Between the catwalk shows of the French fashion houses, and the new wave of emerging designers, Paris closes the presentation of the new spring/summer 2023 collections. After the opening of the week by Dior and Saint Laurent, the nine days of the event presented fans with various novelties, including the debut of Off-White’s new creative director Ib Karama, and the return to womenswear after two years of Covid-19 restrictions by Japanese brands, including Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe and Issey Miyake, which presented its first collection after the death of its namesake founder earlier this year.
Among the viral moments such as the Coperni dress-spray and the Balenciaga-signed mud parade opened by Kanye West – also presented in Paris for the catwalk of his Yeezy brand amidst much criticism – we retrace the highlights of the week.
Demna Gvasalia’s latest collection paraded this time in the Parisian suburbs, with the title-manifesto “The mud-show.” With a set designed by Spanish artist Santiago Sierra, the very space of the fashion show was an immense pit full of mud, whose trodden runway was dotted with pools of water. In the invitation, the designer explained that it was a metaphor “to dig for the truth and to keep our feet on the ground. I hate boxes, I hate labels, and I hate being labeled”. This statement laid the foundation for a provocative collection, which continued to create a dystopian mood amidst dirty counter clothes and realistic dolls strapped to the chest. The clothes exuded the brand’s now trademarked dark glamour: twisted dresses that knotted on the body, a sequin dress with the hem dragging in the mud.
At the center of the catwalk is a huge fiberglass reproduction of an anthurium flower. Also, on the catwalk, Jonathan Anderson replicates the flowers several times – bright white, lime green, classic red - in various sizes, becoming rigid corsages on dresses or sprouting from shoes. The collection is in continuity with the plastic fascination that the British designer has been experimenting with for several collections, constant reuse of everyday objects decontextualized, scaled, and distorted, almost in a postmodern gesture. Everything is reduced to build the new silhouette: small hourglass dresses, knitted pullovers, leather, and hunting jackets in mini versions. Technology in this collection appears in the form of pixels that define hoodies in knitwear, t-shirts, and slouchy trousers.
The designer set the presentation of the new collection in the vast court of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris – as did his colleagues at Acne Studios – with the central fountain shooting a monumental water spire into the air. The collection was inspired by the figures of ancient Egypt and biblical epics. The collection was permeated with a feeling of ritual and ceremony: silhouettes were draped around the body, shoulders were low-cut, the shape of a jacket evoked the shell of a scarab. Models descended the staircase in elaborately designed sculpture dresses, winding trainers and transparent tulle dresses in econyl. Most surprising was one of the works in the collection: an otherworldly ‘gelatinous’ skin treated with glycerine to appear transparent.
Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired for the design of the latest collection by the Maison Dior by another woman, like her, Italian but who moved to Paris: the Florentine noblewoman Caterina de’ Medici, one of the most evocative figures in European history. Through her figure, Chiuri explored women’s ability to exercise power through a mod. These included delicate Burano lace, the corset, and stiletto heels, whose imports reshaped Parisian fashion. The show is conceived as a baroque feast set in a marquee in the Jardin des Tuileries – commissioned by Catherine de Medici – complete with a wire grotto by artist Eva Jospin and expressive ballet.
The Coperni collection is presented in the Salle des Textiles of the National Museum of Arts and Crafts in Paris. The room, built-in 1850, was dedicated to the display of yarns and weaving machines. A tribute to sculptural physicality and a reflection on the influence of the machine, the event concludes with a moment destined to go immediately viral. The exciting final act saw an almost naked Bella Hadid sprayed live with Fabricant, a liquid that, once hardened, creates a wearable fabric – an idea born in 2003 from an intuition of Spanish researcher Manuel Torres. An experience that sublimates the female body most purely and innovatively, attempting to immortalize it.
Despite the relatively recent foundation of the brand, with this approach, Coperni has undoubtedly caught the attention of young luxury consumers worldwide, attracted by the sense of novelty and affordable luxury.