Last Looks: Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester and Lanvin
Both Rick Owens’s and Ann Demeulemeester’s runway feats gave ample reason for pause yesterday. Owens’s show marched women wearing other women in the basement of the Palais de Tokyo. For Demeulemeester, art director Sébastien Meunier utilized choker-topped leather harnesses to push his languid looks in a sadomasochistic direction. Alber Elbaz of Lanvin played with the ever-rich topic of sexuality and androgyny. Yet, in spite of body politics, each collection offered a surprisingly accessible selection of wardrobe staples.
In every collection, Owens distorts silhouettes and by extension physical form. In this spring 2016 lineup, a lens of female resilience governed that distortion. Gymnasts, interspersed with models, carried the physical weight of another body—much like the weight women bear as nurturers, in Owens’s mind. The clothing itself maintained his signature sculptural quality, like beautifully shaped folds transforming short dresses or a supple mix of organza, canvas and leather tinged with metallics. Short architectural dresses aside, other key winners included tonal bombers, sleeveless dusters and crinkled anoraks.
Shop: current season Rick Owens
Break up the drama of harnesses over sheer bodysuits and Meunier’s neo-gothic women presented a wearable collection focused on tailoring and transparency. Streamlined blazers and vests in varied lengths (hip, knee and ankle) plus slim pants added up to lean, power-without-posturing silhouettes. Illusory prints amplified the optical depth and movement of sheer-over-sheer layers. Later looks cautioned with what looked like silver, feathery spikes while others appeared ready to shed actual delicate feathers. Splashes of citrus and emerald broke up the bottomless black but didn’t detract from the collection’s overarching poetry—the dark romance at the heart of Ann Demeulemeester’s woman.
Shop: current season Ann Demeulemeester
Alber Elbaz showed us a varied collection for spring, fitting as many silhouettes as possible into the ’70 looks he kept in groups, what the designer described as a “smorgasbord” of looks. Borrowed-from-the-boys tailoring kicked off the show with a mutton-sleeved button down and tuxedo pants. Menswear for women quickly morphed into classics like loose ruffle dresses and evening gowns that gave the illusion of skin without showing it. The designer returned to his method of draping and gathering fabrics to sit atop camouflaged nude bases. Elbaz delivered on his signature sequin work, pairing metallic flapper-style minis with windbreakers to downplay the flapper-inspired dresses. Bows were tied on shoulders, necklines and hips almost aimlessly.
Shop: current season Lanvin
—Katie Joy Blanksma