There are an estimated 7,000 brands showing in Paris during the fashion season. Here are three that stood out for the novelty of their ideas, and the skill of execution: Zimmermann, Delvaux and Paula Canovas del Vas.
Zimmermann : Mature nurtures fashion
Got to hand it to Nicky Zimmermann, she keeps getting better. Her latest collection staged in Paris was surely her most innovative, blending nature, novel fabrics, nonchalance and North Bondi beauty.
Her inspiration led her to look at ways nature is approached in art and made to look more beautiful. A special fashion blend that felt somewhat scientific, but also airy and fresh.
“I was inspired by nature, but nature through all different forms of art. Botanical art, amazing natural sculptures, like when we were creating shapes and silhouettes with the embroideries,” explained, the Sydney-based designer after her show in the Palais de Tokyo.
Stiff cotton cut into inverted buds; sweeping cutaway dresses in delicate floral prints; and rather fabulous flamenco frocks in mesh embroidered with shards of laces. Delicate bodices centering organically shaped frocks, degradé silk scarf dresses that floated behind the models.
“We wanted the girls to feel that the flowers on the dresses were kind of moving,” smiled Nicky, Australia’s most successful designer ever.
Suggestions of hand-printed magnolias and orchids, mixed in with lots of nappa leather jackets and smooth pale blue denim. Climaxing with faded colors that riffed on Mark Rothko, who will be the subject of a major retrospective in the Vuitton Foundation to open this month.
“It’s the Australian idea of fashion. It’s what we do when you come from Oz. I called my daughter this morning for a Facetime and it’s 35 degrees, and she is sitting at the beach… But meant to be studying!” she laughs out loud.
“You are surrounded by beauty in Australia – beach, bush and nature everywhere. You can’t get away from it, and you don’t really want to. That’s who we are, and it comes through in the clothes,” Nicky concluded.
Delvaux: Beauty with Bosmans
Some collabs’ seem forced, others feel organic, like Delvaux’s smart linkup this season with artist Kasper Bosmans, an evocation of Belgium’s rich heraldic tradition.
Born in Brussels in 1829, Delvaux can always boast of impeccable quality. Allowing Bosmans to ally with the shields, flags and insignia led to some great new bags.
The artist worked with classic Delvaux bags – like the bucket-shaped Pin and the Cool Box – but then went into overdrive with some exceptional marquetry and inlay. Colors also seen in a humorous wall-to-ceiling painting of playful sea monsters the artist installed inside a mansion on Boulevard des Invalides.
“It’s part of our work, historic identity and surprise. We like a blend of identities. Not as a memory, but a dream to link you to the brand,” explained CEO Jean-Marc Loubier, who discovered Bosmans work in an exhibition at the WIELS art center in Brussels, which he had created.
Bosmans new Delvaux ideas are not limited edition, but still very pricey objects. Prices can rise to about €20,000 for full tapestry versions created by Bosmans.
In a busy moment for the brand, Delvaux has also opened new stores in Kuala Lumper and Riyadh, the latter in the Kingdom Mall.
But looking ahead, Loubier cautioned that the luxury industry, “had adopted the habit of easy growth in China. The restart in the USA happened two years, and now China is about to become normal. So, each house needs to be strong in that market and not just think they can show up with a new bag and everything will be okay.”
Paula Canovas del Vas: Street cool meets upcycled couture
Paula Canovas del Vas certainly comes well recommended. She won a Stella McCartney scholarship to St Martin’s; and then scooped the Isabella Blow award in London college.
Since then, she was a semi-finalist in last year’s LVMH Prize, where she attracted plenty of attention with her surprising blend of street cool and upcycled couture.
On Monday, Paula staged a snappy presentation inside the Cervantes Institute on Avenue Marceau, right next door to the Yves Saint Laurent & Pierre Bergé Institute. That museum is currently showing an exhibition called Formes, and striking shapes are part of what Paula trades.
Enveloping capes and sculpted dresses made of upcycled dead-stock taffeta. Though juxtaposed to colorful knit sweater and tanks with contrasting hems and necklines. Paula cut intricate knit bra tops, swaddled the torso, and draped great skirts that fold in black petals of fabric. While her exposed seamed shorts had plenty of kick.
Canovas del Vas is also a deft colorist – her fiery heart print technical chiffon dresses and cocktails were some of the coolest looks seen in Paris. While her devil-tongued open-topped high-heels seem destined to become cult items. Presented before a series of ox red organic sculptures, Canovas del Vas’ latest collection in Paris was very much a hit.
Born in Spain, but based in France, Canovas del Vas now lives and works in the 19th arrondissement, just below the Butte de Chaumont. The latest foreign fashion talent to add to global style’s greatest tapestry – Parisian fashion.
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