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Shoulder pads and spikes are back

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Shoulder pads

John Lewis is a byword for plain-speaking British common sense as much as it is an actual shop; everyone knows that. Saint Laurent, meanwhile, is the high church of Parisian chic, as well as a luxury boutique. When a trend unites both, that is not just a fashion trend. That, mes chéris, is a vibe shift.

A month after John Lewis scandalised the nation by cancelling the floral midi, pointing out that there isn’t a woman in this country who needs another one and gently proposing neutral tailoring instead, Paris fashion week has seconded the motion. There was not a pastoral puff sleeve nor a ditzy floral milkmaid dress to be seen on Paris catwalks this week. Instead, there were shoulder-padded blazers over silk blouses and fishnet tights with spike heels. Pin-sharp silhouettes, not floaty layers. Change is in the air. Three years after the pandemic turned us into comfort dressers, is it time to stop dressing for imaginary picnics and sharpen up? Are you ready to quit the easy-care layers and get back on chummy terms with your dry cleaner?

Fashion week is as much about the feel-it-in-your-fingertips stuff as it is about the clothes. Millions of floating particles form clouds that take on shapes; that’s how the zeitgeist works. At Saint Laurent, the designer Anthony Vaccarello brought back the spirit of the late Yves with a show set that recreated the Hotel Intercontinental, where Yves Saint Laurent showed his haute-couture collections in the 1990s.

Chandeliers the size of taxis, expensively rippled moiré carpet, a catwalk elevated so that the audience gazes up at its goddesses. The eternally chic Catherine Deneuve, now 79, was in the audience. There was soft piano jazz and perfect tuxedo jackets over camisoles that were little scoop-necked silk nothings, worn with high-waisted trousers and the simplest black court shoes. And as ludicrous as it sounds, I got shivers. I felt … awe. That did not happen back when fashion was nap dresses and loungewear.

Polish and sophistication are suddenly everywhere. At Balmain, where last season’s show had a raucous Cher performance and a hamburger stand, this season was a mellow, intimate number with Frank Sinatra on the soundtrack, pearls and polka dots on the catwalk. Schiaparelli – which just two months ago featured Kylie Jenner in a lion’s headdress – served up neat suits and crisp velvet eveningwear to the honeyed tones of Sade. On Tuesday afternoon, Miu Miu closed the week with tobacco-coloured suits and caramel twin sets.

Source: theguardian

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