At Rick Owen’s show during Paris Fashion week in late September, models wore other models harnessed to themselves with padded straps as they took to the catwalk. Ready-to-wear, right?
Owen’s show drew lots of criticism from people saying that it had ‘gone too far’ and instead of being artistic or inspiring, was merely making a mockery of the editors and A-listers that had made room in their busy schedules to view it.
However, remember that a designer only has a fifteen-minute slice of an entire week (or a month if you include Milan and New York) in which to make an impression, attract press, and ultimately sell their clothes for the upcoming season. At least Owens can definitely tick the first two off that list. In a statement he said that the ‘human backpacks’ were meant to symbolize the strength of women, and the fact that it was women carrying other women represented nourishment and sisterhood. The straps – which, to be honest, looked kind of painful – were at one point called ‘loving ribbons’ by Owens and apparently were all about ‘support and cradling’.
Whether you get that impression or not from the show, you cannot deny that it was innovative and refreshing; a tricky thing to achieve in an industry filled with designers that are constantly trying to achieve just that.
Owens was by no means the only designer that succeeded in this way. Raf Simons of Dior went in the opposite direction by stripping back his designs and clothing models in simple, mostly white garments. Of the collection he said that he wanted it to have ‘a certain purity’. This aim was reflected in the setting of the show as Simons created a mountain of 400,000 delphiniums in the courtyard of the Louvre, which the models walked out from within wearing minimal make-up, entrenching the collection’s ethereal, natural vibe.
Other stand-out moments included:
- The first thing to walk down the catwalk at Jacquemus’ show was a giant ball of red cloth, rolled by a model. Although weird-sounding, you can imagine this to have quite a dark, edgy effect in the middle of the sparsely lit warehouse that Jacquemus had chosen as the location for his show. In keeping with this theme, a white horse appeared on the catwalk half-way through. The show was for a ready-to-wear collection, and the designer kept it this way whilst still creating an impression with these additions to the catwalk.
- Parts of the walls, and also the models, were dressed in transparent plastic at Loewe. The first model on the catwalk wore a black jumper, transparent plastic trousers, and a life-sized gold fish necklace.
- Olivier Rousteing retained Balmain’s crown as the very forefront of modern fashion by sticking with the fashion house’s trademark seventies vibe, but lightening the colour palette, adding more ruffles, and throwing in a few shoulder pads here and there.