Virginie Viard emerged from lockdown with a couture lineup so unapologetically maximalist, it could have walked straight off an Eighties runway. Party dresses, bling and Marie-Antoinette shoes were just some of the ingredients of her presentation during the online edition of Paris Couture Week.
“It’s an eccentric girl with a touch of the Eighties. I wanted something joyful,” the designer said in a preview last week, as photographer Mikael Jansson shot models Adut Akech and Rianne Van Rompaey in an adjoining studio for the show video: a one-minute, 22-second burst of images spliced with grainy black-and-white footage.
Alexis Mabille showcased his fall couture collection with a virtual show featuring a single model and held inside a shocking pink box.
It’s not the first time the designer has skipped the runway. In recent years, he has experimented with showing his designs in static presentations and even a photo exhibition. This time around, he leveraged the power of social media, teasing his presentation with “making-of” videos.
Under lockdown in Denmark and with their Paris studio closed, it was a time of introspection for Nana Aganovich and Brooke Taylor. Unable to produce a new collection, the design duo started out filming video interviews for their online showcase, but were unsatisfied with the result. “It didn’t feel authentic,” Taylor explained over the phone.
Photographer Erik Madigan Heck, an old friend, came to the rescue, reprising the idea of a stop-motion film he had never completed featuring their fall 2019 collection. The dramatic result is “Le Grand Cirque Aganovich,” a short movie in a staccato of black, white and red, peopled by Aganovich’s disturbing, yet poetic veiled models.
On a conceptual level, the video resonates with the circus world’s values of acceptance, diversity and emotion, the pair explained. It also harks back to when the pair met at Central Saint Martins, a time when Aganovich would wear full clown make-up to class.
Stéphane Rolland showed 11 looks worn by Spanish model Nieves Álvarez in a setting that recalled a popular French television show from the Sixties and Seventies, with intimate camera shots in an empty studio. Infused with nostalgia, the collection was playful with jumpsuits, capes and sheath dresses.
Yuima Nakazato’s video was focused on his Face to Face project, initiated in May, whereby consumers send back one of the designer’s shirts to be turned into a new, one-of-a-kind piece. The showcase features the designer in conversation via video link with different customers as they tell the stories of their shirts, providing the inspiration behind each of the upcycled pieces, as well as sketches by Yuima and a display of all 25 pieces.
Drawing on years of experience, the designer introduced 24 looks for the season, pulling French savoir-faire into a contemporary realm, making it suitable for an audience hungry for fashion. “What did I do? Paris. Pure beauty—we returned to the essentials,” said Vauthier.
For the video presenting Aelis’ couture collection, Sofia Crociani contacted a friend, Frankfurt-based choreographer Jacopo Godani. In a fantastical art film dubbed “Angelness,” dancers wear full-skirted gowns, occasionally while riding on another’s shoulders.
“Every stitch, every knot is strongly related to the present and future of an artisan, especially hit by the pandemic,” said Rahul Mishra, who is more determined than ever to support the embroiderers of India who create his elaborate designs. The 13 pieces in his Butterfly People collection evoked nature flourishing without human intervention.
RONALD VAN DER KEMP:
Creating his pared-back collection entirely from scrap fabrics, Imane Ayissi referenced the resilience of African societies and questioned fashion’s place in the current world order.
More on Paris Couture Week:
Best of WWD