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THE IMPACT OF WORLD EVENTS
There are times when, no matter how much you love it, fashion feels futile. If you feel like this is one of those times, you’re not alone. This year, it was hard to marry the extravagance and escapism of Paris Fashion Week with the sheer horror unfolding on the same continent, images of which we see every time we turn on our TVs or engage with social media. As Balenciaga Creative Director Demna Gvasalia, himself a refugee of the 1993 civil war in Georgia, said in his show notes: “Fashion Week feels like an absurdity.”
But if we are to take anything from this round of runway shows, perhaps it’s the hope that creativity can – and does – prevail, even in the darkest of times. “I thought about cancelling the show that I and my team worked hard on and were looking forward to. But then I realised that cancelling this show would mean giving in, surrendering to the evil that has already hurt me so much for almost 30 years,” Gvasalia wrote. “I decided I can no longer sacrifice parts of me to that senseless, heartless war of ego.” Overall, the mood was sombre – from the catwalk to the streets. But there were glimmers of joy and things to look forward to, which is something fashion is always, beautifully, capable of.
CORNEL CRISTIAN PETRUS/SHUTTERSTOCK
THE STREET STYLE STAR: Christine Centenera
As the Fashion Director at Vogue Australia, Christine Centenera has long been a street style regular. Also the co-founder of capsule collection-focussed brand WARDROBE. NYC, her personal style is polished and perfectly put together. Her looks during Paris Fashion Week have been no exception, striking the perfect balance between solemn sobriety and whimsical playfulness. Beautiful, oversized coats were worn over simple basics and Balenciaga’s legging boots – proof that the shoe-legging hybrid has progressed beyond passing trend to classic status. It just goes to show that sometimes the best street style is actually the most wearable.
THE SHOW: The Row
The Row’s understated elegance never feels tired or repetitive, despite the fact it rarely deviates from its tried-and-tested colour palette or tailored silhouettes. For many, the New York-based brand’s elevated minimalism has filled the hole left by Phoebe Philo, and the Resort 2023 collection, shown as part of Paris Fashion Week, only confirmed it.
Elongated sleeves and statement collars sat side-by-side with androgynous tailoring, crisp, abstract shirting and beautiful outerwear focused, as ever, on craft not trends. Favourite pieces included a chartreuse woollen blanket draped and wrapped to form a gown, a cream wool scarf-jacket and a shimmering black dress with oversized ribbon collar detailing that closed the show. They’re the sort of pieces we’d have in our dream wardrobe, but until then, we’ll wait patiently for the trickle-down effect to make its way to the British high street.
THE MOMENT: Valentino
You can always count on Valentino to deliver a ‘wow’ moment. For AW22, the fashion house debuted its own colour in collaboration with Pantone – ‘Valentino Pink PP’ – a deep but bright fuchsia tone. Each design was rendered entirely in this exact hue, save for a mid-show interlude of head-to-toe black looks, as was the show set. The aim? To focus the eye on the details of each garment, whether that be the undulating necklines, the precise but dramatic silhouettes or the intricate embellishment. The overall effect was striking, and reinforced the prevalence of pink – already a big trend for SS22.
THE TREND: Y2K
The resurgence of Y2K fashion has been bubbling for some time, but it's a trend that remains highly contentious. For those that remember it the first time round, it feels too soon to revisit it – the nostalgia factor isn’t there yet, while the cringe factor very much is. However, for the younger generation, it feels exciting and new – a shake-up that represents a new mood. This division has spawned two different approaches: the first takes elements from the era and spins them into something new, while the other plays heavily on the attributes of the era and simply repackages them.
This was perfectly highlighted by Isabel Marant and Coperni. At Isabel Marant, low-slung cargo denim, furry knits, crushed velvet, oversized bombers and thigh-high boots all nodded to the noughties, but felt immediately fresh. Meanwhile, at Coperni there were micro-minis, extreme cut-outs, pointed-toe kitten heels and pedal pushers that mimicked the era perfectly –right down to the straightened hair. It’s a look that Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber have been repping off the catwalk, too. Whatever camp you fall into, it’s safe to say the 2000s are back – it’s just up to you how much you want to remember.