Paris fashion is like a theatre play with a new act every season. Each fresh designer faces the same conundrum: How much to re-enact the stylistic themes and motifs of a famous, but faded, fashion company? How much history? How much newness? And how long can this go on? There seems to be a constant supply of historic houses in the Paris collections, some of which were heroes to a local clientele; few who could have been global, as we understand that worldwide vision today.

Yet the story rolls on, with the hope that a spirited figure can revitalise a dormant brand and continue its growth.

Lanvin by Bruno SialleliPoetry in the Rain

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The gods were against him. The rain poured relentlessly over the Lanvin collection. It dripped from the trees in the green garden of the musée du quai Branly. It slid over the transparent plastic umbrellas and turned the runway into a river.

“I was thinking about these young people who constantly walk around with their earphones on. We talk about individualism and being enclosed in ourselves; in the end, there is something that should be accepted, with some beauty in it. There is even an idea of a journey. Travelling inside your own head.”

The words fell fast in Sialleli’s explanation: the memory of the original Jeanne Lanvin; his need to put “aspects of the male” into female clothes, and vice versa. The prints – mostly Inspired by “Summerland”, an American comic from the 1910s, which tells “the story of a little boy who has surreal dreams”.

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©Peter White / Getty

“I am 30 – part of a pivotal generation in the sense that I grew up in in a world without technology; lots of boredom on holidays, a lot of reading, films, music… But at the same time I am part of the generation that has joined the digital ship,” the designer said.

How did this come across, especially Sialleli’s desire to think beyond his own childhood to Madame Lanvin and her much-loved daughter, Marguerite?

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The standouts were round-shouldered jackets, cut to circle the body, perhaps with pair of shorts underneath. These loose cuts looked good, whether they were patently summer styles or just an easy throw-on. Adding a draped skirt was a touch too much and inevitably the designer brought with him the shadow of his last employer: JW Anderson at Loewe.

If he was looking for a role model, he would have been wiser to re-engage with the style of Alber Elbaz, 14 years at Lanvin, with his skill at making different looks seem like gifts for varied women.

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©Hanna Lassen / Getty

The new designer had flashes of good looks: a butter-yellow raincoat cut with a draped collar; a bright navy cape; a beige drill jacket. But slouching-up denim jeans (for both sexes) was part of a general tendency to make fussy the simple.

“I don’t aim to revolutionise fabric or volume; it is to confront elements that together seem new,” the designer said. He deserves a closer look – but not under an umbrella.

Maison Margiela by John Galliano: Field Hospital

The show that John Galliano sent out for Maison Margiela was perhaps his nearest to the spirit of the original Belgian designer, whose views on recycling and turning scraps into fashion now seem both revolutionary and years ahead of their time and our current beliefs on waste.

Never a digital player in social media, Galliano sent out messages about how he felt. These came, of course, through the clothes, but also in a complex series of digitally-offered statements.

“Memories are hacked, distorted and trivialised through the chaotic noise of the social-media debris,” was Galliano’s thought. “The mind becomes a search engine, filtering thorough the latest impressions, while wisdom gained from the past gets buried in the news.”

Tough words. But an opportunity for Galliano to re-boot his long-term concept of “make-do and mend”, up-cycling and using techniques gleaned from his many years in couture.

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All this was inspired by a very specific group: hospital workers and particularly those who wear crisp uniforms – or who did in past ages, particularly the period of the two World Wars.

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The result was a homage to forgotten heroes and a clean-and-clinical vision of hospital workers: nurses’ caps and tidy white collars, uniform neck ties, or even a wimple as headgear.

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This being Galliano, the simple, clean look was naturally slyly affected by other elements, such as an occasional puff of a skirt, at the back only, adding a sense of mystery.

Galliano’s skills are awe-inspiring: unexpected prints on organza lightly placed over a trench coat; and duchess satin from a grand past interspersed with utility jackets and what was apparently tough leather.

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The designer has made a habit of leaving as his show ends, so cannot answer questions that you long to ask. Was the post-war hospital element connected with current fears of war? Does he see re-made fabrics as part of an urgent need to help a churning, melting world?

Galliano chose to keep us guessing, but in doing so provided a collection with food for thought.

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