A model wears a creation for the Stella McCartney fashion collection during Women's fashion week Fall/Winter 2020/21 presented in Paris, Monday, March 2, 2020. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Ecology and kinetic styles grace Paris Fashion Week shows

March 02, 2020 - 3:49 pm
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PARIS (AP) — Models wearing animal outfits joined the finale of Stella McCartney's fur-free and leather-free show Monday, as the British-American designer continued to shine a light on the environment and animal cruelty in the industry. The show, which explored a chic cross-over silhouette in soft and huggable fabrics, was runway proof that ethically produced clothes can still have a strong luxury feel. Here are some highlights of fall-winter 2020 shows.

STELLAR CROSS-OVER STYLE

Long flappy belts and strips of fabric provided the vibrancy in Stella McCartney's fall collection that was otherwise missing amid the rather muted color palette of “terrestrial tones.”

Inside the gilded salons of the Paris Opera, in her morning show, McCartney used the features in form to create a dynamic visual movement.

A nearly two-yard-long diagonal sash, held in place by two buttons, graced the front of a loose pastel-gray double-breasted suit to create a dynamic visual kinesis. Elsewhere, a long ribbed strap plunged down to the model's knee from an abstractly shaped dark gray top, and a bone-colored knitted dress hung heavily and limp with wavy ribbing. All these styles created a sense of clothes in action — an accomplished feat of design.

The collection, the house said, was inspired by Russian-born French modernist designer and illustrator Erté, who created dynamic and sometimes-windswept silhouettes, and whom McCartney met as a child.

STELLA CALLS ON OTHER HOUSES TO DITCH LEATHER

Gold and silver animal jewelry in McCartney's show added a playful touch, that crescendoed in the finale as 11 models walked the runway in full-on animal costumes, provoking laughs from tickled guests.

Behind the fun, lay a serious message.

None of these animals — cow, rabbit, bison, fox, crocodile — had been killed to produce the collection.

“We are proudly the only luxury fashion house in the world not putting real leather on our runway,” McCartney said. “And welcome our friends in fashion to join us.”

“There has never been a time when we have had more hope in ending fashion’s use of fur and leather,” she added.

Her team, which of late sends out factsheets to editors on the eco-fight, said this collection showcased even more animal-free vegan leather than in the past.

It had expanded, it said, “the cruelty- and PVC-free material beyond accessories — including decorative perforated vegan leather and shaggy pile animal-free shearling.”

GIVENCHY'S MUSINGS ON FORM, SILVER SCREEN

A rough concrete runway, red neon lights, models who strutted aggressively and machines that spewed out cold smoke gave Givenchy's show production a tough edge — befitting of “Game of Thrones” actress Maisie Williams, who rocked the front row with punk-like two-tone hair.

This season designer Clare Waight Keller said she channeled “the gritty heyday of French cinema,” in the show, entitled “Arthouse Beauty.”

But the so-called grit was scant in the clothes. It quickly gave way to a brooding and feminine collection of looks that riffed on geometry and played with form — with an ever-so-slight nod to “the silver screen allure” referenced in the show notes.

A beautiful multicolored fur coat, that hung heavy and formless, had top panels that cleverly resembled a movie star's stole from the studio era of Hollywood. Enormous graphic floppy hats in black shrouded the models' faces in shadow, evoking a dramatic standoffish air. The same was true of crinkled leather opera gloves that covered up the arms completely in the styles of yesteryear.

Yet this collection's main theme was in the silhouette: Oversize tubular sleeves followed coats with razor-sharp lapels that looked like they had been cut with a scalpel. And voluminous proportions, especially in multitudinous 1970s' pleated skirts, gave this collection a dynamic feeling.

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN GOES WELSH

“We went to Wales and were inspired by the warmth of its artistic and poetic heritage,” said designer Sarah Burton of her fall show.

The McQueen studio thus went to the least-explored country in the United Kingdom, in fashion terms, and came back with a motley assortment of fascinating and little-known references — and rich in check.

A wool cashmere coat with blown-up black check and tight buckled belt, was inspired by the traditional Welsh blankets woven from the fleece of black sheep. A black leather bodice draped in a lilac and black check was spawned from the idea of a Welsh unisex shawl, that was known for its warmth and its capacity to carry children inside.

Meanwhile, an aggressive-looking square-shouldered suit was made of patchwork and embroidered with patterns of doves, a panther, a horse and a leak — the latter the symbol of Wales. This look was inspired by a quilt at the National Museum of Wales.

The McQueen bar is set very high — and justifiably so — and sadly the garments in this collection, though beautifully constructed, at times felt a little unexciting.

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