The city of Paris has witnessed the pandemic restrictions where a 6 pm curfew has become the new normal and the safety protocols at its peak. However, despite such unsympathetic surroundings, the city known as “Ville de lumière” has realized a new statement emerges from its magnificent fashion profile.
Paris Fashion Week, the actual culmination of the autumn-winter 2021 womenswear shows in the U.S and Europe, has brought the city’s fashion spectacle back to life. The scintillating display of the in real life shows and the digital presentations have highlighted the industry’s resolve to keep fashion alive, despite the pandemic’s pressure on the industry at large.
More than 90 brands unveiled their collections, marrying fashion sophistication with the creativity infused in digital presentations. This sentiment was on full display in Dior’s ‘Disturbing Beauty’, a theme the iconic fashion brand begot at the illustrious Palace of the Versailles. Dior created a mythical extravaganza that felt like a grandiose setting of a fairytale, with entrancing collections submerged in enigmatic colours. The exhibition by Maria Grazia Chiuri ranged from daywear to gowns, denim and profoundly held the inspiration in creativity from the references of ‘Cinderella’ and ‘The Little Red Riding Hood’.
Parisian house Chloé’s new creative director Gabriela Hearst inaugurated her grand entry into the Paris Fashion Week with a collection that accentuated the House’s signature with her Uruguayan culture. The colors and the culture were on full display in the brands’ symbols of scallops, ponchos, broderie Anglaise, pronouncing an exquisite collection of creativity. It was further complemented by the elegance of fringing and plunging silhouettes, a feature of the creative directors’ talents. The show was held at Paris’ Left Blank and commemorated the brands’ founder Gaby Aghion, with the week marking his birthday hundred years ago.
With the theme of duality or “then constant tension between the two worlds'” as he himself termed, Givenchys’ creative director Matthew M. Williams flaunted his collection that centred upon the trend of polarized fashion, albeit celebrated with the touch of elegance. The infusion of luxury fashion with sheer elaborated dresses accompanied by the highly pronounced yet glamorous footwear was a true highlight of the show. In the words of the creative director, “It’s about finding personal meaning in difficult circumstances; it’s about sincerity in what we do rather than strategy. We wanted to bring a sense of lived reality alongside precision, elegance and extravagance in the clothing and looks.” The exhibition exemplified it.
Subversing, the runway fashion with the pandemic restrictions was Coperni, revolutionizing the physical fashion presentation with a cinematic drive-in ambition. Partnering with DS Automobiles, the brand organized a modernistic live runway treat for its 70 guests at the Accord Arena. With the automobiles lined diagonally adorning both the sides, the models donning the brand’s minimalistic yet tech-savvy dresses led the walk amid the gleaming headlights. The futuristic elements of the thin silhouettes, space-inspired colors like neon, and reflected textiles were fully displayed with the modern trends carefully translated, accompanied by slick accessories that complemented the contemporary style. To give an authentic glimpse of how the fashion has transpired in the pandemic, Coperni’s Autumn-Fall 2021 fashion bonanza was a sublimely accomplishing affair.
Paying homage to Pierre Balmain’s travel stories from the US and Australia, where he professed the French style and the culture, Olivier Rousteing produced a sumptuous collection that took inspiration from the jet-lifestyle with a futuristic galactic outerwear vibe. This was the highlight reel of the show organized on the Air France plane, where the models embraced exponent of the air travel: from the olive-coloured yet flashy boiler suits to the exquisite travel luggage accessories. The sharp silhouettes matching the futuristic design provided a glimpse into the transforming fashion trends of air-travel dressing. This sentiment was quite apparent as Rousteing voiced the conception of his collection, “Many of our designs riff on the distinctive beauty found in the uniforms of early pilots and astronauts, with takes on parachute dresses, lace-up flight boots, bomber jackets and shimmering anti-g jumpsuits.”
Citing a similar focus on the creative fashion presentation, Christian Louboutin took no exception to the idea of dishing out an ingenious interactive experience to the audience. Employing a grand setting of boarding a plane at the New York’s JFK TWA Terminal, the House displayed the exuberant style through the technology created by INSPIFY, providing a genuinely revealing experience to the audience virtually glued to the 3D presentation. From the bespoke red flooring and the plane’s customized details to the lustrous heels, Caracaba bag, and trademark fragrance, it was a true spectacle of fashion embracing variety.
“Choosing to show our collection at the Teatro Piccolo in Milano is a way to start the process of reopening places of culture in our country.” Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli promulgated this belief before the Italian brand displayed its collection for the Autumn-Fall 2021. Like the previous year, Valentino retained the decision to present its show back home in Milan at the storied Piccolo Teatro di Milano. “Choosing to show our collection at the Teatro Piccolo in Milano is a way to start the process of reopening places of culture in our country.” Piccioli stayed true to his words as he unveiled a collection that featured the mesmerizing display of shapes and a color palette of black and white, paying homage to the dramatic ambience of the theatre.
Paris Fashion Week 2021 was more than the cluster of the world’s renowned fashion brands channeling new trends into the conduit of vogue; it was a statement. A declaration that the imaginative element of fashion shall not be deterred by any impediment. Rather, it should emerge evolved in the face of all the obstructions.
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