Loewe bowls over Paris Fashion Week; tribute to Miyake


PARIS (AP) — Loewe’s ever-creative director, Jonathan Anderson, became the toast of Paris Fashion Week on Friday with his subtly provocative, concept-driven runway show triumph that had critics and VIP guests, including Karlie Kloss and Alexa Chung, bowled over.

Meanwhile, U.S. Vogue’s Anna Wintour announced that next year’s Met Gala in New York will be a homage to the late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld.

Here are some highlights of spring-summer 2023 collections:

IN LOWE WITH LOEWE

Loewe, the hip heritage brand whose “w” is pronounced “v,” is going from strength to strength under the artistic stewardship of Northern Irish designer Johnathan Anderson.

Friday’s concept-driven collection — the highlight of the season so far — was a case in point. Like old school collections used to be, Anderson takes one main theme and develops it until it spawns others creatively within the show like a symphony, all held together with invisible strings. A giant bright red tropical flower, identified as an anthurium, was the centerpiece of this minimalist runway — producing thoughtful variations on the flower theme.

It was at times literal, such as the giant white anthurium serving as the front piece on an A-line minidress. At other times it was conceptual: The minimalist shape of a black bustier dress opening the show evoked the purity of the single waxy petal — and its silhouette itself resembled an upside-down flower, like a take on 1940s Dior.

Distortions were everywhere. An ash bustier gown sported an inside peplum to create a surreal curtain-shape in the skirt. The 1940s was also apparent in the babydoll gowns whose myriad-colored stripes confused the eye.

Shoes became ruffles of white fabric like petals brushing the floor — or a mop? — while stilettos were intentionally oversize and awkward.

This collection shows that Anderson is a rare designer who manages to mix classical fashion with perplexing ideas without sacrificing any visual beauty.

Besides, if one front row guest is snapped just knitting throughout, this surely must be the height of fashion?

MET GALA TO CELEBRATE KARL LAGERFELD

U.S. Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour convened a huddle of top Paris Fashion Week insiders Friday to announce that the theme of next year’s annual Met Gala will be the work of the late Karl Lagerfeld.

Taking place on the first Monday in May, the world-famous fund-raiser — also billed the Oscars of fashion — will celebrate the work of the German-born couturier, who worked at Chanel, Fendi and Chloe and died in 2019, aged 85.

As ever, the Met Gala theme is borrowed from the exhibit running at the museum. Next year’s will be entitled “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” and will see some 150 of his creations assembled together to see his “stylistic language.” Lagerfeld’s original sketches will also be on display.

ISSEY MIYAKE: A TRIBUTE

The Japanese techno-fabric-loving house of Issey Miyake marked the end of an era on Friday, presenting its first collection since the death of the house founder. Fashion icon Issey Miyake died last month in Tokyo at age 84.

A heartfelt tribute to him was included in the show notes from current designer Satoshi Kondo and the design team. It read: “We see design as a process driven by curiosity, built upon a comprehensive exploration — bringing joy, wonder, and hope to life, and of course with a touch of playfulness.”

The spring show was fittingly contemplative.

Against the set of a huge glowing obelisk, draping and gentle curves defined the soft aesthetic. Models walked a hazy, white and blue backlit runway, appearing as if through clouds.

A loose white shirt had additional layers of fabric on the shoulder that fluttered like wings, while a neon-yellow trench with voluminous arms dazzled like the first ray of sun.

The best looks in the otherwise play-it-safe collection were classic Miyake styles. One torch-red gown was made of horizontal veins of fabric that bounced stylishly as the model paraded past. Its asymmetrical skirt flowed down one leg like moving lava.

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI, THE WICKER MAN

Bejeweled Roman sandals, rope-like hem detailing and tunic-style minidresses.

The spring collection by Giambattista Valli was a nod to ancient Rome, reminding fashion insiders that despite showing in Paris and with a very Parisian aesthetic, Valli does actually hark from Rome (albeit not the Ancient variety, having been born there in 1966).

Spring saw the talented couturier’s usual sexy 60s fare — youthful, baring inches of flesh. But there were creative flourishes among these styles that demonstrated how he keeps more than one eye on the trends.

Friday saw designs using raffia and perforations resembling wicker to create styles that have been seen in other collections this season, too.

The best looks were the least try-hard: One black full skirt in all out perforations had a sort of sporty-ethnic vibe with the mode’s flesh visible, sensually, through the holes.

LEONARD’S PHUNG

Workaholic Christine Phung is as busy as they come, and as creative director of Leonard Paris, as well as her eponymous line, she’s slowly carving out a reputation in Paris fashion circles.

Print and architectural shapes were shot in bright color for her spring offering, with a relaxed ‘70s vibe expressed through waist detailing and cloche sleeves.

While, gentle psychedelics gave a lift to one retro boho gown with some unfurling fabric at the bust that looked very Farrah Fawcet.

It was sweet but safe.

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