Today was the first day of Paris Fashion Week, and it was refreshing to see three journeyman labels — one homegrown, two from abroad — kick things off.
Anthony Vaccarello, at 32, is the senior member of the cadre and has already carved out a signature niche, with shows that always feature major models — this season, they included Binx Walton and Malaika Firth — and extreme sex appeal. For spring, he pushed limits with dresses that barely concealed — slits turned skirts into daring half-triangles. He worked suiting into the mix with banker-striped pieces, probably only office-ready if you happen to work at Playboy Enterprises (and are adept at using double-stick tape). At the same time, he pursued a witty logo motif, with dresses that blared SPRING/SUMMER and his own initials in graphic black and white.
“Les Parasols de Marseille,” a witty takeoff on Jacques Demy, was the title of Simon Porte Jacquemus’s latest Jacquemus collection (the designer grew up in nearby Salon-de-Provence). On a runway strewn with battered beach umbrellas and inner tubes, Porte began with the clichés of a South of France vacation — perhaps a slightly downmarket one — and lovingly worked them into the playful, abstract clothes he’s known for. Cabana stripes were thrown onto loose, mannish shapes, a button-down shirt was tied with a trompe l’oeil bikini string.
Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air already put on one of the most talked-about shows of New York Fashion Week (more on that here), but leave it to this showman to attempt an encore. To be fair, it wasn’t a sequel but an entirely different collection, concept, and approach. Oliver filled the top floor of a stuffy office building, the Tour de Montparnasse, with models rolling around on stray office chairs, or posing semi-threateningly on platforms. As you walked through the presentation, groups of models would be escorted out by “security guards” and replaced with new ones. It was absorbing. The clothes were relatively wearable, from a straitjacket-like white logoed dress to an all-black ensemble with straps that resembled a fashion jetpack, all grounded with the designer’s beloved lug-sole boots. Based on the barricade-busting fans outside — call them the Gallic contingent of the HBA crew — they should easily find an audience.