Now that the U.S. Government is shutting down—and let’s hope that’s just a temporary situation—those of us who work for the national parks and many government agencies will have a little more time to think about we’re going to be wearing next spring. For those of you who haven’t even started to think about what to wear next week, I feel you. It’s ninety degrees in L.A. one day and seventy the next so I’m pretty much dressing according to the iPhone weather app.
Nevertheless, the marathon of fashion weeks that began in New York a month ago is nearly complete with just a couple more shows in Paris. Through it all, there has been sportiness almost to the point of athletic wear in Milan, totally see-through ensembles at Burberry in London, goddesses in gold, asylum inmates, stained glass and appliquéd flowers and the longest goddamned runway show in history. Now add to the list Rick Owen’s show of plus-sized step team dancers and you have a season marked more by weirdness than by any cohesive evolution in fashion.
There were some lovely moments here and there in the Paris shows, though, especially where designers are settling into their assignments at some of the most important houses. Riccardo Tisci came back on track at Givenchy with a calmer collection of pleated jersey inspired by Asian and African traditions shown around a smoking pileup of vintage luxury cars and Raf Simons produced a show for Christian Dior that was freer and prettier than his previous efforts. I’m not sold on the embroidered text on some pieces but new variations on the iconic Bar jacket worked well and the silvery ball gown looks that closed the show, especially those that incorporated a school badge motif, were fresh and fun.
Alexander Wang’s second outing at Balenciaga was also less of an homage and, even if I was initially puzzled by the decision to place him there, I think his street wear bent could reenergize the brand a bit. For spring, there was some great structure infused with sport elements like tanks and t-shirts.
I also noticed some new trends in Paris for Spring 2014, even though they may have already been emerging through the shows in the other three cities and I just didn’t catch them. That’s the thing about trend spotting: you might see African motifs in forty-seven other shows and only notice them in the forty-eighth. Here the African thing was big at Alexander McQueen and Givenchy and was masterfully combined with Roman princess austerity at Valentino.
Crazy multicolor madness also abounded, especially at Celine with big black brushstrokes, and at Chanel where they added some looks in head-to-toe raspberry but I’m not really having it because I’ve already lived through the Eighties. These color combinations were a little more sophisticated at Dior because they were toned down with lots of black but still not the best part of the collection. Finally, Saint Laurent got better with the skinny suits and Eighties prom dresses so a collective sigh went out on Monday but I was a much bigger fan of stepping back to the disco era with Lanvin’s All Metallic All The Time Dance Party! Every fucking thing on that runway was shiny and that little bastard still made it work. You gotta hand it to some people, I guess.