Balenciaga and Dior Woo With Simply Romantic Looks at Paris Fashion Week
The lingerie-inspired slip dress has been having a big moment during the Spring collections, from the opening look of Francisco Costa’s Calvin Klein collection in New York through Alexander Wang’s off-white finale at Balenciaga. A perennial of the spring season, the uncomplicated style suggests an easy and unfussy approach to dressing, a woke-up-like-this attitude.
It was fitting, then, that the shoes at Balenciaga were lace versions of one-size-fits-all house-slippers, the kind that you find next to the bed in a fancy hotel room, something Wang would have seen a lot of during his three-year-tour of the Paris label. (He famously never took an apartment here, preferring to keep his base in New York.) His last collection for the house was a fairly straightforward celebration of that period, with variations of lingerie and streetwear—painter’s pants and overalls made appearances—all rendered in ivory silk and with many looks worn by celebrities. Bella Heathcote, Nicola Peltz, Riley Keough, Suki Waterhouse, and Zoe Kravitz were among them. At the end, Wang took a well-deserved runway lap, snapping selfies along the way, as if creating a reminder that he was here.
It would have been hard to miss his presence at the show, which was staged in a deconsecrated church, with a cruciform shaped runway layout that was also lined with what appeared to be enormous baptismal pools. I wouldn’t read too much into either the setting or the virginal associations you might make with a procession of white clothes, though, considering the rap music on the soundtrack or that some of the dresses had bra cups that looked like frosted cupcakes.
Several of the looks at Dior also suggested a fixation with white undergarments, with cotton tops and briefs with scalloped edges in a collection that marked a simpler turn for the artistic director Raf Simons. A signature look of the collection was an abbreviated snowflake sweater, sort of an après-ski crop top, if you will, along with ultra-light striped dresses (and a sturdier anorak) that spoke very quietly, at least in comparison to the over-the-top set. Guests entered the show, in a courtyard at the Louvre Museum, through a mountain of delphiniums, and, here, it was the audience members, not the designer, who stopped to take pictures.