I don’t know how people manage the full fashion month circuit. New York + London nearly killed me and even after a week of flat shoes and elasticated waistbands before heading to PFW, by day three I was shattered. Perhaps having a driver at your disposal and the self control not to go to every single party is the secret, might have to try that some time. Anyway, I did manage to haul myself out of bed but I didn’t have to go far or get dressed for my first fashion fix as the first show on my schedule was of the digital variety.
I wore: REDValentino Coat & Dress, Chloè Bag, Russell & Bromley Shoes & Anne Bowes Jewellery Necklace
Image c/o The Nyanzi Report
The idea of a digital show has never really appealed to me before but the sheer sartorial brilliance of the Pedro Lourenço SS14 collection came across strongly on screen and watching it in my pj’s with a cup of tea in hand was blissful. The Brazilian’s latest offerings were the epitome of intelligent, modern design and technical mastery. From the flawless precision with which he cut his sleekly sculpted silhouettes and ruched peplums to the ingenious use of laser cutting and painstakingly developed fabrics – silk crepe cut into op art inspired patterns, double layered lamé satin and dégradé effect sequins to name but a few – the fearless, meticulous, futuristic elegance of Pedro Lourenço SS14 was almost overwhelming. Suddenly Lourenço’s decision made absolute sense, to merely see his creations stride past on a catwalk wouldn’t even begin to do them justice to show digitally; these were the kind of clothes that look fantastic from afar but truly fascinating close up.
Pedro Lourenço SS14
Much as I was enjoying the whole pyjamas and Earl Grey situation I had going on, I was even more excited to change into my outfit for the day, a dreamy REDValentino ensemble in full skirted tulle and blush hues. For once I left with time to spare but went straight to the wrong venue and endured a panicked, high speed metro journey as a result. Thanks to the rudimentary thirty-minutes-plus show delay I arrived at Palais de Tokyo for Agnès B with time to enjoy my first PFW visit to the space and check out Agnès B’s floral decorations. The brand’s signature classic with a twist style is a winner with me so I couldn’t wait to see what treats were in store for SS14. Since opening her first boutique on Rue du Jour in 1975, Agnès has designed hundreds of collections spanning from womenswear to watches, jewellery and adorable children’s clothes. Her latest offerings paid homage to this legacy while proving that the designer is far from being out of ideas. Inspired by spring blooms, seaside afternoons and summer in the city, the collection was a vision of girlish elegance.
Agnès B SS14
Boucle tweed short suits strode out alongside pinstriped silk shirts and immaculate tailoring in fine grey wools. School girl touches such as lace up brogues and round hats added an irresistible air of insouciance with school girl touches. Simple creamy knits paired with watercolour floral print silks and simple white woven plimsols moved into botanical hues and nautical touches with buttersoft leather Capri pants adding to the element of luxe. Some of the slouchy hessian looks lost on me but the cinched graphic waist stripes that followed more than made up for that and the ladylike pastel looks were my idea of fashion catnip. Agnès even threw a bit of rebellion into the mix with bag girl black leathers and graphic print silks before concluding with a voluminous ikat print finale complete with turbans. Ok, so she wasn’t exactly breaking the mould but one looks to Agnès B for easy, real life chic and that she most certainly delivered.
After show number two I had a much needed break during which I paid a visit to the Louis Vuitton high jewellery presentation at the majestic Hôtel Particulier in Montmarte. Unsurprisingly, the pieces were some of the most jaw dropping I’ve ever seen and the experience rather made me wish I had billions to splash on bling. But time to daydream was in short supply as it was soon time to head to one of my most eagerly anticipated shows, Valentino.
Valentino is by and far one of my all time favourite, nay worshipped fashion houses; hell, I’m even writing my university thesis about it. I cannot even begin to describe how it felt to be actually attending their Paris show. Striding through the photographers lining the walkway through the Tuileries into Espace Ephemere in my full skirted REDValentino ensemble I have to admit, I had a bit of a Princess moment all the while praying I wouldn’t trip over my own feet and die of shame. Once inside, the people watching opportunities were second to none with half the AW13 collection on show and rockstud accessories as far as the eye could see. I’m not even going to bother listing who was on the FROW, it was basically everyone who’s anyone clad in obscenely covetable clothing. As for the collection itself, I barely even know how to begin to describe Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccoli’s SS14 creations.
Drawing inspiration from as diverse a range of sources to include Opera and the merging of different Mediterranean cultures, the design duo drew the most visually arresting elements of their many starting points resulting in a delicious to the point of being unbearable feast for the eyes. Print, colour and texture came rich and of the finest quality imaginable with exotic patterns in vivid hues the exact origins of which were impossible to place.
A second glance at the show notes informed me that the idea of theatre costumes had been a key influence this season and there was certainly a theatrical element to the collection’s intricately embroidered textiles, veil-like gowns and regal, gold studded leather headbands. It is a true testament to the Chiuri and Piccoli that the haute couture which which a young Valentino made his name in the 1960s remains as revered as it was then today. Couture techniques, skill and the sense of garments that could double as artwork underpinned the Valentino’s RTW offerings, simultaneously elevating and being grounded by simpler but by no means less compelling pieces such as crisp blue poplin shirts, striped cotton coats and luscious, berry hued suede numbers with tassel detailing. Combined with tasselled shoulder bags, abstracted ponchos and high collared pieces embroidered with monastic patterns in intense shades of wine red and glimmering gold, there was an air of ecclesiastical elegance meets haute hippie about it all. This merging of old and new, different cultures, fabrics and couture worthy techniques resulted in one of the most impossibly stunning displays of sartorial wonder I have ever seen in my life. Maria and Pierpolo, I take my hat off to you and the incredible legacy of the Maison Valentino you’re both honouring and furthering so perfectly.
Having had to go home to do a bit of non fashion week related work (hard to believe the rest of the world still exists in the midst of the madness) I decided I may as well throw in an outfit change before my final show of the day, Paul & Joe. I settled on my beloved Peter Pilotto pencil skirt with a crisp (ish) white shirt, black blazer, killer heels and Anya Hindmarch’s dainty Bathurst bag. I figured this could carry me straight through to the Louis Vuitton x Sofia Coppola event at Bon Marche although I did not take into account how difficult it would be taking the metro in that get up; pencil skirts, not great when stairs and walking are involved. Somehow I wiggled my way there in time to feel pathetically pleased when the photographers outside Palais de Tokyo noticed my new ensemble – little did they know it was the result of an uncomfortable underground shlep, not a waiting driver on hand to supply fresh garb – and smell the fresh garlands of flowers waiting on our seats before the show began. The collection was entitled “A Summer In Paris”, an enticing promise if ever there was one. According to the show notes, this season was all about “no stress” elegance and after seeing the first few looks I concluded that this was a pretty accurate summary of the Paul & Joe SS14 aesthetic. Wide deckchair stripes and soft chambray denim oozed casual, boyish cool while brushed silks, fine lace and ice white cotton jacquards provided a counterbalancing feminine touch.
Paul & Joe SS14
Shapes came slouchy and fluid with dropped waists, loose lines and lightweight summer coats that billowed behind the models as they breezed down the catwalk. Paul & Joe designer, Sophie Mechaly is something of a whiz with print and her knack for throwing a medley of different patterns together within one ensemble was on point this season. Liberty prints, florals and checks came layered and styled with bandana belts, woven basket bags and studded leather flats making for a covetable brand of playful, Parisian nonchalance. Paul & Joe promised us “no stress” and that’s precisely what we got. I for one would feel very relaxed if I owned the lot.
Love Ella. X