The fashion world has always loved its contrasts and contradictions (masculine versus feminine, youthful versus grown-up, sporty versus elegant, romantic versus goth) and autumn/winter 16 seems to be rife with them.
As ELLE UK’s Fashion Director Anne-Marie Curtis observed during one of our offline moments between shows, ‘We’re almost in a place where anything goes.’
The most striking thing about this season so far is that there is no overwhelmingly dominant theme, but rather a little something for the contrarians in all of us.
In one corner, we have the piled-on, kooky maximalist and in the other, the slightly undone minimalist. And in another still: the soft, free-spirited romantic who is a foil to the moody brooding goth.
So with all of this in mind, it makes sense that the Paris shows would kick off with a sense of contradictions as well. Here are the biggest standouts:
1) Maison Margiela
At Maison Margiela, opposing ideas were literally stitched together in each individual piece, which was in turn piled-on to create a line-up of stellar individualistic looks.
Creative Director John Galliano mixed army references with ruffles and frills, and traditional opaque plaids with futuristic iridescent sheers.
It was a little military and a little Baroque, a little disco and a little sci-fi. He also played with shape and proportion, layering short over long and long over short, as well as combining volume with the streamlined. It was fantastically artful and weird, and an energising start to the week.
2) Dries van Noten
Dries van Noten took his inspiration for autumn from the Marchesa Casati, the Italian heiress and muse who ranks pretty highly on the list of fashion’s all-time favourite references, using her as a jumping-off point to explore the masculine and the feminine.
But he mined the familiar to create something that felt completely desirable and chic: mannish suiting jazzed up with stripes, leopard print and sequins, as well as elegant, decadent pyjamas for day and evening (yes, they’re going to continue to be a major thing).