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Ten SPACE Favorites from Paris Fashion Week

Rolling around Paris for a week or so with Olivia Kim and SPACE buyer Raul Becerra is kind of like an advanced fashion version of National Lampoon’s European Vacation. Especially the part where the Griswold family circles the Eiffel Tower and Clark (played in our version by Olivia) tries passionately to squeeze all the relevant points of interest into that one lap.

You can’t go to Paris without making your own Griswold joke at some point, but Fashion Week really is about making the most of every moment you get with each and every icon you get near—whether it’s a national monument, Grace Coddington or Simon Jacquemus.

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Olivia in the Jacquemus showroom; all images by Jessa Carter unless otherwise noted

On the last day of the fall shows, we look back at ten things that mattered most to us, from Comme des Garçons to Y/Project—complete with theme song and more.

Y/Project′s 18th-Century Space Age 

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Glenn Martens of Y/Project is probably fashion’s next genius. “You can tell he marches to his own really, really different beat,” Olivia said one day in the van as we continued to ponder just how impactful and compelling his runway show was. “You can tell that he came from Gaultier—you can’t do that to fabric unless you have a really in-depth understanding of how construction works,” she added, referencing Jean Paul Gaultier’s hand in both complex haute couture and game-changing streetwear.

What does she mean by “do that to fabric”? Take Martens’s doubled jackets, for instance. (See first two images in slideshow.) It takes skill and finesse to make what could be bulky super sharp and even elegant. See also his extra-long hems, the daring slits in his skirts and jeans, and the ripples and folds in just about everything else.

In the showroom, his team told us that the historical riffs and baroque accessories in his fall collection are about creating a wardrobe for a “techno Marie Antoinette” or a woman living five lives at once. And in this era of futurism and females, that describes what a lot of us are up to these days.

Jacquemuss Most Parisian Collection Yet

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It’s rare that you get up on the 28th floor in Paris—it’s an old city, built before 28th floors were “a thing.” It’s also rare to sit down with Simon Jacquemus. The designer is sort of an elusive character, but we got a few minutes with him in his sky-high showroom, and he told us that his fall collection is his most Parisian yet. It’s more like him to reference the countryside—the South of France, where he was born and raised. But for next season he built his looks around the sophisticated, worldly Parisian women he imagined as a young boy when he fell in love with French designer Christian Lacroix’s ’80s grandeur.

“I think a lot of designers are looking back on the classic age, and his collection had this Hollywood Regency to it,” Olivia had said a few days prior, after the runway show. “He’s such a special designer; his ideas and his shapes are so big and powerful. His clothes make women feel beautiful and yet they’re so affordable and so unique. This collection just floored me. That blue dress!” (See first image in slideshow.)

It turned out to be one of Simon’s favorites, too. We love it when that happens.

ELLERYs New Hometown

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Last season, we visited Australian designer Kym Ellery in her temporary Paris digs; in the time that’s passed since then, she’s moved here. And like Simon Jacquemus, her fall collection is rooted in the style of the city.

Ellery’s Paris comes through in her trademark trumpet sleeves and modern chic, but it was the colors and the patent leather and PVC dressing that made Olivia swoon.”Those are just beautiful, very modern clothes,” she remarked definitively.

Welcome home, Kym.

Our Movies Soundtrack

New thing: Every Fashion Week needs its own theme song. This new protocol was determined by virtue of the fact that Ed Sheeran’s catchy-as-a-winter-cold, posi-vibe pop song kept creeping up on us everywhere we went. I’m not sure if we were chasing the song around Paris or if it was chasing us, but we heard it—pretty darn happily—everywhere.

Theater of Fashion with Undercover

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“Stunning. I mean, that’s a show—that is a show.” Olivia and Raul were practically in shock as we left the Undercover show midweek, and it’s likely everyone who was there felt the same way. Tokyo-based Jun Takahashi is known for elaborate and engaging “runway” presentations, but this was next level. At the showroom a few days later, we found out why.

