyal to the items that have made him who he is, but still manages to play minimally beyond the confines of the Rick Owens man.
While fashion is meant to be taken loosely, with limits pushed and lines erased, Walter Van Beirendonck can legitimately say that he is having the most fun doing what he does. With a runway full of muscle bears acting as both muses and model, the clothes were overshadowed by bright pastel coveralls with the letters “HI” prominently displayed. It was definitely the hokiest of the show season and its presence was not taken as seriously as one would expect.
Meanwhile, Riccardo Tisci produced an exceptionally inconsistent collection for Givenchy. He played with basic clothing utilities and then, in an atypical Givenchy look, brought forward vibrant lamés (in both red and gold), bold, exaggerated prints as well as the introduction of flannel. Criticized for its lack of continuity and incoherent logic, editors and the like were left both dazed and confused, not sure how to to interpret the latest collection from a design house typically respected for its shape, fit, form and function.
While Milan and Paris both demonstrated similar themes (bold colors, blazers paired with varying length shorts, perforation, mesh, sheer and a general black and white mentality), the Paris shows reflected the more optimistic vantage point of an industry weathering a dismal economy. From Walter Van Beirendonck’s outrageous coveralls to to Givenchy’s ode to Seattle flannel and studs, its reaffirming notion proves that we are well on our way to the playful, yet effectively functional ways of fashion.