In many ways, fashion often saves the best for last with Paris Fashion Week. At least, this was the case for spring '17. Just when we thought the whole "see now, buy now" movement had started to make things seem a bit too commercial, PFW proved that creativity still rules.
We also witnessed several new designer debuts at major fashion houses: Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent; Bouchra Jarrar for Lanvin; and Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior, in addition to an impressive sophomore outing from Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga.
The other big news: the '80s continued to pick up steam as the season's biggest trend in the form of bold, boxy blazers. But we also saw plenty of compelling new ideas, especially on the accessories front — namely XL bags, tiny bags (nothing in between), waist cinchers, and statement-making headgear. Equally loud were slogan tees like the one at Sacai printed with the inversion of a famous Joe Strummer quote: "Fashion is Passion." That holds true for anyone who's been following along this month-long, 400+ fashion shows marathon.
Hip To Be Square (Shouldered)
This season has been all about the '80s, and we were hit by a new wave of it again in Paris with sharp tailoring. Under Anthony Vaccarello's new reign at Saint Laurent, the designer showed a Le Smoking jacket featuring shoulders as angular as the model's flat top hair cut. Other influential brands like Céline and Balenciaga followed suit with similarly boxy, retro-cut styles.
Itty Bitty Bags
Gotta catch 'em all! The new item to covet — as seen on Paris runways including Valentino, Givenchy, and Hermes — are bags so tiny that not even an iPhone 5 could fit into them. These purses were often worn like necklaces, and compact enough to carry a credit card, ID, lipstick — and maybe an aspirin or two in case you indulge in a bit too much champagne. This is the ultimate in chic downsizing.
The Big Bag Theory
If bags weren't teeny tiny, they were large and in charge. The XL bags spotted at Balenciaga and Celine were literally big enough for shlepping everything but the kitchen sink. Another micro trend to emerge: dangling an oversize tote by just one handle (so it looks like it's about to spill open) a la Givenchy and Sonia Rykiel. The key to this look is not putting much in the bags themselves — no need to call your chiropractor.
Cargo pockets everywhere. Hooded nylon anoraks. Bungee cord drawstrings. You get the picture. Utilitarian-inspired looks were ubiquitous on the Paris runways (see: Stella McCartney, Vetements and Margiela). What felt noteworthy was how designers took that concept and took it to new high fashion heights for spring ’17.
Call it the Kardashian "waist trainer" effect, but designers from J.W. Anderson at Loewe to Isabel Marant spotlighted the midsection with bold, cinching accessories that had a corset-like effect. Meanwhile, Rihanna went all-out showing traditional corsets in decidedly nontraditional ways; her collection was a nod to the modern Marie Antoinette with a streetwise, bad gal streak.
Say It With Words
"We Should All Be Feminists," read a standout T-shirt from Maria Grazia Chiuri's debut collection for Dior. "Fashion is a Passion," came stamped across a spliced-together tee at Sacai. "No Leather and No Fur," read Stella McCartney's take. However designers spelled it out, the message was loud and clear during PFW this season. We enjoyed seeing statement tees like these tucked into a dressy skirt, as seen at Haider Ackerman.
Underwear as Outerwear
"Your underwear's showing" is no longer a put-down. As of spring, it's officially a compliment — thanks to labels like Giambattista Valli and Dior, where stylishly visible underwear was the point of the looks. Lingerie-inspired dresses also turned up at John Galliano and Bouchra Jarrar's debut for Lanvin. Let's also discuss: Binx Walton's crystal-spangled nipple pasty at Saint Laurent, because that totally counts.
When it comes to headgear on the Paris runways, the weirder the better. Exhibit A: the antenna-like fascinators at Comme des Garçons, which could've been sculpted from shards of glass. Exhibit B: the feathered headdresses at Sacai that channeled a young Kate Moss lensed by Corinne Day for The Face and an early '90s vibe. Exhibit C: the extra-wide brimmed straw hats (seriously, SPF 100+) from Jacquemus and Vivienne Westwood. Big hats, big style cred.
Pink is the New Black (Duh)
Real women wear pink. It's become fashion's official favorite new color this season, beginning with the neon looks we saw during NYFW, continuing throughout Europe, then coming full circle again during PFW. In the City of Light, however, the hue de rigueur at Balenciaga, Céline and Valentino, among others, was more of a take-charge magenta — a feminist fuchsia, if you will.
If there was ever a time to raid your mom's closet for flashy clothing from the '80s, it's now. The decade was a major theme throughout the spring ’17 shows, and Paris designers (Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent, Nicolas Ghesquière at Vuitton and Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga) took it to the next level with puffy sleeves, ruching galore and embellishments that felt like Dynasty 2.0.
We bet you're tired of hearing about how hoodies, sweatsuits, T-shirts (specifically #merch), sports-inspired silhouettes and deconstructed denim are the "It" items du jour thanks to brands like Vetements, Gosha Rubchinskiy and Off-White, but for spring 2017, designers had a ball mixing these streetwear staples in with high-fashion silhouettes and couture-like construction. For example, Virgil Abloh made track pants office appropriate with his "business woman"-themed collection at Off-White, and Fenty x Puma juxtaposed athleisure pieces with gowns and corsets.
Part nun, part attending nurse — the new way to wear white (as seen at Céline, Stella McCartney, Loewe and more) is crisp with a subversive, clinical feel. Modest necklines and roomy sleeves are a must here, too.
Paris designers sure know how to give 'em the old razzle-dazzle, and especially with the '80s in the air this season, we saw more sequins and sparkle than usual at the likes of Kenzo, Alexander McQueen and Louis Vuitton. We're willing to bet you'll be seeing a few of these glittery numbers on a red carpet sooner rather than later.