By THOMAS ADAMSON, AP Fashion Editor
PARIS (AP) — Giant leather pumpkins squashed on a brown “floor” carpet had their cameras slammed by fashion editors during Friday’s episode of Paris Fashion Week.
This eerie scene, imagined by Jonathan Anderson, was the prelude to a surreal and thought-provoking collection for Loewe, one of the strongest views this season.
Here are some highlights from the ready-to-wear displays for Fall Winter 2022, including how major fashion companies have begun to voice their support for those caught up in the Ukraine conflict.
LOEWE LIVES FOR THE APPLAUSE
If kink and bizarre were to have a love child, it might have looked like Loewe’s Friday morning parade.
Anderson, its 37-year-old Northern Irish designer, was in top form this season presenting a veritable encyclopedia of fashion with surreal and creative fare to the VIP crowd – all in front of a gargantuan marrow installation by artist Anthea Hamilton.
Fetish black dresses rub shoulders with lip plastrons, molded felt bustiers and balloon bras. Silver Moss Boots. While a series of dresses sported perhaps the most unusual hemline ever presented in Paris: a car.
It was a moment of creative genius almost defying description.
Textures, colors, styles and shapes clashed and contrasted in a collection that knew how to be fun and playful – without ever falling into unpleasant pastiche.
It drew thunderous applause – boding well for the leadership of the age-old house which has received renewed attention in recent years.
At first there was radio silence from major luxury brands regarding Ukraine, even amid loud calls from Ukrainian fashion designers, buyers and department store Tsum Kyiv to stop trading with Russia.
Now Balenciaga and Gucci, both owned by French luxury giant Kering, have responded by expressing solidarity with the plight of Ukrainians. Balenciaga said it donated an anonymous sum to the United Nations through the World Food Program ahead of its Sunday broadcast. He said he would “open our platforms in the coming days to report and relay information on the situation in Ukraine.”
Gucci meanwhile said it had donated $500,000 to the UN Refugee Agency for Ukraine, with the brand’s parent company taking to Instagram to reveal it had donated money not disclosed to UNHCR. Kering added: “We hope for a peaceful resolution to this conflict.”
Burberry has also donated to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal, and OTB Group, owner of Maison Margiela, recently said it made a donation to UNHCR.
There seems to be a return to slimming colors for fall-winter — but is it actually a color?
One thing is certain: Black is back on the Parisian catwalks.
Rihanna first set the tone on Tuesday as she walked to the front row of Dior in a sheer black babydoll dress – only to see designer Maria Grazia Chiuri respond with her collection which also leaned heavily on black.
Then came the elegant black dresses of Saint Laurent, the black stripper boots of Isabel Marant, the protective black warrior looks of Balmain and the perverse LBD of the Loewe show on Friday.
Black is proving to be one of the key trends to watch this season.
The Japanese house, famous for its use of technical fabrics, took inspiration from the vegetable garden this fall with a series of dresses reminiscent of germinating seeds.
It was random – let’s call it uneven.
The best of looks channeled the moment a seed twists and coils as it springs to life. Literally. Issey Miyake used spring technology with a fine ribbed knit.
A loose, shoulderless ribbed bustier swirled into a black flared skirt that cut a slim figure, styled with soft black ankle boots. Sleek ribbing effectively repeats across a torso and arm in another monochrome black look.
But there were times when the plant theme was delivered too heavily. A thrice-spliced look reminiscent of a pea pod – dyed using a traditional Kyoto-based dyeing artisan technique known as shiborizome – might have benefited from not being created in vegetal green.
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