Couture Week came to a triumphant close on Wednesday, with exquisite collections that won’t soon be forgotten from Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Maison Margiela, and more. Below, find everything you need to know about the fourth and final day.
Jean Paul Gaultier
The first time Jean Paul Gaultier introduced menswear was in the early 1980s, when he enlisted the help of milliner Stephen Jones to create Moroccan-inspired fezzes for the male catwalkers. Fast forward to yesterday in Paris, where men’s looks were incorporated back in conjunction with his womenswear offering for the first time since the early aughts. Both men and women wore a Stephen Jones fez, while the collection was an ode to Le Smoking, the iconic tuxedo suit created by Yves Saint Laurent in his heyday. It also doubles as a celebration of – you guessed it – smoking.
Models emerged from long plumes of smoke wearing black tuxedo jackets in every shape and form: With pockets, without pockets, with flared sleeves, or sleeveless. Men — including five dancers from Gaultier’s upcoming Fashion Freak Show musical — accessorized with plastic umbrellas and gauze masks emblazoned with the glittery words “No Smoking”, while many of the women took to the runway with a strand of hair extensions worn as earrings.
Leave it to John Galliano to turn cardboard, quilted sleeping bags and spongy packing foam into haute couture. For the French designer’s artisanal Maison Margiela collection, layering was the key concept. Galliano drew inspiration from marginalized people who “don’t want to live within the confines of society”, and who dress in layers with “their most precious possessions on them,” he revealed in a podcast that accompanies the collection. “We’re all nomads today and we’re attached to our iPhones. It’s everything in our iPads. We are nomadic. We do move in tribes. I came up with this word: neo digital natives,” he adds.
This translated to models wearing multiple puffa jackets piled over each other, velcro closures in lieu of buttons, and iPhones attached to the ankles, set to video mode and angled in a way so that the models filmed the front row in real time as they strutted down the catwalk. “I asked myself, what does ‘cool’ mean? When I see people in layers reflecting the life they lead or choose not to lead, I think that’s cool,” he said in the podcast. At first glance, nothing is wearable. But when you strip back the tulle tubes, nylon hosiery, layers of protective padded blankets, and cellophane, you’ll find artfully cut capes, jackets, and bustiers that were undoubtedly “cool.”
It’s no secret that Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld have a penchant for fur. The German-born designer, who has worked at the house since the 1960s, once famously declared: “Fur is Fendi, Fendi is fur”. But for the Italian fashion label’s show on Wednesday, the maison officially abandoned the Haute fourrure moniker in favor of Haute Couture. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Lagerfeld is dropping the use of fur completely like Gucci and Versace, who both pledged to go fur-free this past year— but simply broadening the brand’s repertoire.
For this collection, Fendi wanted to give clients the choice of buying real fur or something altogether different. What followed was a line-up of various materials including chiffon, sequins, and organza, all mimicking real intarsia-ed mink, astrakhan, and chinchilla. Of course, there was the real thing too, though it was almost impossible to instantly spot the difference. All in all, it was a standout collection that served to further emphasize the exquisite savoir faire of the Italian maison.