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The Best of Paris Fashion Week: Meditative and Innovative Inspiration

With the close of Paris Fashion Week, we’re highlighting contemporary details from our favorite shows, including Carven, Maxhosa Africa, Lutz Huelle, and more.

Paris Fashion Week brought a symphony of streetwear and sophistication from younger brands. Here are some of the most impactful shows, filled with unforgettable details, from designers like Lutz Huelle, Marine Serre, Coperni, Noir Kei Ninomiya, Sacai, and more.

Lutz Huelle’s Inventive Return

Lutz Huelle

Lutz Huelle, photo by Hugo Di Zazzo.

Lutz Huelle’s eponymous label returned to Paris after a four-year hiatus with “Blink.” With the intention of “mixing different identities and ideas” in fashion, the designer created wearable and innovative looks with a thoughtful examination of traditional silhouettes. Reworke details were created something entirely new, offering a contemporary look at the wardrobe.

Lutz Huelle

Lutz Huelle, photo by Hugo Di Zazzo.

The inventive collection featured pants with pinstripes and denim trim, alongside innovative combinations like lace cummerbunds sewn into denim shirts and crisp white button-ups. Among the other standout pieces were simple yet elegant silky eveningwear ensembles and tailored outerwear. As is typical for the visionary designer, Huelle’s approach emphasized repurposing, upcycling, and subverting traditional sartorial forms.

Marine Serre’s Street Smart Take on Sustainability

Marine Serre

Courtesy of Marine Serre.

Marine Serre, the eco-futurist young designer honored by the LVMH Prize in 2017, chose her Paris Fashion Week venue for a few reasons. For one, the converted postal building is a “third space,” offering a food hall, bars, and shops. The space is called Ground Control, and the collection with the same name borrows the balance between history and modernity inherent in the venue. It was a perfect site to showcase Serre’s work, which did not disappoint fans of the brand who have come to expect upcycling and hybridity from the looks. The allusion to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” also proved a welcome connection, opening Serre up to embark on “an ethereal plunge into the various dimensions of time and space.”

Marine Serre

Courtesy of Marine Serre.

The show’s audience sat around tables or stood, and were served pizza and chai, as they watched the models meander about the room rather than methodically cascading down a runway. In another naturalistic choice, many of the models were street cast. The iconic crescent moon print made several appearances, but perhaps more impactful was Serre’s take on suiting and patchwork panels, which cut dresses on diagonals. Even the beauty looks weren’t uniform– some models wore headphones, some sunglasses. Hair was styled for each model in a way that they might wear it every day. The effect was akin to people-watching as some of the best-dressed women (and a few men) went about their days along the sidewalks of the real Paris.

Sacai’s Meditations on the Dress

Sacai

Courtesy of Sacai.

For Sacais Fall/Winter 2024 collection, the designer Chitose Abe considered “the emotional protection that clothes can sometimes afford, particularly in an ever-more challenging and conflicting world.” The show encourages its audience to dress up, offering exciting explorations of what single-piece outfitting can be. Abe is known for pondering “the notion of the hybrid,” and this show was no exception.

Sacai

Courtesy of Sacai.

Puffy sleeves contract the tailored garments in black and white. Suit dresses featuring contrasting textures offer a surprise, blending unexpected elements to create unique silhouettes. Khaki trenches, reimagined in innovative shapes, further emphasize the idea of clothing as a form of armor for everyday life. Throughout the presentation, Abe’s work highlighted the power behind each silhouette, subverting the form of the dress in favor of creating something more like armor.

Coperni’s Outerspace Cool

Coperni

Courtesy of Coperni.

Coperni masterminds Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant gave us something stranger than science fiction. At their Fall/Winter 2024 show held at Studio 217 in Paris, the designers offered dozens of otherworldly pieces. The concept behind the show was a UFO sighting, complete with a monolith around which the models orbited. John Williams’s “The Conversation” from Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of The Third Kind aptly roared as the soundtrack.

Coperni

Courtesy of Coperni.

The show opened with jackets made into rompers, subverting classic motos and trenches. Sophisticated dark denim looks were preceded by faux fur coats dipped in brightly colored paint. Organza white shirtdresses resembled sexy, sheer lab coats, presented alongside metallic foiled mini dresses paired with Puma Speedcats. The show closed with gowns adorned with fur trims that encircled the wearer, hovering around the body like Saturn’s rings. Overall, the designs paid tribute to a streetwise sci-fi aesthetic, complete with evidence-sealed Ziplocs containing micro bags inside.

