A fusion of eras, cultures and styles hits Paris Fashion Week runways

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PARIS — On a rain-soaked Saturday at Paris Fashion Week, the luxury world saw a spectacle of contrasts, where the audacious spirit of punk melded with quiet luxury and historical elegance. Displays blurred the lines between rebellion and refinement, presenting collections that navigated through time — evoking medieval serfs with a modern twist and embracing minimalist aesthetics reminiscent of the 1990s.

Here are some highlights of Saturday’s fall-winter 2024 shows:

Explorations of “quiet luxury” — a phrase intimately tied to Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski’s tenure at Hermes — were once again at the forefront of the Parisian runway on Saturday, as the French designer unveiled her latest interpretation of leather’s endless possibilities.

This season, however, the narrative took a darker, more introspective turn, with brooding black leathers that evoked the deep, reflective tones of the late French painter Soulages.

These pieces, gleaming against the backdrop of a black starry night, sometimes adopted a fierce demeanor, reminiscent of studded, armor-like vests. Yet, this undercurrent of fierceness was masterfully balanced with the inherent softness of the collection’s cuts and the meticulous precision of its detailing.

Nipped buckles and gentle ribbing on skin-tight pants demonstrated Vanhee-Cybulski’s adeptness at blending Hermès’ storied craftsmanship with innovative design. Amidst this darker palette, muted flashes emerged, weaving poetically through the collection. This emphasis on restrained elegance is quintessential to Vanhee-Cybulski’s vision, where the opulence of materials and craftsmanship triumphs without need for ostentation.

Braving the persistent Parisian drizzle, K-pop star Sandara Park led the pack at Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood, captivating the audience in a punk-tinged corset adorned with pearls and brandishing a “Noblesse” sign to the flurry of camera flashes. The show started with an eccentric performance in the brightly lit atrium, where musicians conjured natural sounds amid tree stumps, setting a whimsical tone that mirrored the collection’s historical and rebellious spirit.

The opening ensembles transported the audience back in time amid contemporary fusions, channeling the essence of a serf, the medieval agricultural laborer. The designs cleverly incorporated leggings, jockstraps resembling codpieces, mystical talismanic pendants, and tear-shaped cutouts on thick knit sweaters that conjured up tales of yore.

Both male and female models strutted with a swagger, embodying the iconic Westwood 80s punk ethos through standout pieces like a large blue conical bra corset and garments with assertively large shoulders. The runway was a canvas for eccentric, eye-catching looks that melded contrasting historical references — like one silver top with a a breastplate that evoked King Arthur and his knights with a disco sheen also reminiscent of Britain’s Glam Rock heyday.

This collection, a blend of audacious punk spirit and a nod history, reaffirmed the brand’s mastery in fusing diverse influences, crafting rebellion throughout.

Elegant sophistication, minimalism, and a hint of nonchalance continued to define Carven. The storied house, originally founded by Marie Louise Carven in 1945, evolved under the guidance of various male creative directors since its reboot 2009 and 2018. Stepping into this lineage as the first female leader since its reboot, Louise Trotter presented her second collection Saturday, skillfully weaving together the brand’s 1950s origins with a minimalist aesthetic reminiscent of the 1990s.

The show opened with a statement piece: a brown round-shouldered coat that was both loose and indicative of the new direction Trotter is steering Carven towards.

This piece set the stage for a collection with dimensions and perceptions. A striking dress featured a trompe l’oeil effect, cleverly designed to appear two-dimensional. An oversized gray jacket, casually draped over bare skin, was a prime example of the collection’s subtle allure, revealing skin in a way that did not compromise on sophistication.

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