When the shows resumed after the first waves of Covid-19 in the spring of 2021, most designers had only one idea in mind: to make collections that reflect their emotions and, more ambitiously, their times. 2022 has changed the situation. The war in Ukraine and galloping inflation have calmed their desire to tell the state of the world. In December, the crisis experienced by Balenciaga, accused of child pornography after clumsy advertising campaigns, showed that even the most powerful claws could fall from their pedestal. So luxury seems to have decided that it was time for caution. The fall-winter 2023-2024 fashion week which took place in Paris from February 27 to March 7 showed collections centered on the construction of clothing, which no longer has symbolic value and returns to its primary use: clothe a body.
At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière has always worked in the spirit of a laboratory technician exploring the possibilities of shapes and materials. This season, he has set himself the roadmap of defining “French style” : “In 2022, travel resumed, and abroad, I was constantly being told about the “French style”. Once back in Paris, I asked the members of my studio, many of whom are foreigners, to give me their vision of the thing. » The responses received were as varied as they were poetic, from pearl necklaces to silverware, from countryside landscapes to Mont Blanc, from café terraces to museums…
Presented at the Musée d’Orsay in the middle of an installation designed by the artist Philippe Parreno around sounds (horns, police sirens, metro sound signal, the sound of shoes on the pavement, etc.), the collection transcribes these ideas in a figured – apart from a few blue-white-red bags and gloves. Comprising soft, beige or pearl gray silhouettes, woolen trousers are split at the knees, worn under padded cashmere jackets, thick as blankets. Dresses with the complexity of cobwebs surround the body with a transparent veil encrusted with silver circles and embroidered with metallic threads, the folds of a skirt are so sharp that they look like blades. The success of this collection is that its singularity does not hinder its power of seduction.
At Sacai, Chitose Abe knows how to harass the bourgeois wardrobe with technically difficult patterns. After an almost pop season, she returned to more austere constructions using black, grey, white, baby blue or pale pink textiles. The crossed sleeves of a sweater somehow form the collar of a dress which reveals the legs thanks to a strap system held on the shoulder. A jumper turns into a pleated skirt, offset by a lined train, while the skirts and tops mix slits, ruffles and translucent yokes in rigorous assemblies. Rightly emphasizing the artisanal dimension of his robust fashion, Chitose Abe leaves the tweed deliberately frayed or forgets to cut and finish the topstitching, the threads extending the garment while floating in the wind. As if to show the frame better.
High waist skirt with buttons and flannel bra
Rok Hwang has also made architectural deconstruction a signature of his label, Rokh. “While looking for inspiration, I realized that it is in the office that I spend most of my time, says the London-based South Korean. Why not draw from there, from my colleagues? » He therefore installed tables and wheelchairs, printers, wired telephones and computers from the Windows 95 era lined with yellow reminders as a backdrop for his working girls busy. They layer a high-waisted buttoned skirt with a flannel bra, a briefcase at arm’s length; they parade around in plastic jackets branded all the way like an initialed signature stamp or in black dresses with bustiers that scatter in fringes, as if they had been crushed. The set is twisted in abundance by the combinations of which Rok Hwang has the secret: double buckles, zipped ties, pleats, openings or sets of straps.
“The DNA of Y/Project is to always push the techniques of constructing clothes further”, says Glenn Martens. The soundtrack, more than fifty versions of the Lascia ch’io pianga of Handel remixed, imposes a slow and ceremonial pace on this locker room which is certainly not. Jeans are slashed at the hips and worn with gigantic thigh-high boots or deconstructed and buttoned up, a puffy little jacket made of scraps of denim attracts attention, beautiful coats and evening dresses are as if eaten by pieces of denim … Simple knit dresses calm things down, before interlocking body prints on long dresses trouble people’s minds. “It’s inspired byAntichristby Lars von Trier, but also by Farinellitwo films in which we hear the Lascia ch’io pianga »explains Glenn Martens.
For Atlein, Antonin Tron signs a wardrobe with a more classic femininity but no less complicated to construct. “Some bias jersey dresses have given rise to delicate adjustments”, the designer still sweats. Inspired by the Gradiva, a Pompeian bas-relief on which a mysterious woman is represented, he designs slit babydolls and dresses of precise and transparent goddesses or faux leather jackets, draped by a refined system of ropes. If the Gradiva was described by Roland Barthes, in his Fragments of a love speech (1977), both magnetic and benevolent, maintaining the lover out of charity in his romantic delirium, Antonin Tron also manages to infuse him with ambiguity through his skill as a couturier.