Noir Kei Ninomiya’s Eccentric Wonderland

Kei Ninomiya.

Courtesy of Noir by Kei Ninomiya.

Kei Ninomiya premiered an exhilarating show entitled “Iridescence,” filled with exuberant looks in shape and color, breaking down the old rules of Parisian sophistication and replacing them with maddening fun. The looks offered exaggerated, voluminous shapes. Wirey auras like atomic structures swirled around the models. One moment, ballerina tutus in wonderfully naive shades of pink. Kilt-like dresses in austere plaid played with classic, serious proportions; lace and floral versions of the platform sneakers were shown in the same clown color palette as the ensembles; and hoods, bows, flowers, and sky-high hairstyles were bookended by the brand’s Reebok collab.

Kei Ninomiya.

Courtesy of Noir by Kei Ninomiya.

Music by Hasegawa Hakushi paid tribute to Ninomiya’s unconventional sensibility. Rather than setting the show to an understated house track, a booming male actor announced each look with growing absurdity– almost as if the looks were being auctioned off or awarded to the highest scorer on a cheesy 1970s game show.  The collection brought with it a fresh sense of fun anchored by the masterful command of fashion-as-high-art that perhaps only a training ground at Commes des Garcons can provide.

Carven Starts from a Blank Slate

Carven

Courtesy of Carven.

Louise Trotter’s Fall/Winter 2024 presentation was her second show with Carven following her departure from Lacoste. For the collection, she aimed to design for “the everyday made precious.” Trotter was explicit about her intention to reinvigorate the fashion house, injecting her unique background into the Parisian name. Alison Watt’s Warrender, a trompe l’oeil painting of a folded then unfolded sheet of printer paper, adorned the show’s tickets. The show is the starting line for a new era, one that Trotter crosses with consideration and confidence.

Carven

Courtesy of Carven.

The models are dressed yet “in stages of undress,” emphasizing principles of comfort and ease borrowed from sportswear resulting in subversive dresses, glamorous in their simplicity. The looks were primarily eveningwear and outerwear– sometimes blending the bounds between the two. There wasn’t a lot of ornament– the focus was the cut and shape. One can track the clean, comfortable influences from Trotter’s experience at Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Gap.To honor Carven’s history, Trotter dove into the archives but tried to do so “without nostalgia.” The show also acted as the premiere for the new Carven logo, designed in conjunction with Peter Miles.

Maxhosa Africa Premieres in Paris

Maxhosa Africa

Courtesy of Maxhosa Africa.

Laduma Ngxokolo debuted Maxhosa Africa‘s first show at Paris Fashion Week at the Residence of the Ambassador of South Africa to France, setting a luxurious and celebratory tone for Ngxokolo’s vision. The show, titled “MY CONVICTION,” celebrated traditional Xhosa designs as always, but also offered a fresh and evolving perspective as the brand expands into other African influences. The collection was shown presentation-style, accompanied by lively Amapiano music, assuring fans of Maxhosa that its Paris premiere won’t dim the brand’s vibrance.

The premium knitwear collection showcased Ngxokolo’s signature vivid colors, intricate patterns, and a playful mix of textures including bright tights, pom poms, beadwork, and contrasting materials. This Paris debut marks an exciting step towards his upcoming store opening in Manhattan, signaling new avenues of global success for the designer. Ngxokolo honors his culture in the designs themselves but also in his brand ethos, in which his “conviction” is to continue running a luxury institution that brings African aesthetics to the mainstream while “play[ing] a major part in growing the African fashion economy.” Overall, it’s an exciting vision of what’s possible when designers outside the Euro-centric tradition refuse to compromise their sensibilities for mainstream success.

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Minjung Kim

THE SPRING ARTIST ISSUE
2023

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Poetic set designs underpinned the fall/winter 2024 collections by Saint Laurent, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Chanel, and more.
Whitewall takes you to the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2024 men's fashion show in Paris, Pharrell Williams's first show for the brand.
The best of Paris Fashion Week collections from Acne Studios, Courrèges, Dries van Noten, Peter Do, and ROCHAS.

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