The Balenciaga show: a breathtaking setting, models walking on water and some techno music.

Paris Women’s Fashion Week Highlights F/W 2020 Part 2

On a wet Sunday, Paris Fashion Week switched into top gear with a spectacular show from Balenciaga and a new twist chez Valentino.

Balenciaga

Jesus Christ could walk on water and it seems that in fashion there is someone as well. Demna Gvasalia who designs the Balenciaga clothes and shows excited the fashion community with his Sunday morning fashion mess by letting his models walk on water in spectacular clothes that were all about cut and line. Showing in his usual St. Denis movie making sound stage which he customizes every season, Gvasalia proved that he loves being the director of a spectacle as much as the leader of tailored high-end street wear. We mean it, nobody puts on a better show in terms of staging, sound, timing and high fashion. Idolizing religion and sports through the craft of making clothes was at the core of this happening.

The tailoring?

Using mostly stiff black wool, Balenciaga’s suitings and capes were inspired by clergymen’s garb with precise pleats on the waist and torso with billowing effect and exaggerated pagoda shoulders and upright collars. One cannot wonder how well Gvasalia knows his fabrics as his materials are super performing to hold shapes.

Gvasalia knows his materials, from them he forms monk-like garments, pagoda shoulders and uprigth collars which could not have been designed more precisely.

The special ingredient?

Nobody is better at elevating everyday life and nearly cheesy totems like tourist tchotchke Eiffel towers, top model contest logo shirts or this time motocross outfits or more trivial but universally recognized football jerseys to sought after fashion items. Balenciaga brought to life a Balenciaga Football Club to represent the obsessive quality of team sports in a fashion context.

Motocross outfits and football jerseys: At Balenciaga team sport was brought to the catwalk.

Ralf Moeller, really?

What a great idea to use a big volume man when you like big silhouettes. As ever the master of casting, Gvasalia hired German action movie hero and body builder Ralf Moeller to walk the show, which left the audience gasping.

Big man in big volume shape. Ralf Moeller walked for Balenciaga.

What’s becoming clear?

Balenciaga is a house on fire, which has passed over one Billion Euro in sales. Fashion’s formula is simple, every house needs a signature to succeed and Gvasalia has made the second skin, super tight look his very own. This time in evening dresses where shoes, gloves and leggings came all in one piece.

Evening gowns, leggings and gloves felt like a second skin at Balenciaga.

Valentino

It has to be said. The days of fashion for women who lunch are over. This term was famously coined by WWD under John Fairchild when there was a world of rich women in New York who got dressed up in expensive clothes by designers like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino or Americans like Geoffrey Beene and Ralph Lauren to go to lunch at places like La Grenouille or the Quilted Giraffe. Well, it seems those days are over and fancy New Yorkers now go to Yoga classes with a cold pressed juices instead of parading their frocks in fancy restaurants. The amazing thing that Pierpaolo Piccioli has pulled off at Valentino is that he has stayed true to the codes of the house of making fabulous eveningwear while at the same time speaking for the times we live in with his clothes. The last two years he has catapulted himself to be the fashion world’s number one Haute Couturier and he has trickled down those fantasies in his ready to wear collections.

Pierpaolo Piccioli manages to combine Valentino’s legacy with the current spirit of the times, always surpassing himself.

Often Haute but always right. For his latest show, he switched gears completely and presented a tough black tailoring collection with punk platform shoes, which covered all new ground. He can just do it.

Haute Couture meets rough punk: Pierpaolo Piccioli reinterprets femininity for Valentino.

The twist?

Valentino has been the Walhalla of ultra-feminine clothes the past few years. This time, Piccioli turned to his men’s wear ideas of precise black tailoring in coats and capes and often black leather to give a new allure. To make sure, he included men on the runway.

A little more androgynous? To be seen at Valentino’s in coats, capes and leather suits.

The shoes?

We have noticed that Dr Martens boots are everywhere. Models, fashion editors, interns or random women on the Metro. Valentino added its own platform spin on the subject.

Thick boots infiltrate the fashion world. Now also at Valentino with ultra high platform soles.

The house?

While executives come and go at the moment, it seems that boss Stefano Sassi is all about bringing in fresh blood to further spread his designer’s unique vision. New chief brand officer Alessio Vannetti hails from Gucci and started his job with this show. This house only needs to connect dots, it has the jam.