Eric Wilson's Front Row Diary: Fashion Month Comes Full Circle at the the Close of #PFW
Paris Fashion Week ended on Wednesday the way New York Fashion Week began nearly a month ago. Two collections here, Miu Miu by Miuccia Prada and Moncler Gamme Rouge by Giambattista Valli, picked up on a trend that started in New York, at the collections of Joseph Altuzarra, Michael Kors, and a few others, using men’s tweeds in very feminine designs. Sometimes, there is a line of continuity throughout a season from city to city.
And sometimes there is a collection in Paris that veers in an entirely new direction, setting the course for everyone else to follow in the future. On Wednesday, that collection was Louis Vuitton, by Nicolas Ghesquière, who set aside the strick 1970s tone from his work of the past year and pivoted gracefully into a broader sportswear collection with great options for day, for evening, for the boudoir, and possibly for living in an experimental commune, given that his show was held inside an enormous complex of faceted domes constructed especially for the occasion (pictured, above). The set resembled a space colony built on the plan of Epcot Center (it was next to the new Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton), with a series of domes throughout which guests were seated in rows that formed interior pyramids.
The connection to Ghesquière’s previous collections could be seen most clearly in the accessories, with his popular hard-sided clutches designed after the Louis Vuitton trunk now rendered in large boxes, the size of the kits used by photographers and makeup artists. But the clothes represented a strong change, both easier and more approachable, and more seductive. There were strong white fluffy coats, funny animal print fur coats, and one standout sharp navy coat with leather accents, but also slip dresses made of form-fitting black lace, a camel pantsuit with what appeared to be a drawstring waist, and super ribbed knit dresses with a hint of a bell-shaped ruffle at the hems (pictured, below). What struck me most about this collection, and an accompanying photo montage by Juergen Teller, was how intimate it all looked. (Teller shot the models in both their underpinnings and finished outfits.)
Ghesquière has made a point of proposing a complete wardrobe in his work at Vuitton, but now is leaving room for customers to make their own interpretations.
Valli worked within a narrower window, showing a riding-coat themed collection for Moncler with countless variations of the jackets shown on models marching through the moors (pictured, below left). And by the time Miuccia Prada concluded the week with a Miu Miu show that started with a smart lineup of tweed coats, enlivened by mixing patches of bright abstract animal prints on collars (pictured, below right), it certainly felt like the season had finally come full circle.