Time travel, throwbacks and a (failed) debut at Paris Fashion Week

When Nicolas Ghesquière returned to the Louvre's Cour Carre last night, exactly 10 years after he presented his first collection for Louis Vuitton, it was as the brand's customary show that the 2018 Paris Fashion Week・It was to conclude the week's schedule. Fall/Winter 2024.

The designer, who will remain at the helm of the French luxury house for at least five more years, invited more than 4,000 attendees of the commemorative collection to reminisce, while also being invited aboard a futuristic spaceship designed by artist Philippe Parreno. did. The collection was self-referential, providing an overview of his biggest hits, his well-documented love of science fiction, and a glimpse into his time at Balenciaga. She also paid homage to the house's past with a silk-print dress reminiscent of Vuitton's monogrammed trunks. The show ended with a standing ovation for the designer, who continues to double down on his singular vision even after 10 years, and a clearly emotional Nicolas Ghesquière, who took a modest bow and at the same time flashed a proud smile. . Taking command of a brand is almost unheard of in today's day and age.

Louis Vuitton FW24
Louis Vuitton FW24 Credit: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

The worst secret in all of Paris

But some attendees had little time to celebrate or congratulate Ghesquière, as although Vuitton had officially concluded its fall/winter 2024 season, the fashion show had not yet ended. Little did the industry expect that the quiet but persistent rumors circulating on social media about a surprise Saint Laurent menswear show would actually come true. And just days after his creative director Anthony Vaccarello unveiled his latest womenswear collection, the designer followed it up with a “secret” menswear presentation.

Held at Kering owner François Pinault's museum, the Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, the show was much smaller than Vuitton's extravaganza, seating only around 100 people. . As with any Vuitton show, those invited were presented with a collection heavily influenced by the brand's archives or its founder, Yves Saint Laurent himself. The models were styled like if the late designer had traded styling tips with fictional serial killer Patrick Bateman, with 80s power suits, strong shoulders and slicked back hair. , he was wearing glasses.

saint laurent menswear
saint laurent menswear Credit: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

In past seasons, Saint Laurent's menswear and womenswear have been in constant dialogue, borrowing shapes and silhouettes here and there. However, this season's menswear felt very different from previous womenswear, with an emphasis on tailoring. For women, tailoring almost always took a backseat, with the focus on transparent craftsmanship and hosiery. A choice rooted in the brand's heritage, his see-through look, first introduced in 1966, drew criticism. That's unusual for Vaccarello at Saint Laurent these days.

While Vaccarello traced the origins of womenswear back to the 60s, Virginie Viard returned to Chanel's origins with her fall/winter collection. Not only did Viard travel back in time to his 1912 year when it all began for Chanel, but he also brought the small seaside town of Deauville to Paris. In this small town best known as the “Parisian Riviera”, Gabrielle Chanel opened her first boutique, initially selling hats, but then adding her then androgynous ready-to-wear line. did. For this reason, it was only natural that Viard's collection, which was presented on a runway shaped like a promenade, began with hats. What followed was a collection based on sailor uniforms that transformed into jumpers, cardigan sets, long coats that looked somewhere between a duster and a pea coat, and floaty tee dresses and jeans. , of course, did not completely ignore Chanel's fabric of choice: tweed.

Chanel FW24
Chanel FW24 Credit: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

The story of two people's debut

But the brand's time travel into the archives didn't end there. Chemena Kamali is Chloé's debut, a nod to Karl Lagerfeld, the French fashion house's longest-serving creative director, and the bohemian chic that defined the brand's image under Clare Waight Keller. reintroduced the iconic “Chloe Girl'' into fashion.

“I want to recapture the feeling I had 20 years ago when I first walked through the doors here and fell in love with the feminine spirit of Chloé,” the German-born, Central Saint Martins-trained designer wrote in the show notes. “I want to feel her presence again. She is her beat, her natural beauty, her freedom and unfinishedness. She is real. She is herself.”

