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Fashion photos of the week: Dior and Hermès shine on the Paris runway

Amy Verner reports from the runways of Paris Fashion Week

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Hussein Chalayan keeps moving away from the highly conceptual studies that would define his collections as beautifully… strange. For spring, he used a “Seize the Day” theme to bring dimension to sportswear (one net fabric was literally 3-D). Put in your order for a straw hat-visor hybrid ASAP.

Zacharie Scheurer/AP

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He continued the sandwich board boxiness from fall, this on an otherwise classic shirtdress in denim chambray. The structured shape floats away from body without being overly rigid.

Zacharie Scheurer/AP

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Chalayan also incorporates palladium metal into his designs, adding a geometric jewellery element to the dresses.

Zacharie Scheurer/AP

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This was the scene outside the Christian Dior ready-to-wear show on Friday afternoon. A massive white cube was erected outside the Hotel National des Invalides as the venue for the historic fashion house’s debut ready-to-wear collection from designer Raf Simons.

BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

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To begin, Simons presented a number of looks in black that updated the famous Dior “bar” jacket. There were some noticeable tweaks – a bit more flare, a tighter shoulder. He also paired the look with very short shorts. Some jackets could double as dresses.

BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

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Simons asserted an electric personality on the collection. The stripes are youthful – and not something you would have seen in the John Galliano era – but the execution is every bit high style.

Jacques Brinon/AP

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The final grouping echoed the looks Simons presented for his first haute couture collection in July. The designer decoded what makes Dior, Dior. And then encoded it with his own spirit.

BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

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Like other designers showing in Paris, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren opened their collection with a strict message of black and stone. This was a complete reversal from Spring 2012, which reveled in colour and oversized motifs.

Francois Mori/AP

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There have been many lustrous fabrications so far this season but this Viktor & Rolf skirt looks as if it’s been dipped in liquid metal.

BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

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The designers have a surrealist side that, this season, was expressed as large mirrored cutouts in their signature rose and ribbon motifs. Read into them as some message on reflection and narcissism if you wish; more likely, this was just their latest way to add flash to their fashion.

Francois Mori/AP

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If this dress looked puffy on a model, you can imagine what it would look like on everyone else. All that tightly cut tulle had the effect of a sheared sheep.

BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

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The gilded salons of a private mansion had been sheathed in white plastic for the Maison Martin Margiela show. The look was intense – like sitting in a museum-turned-biohazard. Similar to Chalayan, the square silhouette appeared in this collection, with fluid, narrow panels running down the side body.

CHARLES PLATIAU/REUTERS

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Sheerness offset some of the more unwieldy padded dresses (not shown). Here, the clothes have been tailored just far enough away from the body to get a sense of the negative space within the garment. Ditto the construction.

Thibault Camus/AP

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Many people associate MMM (as it’s commonly known) with experimental design and when the H&M collaboration appears in November, this will definitely hold true. But the brand also knows when to rein things back. There’s refinement to this masculine-feminine look; the asymmetric bow is the right side of quirky.

CHARLES PLATIAU/REUTERS

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Jean Paul Gaultier decided to pay tribute to pop stars from the 1980s who became as known for their aesthetic as their albums. Many of the looks happened to overlap with Gaultier signatures. Cue “Annie Lennox” in a modified pinstripe suit, slashed at the chest to create the impression of a bustier and cropped jacket

Jacques Brinon/AP

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Many of the looks happened to overlap with Gaultier signatures. Not surprisingly, eh revisited the cone breast detailing and cage overlays for his new Madonnas. His David Bowies, meanwhile, looked like a Japanese action figure (or have those action figures always looked like Bowie?)

Benoit Tessier/Reuters

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Here’s Michael Jackson, incidentally, the most toned down of the lot. Of the entire collection, these pieces (red satin perfecto jacket, men’s trousers), were the most commercial.

BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

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For all his lust for life and showy sexiness, Gaultier fell victim to an unfortunate case of shark jump when supermodel Karlie Kloss appeared as Boy George. How did the show turn into costumes for a musical? And with so many icons -- theirs styles all different – he lost focus before he even began.

Jacques Brinon/AP

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Christophe Lemaire continues to find his stride at Hermès where this season, he coaxed leathers into all sorts of treatments and silhouettes that combined savoir-faire with soigné style. Need proof? Check out the detail on this multicoloured leather windowpane shirt. Lemaire also showed shorts in jade green crocodile.

Thibault Camus/AP

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If anyone could make a case for leather suspenders, it’s Hermès. Lemaire’s versions were skinny, no wider than tagliatelle pasta.

CHARLES PLATIAU/REUTERS

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It would not be an Hermès collection without a selection of scarf prints. Lemaire took a less formal approach to integrating them with the other clothes this season. This time, contrasting colour-ways might be mixed together like inspired pajama dressing.

Thibault Camus/AP

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And, of course, do not dismiss the bags. Lemaire introduced newness here in the form of caramel-coloured backpacks and obviously a Birkin, now boasting a slightly modified dimension and geometric panel detail. The brand’s notorious waiting lists are about to get a whole lot longer.

CHARLES PLATIAU/Reuters

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This was a seminal collection for Bill Gaytten. Relieved of his duties at Christion Dior, he could focus on bringing the John Galliano brand up to speed with the rest of Paris fashion. By the looks of this dress, he succeeded – its sweeping form the result of thick cotton.

BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

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But then you might be inclined to reconsider after seeing these pants. Sure, they lack the frou and ornamentation of his last collection but they seem unnecessarily bulky. Gaytten certainly has more time now to finesse the problem areas. Alas, it’s no easy task.

BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

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