PARIS — Chloé — the house that invented ready-to-wear — almost prepared to dance during Paris Fashion Week on Thursday as designer Gabriela Hearst developed disco fever, open strobe lighting, colorful 1970s record designs and grungy hair.
And this season Rick Owens, the tireless American designer, has put a softer twist on his creature-couture display.
Here are some highlights of the spring-summer 2023 collections in Paris:
CHLOE’S CLEAN DISCO
Katie Holmes and other VIP guests fumbled to their seats amid dim house lights, dotted with glasses of champagne and disco decor.
The scene ushered in a collection that, while not exactly disco, was a very Hearst-for-Chloe version of it: clean and minimalist with occasional whoosses from the dance floor.
The disc motif was used throughout. It appeared as cutouts on the side of a sporty white sheath dress, eyelets or blue, orange, white and black inserts on dresses worn by models with long gelled hair as if they had danced.
Oversized white tuxedos added a welcome masculine touch to the sporty aesthetic. But sometimes, despite the concept – or perhaps because of it – the styles seemed to lack a bit of energy.
But there were still plenty of standout looks: Model Gigi Hadid stole the show in a bohemian silver chainmail dress that looked like “Game of Thrones,” “Saturday Night Fever.”
RICK OWENS GETS SOFT
At his Paris runway there were, of course, all of Rick Owens’ usual ethereal freaks – elongated with pointed shoulders, drapes and tendons of flesh-like fabric. But this season Owens, the tireless American designer, has brought a softer touch.
On Thursday, sheer white fur peeked out of the suspender boots on the outdoor track while voluminous 3D sleeves were fashioned in tactile pearly white.
The first look was a showstopper. A see-through gown that could have been worn at the Oscars in ancient Rome, if there had been such a thing. The model’s hair was androgynously slicked back and her pastel thigh high boots were reminiscent of space.
It was a rare treat from a fashion master.
THE PASTEL MINIMALISM OF SHANG XIA
Shang Xia debuted at Paris Fashion Week a year ago to growing curiosity and anticipation as new designer Yang Li swept with a dazzling minimalist aesthetic that drew warm reviews.
The brand, created in 2010 by Hermes International with the grand ambition of being their first luxury brand rooted in Chinese culture, was originally well known for its expensive tea sets and lacquer boxes.
The razor-sharp silhouettes featured on Thursday’s show continued the minimalism and successful formula. The spring collection came in pastel colors and accessorized with chunky wedges. Layered scenes of clouds and cityscapes scraping the sky from the set provided another edgy, futuristic edge.
Plays of shape and form – like colorful circular discs – gave the brand’s 40 fashion looks a contemplative vibe that lessened the effect pure minimalism can sometimes produce.
OFF-WHITE TO BLUE
The late and great Virgil Abloh may be deceased, but his brand and his image lives on in the heart of Parisian fashion shows, especially through the vehicle of the luxury street brand he founded, Off -White. His former collaborator, Ib Kamara, was announced earlier this year as Off-White’s new creative and image director, which puts the house in good stead.
A biker in blue was the spring runway-opening aesthetic on Thursday, complete with a sexy lace midriff cutout and lace mask. Against the bright mid blue decor, it felt fresh, street and dreamlike – like the whole collection.
The poetic references were numerous, some alluding to Abloh.
A white mouth cover – impeding speech – looked evil, but came down in two white flowers held together like the straps of a child’s glove.
And an X-ray tuxedo – with images of human bone structure on it – felt cutting-edge stylish, but also close to home for the brand whose founder died of cancer last year.