Chloe FW24
Chloe FW24 Credit: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

The “Chloe girl” who has grown up a bit under Kamali is perhaps becoming, as she said, a Chloé woman, but her collection also features several Chloé muses both in the front row and on the runway. Not only is it back, but the hallmarks of the brand's vocabulary. Almost every look, in some way, started with the idea of ​​a blouse, which is said to have been founder Gabby Aghions' favorite garment. Romantic and nostalgic blouses and sheer dresses, with flowing ruffles and flounces, feature prominently in Kamali's lineup, and are paired with pants that hang low on her hips, tap-on shorts, and knee-high boots. To top it all off, Kamali is reviving the Parati bag, a trapezoidal satchel with gold hardware that was first introduced in 2008 under then creative director Hannah McGibbon, making Chloé the 'it' bag. There is no doubt that it will take you back to the era of.

Although Kamaris' debut work received high praise, this season's other debutant had a difficult start to his creative career at the prestigious house. Faced with the complex and thankless task of succeeding Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen as the first designer with no personal connection to his namesake, Sean McGill looked back at the brand's archives and found that it was still He was unable to fully face the challenge. Traces of the 1995 McQueen's collection “The Birds”, compressed silhouettes, some of the tailoring, especially the menswear, were sharp, and compared to Burton, McGill brought some grit back to the brand, but times had changed. And the fact that the brand, which once struggled to make ends meet, is now owned by a luxury conglomerate felt a bit high-handed, if not out of place.

Alexander McQueen FW24
Alexander McQueen FW24 Credit: Alexander McQueen.

This doesn't mean McGill's vision is without potential. Following in Lee McQueen's own footsteps is no easy feat, but it's worth remembering that the designer was polarizing at best, especially early in his career. If the negative reviews and public outcry are anything to go by and history is about to repeat itself, perhaps McGill's sophomore collection will prove the naysayers wrong.

Realistically, just as you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, the industry should have learned by now not to judge a designer by their first collection at the helm of a brand. Last season's debut of Stefano Galisis' Anne Demeulemeester wasn't met with the same kind of criticism as McGill, but it proves how well he understands this house and the canon of the woman who built it. It was his second collection. Without gagging, this young designer consulted the archives and found a formula that works. This season, Garisi is further expressing his individuality, underscoring his deep ties to the brand, which he has been associated with as a menswear designer since it became part of the Antonioli Group in 2020. emphasized.

His Fall/Winter 2024 collection explored the fine line between roughness and fragility. He layered elements of chiffon, georgette dresses, flowing lingerie, biker jackets, structured tailoring, and a raunchy romance that gave the impression that he wasn't the girlish Demeulemeester. The contrast with the atmosphere was further emphasized with curly hair and heavy boots. Even if the fabric they are wearing is delicate.

Anne Demeulemeester
Anne Demeulemeester Credit: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

fashion destroys the internet

When it comes to designers who have found their formula, it's almost impossible not to mention Coperni's Sebastian Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant. The duo, who previously spray-painted Bella Hadid's dress on the runway, have earned a reputation as fashion's mad scientists, and this season is no different, creating a new version of the existing “swipe bag.'' Literally from nothing. The latest model, which somewhat unfortunately stole the show and was removed from the accompanying collection, borrowed materials from NASA to create a bag made of 99 percent air and just 1 percent glass.

FW24 tires
FW24 tires Credit: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

This unlikely material was an instant hit on social media, and the brand that has been credited with “breaking the internet” is now well aware of the phenomenon. But this season, it was Miu Miu, not Coperni, that literally broke, if not the internet, then at least Instagram – and for good reason.

Miu Miu FW24
Miu Miu FW24 Credit: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Prada's eternal sister, Miu Miu, is by no means a powerhouse, but this season it has fused childhood and adulthood, creating an eccentric mix of clothing that combines feminine attire and teenage experimentation. . Cocktail her dresses, plush furs, pearls, prim cap sleeves, Mary Jane, wool stockings meet mini hemlines, jeans and shoes reminiscent of Dr. She Martens, but the concept is there. It didn't end. Casting ranges from familiar faces in models such as Gigi Hadid and Vittoria Ceretti to mature women such as actresses Kirsten Scott Thomas and Angela Molina, with Miu Miu ultimately focusing on girls' It is not just for women, but just like Signora Prada itself, it is for women.

The nearly two-hour Instagram outage, which left users unable to use the Meta-owned social media platform, is likely unrelated to Fashion Week or Miu Miu, but is likely due to the overwhelming number of shows after a record-breaking 108 shows. It would be a relief from the amount of content. “In just under 10 days” was exactly what the doctor ordered at the end of the Big Four's big fashion month finale.

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