LUXUO Breakdown: Paris Fashion Week Highlights and the Latest From The Fashion Industry
From McQueen to Balenciaga Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024 was a dynamic showcase of craftsmanship and design excellence
Bold moves continue to shake up the fashion industry in the wake of Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024 collection showcases. On the runway, Pierpaolo Piccioli took inspiration from the body presenting the Valentino collection in “a natural state, rather than a means of provocation”. At Balenciaga, Demna highlighted the Maison’s signature tailoring exaggerated silhouettes focusing on craft over convoluted theatrics. Off the runway Alexander McQueen appoints Seán McGirr, succeeding Sarah Burton as head of ready-to-wear of the fashion house while Chemena Kamali replaces Gabriela Hearst as Chloe’s new Creative Director.
Virginie Viard paid homage to Gabrielle Chanel in an incredibly modern way. The collection saw a nod to the 1920s with black lamé wide-legged pajama suit and Art Deco-style prints. Described by Virginie as “a kaleidoscope of vitality” the clothes evoked the artistic spirit of the villa Noailles in the south of France. Graphic tweeds and floral embroideries contrasted with laid-back sophisticated silhouettes in a showcase of “nonchalant elegance”.
Balenciaga’s previous Autumn/Winter 2023 collection saw creative director Demna take a step back from theatrical runways (Spring/Summer 2023’s muddy runway for instance) and a celebrity-laden front row focusing more on the clothes and craftsmanship. For the Spring/Summer 2024 showcase, Demna arguably found a sweet spot between the two. The clothes were refined yet dynamic, nostalgic yet modern. Inspired by real people (or rather people who Demna has come across in his own life) the collection still featured Balenciaga details of exaggerated, structured shoulders, voluminous trenches and bomber jackets alongside body-hugging vinyl and immaculate floral and sequin gowns. We have come to know (and sometimes love) Demna for the severity of his collections and while they may at times be polarising, the talented eye for craftsmanship and taste at the house of Balenciaga cannot go uncredited.
Taking inspiration from classical nude sculptures of women, Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino collection was a commentary on feminism and the liberartion of women and the automony they have over their own bodies. “I wanted to use embroidery not as decoration, but as structure that becomes a fabric in itself,” Piccioli said. “I think this is the most exposed collection I’ve done; it shows skin, but in a different way”. Skin-baring looks and bold displays of defiance with faded Canadian tuxedos and exposed dresses were audacious for all the right reasons.
Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection was also the last swan song for former creative director Sarah Burton who will be leaving Alexander McQueen after a 26-year-long run. Guests applauded as a teary-eyed Naomi Campbell strutted down in glitering silver dress with a structured corset and fringe skirt. The collection was a celebration of the female body with a multitude of textiles, cross-laced sticthing and of course, Burton’s signature floral motifs. Throughout her reign as creative director of Alexander McQueen, Burton was at times compared to her predecessor and her more “gentle” take to Lee MCQueen’s penchant for danger. Perhaps with that in mind, it was recently annouced that London-based menswear designer Seán McGirr will take over the helm at McQueen.
Gabriela Hearst’s final collection for Chloé was a heart-felt one. Her last collection at Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024 saw what some described as a “full-circle moment”. Pieces included tailored three-piece suits, embellished pieces with gold trimmings on their collars and sequinned belts buckles. A black trench, embroidered with silver, sat atop a flowing white dress (a house signature) and was styled with leather boots while colour arrived in the form of marigold gowns.
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