PARIS (AP) — Echos of the ’70s are resonating on the Parisian catwalks this season, intertwined with modern fashion cues. While elongated silhouettes and intentional mismatched styles at Dries Van Noten highlighted a retro influence, the futuristic, space-age designs of Courreges offered a counterbalance, making the past meet the future.
Here are some highlights of spring-summer 2024 collections in Paris that have captivated with diverse inspirations, as observers looked to Wednesday night's Balmain show — days after designer Olivier Rousteing was left reeling when thieves made off with his collection pieces.
VAN NOTEN HITS ‘70s NOSTALGIA WITH MODERN TWIST
In a season where the ‘70s reigns supreme, Belgian maestro Dries Van Noten took a dive into the era with elongated silhouettes and a deliberate art of mismatch. Banking on his forte in men’s designs, the runway boasted models flaunting androgynous cuts and gelled dos, blurring the lines between yesteryears and today’s sartorial zeitgeist.
Entitled the “unfamiliar familiar,” it drew from retro sporting vibes, with rugby stripes adorning asymmetric dresses, and tennis scarves cleverly reimagined as tops. The essence was unmistakably Van Noten — honoring tradition with a spontaneous, fresh pulse.
Standouts included a historic flared trench, cheekily paired with a bikini top — Van Noten’s playful take on fusing the then and now. Layering made a statement too. Picture an open striped shirt, layered with a bikini, all under a muted beige jacket.
Paris has been parading cargo and khaki, and Van Noten didn’t miss the memo. His rendition? A commanding oversized beige trench, jazzed up with utilitarian flair and a surprise peek of red stripes from a hidden zippered jacket.
Dipping into his scholarly fashion roots, a cetacean blue gown waltzed down, with 18th-century ripples and bows, jazzed up by a split in the leg that led all the way down to classic menswear brogues.
But amid the curated chaos of old meets new, whispers arose: Is Van Noten playing it too safe this time around? While his design genius showed through, the collection’s cautious undertone was palpable.
BOHO MEETS SPACE AGE: COURRÈGES STEALS THE SHOW
On a pristine white runway Wednesday morning, Paris Fashion Week witnessed a harmonious blend of past and future as Nicolas di Felice transported fashion aficionados back to the '70s — with a nod to the space age. It was minimalism with a retro twist for the iconic house of Courrèges.
Known for its structural and futuristic designs since André Courrèges’ time, the fashion house has been synonymous with innovative wear. The founder’s engineering background had once crafted trapezoidal lines and audacious whites that defined a new era in design. Cut to today, and di Felice, while keeping the brand’s essence alive, is introducing his own narrative.
The runway showcased tunic-like garments that effortlessly floated, hinting at the signature sportswear vibe Courrèges is famed for. Retro features like center-parted hair and ‘60s heels took onlookers on a nostalgic journey. But it was the space age touches that truly captured the essence of Courrèges’ legacy: tubular geometric arms, intriguing geometric cutouts on pants, and large silver bauble pendants that could easily fit into an intergalactic tableau.
The pièce de résistance? A split-leg black floor-length dress that channeled a bohemian Morticia Addams, subtly balancing the contradiction of a minimalist ethos with ’70s flair. And for those seeking a bold space-age statement, a sheeny transparent bikini top did just that, fearlessly revealing the model’s nipples.
Drawing from the visionary spirit of André Courrèges, di Felice proved that the brand’s heart still beats in tune with its history, while daringly exploring new frontiers.
MARNI’S PARISIAN DEBUT: CHECKS, STRIPES AND FLORAL FANTASIES
Marni, under the guidance of Francesco Risso, made quite an entrance into Paris. The collection was a treat, walking us through a tapestry of craftsmanship and innovation. Marni’s signature checks took a bold stand through cutting-edge, waste-free knitwear. These patterns weren’t just confined to apparel. Shoes and knee socks dazzled with the same checkered design, hinting at the work’s meticulousness. The designer has said that the technology required to achieve this is so advanced that only a handful of firms in Italy can replicate it.
But Marni’s story didn’t stop at checks. Intricate leatherwork showcased patterns interwoven with the brand’s well-known stripes. There was great attention to detail: Some pieces featured multiple types of checks, showcasing craftsmanship that borders on couture.
The true show-stealer, however, was the floral array in a riot of colors and designs. It was as if Risso had hand-picked classical floral images from our collective consciousness and breathed life into them. The dresses, layered inside and out with hand-cut fabric florals mirrored the abundance of nature. Some even sported three-dimensional metal flowers, invoking avant-garde art, a delightful juxtaposition of beauty and danger.
With Paris as its stage, Risso’s Marni celebrated a defining moment. This wasn’t just another show; it was a grand spectacle, marking the brand’s triumphant ascent in the world of fashion.