Oh là là! Get ready for Dynasty shoulders, odd shoes and denim

The 10 hottest trends from Paris Fashion Week


It’s been all Sturm und Drang in fashion for the past week, with one group of American Vogue journalists lamenting the “street style mess” outside shows, and the street-stylers fighting back. (“It’s schoolyard bullying, plain and simple,” said Bryanboy, one of a number of their ilk who have turned fancy dress into an extremely lucrative brand-sponsored business.)

The debate is not what need concern us here. The irony is that while a row has been going on about people dressing up in outrageous clothes to have their picture taken — which has been at the heart of the fashion business since for ever ago — the spring/summer 17 catwalks at Paris Fashion Week have been concerned with rather more everyday matters.

Even a label as famously highfalutin as Christian Dior, which this week unveiled its first collection by a female designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri, offered versions of things that you or I may already have in our wardrobes: a biker jacket, a pair of jeans.

Of course, there were still fairytale dresses in abundance, not only at Dior, but also at Valentino, where Grazia Chiuri’s former collaborator Pierpaolo Piccioli was going it alone. (The synergy between the two Italians was still there — both coincidentally used the motif of a bleeding heart.)

Above all it was a season of separates — of trousers and trench coats — and of clothes that take inspiration from the real world. I can’t be alone in thinking that is a good thing.

Here are the ten trends that caught my eye.

1 The rise of the real

Hey, guess what? An increasing number of designers are producing simple separates that could be worn by people whose lives don’t involve one cocktail party after another. There were slogan T-shirts at Sacai and Dior, with both labels also showcasing variations on the theme of jeans. The former’s came deconstructed into add-on detailing on skirts and outerwear, and the world’s most sophisticated pair of denim shorts. The latter’s were, erm, actual jeans in that Liz Hurley favourite, white denim.

There was denim in abundance at Stella McCartney, too, in the form of jumpsuits and jeans-plus-denim shirt combos. It was even there at fantasy-filled Alexander McQueen (which also offered luxe embellished biker jackets). Stella was just one of many labels also to go big on the trench coat, and on tweaked masculine shirting, both perma-trends in fashion at the moment.

At Dries Van Noten there were luxe black trench coats with silver or multi-hued florals, and fleshed-out chinos that were made special when paired with an heirloom-in-waiting brocade jacket or beaded blouse.


2 Any look as long as it is layered

How to add interest to clean, easy clothes? By layering your way to something fresh. That was the approach at countless labels. Among the standouts were two brands which tend to make clothes that are too cool for most of us, but end up being re-tooled to be more approachable elsewhere.

At Lemaire wide strides were worn under not one but two print dresses, whereas at Céline wide strides were worn under . . . wide strides. That’s right, next season it’s not about debagging but double-bagging: your underpants in floaty chiffon; your overpants in sharply tailored twill. Not forgetting the double-frocking that was shown at Givenchy (sleek cocktail over sporty), Hermès (two layers of chiffon vest dress) and Chanel (blush chemises under brightly patterned shirt dresses).

OK, let’s be honest, it is really not going to be about any of the above for most of us. But the message is clear: start getting your head around new-gen layering now. T-shirt plus cardie is just not going to cut it.


3 The splice is right

What’s another way to make those recognisable old favourites modern? Cut and paste them together. It was Sacai that originally got the ball rolling on this one, and its designer and founder, Chitose Abe, delivered more of the covetable same. Hers was a mash-up of floaty, hot-weather femininity with mannish shirts and tailoring, plus a soupçon of outerwear added to the mix. Think dresses that start out as shirts, briefly dally with being a suit and/or parka, and end up a dress after all.

Sounds a bit mad? It’s a permanent shift in the way a certain sort of avant-garde woman is dressing, a new approach to a day-to-evening wardrobe in which one outfit is everything at once.

At Emporio Armani there were boxer-short trousers (really), at McQueen jackets that thought they were kilts. But the most unexpected splicings were at Dior, in the form of fencing-inspired quilted jackets and bodices with tulle skirts. It probably shouldn’t have worked, but it did.

4 In the pink
Warning: fashion designers really are not giving up on this pink thing. Is it because they know that a generation of girls reared on princess-themed pink plastic tat are now taking home their first pay packets? Or because they have clocked that pink can work as a complexion-flattering neutral (on a pretty summer dress at Chanel or at Chloé, or a jumpsuit at Hermès), or as a flash of brilliance (a hot pink shirt or bag at Nina Ricci), or as both at once (in beautiful two-tone pleated skirts and banded dresses at Valentino). Proof that we are living in the age of pink: it was even deemed streetwear-appropriate at Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma.

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