Paris Haute Couture Online - Day 2
Dream. Reflect. Create.
[Image from Ronald Van Der Kemp video]
After the exuberant ambition of Balmain's Barge Party on Sunday (*see below), and the expensive, luxurious, fantastical and to some, controversial Dior video on Day 1, things were much more pared back on Day 2. Fashion - and the changes and considerations which have been forced on the industry in recent times - took a front seat. Some fashion houses still adopted a more artistic approach, giving creative teams freedom to interpret themes, but others - including Chanel - kept it very simple with a focus on the clothing and the details.
A continuing theme is how the couturiers have adapted during the current changes. Some have forged ahead with limited teams, others have cut back their collections. A common approach for many, given the greater difficulties sourcing materials, was to utilise what was available to them and rethink how a collection was put together.
OVERALL SUMMARY - DAY 2
'Wardrobes', not collections
[Image from Alexandre Vauthier]
Ronald Van der Kemp called his looks a 'Wardrobe', not a 'collection'. He wanted to use the idea of timelessness, that his pieces were more than just seasonal one-offs. Others had similar ideas, rejecting the idea of a cohesive 'collection' and instead considering other ways to engage people with their designs. Alexis Mabille, providing a variety of non-themed outfits, said he was offering 'a conversation with different women'. For others, the restrictions of using existing materials forced an approach based on availability of cloth rather than starting with an overarching theme.
[Close-up of Chanel outfit]
The virtual shows allowed for many of the fashion houses to focus on details which were often unnoticed in the fast-paced catwalk shows of old. It also allowed the creatives to experiment more with hairstyles, accessories, background details or elements of the stories which lent themselves well to close-ups or clever videography.
Short skirts, 80s influences
[Ronald Van Der Kemp]
Short hemlines continue to pop into the collections - often with a train added at the back for a pit of pizzazz.
And while Day 1 nostalgia went further back, Day 2 had quite a few mementos of the 80s - the big-shouldered jackets, the colours, the silhouettes.
MAJOR FASHION HOUSES
One of the most anticipated 'shows' of Day 2, Chanel was possibly the shortest. Just one minute and twenty seconds. No tricks. No bells and whistles. No fancy background. Just the models, music, movement and light; the video showcased the clothes in short, sharp snapshots,with the shapes and the way the clothes move with the bodies the primary emphasis.
Tweed continued to feature strongly, and Chanel lovers can relax knowing many of the trademarks of the fashion house were worked into the garments yet again. But other materials and different, structural shapes also featured - some edgier looks for the Chanel rebels.
Ronald Van Der Kemp
A 12 minute, artistic show and arguably the most thought-provoking. "A statement in 8 chapters" featured 8 films of different lengths, produced by different teams, each working with a different 'chapter': Dream, Pollution, Revolution, People, Beauty, Trash, Art, Future.
What made RVDK more interesting was all the outfits were created from previous season pieces. One of the designers at the forefront of the sustainability discussion, it meant an eclectic collection, often with a lot of pattern and fabric mixing. The idea was that the focus should be less on seasonal 'collections', and more on transeasonal, timeless pieces.
And my personal favourite outfit of Day 2 ~
Another designer letting the clothes doing the talking - a simple, effective presentation in a pink set. Alexis Mabille described his clothes as being about Attitude. One of the designers working around the crisis restrictions, he used fabric from his own supplies, and this determined the different forms his clothes took.
The looks in this collection tended to be simpler, but with no less detail. Many of the dresses were paired with gloves in contrasting colours - interesting combinations which are good inspiration.
Other fashion houses included Stephane Rollande, Aelis and Alexandre Vauthier. To watch the videos, one easy to use source is
And, about Balmain?
On Sunday night, Balmain - experimented with the digital promise of TikTok, organising a Fashion-Parade-on-a-Barge-Party on the Seine for the benefit of bemused locals along the banks, and the thousands who tried to watch online - until the site crashed almost immediately. Photos from the event are available, a replay of the video is promised this weekend.
It will be worth watching, the fashions are sumptuous. Here are some of the images from the boat......
[Piccollage created by Fitoure Mode from photographs available at https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/fall-2020-couture]