So we come to the beginning of the end. But was the best saved ‘till last? Take a look and make up your mind…
The first day in Paris has already wowed. However, it has only wowed the creative side of my brain, not the practical. Today was in fact the first time I had come across the designer Jacquemus and his show instantly grabbed my attention and made me smile.
Out of the 31 looks to grace the catwalk I would say that I could maybe only wear about 4 of them without receiving a few funny looks - but you have to remember I do live in the Highlands of Scotland so maybe that’s not such a fair test. Either way, whether wearable or not, I loved it. One of the main reason for my declaration of love is that my favourite colour was heavily featured throughout which is the soft pastel bluey lilac that was used to colour block with cream and black.
The show was a unique combination of striking colour contrasts, bulked out shaping and a bold use of materials. Simon Porte Jacquemus is clearly a brave designer showcasing his quirky designs on such a powerful platform. But, then again, this collection was made for Paris with its different perspective on fashion and always bringing something new to the catwalk. A match made in heaven some may say...
I have two top picks from the second day in Paris; Dries Van Noten and Christophe Lemaire. I like these two collections for completely different reasons.
The Dries Van Noten show was full of colour and quirky accessories which included sunglasses that Mr Wonka himself would have been proud to wear. Swirls in contrasting colours were in abundance along with giant floral prints which resembled more of a silhouette pattern. Bold colours were also used but it was the swirling of lines which remained the focal point of the show.
Christophe Lemaire on the other hand refrained from using colour and pattern. Instead he created what I have dubbed - slouchy workwear. Sounds great, doesn’t it? This is definitely my kind of collection, especially for autumn/winter when its colder and comfort becomes more of a priority. However, who said being comfortable meant giving up on style. Christophe Lemaire certainly doesn’t think so. His layering of warm fabrics using a neutral palette made his collection so wearable with pieces that would quickly become staples in your winter wardrobe. The pairing of cocoon coats, thick wooly scarfs and loose fitting knee length trousers give the looks a luxe fashion week feel but do not alienate and can be easily taken on to the high street - yay. I predict Cos, Whistles and Zara to incorporate this style into their winter 2014 collections.
The third day in Paris was very special. It was time for BALMAIN.
Balmain has always been my favourite fashion house since I really started getting into fashion. Olivier Rousteing is a genius and transforms woman into seductive power houses. His collections are not glamourous in an Italian way where its all about luxury and being a golden goddess. No, his shows are still very glamourous but with a modern edge. He makes clothes for women who want to stand out and be noticed.
However, his AW14 collection was unique from any other Balmain show I’ve seen before. The colour palette focused on three main themes - khaki, monochrome and bright primary colours. He used intricate layering and one off techniques such as the rope top which was made entirely from rope showing bare skin in between the gaps of the rope.
Although, a slightly different direction, the signature Balmain look was still present. The detailing on every single piece was outstanding. Pleats, leather, gold metal, animal print and structured shoulders all played their part as always. The one thing that I always associate with Balmain and instantly identify as being Balmain is the shape of the female body in the clothes. Cinched in waists, structured shoulders and peplum features are a fundamental part of the brand’s DNA and is the formula to the perfect female silhouette.
I would defy anyone to not feel like they own the world whilst wearing anything Balmain. It’s an all or nothing brand so don’t be shy and embrace the power.
LOVE. IT. That was both my first and last thought on the Christian Dior show.
Looking back on the last Dior show (Spring/Summer 2014) I felt it had a little too much going on, especially with the floral surroundings. This season Raf Simons paired it right back and left the focus solely on the models and what they were wearing. The catwalk and backdrop were both white which allowed the colour popping collection to shine. Primary colours are an emerging trend from the AW14 shows and Simons is leading the way so far. If you ever needed a lesson on how to do colour then this is the collection to look at. It featured simple classically tailored coats, two piece suits and peplum scarfs in striking bold colours. The contrast between the colours were perfection. One of my favourite looks was a simple cream boyfriend blazer with matching skirt worn with a crimson long scarf which had peplum detailing at the end. The use of the jarring colours were translated beautifully on the catwalk and created an ultra sophisticated look. Long gloves signified a glimpse into the past at the original iconic Dior woman.
The collection did have a luxe sportswear vibe to it but it was still very much a formal workwear collection with hints of red carpet glamour in the form of structured prom style dresses.
It was modern, it was chic, it was trend setting, it was fresh, it was sophisticated, it was simply Dior at it’s best.
Paris shows aren’t exactly known for their wearability. So you could say that day 5 was typically Parisian. Many of the shows were pretty crazy, especially Comme des Garçons which featured a lot of knit. This may be considered completely normal for the winter season, but this was extreme knit which in some of the looks even covered the models faces and created very odd shapes.
However, there was one collection I was very impressed with and ironically this designer usually doesn’t appeal to me simply because many of her pieces are just not my style and a little “out there”. So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Vivienne Westwood’s AW14 collection.
The show still had the classic VW earthy bohemian theme, which Westwood is so well known for, but this season it was mixed with tribal and in some cases formal wear. The make-up was one of the most interesting aspects of the whole show. The markings on the models faces were symbolic and emphasised the tribal theme. The now famous hat worn by Pharell Williams was transformed into a large top hat, but will Pharell be sticking to the original?
