Paris and London women collections details in the biggest existing size

“In times like this, escape is the only way to stay alive and continue to dream.” So wrote French philosopher and ethologist Henri Laborit in his 1976 essay ‘Éloge de la fuite’. That too was a tumultuous decade with great social upheaval, but the truth is that people have always had a desire to be elsewhere, and especially so in tough times. Over 40 years later, the reasons to escape remain the same although Laborit points out that we escape to move forward, not back. And naturally we like to escape to paradises or mystical places in order to fill the void in our day-to-day lives and make up for what is lacking or, perhaps just to get away from it all. Designers are also escaping or, at least, their creative minds are escaping, because they picked up on this desire to flee, months ago, even though it isn’t always tied to the idea of a holiday. They choose exoticism because it is always fascinating and because it offers an infinite range of inspirations, made up of colours, weaves and patterns from North Africa, India, the Mediterranean or an isolated atoll in the Pacific. Escape is gratifying because it gives the illusion of a continuous search, of a destination to be reached, a changing goal that fills the void in our lives. And using a time machine to go back to a legendary ’70s and ‘80s club in order to assume a new identity or to become what you really are, can also be an escape, though it might be a more mental or even nostalgic escape than a physical one, for those that lived through that time, or those that did not. Nightclub is the kind of chic clashing with the underground culture. Extravagance meets couture elegance, with statement shoulders and airy sleeves, glossy or iridescent surfaces, crazy mix & match, liquid sexuality free from the rules of gendered clothing. And talking of gender fluidity, Male feminine expresses that precise desire to break down walls and divisions, so that a tailored suit can be more than just classic menswear but also as much of a woman’s choice as a silk top or a floral skirt. 

Garments: trouser suits, blazers, extra-long overcoats, cropped tops, T-shirts, masculine shirts, long fluid dresses, sarong skirts, cycling shorts, micro shorts, jumpsuits, visible lingerie, rope belts, large hats (especially in straw), hoods, flat strappy sandals, trainers/dancing shoes, mini bags, handbags, ethnic jewellery/amulets, chain necklaces.
Materials: denim (also bleached), lace, cotton, laminated fabrics, jersey, leather.
Details: beachwear and sportswear elements, bohemian details, ’70s and ’80s influences, visible underwear, one-shoulder, statement shoulders, puff sleeves, high waist, layering, asymmetry, destructuring, artsy, crocheted, panels, mix & match, transparencies, veiling, pockets, splits, fringes, bows, feathers, sequins, laces, knots, ropes, drawstrings, zips, draping, plissé, frills, flounces, mesh, patchwork, embroidery, ethnic motifs, floral patterns, tie-dye, neck scarf patterns, polka dots, animal, logos, checks, iridescence, gloss, metallic sheen.
Colours: black, white, pale neutrals, sky blue, nude, various shades of yellow, ruby red, pink, pervinkle, fuchsia, lilac, denim blue, royal blue, kaki, silver.

London plotted an anatomy of feelings. It offered shows of rare intensity that laid bare an array of emotions. Organza, linen, satin, leather: every visual element became a letter in the textile alphabet. Expressing and telling stories. The choice of colours, prints and embroideries rendered the complexity of the human soul in a palpable way. The clothes were light verses, suspended songs or indecipherable abysses. They conveyed the mystery of life, of the psyche, the hot nub of existence.
The material universe of Chalayan travelled from East to West, finding an answer to the mystery of happiness. The brand’s collection had a tactile, visual feel to it: understated schemes, grids of fabrics, but also draping, fluid shapes and sinuous volumes. It explored the light and shade of the human soul, the whites, blacks and all the moody greys in between. Simone Rocha showed veiled women, dark women, women in mourning and in pain. Widows dressed in embossed silk, rich brocades and tulle. Dark women whose shoulders were covered with embroidered precious shawls. Austere women in starched collars. Victoria Beckham composed a song of concentration: the collection was clean, minimal and measured, devoid of excesses, pure, with long nocturnal dresses in silent black. Burberry shaped mental rigour, formal balance and simplicity. It celebrated the exactness of deep colours, concrete and slate-grey. Jasper Conran sowed words over fabrics, leaving room for bold geometry and XXL lettering. “Equality not Minority” appeared in black letters on a white background. Christopher Kane sounded out the abyss, torment, the last heartbeat. The animal instinct for survival. He moulded asymmetry, draping, volutes, bias cuts, bodices, body shields and shimmers. Roland Mouret explored the shades of seduction: bare shoulders, visible backs, deep necklines, cheeky transparencies. Obsession and perversion tinged Gareth Pugh’s palette: fetish headgear, leather kimono, metallic trenches, unsettling suits. For an urban, theatrical nightmare, thick with drama. The colours lightened up later in the show, reassuring the spirit. Mary Katrantzou showed a wunderkammer, an imaginary world populated with butterflies, buds, fragments of art, fragrances and memories. Delpozo looked to the beauty of wisteria and the poetry of the orchid. Delicacy, fragility, care. Blossoms grew over the shoulders and garments, forming sculptures, organza flower heads, ruffles, flounces, embroidery, shimmers and transparencies. Freedom and expressiveness reverberated in the Roksanda collection, which featured oversize blazers, linen jackets, multi-coloured stripes, dancing shapes, puff sleeves in warm tints of turmeric, coral, ochre and peach. Calm was the key word for JW Anderson, who incorporated it into clothes with a relaxed, spontaneous allure. Irregular fringes and edges dripped from sleeves, skirts and trousers were loose, shapes elongated and colours neutral. The runway became the territory for feelings, the space where inner dialogue could take place. Craftsmanship, tailoring and innovation made up this emotional lexicon, this poetic story, amongst the light and shade of the human mystery.

Garments: fluid dresses, peplums, tunics, slip dresses, bustiers, bodices, suspenders, kimono, mid-calf length skirts, loose trousers, palazzo pants, pantsuits, skirt suits, trenches, double-breasted jackets, Victorian lapels, hats, fans.
Materials: lace, crochet, macramé, tulle, chiffon, organza, satin, embossed silk, brocade, linen, cotton, leather, python, patent, plastic, PVC.
Details: layering, transparencies, asymmetry, gathers, V necklines, visible backs, bare shoulders, rolled up, bell, puff, bubble sleeves, splits, patchwork, patches, heraldic badges, fringes, irregular hems, flounces, ruffles, ropes, ribbons, straps, tassels, stones, crystals, buckles, sequins, rhinestones, mirrors, art prints, paintings, portraits, leopard, zebra, cow prints, butterflies, florals, drips, stripes.
Colours: neutral, biological, ochre, hazelnut, cream, pistachio, melon, peach, pale pink, lilac, mauve, mint, powder blue, cobalt, steel, turmeric, coral, rust, copper, tomato, fuchsia, emerald, concrete, slate-grey, smoky grey, black, white.