Iridescent everything, luscious leather and more style trends from Paris Fashion Week Fall Winter 2018
Empowering looks close out the shows, with some of the best saved for last.
Paris Fashion Week is over, and with it, Fashion Month comes to an end for fall/winter 2018. As always, many of the best shows came last, giving fashion watchers a real reason to keep paying attention after four weeks of countless runway shows, street style galleries, and FOMO-Instagram snaps. Below, our picks for the biggest trends out of F/W from Paris' finest.
Dior kicked off Paris Fashion Week by turning back the clock to stage a 1968 protest on the runway. Like so many of the fall/winter 2018 collections we've seen presented in New York, London and Milan, Dior's Paris presentation focused on female power.
"Take a look back to a time a half-century ago when revolutionary thoughts and actions were placing the power and energy of youth center stage and influencing generations to come. For Autumn-Winter 2018-2019, Maria Grazia Chiuri tapped into this anniversary, reinventing and reimagining the legacy of those heady times," Dior wrote, sharing the inspiration behind its runway extravaganza on Instagram.
The Dior show set the tone, opening with a thick knit sweater reading "C'est Non Non Non et Non!" tone, while another sweater featured an oversized peace sign echoing the protests of the '60s. Of course, this isn't the first time Maria Grazia Chiuri has dove into politics; she kicked off her career at Dior with those "We Should All Be Feminist" slogan tees that were once spotted on every fashionista. At the time some declared the tees a marketing tool, but the fall/winter 2018 collection proved that Dior's feminist movement wasn't just a one-season "trend".
"The force of femininity," as creative director Sarah Burton put it, could also be felt at the Alexander McQueen's fall/winter 2018 runway presentation.
Burton's fall range for the label paired romantic Victorian silhouettes and lace with gothic, hard-edged elements and included a finely tailored line-up of suits (including one impeccable female tuxedo), skirts, capes and elegant evening wear.
Holographic fashion and accessories
Hologram-inspired clothes were huge in the '90s and according to the designers showing at Paris Fashion Week; the futuristic iridescent trend will be back this fall. Well, a more refined, dramatic version of it.
John Galliano's impressive fall/winter 2018 collection for Maison Margiela championed the shiny, pearly trend with several fashion-forward holographic pieces coming down the runway in the Grand Palais. Standout looks from the collection included an oversized colour-changing foiled jacket and Galliano's holographic take on a classic women's suit.
Then there were the accessories. Iridescent rain bags that were rolled-up and carried as a pouch were also spotted on the Margiela Paris runway.
Olivier Rousteing also jumped on the iridescent trend for Balmain's fall/winter 2018 collection. The historic French fashion house featured familiar body-hugging silhouettes with sharp shoulders and lots of shimmer when they debuted their upcoming collection in the gilded ballroom at Paris City Hall. Silver foil, liquid-like PVC and iridescent sequins were just some of the materials Rousteing used in his quest for sparkle. "It's a bit the story of my life, in a way, just trying to look for the sky," Rousteing mused backstage to fashion press.
Fashion's most hyped label also got in on the shimmering trend. Off-White hysteria reached a fever pitch in Paris as Virgil Abloh debuted the fall/winter 2018 collection, which included multiple looks comprised of shimmering rectangular silver sequins.
A trend we continue to see on the runway every fall is leather. Leather everything: leather jackets, leather tops, leather skirts, leather pants, leather shorts, you name it!
Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, Saint Laurent's fall/winter 2018 collection was filled with moody monochromatic black leather looks that upped the ante on raw sex appeal. Creative director Anthony Vaccarello's rock 'n' roll-inspired collection for both day and night included form-fitting leather jackets, barely there leather hot pants, and leather-accented hats. However, Vaccarello made his most dramatic statement with a serious statement shoe for this coming fall: towering chunky black leather platform boots.
Balmain's creative director Olivier Rousteing also brought luxurious leather to the runway, while paying homage to the namesake founder of the famed fashion house, Pierre Balmain. "He was emboldened by future visions, as he broke with many well-established conventions of his time," Rousteing wrote in his show notes. "That's why I feel that today's runway pays a special homage to this house's legacy. Just like Pierre Balmain, I use this collection to challenge myself to look forward, playing with new ideas, techniques, materials and colors."
Rousteing certainly experimented with leather silhouettes. Seductive leather silhouettes coming down the Balmain runway had Rousteing's trademark futuristic twist, especially one excessively pleated ensemble that almost resembled black liquorice.
Other French fashion houses showing luxurious leather looks were Lowe and Rochas. Lowe's runway included plenty of supple black leather looks, including one over-the-top black leather gown, while Rochas added a luxurious feel to their leather looks by showing them in a rich tan colour.
Back to the future: The return of Poiret
After a 90-year hiatus, the famed house of iconic designer Paul Poiret returned to the Paris runway. The fall/winter 2018 runway show was an incredible comeback for the design house widely considered to be among the most influential of the 20th century. (Poiret is credited with liberating women from the petticoat and the corset. He also invented the sheath and sack dress, and was the first designer to release a fragrance.) Beijing-born, Paris-based couturier Yiqing Yin has been charged with leading the revival and showed a collection of sack dresses, kimono coats and opulent jacquard opera coats, each a subtle nod to the history of the brand.
Christopher Turner is a Toronto-based writer, editor and lifelong fashionisto with a passion for pop culture and sneakers. Follow him on social media at @Turnstylin.