High-fashion denim, dance-inspired collections and more trends from Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019

Notes from the spectacle we've come to expect and love.

Notes from the spectacle we've come to expect and love.

(Credit: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)

The final stop on the fashion month calendar is always known to be a spectacle — think OTT set design (CHANEL outdoes CHANEL again), chicer than chic venues and, of course, the clothes. This season saw a few twists on the refined sense of sartorialism that we often see from Paris, including couture-like takes on denim, different designers offering their interpretation on what gender-neutral cuts look like today, as well as double-take worthy handbags and more.

Hear me roar!

What usually appears on fall runways every season — animal print — popped up all over the spring shows in the City of Lights. At Gucci there was a singular silky leopard print turtleneck dress; a demure take on the wild pattern. At Rochas, Alessandro Dell'Acqua paired cat print overcoats with matching skirts, tops and dresses in different textures for an Old Hollywood take on the trend. Over at Balenciaga, Demna Gvsalia (who teamed up with Canadian artist Jon Rafman for the surreal digital tunnel that was the set) also sent one impactful, cat-inspired look down the catwalk: a high-collared, faux fur topper that was nipped in at the waist for a very form-fitting look. And Giambattista Valli came to play with a floor length duster coat, paired with a white turtleneck and slightly flared matching print pants.

Gender studies

Unisex clothing has become an area of fascination within the fashion community, and Paris really took to this as a new area of exploration this season, showing that it goes beyond a trend and is becoming a way of life for labels including Maison Margiela, Gucci, Lemaire, Givenchy and more. The MM runway, (designer John Galliano has been there since 2014), saw female models with shaved heads walking in twisted takes on the boiler suit and tough jackets, alongside male models strutting in skirts and black and white dresses. Over at Givenchy, Claire Waight Keller sited Swiss writer, photographer and journalist Annemarie Schwarzenbach, who was known for her androgynous look all the way back in the 1930s, as her ultimate muse — tucking jackets and blazers into high-waisted trousers, and bringing in a new level of chic sure to be copied by fashion fans stat. At Lemaire, the women's tailoring was oversized and structured, making a case for a new type of power suit. It is one thing to see women in clothes that mimic a man's wardrobe, just tailored to a woman's body, but now designers are putting men in more traditionally feminine looks, one must think to help finally break the mould of what is seen as traditional to either gender.

Can you handle this?

Handbags are often the centrepiece for an outfit, and this season saw some kitschy twists on the handle bag, including the Mickey Mouse head at Gucci, the floral embossed, schoolhouse-shaped bags at Alexander McQueen, and Chanel's silver and black beach ball-inspired mini, among others.

It's in the jeans

Considered casual or workwear, denim made a strong showing at at Paris Fashion Week. And while it's not the first time its had a presence, its prominence on spring/summer runways, and that it was made to look so utterly cool, makes this worth of attention. At Balmain, Olivier Rousteing sent his army down the catwalk in Instagram-worthy pieces, as he does, including light-wash, high-waisted denim trousers that look more comfortable than jogging pants. There was also a long denim skirt and a crystal-encrusted sharp-shouldered bodysuit and matching jeans. Over at Christian Dior, there was a smattering of tie-dyed denim, plus Stella McCartney sent Kaia Gerber down the runway in a tie-dye denim flight suit. Denim pieces were also spotted at Esteban Cortazar, APC, Chanel, Miu Miu and Balenciaga.

Come dance with me

Ballet- and dance-infused confections made a feminine yet strong statement this past week. Dior kicked things off with an ethereal collection of muted tones, mesh overlays and beige bodysuits, throwing some diaphanous florals in for good measure. At Esteban Cortazar, an ice blue, asymmetrical strapped bodysuit grounded a more fluid silk embroidered coat and pant ensemble. And at Off__White, sportif mixed with dance in a properly powerful array of looks, most complemented by an out-of-this-world sneaker collaboration with Nike.