PFW Day 3: From Clare Waight Keller’s last Chloe show to Faith Connexion’s first runway outing and everything in between
The third day of Paris Fashion Week’s autumn-winter 2017-18 season started with an ending: Clare Weight Keller, Chloé’s creative director for the past six years, officially showcased her last collection for the French fashion house. According to official statements made earlier this year, this decision was a mutual one made by the designer and management; and the now vacant position at the helm of Chloé leaves room for a new power move. Natacha Ramsay-Levi, a senior designer at Louis Vuitton and former senior designer at Balenciaga, is rumored to become Keller’s successor, but the French fashion house has yet to confirm this statement.
On the runway, Keller did what she does best: young, fierce Lolita looks that come with a cool, luxurious twist. She effortlessly mix-and-matches feminine flourish with boyish tailoring and psychedelic prints - a modern expression of the Chloé girl as established by Gaby Aghion, the maison’s founder.
Later that day, Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing made an impression with a new look targeting pop culture favourites –it’s bye bye Rihanna and hello Kurt Cobain! Rousteing’s collection was a tribute to Nirvana and how their powerful music continues to resonate with him today. But grunge was not everything in this collection: it was also about the glam factor. Reputed for his top model-studded casting, Olivier Rousteing turned Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner into fierce huntresses and gypsy queens as they walked down the runway dressed in glittery, figure-hugging numbers and a multitude of animal prints.
Rick Owens, who is reputed for his provocative collections, didn’t fail to cause a stir. Over the past seasons, Owens, the master of all things dark, conceptual and intellectual, enjoyed playing with exaggerated volumes and proportions. A statement that has turned into a true fetish for his autumn-winter 2017-18 collection, the designer completely moved away from ready-to-wear as we know it and took his extreme women’s silhouettes to the next level, by turning them into wearable contemporary art.
Finally, one of the most exciting newbies on the unofficial runway schedule turned out to be Faith Connexion, a designer collective led by Christophe Decarnin. Known as Balmain’s former creative director (in fact, Rousteing learned from him), Decarnin was quiet after exiting the French house in 2011, before making his comeback in 2015 in order to revamp this French ready-to-wear brand. But Decarnin didn’t arrive alone at the brand’s helm, he brought his ex-Balmain team with him, which is now in charge of both women’s and men’s wear. They regularly collaborate with craftsmen from around the world - creative collaborations that translate into striking pieces on the runway: an urban mix of various subcultures (think punk, skater and hip hop) that made for a gender-bending wardrobe for the carefree millennial generation.