As the spring 16 edition of the French catwalks comes to an end, we round up the season-defining shows and the key trends they are promoting
We’ve talked about frills and flounces since in the beginning of the spring 16 catwalk season, spotted at the likes of Proenza Schouler in New York and Erdem in London, but in Paris the best examples came from Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The super-feminine tiered frills and floaty peplums that delicately squiggled around hems, wiggled across dresses and circled around sleeves will be the key element of next season’s romantic, feminine feel.
This was Alexander Wang’s final collection for Balenciaga and the ivory palette, easy breezy fabrics and soft lingerie feel of the clothes combined to make this his best for the French brand yet. Wang’s take on feminine frills trimming delicate bra tops or edging sporty tube dresses felt like a more youthful take on the trend we’ve spotted in many collections and is an interpretation the young fashion end of the high street might pick up on.
The influence of Phoebe Philo at Céline is wide and varied – from shoes and bags to prints and patterns, the trickledown effect of her creative vision can be seen on the catwalks of other designers down to the high street (remember those paintbrush stroke prints at Marks & Spencer – see spring 14). This season there were lots of messages: the graphically panelled take on lacy dishabille slip dresses, the sculptural pumped-up sleeves of the high-necked tops, jackets and dresses (spring will see a strong focus on sleeves) and the easy, mid-length knitted dresses.
What Karl Lagerfeld often does best at Chanel is reinvent and refresh everything we think of as classic Chanel for the modern-day shopper. This season, the signature two-piece tailored jacket and skirt/trouser suit combo came stripped of detail and fuss – no buttons, no braid – so look out for similar simple pared-back collarless blazers and jackets next season.
The top takeaways from Raf Simons’ spring 16 collection for Dior include the feminine scalloped edges that adorned crisp white cropped tops and neat tailored shorts, which softened the house’s classic sharp tailoring. Elsewhere, the collection of cropped intarsia knitted jumpers with fun scalloped edges and floral motifs, sometimes featuring exaggerate sleeves, will also be a winner.
Space-age futurism has always flavoured Nicolas Ghesquière’s work and that influence came through strongly for his latest collection at Louis Vuitton. Patterns were formed from metallic embellishments and striped up-and-down skirts and playsuits, while mesh-like fabrics added to the look. However, the standout pieces were the moto-style panelled trousers and biker jackets, which were classic leathers updated with sliced panels of stripes and patterns, including the brand’s LV monogram.
At Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane sent out grungy girls and punky princess primed for the fields of Coachella or Glastonbury – right down to the Wellington boots many models wore. Summer holiday style and festival dressing are key areas for the high street, and the drapey mini-dresses and lacy slips teamed with vintage-looking leather bikers, oversized denim jackets, camo parkas and fluffy furs are all classic glam-grunge festival-fodder with plenty of commercial promise. The sexy slip dresses – all plunging necklines and spindly spaghetti straps – will also bring a touch of 1990s to the season.
If you had to pick one buzz brand in Paris at the moment, it’s Vetements. Need proof, news broke at the end of the week that one of the team, Demna Gvasalia, had been appointed as the new artistic director of storied French fashion house Balenciaga. For spring, the brand continued with its mutated takes on classics: argyle jumpers under mannish tailoring with super-sized shoulders, logo and slogan strewn sporty sweaters with extra-long sleeves and pretty floral dresses twisted and pulled into elongated shapes.
There was eveningwear inspiration galore from Alber Elbaz at Lanvin for spring, from dresses that were high necked and peplum trimmed, through to some stunning ruched and wrapped peek-a-boo styles and sequin-covered options galore. Tailoring for parties too, as pared back cropped blazer jackets, statement shirts with puffed-up shouldered sleeves and even a tuxedo jacket stretched into a floor-length dress.
While Jonathan Anderson took the season’s trend for all things sheer a step too far with his transparent cling film-like trousers at Loewe, there was plenty of interest within the show. What with the Spanish brand’s heritage in leather, there were some strong striped suede bomber jackets and matching lounge trousers, alongside a pared-back belted suede trenchcoat and a western-style denim jacket redone in leather. The other standouts were the jumpers with contrasting yoke shoulder panels.