With a strong Saint Laurent show closing out Paris Fashion Week, this marks the end of the big European events. One thing I found particularly interesting is the distinct identity, both culturally and creatively, among the group of host cities. London continues to be on the rise, but loves to shove everything through the heritage paradigm. In Italy, the financial woes of the country almost seemed to shape both the attitudes and collections of the designers. There appeared to be a lack of energy and a lot of the same old conservatism with very little risk taking. Pitti Uomo and the streets of Milan are just a J Crew blogger/street photographer paradise rather than for people who are interested in a dark aesthetic or avant garde looks. In Paris, however, we saw a great mix of traditionalism and cutting edge design. Right now, there is no other city that showcases progressive, conceptual and fashion forward clothing more than the City of Lights (with the exception of maybe Berlin or Stockholm but we’re talking about the major events). Paris ran the gamut from the glamorous Louis Vuitton and Left Bank cool of Carven, to the more outsider presentations like Acne Studios and Balenciaga. Paris was the undisputed winner this year and I think other cities have a lot of catching up to do.
One thing I don’t particularly like, and I think is becoming more and more of a problem, is the celebritization of fashion lines. My biggest problem with Givenchy is the obvious influence of Kanye West and Hip Hop street culture on Ricardo Tisci. Everyone has a muse and everyone draws inspiration from people, places and things, but my problem is when it causes the brand to shift from its ethos and mutate into something it is not. The only reason I like to cover Givenchy is because it is a long standing house of French gothic glamour. I’m seeing less and less of that now and it’s a bit upsetting.
Another thing I noticed is the continued rise of unisex and gender neutral clothing. From the heels at J.W. Andersen to the dog-like suits of Rick Owens, unisex fashion has officially caught fire. France’s Rad Hourani has been championing the look for some time, but I think it’s interesting to see other major players getting involved. This will be something to watch for sure.
Overall, this has been a decent season with the looks at Paris stealing the show(s). With the womens’ season already upon us and New York up next (with Stockholm and other smaller events in between), I’m looking forward to a stronger 2014.
(Pictured above: Saint Laurent)
(Pictured above: Balenciaga)
(Pictured above: Acne Studios)