Dispatches from Paris: Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Rochas & Vionnet

The ELLE verdict is in

MOST POPULAR
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

GIF: Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Rochas, Vionnet, s/s 2015 - Getty

There was change afoot at Balenciaga. It wasn't just the new venue, with
its square catwalk that, pre-show, appeared to be covered with glossy
black tiles, until the lights went up and swirling smoke appeared below
them. It was in the spirit of the clothes, too. Alexander Wang, now four
seasons into his tenure at the house, had scaled back on experimentation
and focused his attention on creating something a little more accessible.

MOST POPULAR

There was a cool elegance to the jumpsuit sparsely embellished with black
crystals, the simple blush-pink trench coat, and the dresses with pleated
bodices and sheer, tufted skirts. There were, of course, plenty of sporty
elements thrown into the mix too, from fluid jersey dresses to net tops
and skirts, but the craftsmanship and precision of the Balenciaga
atelier, the beading and the embroidery, elevated the collection from
sports luxe to pure luxury. Judging by the way that they powered around
the catwalk in their flat sandals, these girls meant business ­ and you got
the feeling that Wang did, too.

IMAGE: Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Rochas, s/s 2015 - Getty

Dries Van Noten had carved out an oasis of calm in the midst of the
hustle and bustle of Paris. His catwalk was a soft and textural knitted
carpet covered in mossy tufts and hillocks and his girls ambled down it
to the sound of chirping birds in the background. They had hippy
inclinations but money to spend, their harem pants and handkerchief
dresses made of rich, luxury fabrics that took centre stage in the
collection.

The Belgian had layered and mismatched prints and textures,
piling colourful stripes over Indian block prints and rich metallics,
long waistcoats over sheer tunics and trousers and he'd played with
surface texture too, appliqué and embroidery and encrusted beads. Modern
shapes peppered the collection too: bomber jackets, Bermuda shorts and
oversized luxe T-shirts neatly balancing the softer pieces. The effect
was beautiful and incredibly desirable ­ and the models enjoyed
themselves so much that instead of walking backstage from their finale,
they sat themselves down and stretched out on the runway. We would have
done the same.

Alessandro Dell' Acqua had a very different mood in mind at Rochas. His
muse was 'suspended between virginal shyness and blooming sensuality',
according to the show notes, and she wore dresses that were demure in
shape, all high necks and long sleeves and voluminous skirts that came in
sheer fabrics that left little to the imagination. Embellished crystal
hummingbirds, embroidered flowers and some Victorian frills and flounces
added to the prettiness. As the collection progressed the pieces became
more solid, jackets embellished with crystal hummingbirds were belted
across the bust, dresses had net or lace panels and coats were
hand-painted with flowers. But there was a lightness about it that felt
fresh.

There were sheer gowns too at Vionnet. Creative Director Goga Ashkenazi
continued to play with modern takes on the fashion house's signature
draping and pleating, this season with a gladiatorial spin. The plissé
mini dresses, flowing dresses inspired by dancers and toga like tunics
were paired with shield-like belts and lace-up sandals and there were
leather backpacks that strapped across the front of the body. At times it
felt as though the legacy of Madeleine Vionnet was fighting too hard with
modernist pieces ­ but actually, it was the more traditional approach
that really worked.

More from ELLE UK: