The extraordinary lightness of being. Those are the words to sum up the round of shows in Paris for Spring/Summer 2020. A new decade has suggested a fresh start: apparently simple outfits where a meld of intricate cutting and feathery fabrics overtook the prints that had dominated the start of the millennium.
Although there were still plenty of flowers, it seemed that the digital patterns that dominated the first two decades of the 21st century are fading into floral effects that might be worked in lace, given a three-dimensional silken surface, or many other ways that help new treatments grow out of familiar ideas.
At ISSEY MIYAKE, new head designer Satoshi Kondo took over, sending models literally up in the air, as they rose, as if in a dance performance, from the gym floor. That felt symbolic of the new season and a fresh decade.https://www.instagram.com/p/B26gFF9n9YS/?utm_source=ig_embed‘A Sense of Joy’ was the name that Kondo gave this show, which had women elevated, dancing and twirling. They might be holding hands or just walking together wearing large, woven hats – always with a sense of sisterhood.https://www.instagram.com/p/B26gZRfnxdn/?utm_source=ig_embed
‘Tradition and innovation’ were his key words, melding traditional Japanese weaving and dyeing with advanced technology. The result? Clothes – in stripes, checks or at angles across the body – that were constantly on the move in an exceptional show.
YOHJI YAMAMOTO had ‘No Future’ written on the back of his jacket. But that was surely an ironic statement in a show that was, as ever, shadowing the body with black. Yet at the same time there were black cut-outs on white dresses and bare skin between the two.
https://www.instagram.com/p/B280CYdHivM/?utm_source=ig_embedThe designer is extraordinarily skilful at making clothes dance – say with a wired hemline bouncing at the ankles of a black dress – and he can even play unexpectedly with colour, as scribbled flowers and leaves appeared in a rainbow coalition of many shades.https://www.instagram.com/p/B28zouvnZMM/?utm_source=ig_embed“Creativity in the world is disappearing,” said the designer, doffing his hat. “But poetic? I was poetic!”https://www.instagram.com/p/B280TOAHNoV/?utm_source=ig_embedThe THOM BROWNE show was both clever – and frustrating. As a presentation, it had all the elements of Spring/Summer 2020 – the lightness of a transparent veil, a pink and white fringed coat, a white dress – all miracles of construction and, in the current fashion spirit, of airiness.
But – and it is a big caveat – the designer cannot seem to escape from the idea of women from an earlier era, deliberately constrained by their clothes. Such a fine tailor does not need to encase women, even if Cardi B looked casual and comfortable front row. But the stage was filled with caricatures of womanhood, not least the mum in a constricting wire crinoline pushing a pram. A witty joke? Not so funny.https://www.instagram.com/p/B2_7iL4HTsI/?utm_source=ig_embed
“It’s their secret garden, taking that 18th-century reference and mixing American sportswear to make a whole type of fantasy – a little bit of Stanley Kubrick too,” Thom Brown said, adding an explanation about “taking the idea of the pannier – the almost ridiculous nature of ‘Why?’” Why indeed.
Elsa SCHIAPARELLI herself was so involved in the art world of the 1930s, working with Surrealist Salvador Dali, that it seemed appropriate for current Artistic Director Daniel Roseberry to add some art of his own: decorative floral totem poles. They almost outshone the clothes themselves, although there were strong effects such as cut-out florals patterning a dress and a sky-blue trouser suit crawling with beads representing black ants. But the sporty clothes with feathery decoration in fluo colours, the models standing beside a bird of many colours in a cage, looked like trying too hard.
https://www.instagram.com/p/B2_494FHUab/?utm_source=ig_embed“When Elsa was a little girl, her mother used to tell her she wasn’t beautiful, so she stole seeds from the gardener, put them in her mouth, up her nose and in her ears, not because she wanted to be beautiful, but because she wanted to turn into something completely different,” the designer said. He added, “I started thinking about what if, over the past 80 years, the seeds have been growing and growing and growing, and I started thinking about these larger-than-life structures that would almost turn us into children.”