There is always a sense of rawness in a Rick Owens collection, probing a balance between severity and beauty. For SS15 Owens, best known for his jerseys, silks and fine leather, used tulle, a traditional couture fabric, but he used it in a more directional aesthetic. Raw-edged and layered on the hips, the tulle was architectural on traditional tunic silhouettes. Elsewhere it added texture and complexity to a rich palette of gold, khaki, pink and blue tones. Owens is not a label directly associated with frills, but his finale of parachute wrapped dresses were both novel and romantic.
Classic and fluid were the dresses seen at Lanvin, who took several models out of catwalk retirement, like Amber Valetta and Violetta Sanchez to celebrate the house's 125th anniversary. Starting with a series of jersey dresses, they came one-shouldered, side-zipped or -buttoned, looped, or snake-belted. These were followed by slipdresses, tiered silks, and fractured laces, an amalgamation of Jeanne Lanvin's founding aesthetics and those of current designer Alber Elbaz. Graceful, simple gowns that represented real clothes for real women. It was a celebration of simply beauty, where the focus was clearly the attention to detail.
Deconstructed blazers and scarf-wrapped sunglasses opened the show at Chalayan. Finding inspiration in North Africa and Morocco, the collection was anything but resortwear. At Chalayan, nothing is what it appears to be, and so a jacket atop a dress that when taken off became part of the skirt; caped backs that were actually jackets, hanging as they would on the back of a door; spliced suiting that looked like it was levitating around the space. These clothes were as well considered as they were conceptional, modern and relevant.
The Belgian house of Ann Demeulemeester showed its first collection under the direction of its design team, headed up by Sébastien Meunier. The show opened with an array of black textures worn on asymmetric patchworked waistcoats, trailing white shirts and dropped waisted trousers, with multiple strings attached. But elsewhere Meunier did not receive much praise for his debut solo show. Style.com called it an easy start of copying Demeulemeester's codes, presenting a "gloomy procession of models wearing what looked like better-than-average Demeulemeester knockoffs". Demeulemeester's deconstructed tailoring has been widely copied and adopted by many brands, so it takes more than interpretation to take a house forward.
Loewe showed its first women's ready to wear collection under new creative director Jonathan Anderson, better known as J.W. Anderson. For a house best known for its leather goods, Loewe's fashion has always been less on the radar than other luxury houses. Anderson's new vision is a huge departure from previous designer Stuart Vevers, and chose to present a younger and more modern range. The silhouette was body skimming and asymmetric but there was also attention to detail, like patch-worked suede with raw edges as seen on dresses, tops and jackets.
Images: Paris Fashion Week SS15