Autumn-winter 2017-18 ready-to-wear highlights from Paris Fashion Week

Big shoulders, a symphony of blue notes, and lashings of velvet on the catwalks for the women’s autumn-winter 2017-18 collections in Paris

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 March, 2017, 12:59pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 March, 2017, 6:19pm

The last leg of what the industry calls “fashion month” provided a dynamic ending to the autumn-winter 2017-18 season. Here are some of the highlights from the Paris catwalks.

Blue moves

It all started with a simple colour, or to be precise, 50 shades of blue on the catwalks. It was both regal and proletarian at Christian Dior, sensual and furry at Elie Saab, a three-dimensional vision at Issey Miyake and it shone like a diamond at Saint Laurent.

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s autumn-winter 2017 collection for Dior took the label’s hooded Chevrier look from the archived haute couture autumn-winter 1949 collection. It was reimagined as a range of bomber jackets, capes, coats, dresses, skirts, loose trousers and shirts crafted from knit, herringbone, taffeta and velvet with an urban spirit. Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello used a striking deep electric blue for his leggy cocktail numbers and sharp evening pieces, blue all of a sudden felt empowering. At Saint Laurent, shoulders are now sharp, ’80s new wave flavoured evening pieces mingle with utilitarian outerwear, and luxurious sophistication flirts with glittery bad taste. Needless to say, blue is much more than just a colour, it’s become a state of mind.

Tailor-made power play

Power shoulders – you might have thought that designers left them where they belong, back in the ’80s, but no, they are alive and kicking on the Parisian catwalks. And they are particularly well executed at Mugler, under the creative direction of Georgian designer David Koma, who provided a sophisticated and sharp women’s offering. Oversized shoulders on shiny jackets with stiff fits were also a big thing for Chinese designer Masha Ma. Women no longer need to hide under unisex flavoured sportswear, at least not from the autumn-winter 2017-18 season on. An urban subculture feel is still present on the Parisian catwalks – but the almighty influence of athleisure belongs to the past. Céline’s Phoebe Philo, who famously introduced and supported the sporty chic over the past years has realised that it is time for a change. Her sleek and minimal signature styled remained unchanged, but overall the silhouettes were more sharp and empowering than before. A range of sophisticated, slightly masculine women’s suits led this evolution. The same will to bring back shape to a women’s wardrobe could be felt at Jacquemus. The French designer focused on tailoring and explored the silhouettes with cinched waists and bolder shoulders. Haider Ackermann, also played with elegant cocktail attire that had all the necessary glamour and sophistication, while boasting sharp cuts.

Luck be a lady

No more Lolita looks, grown-up chic was a true statement in Paris. It influenced Dries Van Noten’s poetic take on womanhood with a focus on bright colours and prints. It made a statement at Guillaume Henry’s offering for Nina Ricci that impressed with a svelte and feminine, mature style, and there was bourgeois chic at Vanessa Seward in an ode to the ’60s and French chic in sophisticated women’s suiting, impeccably tailored daywear and cocktail outfits.

At Maison Margiela, John Galliano showcased an eccentric version of the notion “ladylike”, as he opted for décortiqué and splicing to produce bold deconstructed silhouettes, which were then embellished with loose threads, tufting and embroideries that made his tailored feminine numbers look sumptuous. Demna Gvasalia’s new Balenciaga woman is more mature: she wears overcoats which are revisited into cape-shawls – draped and pinned asymmetrically on one shoulder – slips into Carrie Bradshaw worthy stilettos, and even cherry picks some girly ballgown numbers for sophisticated occasions.

Sensual seduction

Sensuality can be powerful weapon. Know how to use it properly and you’ll have the world at your feet – and this also seemingly applies to velvet. Uma Wang showed she knows a thing or two knew about this fabric this season. Her Paris outing marked her first catwalk show in the City of Light. Her slouchy, softly tailored silhouettes made out of chunky knits, rich velvets and delicate embroideries were truly sensual eye-catchers. French designer Christelle Kocher introduced Koché’s new collection at Paris’ famous Folies Bergère music hall, and sent models down the stairs in velvet tracksuits and ruffled dresses. Sebastien Meunier also played with velvet at Ann Demeulemeester, pairing it with soft silks. He remained faithful to Demeulemeester’s Edwardian jackets, billowing layering, slim trousers, romantic blouses, and soft tailoring. He added a surprisingly sensual touch to his collection. And this unexpected – but welcomed – glamour was at its best in the form of softly deconstructed women’s suits adorned with strass. Véronique Leroy was the queen of velvet with her easy fitting jumpsuits in pink and anthracite, cinched at the waist with an oversized buckled belt.