PARIS – It was “La Vie en Rose” for Valentino, who headlined Sunday’s segment of Paris Fashion Week with a daring yet triumphant pink collection as VIP guests including Lewis Hamilton and Zendaya had to negotiate arrivals during a car-free day in the capital’s center.
Meanwhile, Balenciaga’s show invite — a cracked iPhone 6S — raised eyebrows for being wasteful.
Here are some highlights of fall-winter 2022 ready-to-wear collections:
PRETTY IN (SHOCKING) PINK
All-encompassing pink decor sprawled across Le Carreau du Temple in Le Marais, bathed peach in sections by the Parisian spring sun.
This was a Valentino collection like no other — where the majority of the exhaustive, often-minimalist, 81 looks were delivered in shocking pink.
It was certainly a bold choice for designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, given the potential for the ready-to-wear styles to appear repetitive. Yet it was deftly handled. Scallop details in shoulders came on loose silhouettes with swag and generous proportions, glowing pink above chunky 70s platforms. A minimalist tulip-shaped skirt was surreally stiff and angular, while a soft tuxedo jacket was so oversize that its shoulders fell from the model’s own in chic segments.
And just as the pink began to feel endless, the master Italian couturier switched to a brooding black palette — as if to say that there is a shadowy underbelly of all things sweet — an effective contrast, demonstrating his design control.
Piccioli was trying to show that by taking away color, or attention to color, eyes can be drawn toward form and silhouette alone.
It was a triumph.
Paris’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo has garnered praise over the years for efforts to reduce pollution in Paris — a European Union capital often listed among those with the worst air quality.
On Sunday, the first four arrondissements in the French capital were closed to automobile traffic from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. as part of a monthly initiative. It put a dampener on the gas-guzzling behavior of many fashion editors crisscrossing Paris many times a day in cabs or chauffeur-driven transportation.
Guests at Valentino had to present a special dispensation card to simply get in to the area.
THE ART OF THE INVITATION
The art of the chic invite is still very much a staple of the Paris luxury industry.
Houses compete to produce the most eye-catching, inventive and flamboyant show invitations delivered often by gas-guzzling courier to each guest’s personal or professional address with little thought for ecology.
The little works of art sometimes provide a hint as to what the collection has in store; other times, they are just plain wacky.
The invite to Isabel Marant’s show was a case in point: A shimmering silver box inside of which lay a musical instrument — a real sculpted wooden recorder.
Loewe’s invitation was kinky: A large 1-meter (yard)-square piece of thin rubber hidden inside a small metal cylinder setting the tone for Jonathan Anderson’s fashion forward display.
Saint Laurent’s invite was pure luxury: A black leather wallet — initialed with the name of the respective guest — with YSL embossed in gold metal on the front.
While the invitation that was possibly the most eccentric — and wasteful — ever seen was Balenciaga’s, which comprised a damaged iPhone 6S with a cracked screen and a laser engraved message detailing the invitation.
ATLEIN GETS HIS MORNING COFFEE
Atlein, a French brand committed to sustainable design whose name is inspired by the Atlantic Ocean, focuses on the body and energy and movement.
In this show, Antonin Tron chose to reinterpret fashion recycling. Sustainable design is a cornerstone for Tron, who has in the past used looks from previous collections and upcycled them. On Sunday, the face of a model was covered by a thick veil of recycled fabric.
Nespresso capsules were used to construct a sheath dress — in a memorable, Instagram-ready design feat.
Elsewhere, the strong material used for a sail became a fall raincoat, jacket or wrap skirt. They were folded, effortlessly, like origami.
There were also nods to the trends — silhouettes were slim, with black pleated leather pants and black ruched gowns. The collection was also infused with moments of sparkle in ocean blue, shocking pink, acid green, and silver flash of jewelry.
GIVENCHY’S URBAN DECAY
Matthew Williams, the erstwhile collaborator of Kanye West and Lady Gaga, pushed Givenchy even further in a street direction for fall -- banishing any doubts over whether he would bring his streetwear aesthetic to the age-old couture house.
With black a big theme, one tight black cap gleamed above a black hoodie printed with “Givenchy” in different busy fonts for the Sunday night show.
A truncated beige T-shirt, meanwhile, came above a printed top and sheeny cargo pants, and a black shirt opened up to reveal even more “Givenchy” logo prints lurking underneath. And therein lay the problem: Williams seemed to be trying to do too much to impress at the detriment of the silhouette, creating visual imbalances in the process.
There were some beautiful single looks. The series of dropped hem ruffle dresses fared well, especially in one indigo that stayed simple, oozing class.
Yet, sometimes it just felt like Williams’ and the house’s aesthetic were at odds with one another.