As Paris Fashion Week concludes, the fashion frenzy that has encapsulated this fall season previously in New York, London and Milan is finally coming to a close. This fall was a glimpse into the return of normalcy for fashion — especially in Paris, with brands illustrating this through focuses on nostalgia, hopefulness and humor in their Spring and Summer 2022 collections. From climate conscious ready-to-wear and even an episode of “The Simpsons,” here are The Daily Californian’s picks for the best and worst shows at Paris Fashion Week.
With the introduction of Gabriela Hearst as the new creative director last fall, the French luxury brand has committed to taking a step in a more climate conscious direction — demonstrating that especially in Paris. Hearst’s new brand direction focuses on minimizing clothing’s environmental footprint by implementing pieces from local artisans as well as using deadstock fabric. Hearst’s commitment to following through with her vision is exciting and proves her dedication in elevating the brand. Chloé’s show took place along the Parisian Left Bank, staying true to the brand’s minimalist style while including current trends such as fringe and matching sets. It also included diverse models on the runway, further proving Hearst’s quick innovation to move the brand to a new level. Overall, the show was pure perfection as it truly helped to showcase the modernity of luxury fashion.
Chanel paid homage to its past life in Paris, incorporating inspiration from their iconic ’80s style and the relationship among runway, models and photography. The show featured a raised catwalk with photographers lined around the edges waiting to get the perfect shot. With nostalgia dominating fashion with Y2K style trends and inspiration from the ’70s and ’80s, director Virginie Viard’s decision to travel back in time was fitting. The show delivered what Chanel knows best: their iconic tweed miniskirts, signature black and white contrast and retro style bikinis that will find their way onto every Instagram influencer’s page. The only qualm of the show was the failure to introduce inclusivity on the runway, which was few and far between this season.
Miuccia Prada’s little sister brand was, unfortunately, a letdown in Paris. For a summer collection, its colorway surprisingly lacked brightness, and most of the pieces featured business casual looks that were halfway completed or chopped into cropped sets with ragged hems. Similar to Chanel, Miu Miu took inspiration from low-rise cuts and miniskirts in an attempt to channel the ’90s, yet their lack of creativity made it appear as though they were trying to take advantage of a passing trend. Many of the pieces showed skin, with generic looks that consisted of bras matched with long earth-toned skirts or cropped tops paired alongside micro skirts. The pieces, while beautifully crafted, seemed to focus more on showing off a flat stomach than deliver anything particularly innovative. Without context, it felt like Miu Miu was making a statement in which body types are meant for the runway — none of them being inclusive. Due to a lack of imaginativeness as well as inclusion, their delivery failed to stand out as unique, especially disappointing for an upcoming summer that may be defined with radical change.
If Balenciaga couldn’t get tackier, their digital runway show revolved around a faux episode of “The Simpsons” proves otherwise. It’s difficult to judge whether the brand wants to move away from the aura of prestige that luxury fashion carries, or if it’s simply run out of ideas to appear youthful and innovative. The show in animated “Paris” also comes recently after debuting a collaboration with Fortnite (the video game popular with prepubescent boys), dropping a dull line of hoodies and loungewear. While the 10-minute episode produced a few laughs, it removed the focus on the craftsmanship of the clothing, disregarding essentially the entire show’s objective. There are many smaller artists of diverse backgrounds, missions and stories working to find success in the industry, and Balenciaga’s move to essentially make a mockery of its position in Paris appears disingenuous.
Kaitlin Clapinski covers fashion. Contact her [email protected].