Learn about all the latest styles from top brands and designers such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Abloh at this year’s Paris Fashion Week
~Bryce Hairston, Staff Writer~
Continuing the long-standing tradition of showcasing haute couture collections from some of the biggest fashion houses, Paris week recently just ended. With so many shows happening simultaneously, it can be hard to keep track of them all, so I’ve narrowed down the list to some of the standout runway shows that either pushed the envelope in couture or got lost in the wind. Assuming you were here at school trying to pass preliminary math instead of perusing the high streets of Paris, I’m here to give you a little peek into Paris Fashion Week.
Starting the list of this year’s Fashion Week 2019 collections is the Japanese streetwear brand, Undercover. For its fall/winter 2019 collection, the tenebrous brand, which mostly showcases monochrome pieces in black and darker tones, opted for a more colorful collection inspired by the classic psychological horror film “A Clockwork Orange.”
Many pieces featured the main character Alex screen printed on an assortment of fall colored backgrounds including dark oranges, purples, and ash greens. The clothes showcased unnerving screenshots from the movie of Alex screaming and having his eyes propped open. The models wore theatre masks and bowling hats with feathers in them, in direct reference to the film, with some of the models holding canes with a tennis balls at the end of them.
The soundtrack for the runway was eerie and menacing, which fit perfectly with the theme the brand was emulating. Although some of the pieces were a bit excessive with the massive screen prints plastered overall over some of the jackets and shirts, a lot of the more minimalistic pieces did the brand justice and reinforced the reason the brand became popular in the first place, which is for its minimalistic and dark take on classic silhouettes. One of the standout pieces for me would be the bright auburn corduroy jacket with a cream-colored wool lining; perfect for the fall and winter time.
Another big brand that has gotten some attention recently is Dior, specifically its Dior Homme line. This year’s runway separated itself from every other runway by incorporating a moving walkway for its models to stand on, making it more of a stand-way. Only the walkway is lit while the sides of it are covered in complete darkness, making the models look like they’re being propelled in the air. The runway is supported by an infectiously funky backtrack that plays throughout the entire show; the hardest part of being one of the models had to have been keeping a straight face and not at least head bobbing to the beat. Directed by Kim Jones, having come off of his recent KAWS collaboration, this new collection seems like a direct departure from his last. Instead of incorporating as many vibrant colors and opaque silhouettes, namely his Dior Converse look-alikes, this season he focused more on consistency. Most of his clothing ranges in neutral browns and beiges and features work clothes, trench coats, aged-leather jackets and reflective jackets. The show as a whole was a joy to watch and fans of Dior will be pleased to see that Kim Jones is steering the brand into a good direction. Seeing how successful the last Dior collection was, it’s safe to say that this one will be no exception.
Unfortunately, with a number of good runways, there were a number of lazy and uninspiring ones. And unfortunately, as much as I personally like Virgil Abloh’s works in the past, this year was not his year. Having hosted two shows this year, one at Louis Vuitton and another at Off-White, he undoubtedly had a lot of work to do and manage keeping up with two brands, but perhaps he would best spend his time harnessing his craft one brand at a time. Starting with Louis Vuitton, the runway paid homage to the late Michael Jackson being based upon his “Billie Jean” music video.
There was a live band playing jazz music with musical artist, Devonte Hynes (Blood Orange) playing lead guitar. Speaking of notable figures, sitting front row in the audience was Naomi Campbell, Takashi Murakami, Offset from the Migos and Latin artist J. Balvin , to name a few. Even rap artist Sheck Wes modeled during the show.
Although the show was well put together, the concept of a hustling and bustling New York was creative, and select items caught my eye (namely the reflective speedy duffle bag) the overall collection was lackluster. Louis Vuitton makes no attempt to break the mold of oversized clothing, except this time around they unironically make everything even bigger. The silver-grey puffer Louis Vuitton stood out to me as horrendously egregious and tacky. The Michael Jackson t-shirt was horribly plain, and a lot of the silhouettes were hilariously too big for even the models to pull off. However, in-between all of the confusion and gaudiness, one item that struck my eye was a double-pocket stiff jacket with the classic monogram logo adorned over the entire piece.
Unlike the previous Louis Vuitton collection where I saw a lot of potential from Abloh in how he would revitalize the brand, this is not what I envisioned the future of Louis Vuitton to be.
Regarding his own brand, “Off-White,” Virgil Abloh takes another swing and ends up missing the mark on both of his collections. However, unlike the Louis Vuitton staging, the Off-White stage was a complete mess. Someone thought it would be a perfect idea to make the entire floor a green screen and halfway blind the viewer every 15 seconds with gifs of random clips which sometimes blended into the clothes the models were wearing. Whether this was intentional or not does not take away from how jarring it was to watch.
The collection looks generally uninspired with mix matched flannel tops and boots that were “ripped” from previous Raf Simons collections. To Abloh’s credit he finally started listening to people’s complaints about the brand and stopped putting his classic arrows and stripes over ever single piece. This collection includes some minimalistic jackets and suits with almost no branding and includes very loud pieces carrying on the neon color trend from last year. Fans of the brand’s iconic industrial web belt will be happy to hear that it will be returning albeit with a bolder graphic.
The trend of bulky sneakers shows no sign of slowing down as Off-White showcases distressed bulky sneakers that look as if they were dug up from the nearest trash heap right before the start of the show. The digitized crewneck and oversized neon green trousers that Playboi Carti wore onto the runway were horrid and mediocre at best. Both concepts have been done by other brands but in more innovative and interesting ways. Offset also made an appearance, but his inclusion in the show is negligible seeing as how halfway through his walk he seemed to have gotten off the designated path and forgot where he was going.
Although I’m generally happy to see a new collection by Abloh, I was very disappointed. I think it would help Abloh to re-focus his efforts with fewer collections and to not spread himself too thin seeing as how he still has Nike shoes releasing and an upcoming IKEA collaboration.