“Après moi le déluge!” (After me, the flood), King Louis XV said once (other sources attribute the famous phrase to the Marquise de Pompadour).
And (metaphorically) this is my feeling at the end of the week dedicated to women’s (and men’s) fashion in Paris.
The FW23-24 is an overflowing flow of virtuous energy that overwhelms the senses and shakes the consciences from years of forced torpor resuscitating dormant desires (and relegated in the darkest corners of memory): it is the fashion that was, that is and will be.
Paris teaches us that rules exist to be broken.
Fashion is chameleon-like, it’s hybrid, it’s like a Barbapapa. It takes different shapes and colours, senses and chimerically predicts the times, evolves in essence, strengthens its substance: it is a seductive Mystica.
“Après moi le déluge!”, said Louis XV.
It is an idel deluge that falls upon us, bathing us in fantasy. It is the beautiful arrogant imagination of the new generations, to whom a special mention goes once again: Germanier, Didu, Abra, Avellano (all so different and coherent in an aesthetic that tells an intimate and professional story).
Fashion in Paris takes on a new light, the child finally recognized (the DNA test was not required, in the end) of epochal changes and new post-Voltarian socio-cultural arrangements.
I have selected the five brands that most struck the chords of my spirit and moved a reflection that flows into the review.
The fil rouge, needless to say, is the color black.
5 – BALENCIAGA
The collection is a bridge between the past, the present and the future.
Demna Gvasalia pays homage to Cristóbal Balenciaga on tiptoe, with a sober, sophisticated, minimalist collection.
Minimalist is also the venue in which oversized coats and suits alternate with leather biker outfits for rebellious hearts and nostalgic evening looks that evoke the well-known “Grail Keeper of Elegance” of lost times.
The new Crash Bag seen on the catwalk crashed into my, our hearts.
4 – OTTOLINGER
“You are committed to form but not material”.
The manifesto by Cosima Gadient and Christa Bösch – the heads and hands behind the Berlin brand – is a social provocation imbued with a determinism that does not make morals and rather tells a vision.
The collection is a new visual and emotional journey into underground cultures through unexpectedly everyday items: ski wear, puffers and revisited Barbour jackets should keep the tills humming.
The Formula 1 racing shoes in collaboration with Puma have what it takes to become a must-to-have for the season.
3 – THE ROW
Architecture and fashion intertwine in the Resort 2024 collection presented by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen during PFW.
There is emphasis and structure in the music by Pete Murphy, the Bauhaus poet, that accompanies the show.
Fashion twins’ Mary Shelley(s) have given up on gothic looks in favor of exquisitely chaste, modern clothing, triumphantly feminine in its masculinity.
It is an essential and sophisticated collection in which the “construction” becomes a discreet (and powerful) distinctive element: the new coat shape, double breasted, tailored with a wide shouldered ease, a scarf-like panel dropping over one sleeve, the strapless black ensemble, with sleeves wrapped to cinch the waist, all the tailored elements that characterize tops and skirts (never above the knee).
2 – Y/PROJECT
Glenn Martens mixes the sacred and the profane on the Y/Project catwalk spiced with the usual stylistic gamble that is not a mere intellectual exercise but a pioneering and gaudy design element.
The most avant-garde designer of the moment tells of having listened to the aria Lascia ch’io pianga by G.F. Handel during the entire creative and development process of the FW23-24.
The immediate reference to the Antichrist by Lars von Trier makes that moment solemn.
And the collection is solemnly majestic. Sweatshirts or jersey dresses enhanced with embellishments of the same material, or tweed coats embroidered with denim, large caftans, also in denim, or adaptable bombers and coats made with several layers dominate the scene.
The detail: screenshots of pornographic films, carefully cropped, are printed on dresses, skirts and tops in silk or jersey.
1 – RICK OWENS
Rick Owens gives a new meaning to the gothic word that transcends the collective imagination in which it is placed and re-positioned in the space-time of the hic et nunc.
Rick is Rick raised to power: he’s elevated.
Elevated is the collection (conceptual, bizarre, cathartic).
Elevated is the catwalk where the models stand out on us surrealistically statuesque wearing magnificently “giant” pieces.
They are the statues of the Temple of Luxor that come to life, earthly Galateas (without Pygmalion) whose exaggerated clothes do not mortify the silhouettes but enhance and design them with contemporary wisdom.
The use of materials is accurate: flight JKTS are made in nylons made from GRS (GLOBAL RECYCLED STANDARD) certified recycled polyamide and dyed using a specialized technique that allows ecological natural pigments to be used on synthetic fibers, outwear in heavyweight and crisp moleskins is woven in Lombardy, Italy using GOTS (GLOBAL ORGANIC TEXTILE STANDARD) certified organic cotton, decaying and fraying half-skirts and coats are made with indigo denim from Japan, which had been treated with a mineral wash and shredded by lasers.