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  • Francesco Lo Iacono


Updated: Aug 11, 2021

Let's get this party started! Paris Fashion Week opened in a festive mood on Monday. Indeed, many of the city's best designers have found escapism is the best way to deal with unsavoury world (and local) events. From Saint-Laurent staging a couturesque extravaganza in front of the Eiffel Tower to Julien Dossena's ode to discotheque dressing at Paco Rabanne, it is time for fabulous fashion à la française

One of the city's most buzzed-about young brands, Jacquemus is all about playful and whimsical clothing. And if there is one contemporary designer who knows how to tap into a sense of Frenchness, it is Simon Porte-Jacquemus. Inspired by the designer's family history and South of France background, this collection felt grounded and warm like a languid summer afternoon in Provence. Mixing sarongs, thigh-high splits and plunging necklines with gigantic straw hats, Jacquemus is positioning himself as the new purveyor of off-kilter sexiness.

Speaking of dishevelled glamour, John Galliano has well and truly come into his own at Maison Margiela. Inspired by the concept of “in-transit dressing”, Galliano delivered a collection of layered and repurposed airport chic looks – complete with luggage tags incorporated into the garments – only a fashion (mad) genius could pull off. If Galliano doesn't so much provide us with practical solutions for our travelling woes, he is more than happy to exploit our sartorial disarray for runway drama. And we to thank him.

The mood in Paris might be light but that doesn't necessarily have to translate into vacuous pretty dresses. At Christian Dior, Maria Grazia-Chiuri is still injecting this iconic couture house with her feminist agenda. As such, she opened her show with a new slogan “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” printed on the emblem of French style, the breton-stripe top. Inspired by French-American artist Niki de Saint-Phalle, who was Marc Bohan's muse at Dior in the 60s, Grazia-Chiuri pushed herself out of her comfort zone for SS18. Most notable were the motorcycle-inspired ensembles, including a leather Bar jacket in colour-blocked panels of yellow, blue, black and white. The Dior girl was also ready to party this season, as she stomped down the runway in a series of colourful shimmering looks for her finale, riffing on Chiuri's signature boxer-under-sheer-skirt look.

Joy and beauty are in the air, as there are indeed many things to rejoice about in Paris. For instance, the first collection of Natacha Ramsay-Levi at the helm of Chloé, which was a very promising start for the designer. Toning down the excessive bohemianness of her predecessor's work, Ramsay-Levi injected this uber-French brand with effortless cool. Her modernist sense of proportions and elegance tied this collection together, as she hit the mark repeatedly with on-point printed dresses, jazzy suiting and inspired leather goods. A very auspicious debut.

Words by Martin Noives

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