Paris Fashion Week is underway, so we’re sharing details from the Fall/Winter 2020 collections of Hermès, Alexander McQueen, Akris, and Balenciaga.
Equestrian vaulting poles standing tall and painted bright set the background scene for the latest Hermès show. Garments presented in its Fall/Winter 2020 collection were a mix of details pulled straight from the house’s DNA and contemporary spins on classics like pleated skirts, coats, and shirtdresses. A white long-sleeved turtleneck top featured an opening at the front of the neck for a neck scarf, paired with leather pants; flowing hemlines of dresses under sweater-dresses flared below the knee, cuffed with sturdy black boots; a quilted black leather skirt with buttons and zippers down the front were held high with suspenders, complemented by a thick sweater; and thick jackets with shoulder flaps, coats with pulls and hooks, and elongated vests with deep pockets and tall collars were seen topping several of the minimal looks. Of note was a long geometrical wristlet bag carried by the hand, and enough new belts, scarves, and satchels to fill a Queen’s accessories closet.
For Alexander McQueen’s latest collection, Creative Director Sarah Burton was impacted by a recent trip to Wales. Inspired by the region’s artistic heritage, lore, and longstanding crafts, Fall/Winter 2020 also shined light on women. “The woman is courageous, grounded, bold: heroic,” Burton said in her collection notes. “There is a sense of protection in the clothes, of safety and comfort, evoked through quilting and blankets.” In the new line, we see pieces that translate this sentiment—seen in pieces like a Welsh folklore-inspired blush pink tulle dress with intricate red embroidery, featuring animals and objects in nature like an otter, acorns, butterflies, a pansy, thyme, and a sheep. Another piece—a black wool silk tailored evening jacket with layered lapels and sculpted heart sleeves in red double duchess satin—pulled us in with its larger-than-life details and desire to defy. Throughout the collection, we noticed heart-shaped jewelry (like hoop earrings, chain necklaces, and body chains) complementing other new accessories like Chelsea boots, mechanical heels, and new The Story Book bags. Burton jotted in the collection notes that the hearts are “a symbol of togetherness, of being there for others,” and used their power in patterns, too. Gowns made up of heart patterns draped to the floor, too, while striking leather corsets, rib-knit jumper dresses, poet-sleeved skirts, and silk satin dresses floated by.
Akris presented its latest collection at the historic Musee d’Art Moderne de Paris. Creative Director Albert Kriemler gained inspiration for the stunning set from Les abres cubistes (cubist tree)—a work created for the Robert Mallet-Stevens garden at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris by the French sculptors Jan and Joel Martel in 1925. Other creative inspirations included the UAM L’Union des artistes modernes—a key movement in European Modernism—and the artist couple Sonia and Robert Delaunay. Kriemlers uses these creative forces as analogies to Akris, and in his collection notes states that the brand would never come to be what it is today without the “exceptional tailoring, embroidery, fabric, and print collaborators.” In the collection, we see these facets of the brand exemplified through looks of sumptuous ribbed cashmere, plaid wool, shearling, and techno taffeta—all featuring unique details like techno grids, trapezoid quilting or closures, stand collars, and patchwork. Bags and fabrics with peekaboo details, cutouts, and patterns feature cubes and the absence of them; looks are topped with a structured beret; and boots, both low and high styles, ground the girl who wears, sees, and lives in the art.
Balenciaga’s Fall/Winter 2020 collection was a bit of a shock to the system—with a dark runway shallowly swimming in cold water, sure, but more so with oversized, over-structured, and over-the-top looks that dared limits. During the show, people other than models—like artists, photographers, students, secretaries, mental health assistants, gamers, rappers, costumer designers, and more—joined to show off the 105 looks. Over the course of the show, we saw sections that were equal parts neo-gothic and sporty; glamorous and grungy. Exaggerated silhouettes were hard to forget, seen in pieces like jackets with protruding pagoda shoulders, upright collars, and spikes sticking out from all angles. Specific materials and techniques to use sport suits—like hockey, scuba, and motocross—informed the construction behind everyday pieces. And for those that despise the fuss of matching eveningwear with the rest of the accessories, Balenciaga’s got gala dresses with an all-inclusive approach, with shoes, gloves, leggings, and the gown itself all in one piece. For standalone accessories, not in said one-piece-wonder, we see a new Lunchbox clutch, crossbody backpacks, bondage wallets, chained wristlets, and the Neo Classic—the Classic Balenciaga bag relaunched in a reimagined style for its 20th anniversary.