Having just shown their RTW Fall 2013 collections, we see how France’s biggest fashion houses have transformed, altered or maintained their brand values on the runway.
Chanel is perhaps one of the world’s biggest brands, dominating the fashion industry since Coco herself founded the label back in 1909. Standing for elegance and sophistication, Chanel understands who its woman is, and since Karl Lagerfield took the reigns in 1983 he has maintained the heritage that has made it so esteemed. The Fall RTW collection asserted the brands global dominance, with the runway designed around a large darkened globe that featured the locations of all the Chanel stores globally. The clothes were sleek and streamlined, befitting of Chanel’s tailored excellence. The colour palette was predominantly black, navy and white, however the focus was on the fabrication. There was a mix of tweeds and prints used to build texture, whilst the leather and chain knee-high boots juxtaposed the clothing to give the overall ensemble an edge.
The origins of Hermès date back to 1837 where the brand manufactured leather carry bags used to transport horse riding equipment, and has since developed into one of the most prestigious brands in the world. Success can be credited to the brands use of the finest leather and silks, as well as every woman’s desire to own a ‘Birkin’ bag. The Fall collection was simple, understated elegance. The true definition of luxe and wealth is not having to show it through monogrammed labels, and Hermes does this best. It was all about the tailoring: A-line skirt, tapered trousers and flowy blouses, all finished off with oversized overcoats. Beautifully chic- as always.
The runway at Louis Vuitton had a real air of understated elegance and luxury, befitting of the brands heritage and it’s head designer Marc Jacobs. What began as a travel and leather goods company back in 1854 has expanded into a truly global empire. The pieces were opulent and often unnecessary, for the woman who has everything perhaps? There was everything from silk and lace nighties, tailored suits, crocodile leather outfits and fur trim on floor length overcoats. Yes, Jacobs covered everything, yet it all flowed perfectly, was simultaneously romantic and whimsical and the entire runway was beautifully executed. Jacobs even walked onto the runway to accept his applause in what appeared to be floral printed pyjamas. Now that’s true luxury and opulence.
Raf Simon’s took over the reigns at Dior but a mere few season’s ago, and his growth at the brand has been extraordinary. He stayed true to the brands roots, drawing on elegance, simplicity, sophistication, and 1970’s pop art? Warhol prints were thrown into the mix of Dior, and Simon’s made them work so effortlessly into a collection that featured a rather muted colour palette. The drapes in the tops were soft and the pants were baggy, whilst there was heavy construction in the coats. The juxtaposition created a simple balanced symmetry, much like the mix of colour and prints, that has cemented Simon’s as the perfect choice to have taken the reigns at Dior.
Saint Laurent is perhaps the only one of the elite Parisian brands to have really taken a turn in direction since Hedi Slimane took over at the helm. Last seasons RTW menswear collection saw California grunge hit the runway, and unfortunately this season’s women’s collection was no different. To utter the words of critics universally, the collection looked like something that can be found in Topshop. Perhaps this is due to us still readjusting from the change that once was YSL, or perhaps Slimane is yet to find his ground, either way, the collection was a far cry from what once was. There was plenty of youthful exuberance on the runway, with red plaids, leather skirts, gold sparkly dresses, fishnets, and even floral prints. The collection was a little all over the place, yet also quite cohesive, which credit needs to be given for achieving that almost impossible task. Slimane is clearly targeting a rather different demographic from the YSL of a previous era, yet only time will tell if it will pay off.