From the Star-Spangled Banner at Anthony Vaccarello to artistic double-faced make-up at Jacquemus, inspiration came from all angles as Paris Fashion Week began in earnest.
Anthony Vaccarello delivered stars and spikes with a punk-inspired medley of black on black that delivered a sartorial punch in more ways than one. Staying faithful to his signature thigh grazing asymmetrical skirts; star cutouts and studs spoke of studied Americana. And that was before the cowboy fringing, bolo bars and press-studded tan suede made an appearance.
The asymmetry was amplified further as what at first looked like simple silhouettes revealed themselves to be anything but. Taking the idea through to its natural conclusion of one long trouser leg and one short, any potential discord was alleviated by a flowing half wrapped skirt. What could have turned into a novelty look was given an urbane twist in Vaccarello’s hands, paired with a decidedly masculine suede bomber jacket with contrast sleeves and offset by a single tough-girl teardrop ’tattooed’ onto models’ faces. Vaccarello’s is no Upper East Side version of Americana. Elaborately worked oversized belt buckles signal the return of the wide belt, with waists further emphasised by single cutouts at the torso and highlighted in places by a single belt buckle across an expanse of skin. Vaccarello knows his market and it’s one that isn’t afraid to stand out in a crowd. Androgynous tailored jackets proved to be highlights, a double-breasted three-quarter length jacket with leather panels at the sleeve sharp enough to open the entire show.
The young Belgian’s American West inspiration derives from the time he is spending in the States – travelling certainly featuring highly on his agenda now following his official appointment as creative director at Versus. His cleverly chosen inspiration provides a comforting return to familiar memories as well as an artistic device that allows Vaccarello to do what he does best: full on glamour.
With a collection combining such a potent mix of rock and roll and outré sex appeal, it was no surprise to see Donatello Versace leap up from her seat in the audience to congratulate the designer during the show’s finale. Collections as daring as this yet rooted in reality (these are real clothes designed for real (party) people), inevitably end up on the backs of rock stars and models, the young and the beautiful. Donatella sees in Vaccarello a kindred spirit and perhaps, in time, a successor.
Simon Porte Jacquemus gave us deconstruction, topless models adorned with little more than drawn on tank top straps and either two faces or none (some models walked the runway disguised behind blank paper masks). Surreal in the extreme but well executed too, which is undoubtedly the reason that Jacquemus is on the shortlist for LVMH Young Fashion Designer prize this year. Proportions distorted, half-tops cropped up to the bust on one side, oversized architectural trousers and enormous garter loops seemed to have lives of their own. The face paint inspired by Sebastian Bieniek’s ‘Doublefaced’ work, Jacquemus captured in this collection a childlike innocence in which anything is possible. Muted tones of khaki, navy and sky blue and exquisite construction provided a stable anchor on which the collection hinges without toning down its off-kilter message. If inspired young designers cannot toy with experimentally conceptual fashion then, really, who can? The smart LVMH money’s on Jacquemus.
Each X Other is the brainchild of fashion designer Ilan Delouis and artistic director Jenny Mannerheim, who operate the brand as an artistic and collaborative adventure, this season working with London-based artist, poet and designer, Robert Montgomery. Known for its unisex appeal and ‘the idea of the twin flame’, the label is intended to offer a timeless aesthetic, blending art and fashion. The label has surely fulfilled its objective for autumn/winter in a collection of minimal utilitarian separates in calming tones of slate grey, mid-blue and shine-flecked pinstripe. Huge cable knit jumpers, double-strapped jumpsuits and sleeveless silk tuxedo dresses are instantly covetable and would find a place in any considered wardrobe. This collection proves that androgynous fashion is no longer alternative but mainstream, and artful separates like these are its heart and soul.