Although it was still a collection which I consider “out there” and not something I could wear head to toe, it definitely had elements which could be taken and mixed with more wearable pieces. This collection proves Westwood is always evolving whilst staying true to her roots - her very earthy roots.
Chloé is one of the most iconic fashion houses in the world and was one of the first to catch my attention when I started getting into fashion and reading the glossy fashion magazines. Since then I have been hooked on every collection and now wait in anticipation to see what’s coming next.
This season was especially exciting as there was a live stream of the show on the Chloé website for anyone to watch. I, of course, was waiting and staring at my laptop screen, watching the seconds go down until 3pm. And as usual things were running late or maybe the delay to begin was planned, either way viewers were treated to backstage shots of the models getting ready and interviews with those who had come to see the show. This was really interesting and let the public in to see all the craziness that happens before a show starts. People were running around all over the catwalk literally 10 seconds before the music started, the lights went down and the models came out - showtime!
The wait before the show got underway was definitely worth it. But I could of told you that before I saw one item of clothing. There are only about 3 designers that I can really rely on to be good and Chloé is definitely one of them. The collections are always chic, wearable and relaxed - what more could you ask for?
Clare Waight Keller’s 7th seasonal collection was in my opinion one of her best, if not thee best. The great thing about the collection was its’s wearability and relaxed attitude paired with a luxe colour palette of neutrals and deep burgundy’s, golds and mustards. The oversized coat made a much welcomed appearance, along with casual sheepskin ankle boots and knee high suede boots. There was also a lesson on the classy way to do animal print which was put with pinky nudes and long cream coats. Hair and make-up was kept fresh and simple which complimented the clothing and let it speak for itself. Veering away from the classic Chloé girl near the end, gold metal was used as embelishments on dresses and skirts which brought out a slightly rougher side to the feminity of the show and was the perfect finale to end on. I want to be a Chloé girl.
I know I am about to majorly state the obvious but the standard for talent in Paris is seriously high. I seem to struggle to pick the best collection every single day. However, saying that, there was a clear winner for me on day 7 in Paris. Nicolas Andreas Taralis, Sacai, Giambattista Valli and Veronique Branquinho all stood as brilliant collections but as soon as I saw the images from the Elie Saab show I was blown away. Although maybe that is a slight exaggeration because I always know that Elie Saab is going to impress and is very easy to predict.
The designer reminds me very much of Jenny Packman. Both designers create masterpiece red carpet gowns that are simply stunning and are made to make a woman look like the most beautiful thing on earth. Both designers are perfectionists in this area and are extremely reliable in producing these kind of shows.
However this particular collection from Elie Saab also paid strong attention to formal workwear. As far as autumn/winter work wear goes, this is pretty much what every female asks for: rich dark jewel shades, simple flattering tailoring and a hint of fur.
This was an extremely well put together collection pleasing both the glamourous and practical parts of the female psyche. What more could we ask for?
One word - Chanel. The collection was brilliant but the set was even better! Chanel may be an aspirational brand for many but everyone goes food shopping, right? Well next time your pushing your trolley around Tesco or Asda just think - this is what the Chanel models do. In fact not only the Chanel models but Rihanna as well. She joined Cara Delevingne, Joan Smalls and Kendall Jenner for a whirl round the Chanel grocery store - it doesn’t get much more glamourous than that!
Looking past the magnificently quirky and original background, the collection was also one to admire. This season Karl went for the - like the surroundings - a fun, relaxed, quirky theme with models dressed in trainers (don’t worry these trainers had signature Chanel boucle engrained into them), tight leggings (some shiny, some sparkly and some holed), chains draped across exposed mid drifts and an array of multi coloured fur to top it off.
However, once you’ve got your head around that, clever Mr Lagerfeld still managed to keep it a very recognicable Chanel show with the classic boucle and quilted Chanel coats featuring through the collection, maintaining high fashion status.
This Chanel show was a very entertaining one indeed and very much reflected the level of creativity that bounces around inside Lagerfeld’s mind. It was an innovative collection, combining the casual nature of holed leggings and trainers with chic timeless coats. Opposites really do attract in this instance.
It was rather appropriate that the most anticipated show of fashion week was saved until the very last day. I am of course talking about Nicolas Ghesquière debuting his first collection as Creative Director at Louis Vuitton. And the verdict seems to be good.
Ghesquière certainly put his stamp on the collection with his well known Balenciaga traits running throughout. The show was one my favourite collections from Louis Vuitton, mostly because it was wearable and season appropriate with flattering tailoring and daring cuts making it a versatile show which will suit many.
However, it was Miu Miu who stole my heart on the final day in Paris and the final day of the autumn/winter 2014 shows. Miuccia Prada knows how to do quirky - that’s fact.
Quite often for me, I stay clear of the impractical “fun” collections simply because they aren’t going to make me look good (if I was actually rich enough to wear them that is). But, after seeing the vibrant range of materials, colours and designs at Miu Miu, I think I may have conquered my fear and would be quite happy to leave my safe neutral toned tailored pieces behind (for a day or two). Quilted jackets, waistcoats and skirts looked very practical for Highland weather and plastic effect dresses were cut in a flattering way which could be easily worn with heeled ankle boots and a blazer.
The neon coloured plastic ankle boots with bows looked amazing, although I may not be ready for those just yet! Miu Miu has definitely opened my eyes to more possibilities within my fashion range and next winter I may just go a little crazy - we’ll see!
Photos from Vogue