Dispatches from Paris: Stella McCartney and Sacai

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GIF: Stella McCartney, s/s 2015 - GETTY

‘We wanted to have a feeling of real spontaneity,’ said Stella McCartney backstage, after showing a spring/summer 2015 collection that was all about movement, ease and fragility. ‘Strength on its own in a woman can look quite abrasive and not terribly attractive all of the time, so this celebrates the gentler side of our woman,’ said the designer backstage, post-embrace with Salma Hayek.

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Almost everything rippled as it walked, starting out with a white blouse and very full trousers cut on the hip, moving through knitwear with asymmetric hems that bounced and billowing parachute silks in faint Madras checks, and then gossamer dresses in fluttering patterns shaped like butterfly wings.

It was sensual and soft, full of easy summer pieces – the denim looked instantly buyable and the knitwear was clever when it came twisted and draped or cut with windows onto bare skin – but so much softness overwhelmed the collection and translated as playing safe, which didn’t ring true to the brand: Stella McCartney herself is nothing if not gutsy and surprising, and this collection missed that energy.

GIF: Sacai, s/s 2015 - IMAXTREE

Chitose Abe is on such an upward curve with Sacai that her new collection seemed to power-up with ideas for her devotees’ closets. She made creativity, wearability and originality look effortless – which, for the record, it’s not. Playing with her signature hybrid clothes that look good from the front and even better from the back, she sliced into uniforms (both army and navy) with sheer florals, soft knitwear, pretty prints, pinstripes, tartan and lace. Edie Campbell’s strict military coat burst into navy lace arms; white lace provided the backdrop to a simple striped Breton T-shirt; a strict shirt dress from the front became a gypsy paisley-print number at the back; a khaki bomber jacket peeled open with naval officer buttons; and pinstripes were patchworked with sheer on long dresses with wavy godet hems.  

It sounds complicated. It is complicated. But fashion is thirsting for busy, high-energy clothes that look as if they’re worth their price tag. After seasons of prudent stealth-luxe, Abe’s collection looked like one big treat.

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