There’s no doubt that tickets to the Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Dior défilés are the most sought-after this Paris fashion week, and those lucky enough to score invites to the highly anticipated shows are witnessing the beginning of another chapter in fashion. Designer handovers are nothing new—in fact, it’s part and parcel of the fashion business. But what underscored the proceedings with a degree of importance is the fact that all three designers are taking over from predecessors who’ve made such an impact in the time they’ve been at their respective houses. Naturally, the pressure is on.
1. ANTHONY VACCARELLO AT SAINT LAURENT
Anthony Vaccarello had big shoes to fill at Saint Laurent—especially since he’s taking the hot seat after Hedi Slimane‘s successful reinvention of the storied Parisian label. One can almost see Slimane’s ghost lurking in the shadows at the location where Vaccarello chose to stage his first show for Saint Laurent: A derelict building that’ll house the brand’s headquarters when finished.
Like the industrial crane towering over a giant construction pit, the iconic YSL Cassandre logo suspended high in the air from it, Vaccarello’s works for the house sits on steady foundation.
And amid comparisons with Slimane, the designer held his own with an assured collection with pieces women will covet: Leather, lace, denim and touches of velvet synergised into an ’80s tune. Puffed sleeves were the order of the day, turning up on sexy dresses and sensual tops matched with pleated trousers for a new troop of Saint Laurent warriors.
2. BOUCHRA JARRAR AT LANVIN
The shift in mood is palpable at Lanvin—while Alber Elbaz‘s collections for the Parisian house was filled with an uplifting, high-octane spirit that cemented Lanvin’s spot in fashion, Bouchra Jarrar‘s was subdued and poetic.
For her debut, Jarrar played up the masculine-feminine dichotomy and tied everything together with the same pin-sharp tailoring that has come to define her works. Under the chandeliers of the Hôtel de Ville, Jarrar showed an assortment of suits, see-through dresses and gowns that will no doubt find their way to the wardrobes of women.
3. MARIA GRAZIA CHIURI AT DIOR
The biggest debut at Paris Fashion Week? Maria Grazia Chiuri’s showing at storied French maison Dior, where she is the brand’s first female Creative Director. Was it her way of reiterating that point then, when she peppered her debut collection with T-shirts emblazoned with slogans about feminism? Perhaps. Regardless, those white T-shirts added to a game-changing collection that had everyone wanting for more.
Chiuri’s new look and attitude at Dior is a marked departure from Raf Simons’s—the latter’s time at Dior has seen the house undergo an exciting period of modernisation—and she achieved it with looks that mixed fencing-influenced pieces with biking gear. Quilted vests were strapped over shirts and paired with sporty cropped trousers; bandeau tops went under sheer peasant blouses (this sensual transparency fast becoming a key trend for next season). Chiuri’s riff on femininity shone through the most during the closing passage of sweeping gowns, but she added a dash of the street by way of Christian Dior knickers that peeped through those layers of chiffon and tulle.
By Gerald Tan