Amidst all the shows during this past fashion week in Paris one stood out in particular, and not only because it was not held on a catwalk.
On Friday Olivier Theyskens presented his most convincing collection since he relaunched his eponymous label two years ago.
This women’s season, tampered by debilitating cold, held few surprises. Designers by and large stuck to what they do, but they did it so well that those of us who prefer to dig deep were satisfied.
For his latest menswear collection, called “Get Ready,” shown during this past men’s fashion week in Paris, the designer Geoffrey B. Small turned to Shakespeare.
My first showroom visit was to Boris Bidjan Saberi, where I got to examine closely those tubelike garments that he put on the runway two days prior.
Paris was its usual gray and cold, a kind of weather for which “discomforting” is the best word. They are still short on comfort in Paris, 21st Century be damned, and maybe there is a kind of purpose in that, lest we humans get too self-satisfied.
This year amidst the usual barrage of “news” about collaborations, must-cop listicles, and the importance of Dad sneakers, a few articles in the press aimed at fashion and streetwear actually tried to address something worthwhile, namely, what’s happening to today’s youth, specifically in the cultural space, and even more specifically as it relates to style.
Graduates of the prestigious Antwerp Academy fashion program, the Capara sisters have worked with Dries Van Noten, Martin Margiela, and Raf Simons, before launching their eponymous line out of Antwerp.
If you find yourself in Antwerp in the coming months, or need a reason to go there, a visit to the “Olivier Theyskens: She Walks in Beauty” exhibit at the ModeMuseum (MoMu) will take you back to the time when fashion with capital “F” was still important, when that fickle enterprise still had sweep and grandeur, before the paralyzing effect of irony and false self-deprecation that accounts for much of fashion’s blandness today had set in. It was a time when couture was made thoroughly modern by the likes of Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, and Martin Margiela, those designers who still bothered to learn the fashion playbook before tearing it to shreds, sometimes literally.
It was with great trepidation that I first walked into the Ann Demeulemeester flagship store in Antwerp in 2001. It was on my first trip to Europe. I was twenty-five, and I was backpacking, reclaiming my American right of passage, about seven years too late, but I had no money before that. It’s safe to say that I was probably the only backpacker this summer to stop over in Antwerp to go shopping for fashion. But it was the highlight of my trip. I stuffed my backpack into a locker at the magnificent Antwerp train station, and made a beeline for Louis, followed by Dries Van Noten, and then a long walk down Nationalstraat to Ann Demeulemeester, saving the best for last. I don’t remember why, but I only bought a belt there, which I still wear. “Just the belt?” the salesperson ask, probably not meaning to embarrass me.