His team told us that his two teenage children were in attendance for the first time ever. Knowing that his whole family would be there drove Jun to go even further into an emotional, moving world of theater and narrative, this time about the idea of utopia.

We asked how the designer manages each season to create a world that includes both couture costuming and really cool sweatshirts, killer bomber jackets and extraordinary dresses. The team told us that sometimes he is “generous” with the collection—meaning he naturally riffs on the everyday and offers up more wearable elements—and sometimes they have to almost pull the ready-to-wear items out of him.

At the showroom, we almost had to pull Olivia out of a small side area where the presentation’s show pieces were set up on mannequins. She crawled under the hooped skirts and delighted in how everything worked, how it was engineered. Only after she was satisfied there did she want to join Raul in putting together our own operatic storyline—coming soon to a SPACE stage near you.

KFashion Anticipation: Hyein Seo

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These images by Laura Cassidy

At the end of this month, one of Olivia’s favorite Pop-In@Nordstrom projects yet will reach its third rotation with KFashion. Our trio of Korean-focused shops concludes with a greatest hits-like compilation of Korean designers—one of whom is Hyein Seo, the Korea-born, Antwerp-trained designer known for fur-intarsia sloganeering and fans like Rihanna.

Dropping by her Paris apartment showroom was a very cool way to get extra amped on the upcoming shop. We’ve been saying Seoul is the new Paris, and it sure felt like the two cities had met in the middle that night.

Checking In with Charlotte Chesnais

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Charlotte (left) with Olivia; these images by Laura Cassidy

The power of Charlotte Chesnais’s singular jewelry is that it’s bold without being big, and it’s symbolic without being explicit. It can be subtle and simple—but some of the most standout pieces are quite complicated, too.

They’re beautiful contradictions really, which is pretty much the case with all our favorite women. Like Olivia mentioned in London about Ashley, Simone and Molly, being around this small and lovely powerhouse of a designer and her new collections is inspiring and truly gratifying.

Bob′s Kitchen: Like an Old Friend

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The food is great in Paris; you just can’t argue with centuries of butter. But sometimes in the middle of Fashion Week, you want something a little more basic and familiar.

Operated by a bunch of cool American and British hip kids, Bob’s Kitchen has a haute-and-homey menu that totally works. Interestingly built bagels, buckwheat pancakes, vegan sushi rolls, and hearty soups and veggie stews topped with curry and other sauces are the kinds of meals you wouldn’t really write home about when you are at home … but when you’re way over here and feeling a little detached from reality, man, do they hit the spot.

Thanks, Bob. The SPACE crew feasted at your table three times this week.

Comme des Garçons Scoops the Met Gala

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This year’s Vogue-sponsored Met Gala is all about Rei, the living legend behind the house that houses and supports a select but monumentally influential subset of other designers.

Seats at her Paris Fashion Week presentations are among the most coveted in town, and this time around Anna Wintour and her crew sat ringside as a parade of abstract shapes and industrial materials floated down the runway as if in a dream. Whose dream though? Theirs? Yours? Rei’s?

It’s no doubt the Costume Institute’s dream, too. The Comme vibe—minimal, ageless, patchworked and texturally blended—is front of mind for the most forward-leaning designers right now, and the exhibit promises to inspire yet another legion of young minds. And old ones, too.

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Junya′s Punks

“Anything tartan and leopard, you’re speaking my language,” said Olivia about Junya Watanabe’s fall ’17. It’s hard to imagine that one of his collections wouldn’t completely draw her in, but this one—which started with a bang of ’70s rock music at 9:30 in the morning—with its abundance of circle shapes, mesh net, faux fur, military elements and tapestry caused an immediate feeling of urgency.

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“He’s so good at making what doesn’t make sense make sense,” said Olivia. Here’s looking at next fall, knowing Junya and all the rest of our favorites will deliver a world that we can really believe in.

 

EXPLORE: Pop-In@Nordstrom | all emerging designers 

Go where we go, see what we see. Stay up to date with all our Fashion Week coverage and shop curated collections of our favorite designers at Nordstrom’s Fashion Week Central.

—Laura Cassidy