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strength and femininity in Paris

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Oct 1, 2023

In the tightly packed schedule of Paris Fashion Week, we witnessed a range of diverse and alternative collections that pondered the bold expression of feminine strength. Danish designer Cecilie Bahnsen stayed true to her bucolic and sustainable identity, Pressiat embraced a glamorous and dark style, while Ukrainian brand Litkovska showcased its tailoring expertise.

Cecilie Bahnsen – Spring-Summer2024 – Womenswear – Paris – © Launchmetrics

Everyday couture by Cecilie Bahnsen

The sole Danish label on the Parisian stage, Cecilie Bahnsen, hosted an intimate presentation of her latest collection, titled ‘Faraway, so close!’ at the 3537 rue des Francs-Bourgeois venue. This delicate, feminine, and romantic collection is a logical continuation of her exploration of the concept of “everyday couture.”

Cecilie Bahnsen doesn’t merely design for special occasions; she aspires for her craftsmanship to find its way into the streets and everyday life. Her women exude strength, donning pairs of black Asics sneakers adorned with delicate flowers, a result of upcycling that embodies the dynamic lives of the brand’s community, ready for work or cycling.

Remaining true to Scandinavian style, the brand presented voluptuous short chiffon dresses with puffed sleeves and long, body-hugging silhouettes adorned with narrow bows. These garments incorporated a fusion of fabrics, embroidery, subtle tone-on-tone floral prints, and draped transparencies.

While worn-out denim contributed a casual touch to several looks, knitwear emerged as the standout choice for springtime outfits. The color palette featured the usual whites, blacks, and grays that dominate the brand’s collections, with hints of pink, red, or fuchsia adding contrasting splashes of color.

“While creating this collection, I’ve been reflecting on the inherent paradox of couture. When you get close to a dress, you realize it’s filled with so much complexity that you can almost feel the touch of the hands that crafted it, the love and tenderness that must be put into the process,” mused Bahnsen about the collection, which is already available for pre-order through her online store.

Matching duos at the Pressiat fashion show- Vincent Kabbara / Pressiat

The dark drama of Pressiat

Just as Weinsanto had done a few hours earlier, Vincent Garnier Pressiat chose the techno club Carbone in the La Chapelle neighborhood to unveil his latest collection to a select audience. Trained in the ateliers of renowned houses like John Galliano, Maison Margiela, Saint Laurent, and Balmain, the designer focused on reinterpreting the established and recognizable classics of his brand, launched in 2021.

Pressiat’s “no-gender” show delved into its customary dramatic style, drawing from various aesthetic references, from Victorian sleeves to the allure of Parisian bourgeoisie. The eclectic collection resulted in exaggerated “femme fatale” silhouettes, seductive divas, and all-terrain “working girls,” all staying faithful to a palette of black and white with subtle touches of fuchsia.

Pressiat’s muses were androgynous and elongated, resembling dark superheroines donning provocative armor. Oversized wool coats with corsetry details at the back, extremely low-rise trousers, almost entirely torn denim, and even a long and short version of the kilt stood out among the looks.

Sensuality also made a strong appearance with structured blazers featuring shoulder pads worn as dresses, long semi-transparent chiffon silhouettes like provocative nightgowns, asymmetrical draped dresses, deep necklines, or long-sleeved crop pieces, leaving torsos exposed or layered over tops of the same fabric. The show also included a few duets, with provocative matching monochrome looks.

Tailored pieces presented at Litkovska’s fashion show- Litkovska

The anticipated revival of Litkovska

In a return to its roots of classic tailoring, Litkovska firmly embarked on a renewed journey with its latest collection. As the only Ukrainian name on the Paris Fashion Week calendar, the brand’s collection was characterized by fluid and exquisite cuts, proudly displaying the traditional Ukrainian craftsmanship that has become its hallmark.

“Each collection reflects a new life, a new beginning. However, some beginnings don’t always have a clear end. They can be interrupted at the most unexpected moment, forcing us to pause,” remarked Lilia Litkovska, the creative director and founder of the brand, in a likely reference to the resilience and transformation that the Ukrainian people have experienced since the outbreak of war.

“The new collection is a call to continue, to move forward, even if the moment is imperfect,” she added optimistically, speaking about her latest collection.

Titled ‘Rebirth’, the collection, presented in a luminous space on Boulevard Haussmann, right in front of the Printemps department store, explored the wardrobe of a contemporary woman through powerful silhouettes. This strength was always laden with meaning and reminiscences of the hostility experienced in her homeland, with a daily life marked by the rhythm of bombings, reflected in deconstructed and asymmetrical garments.

Wide suit jackets transformed into dresses, oversized palazzo-cut jumpsuits, fabric layering resulting in enveloping trenches, white cotton shirts layered over T-shirts, raffia accessories and corsets, and numerous long tailored vests were among the standout pieces.

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