Cathy Horyn PFW SS22 Review Dries Van Noten & Saint Laurent

From left to right: Dries Van Noten, Saint Laurent, Dries Van Noten
Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Courtesy of Saint Laurent, Rafael Pavarotti / Courtesy of Dries Van Noten

Parisian ready-to-wear shows are unlikely to drop bombs; no great Prada moment like last week in Milan, no revelation like Balenciaga’s haute couture collection in July. But Paris turns out to be a very good place to observe the intense slide in values. Belgian designer Dries Van Noten told me: “Everything doesn’t have to be luxury, everything doesn’t have to be logos. That’s why it’s quite interesting to see shows now. Van Noten himself took his understated form a step further by painting his models’ hair in electric colors and giving them long, faux, jeweled nails. “We kept saying, ‘It’s not enough. “”

But, beyond the possibilities of expression that fashion has always offered – and that the pandemic has certainly stimulated – there is also a broader change. You feel that young designers in particular are trying to negotiate a path between their generation’s ideas of clothing and what the industry has long considered essential to good design, starting with a designer’s clear intentions.

Photo: courtesy of Koché

I couldn’t guess what Christelle Kocher, founder of the Koché brand was doing, with so many sequins and feathers, not to mention the wacky hats in the stylized way of old fashion shows. Feathers dripped from the shoes, while sparkling dresses and pants in Easter egg pinks and greens fell above them. Kocher made his mark with smart yet practical sportswear characterized by fresh prints. Now she seemed to want to give her clothes a more couture look. Still, is it tailoring as Instagram presents it – all surface treatment and silly hats – or is it tailoring the way it’s usually done, with well-executed cuts and trims? The answer is the first, and this, in my opinion, undermines Kocher’s credibility.

Thebe Magugu.
Photo: Paul Samuels / Courtesy of Thebe Magugu /

Thebe Magugu, on the other hand, did not have this problem. The South African designer’s new collection was playful, cohesive, honest, and included a gorgeous off-the-shoulder trench-style coat dress with one half in khaki and the other in French blue, cool shirt dresses and a fitted jumpsuit in red. Cherry. with legs split up to the knee.

Photo: Courtesy of Ottolinger

I also liked the raw and uncluttered sensuality of Ottolinger, from Berlin designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient. They were showing up in a seedy 18th century building on the Left Bank, guests crashed into a few rooms and the stairwell, so the mannequins in their stretchy tops and underwear, their Roman sandals made of what looked like bondage ties, almost touched your knees. It might sound strange, but their designs remind me a bit of Azzedine Alaïa, not his sensitivity and certainly not his technical finesse, but more of his energy and the way he used the sticky fabrics and the cut to unravel the female body. Everything in Bösch and Gadient’s collection was not well done or interesting; the last two pieces, with wired shutters protruding from them like fins, were amateurish. But their printed super-fine jersey tube dresses were terrific, their coarse-cut denim jackets were okay, and I admire any designer woman who takes the risk of burying centuries of rules and myths trapped on body and body. decorum of a woman.

Saint Laurent.
Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent

I didn’t see the Saint Laurent parade last night; I haven’t been invited, haven’t been in a few years (for critics). But I want to comment on Anthony Vaccarello’s collection. It struck me, from the first glance – a thin, ankle-length white dress fitted to the hips so that the upper part pulled out a bit from the body – that Vaccarello was saying to his audience: “Let me show you. real design, not something done to effectively get “likes” on Instagram. “

This dress, which had a deep V front and long sleeves up to the elbows, probably took time and accessories to be perfect. It was followed by a version in black (with gold buttons) and another in warm orange. At the same time, the dresses were a nice balance between comfort and high fashion, a balance that Prada also achieved. Vaccarello had a lot of sexy numbers, sure, but I would say there’s a lot more fun and mystery in seeing something with a nice line or a nice drape, because it involves craftsmanship beyond the knowledge of most of us. This know-how is Saint Laurent’s special weapon, like the “tuxedo” dresses he also showed (between catsuits) and immaculate, razor-sharp blazers. Young designers can talk about ‘couture’, but what does that really mean if it’s just a bunch of trims?

Dries Van Noten.
Photo: Rafael Pavarotti / Courtesy of Dries Van Noten

Van Noten said he was not ready to return to a live parade, given concerns about the Delta variant. He produced a film with Albert Moya, with still images by Rafael Pavarotti, and released them today. The atmosphere is decidedly exuberant: think of a musical festival or Holi, the Hindu festival of love, when everything is saturated with color. As Van Noten said on a Zoom call, even though there is a fifth or sixth wave of COVID next spring, “I’d rather just do it in crazy clothes and have fun dressing up. Why not? Let the fun begin. “

While some details are lost in the film, the message is clear enough in the explosion of oranges, reds, and pool greens; in textured jacquards; chunky balloon sleeves and see-through blouses; a gorgeous babydoll dress in overlapping bands of jewel-colored fringes, and of course those long sparkling nails.

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