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2 Best Shows At Paris Fashion Week SS22

These two designer presentations stood out when the fashion crowd moved on to the City of Lights…

Paris Fashion Week saw the last of the spring/summer 2022 shows close out in the spectacular style we’ve come to expect. Looking back at the week of fabulous fashion in the French capital, which was particularly thrilling as it was the first physical iteration in almost 18 months, here’s a close-up look at two of the mega shows.

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Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent returned to the Eiffel Tower runway while presenting its SS22 collection at the breathtaking Jardins du Trocadéro. With a twinkling Eiffel Tower in the background, as well as a metres-high waterfall that came to life in the finale, attendees got an insight into a fundamental yet not so well-known time in Yves Saint Laurent’ career. A time that led him to explore free new artistic paths that veered from haute couture norms.

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The couturier met the artistic Paloma Picasso, Pablo Picasso’s daughter, during a party, a meeting the storied French maison’s Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello believed had an impact on Saint Laurent’s designs. And his latest collection is a tribute to the French-Spanish fashion designer and businesswoman known for her free, energetic and independent spirit.

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“For a long time, I wanted to transpose this meeting between Paloma Picasso and Yves Saint Laurent, whose importance few realise in the designer’s creative journey. It is a moment to which I am sensitive as a designer, because for me it is the defining moment when Saint Laurent’s fashion creativity became a style,” Vaccarello said.

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Described as “an ode to emancipation, and a call to subversive seduction,” something that has always been in the house’s DNA, the collection celebrates the woman that is naturally creative in every aspect of her appearance. Throwing in the masculine with the glamorous, like the muse Picasso, her nonchalant looks equally scandalise and attract.

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The range features meticulous cuts, which can even be described as radical, seen on classic jackets and blazers with sharp structures, three-quarter-length sleeves and broad-shouldered tailoring. Slit-front column gowns, jumpsuits, slim high-waisted jeans and tight pants cut from spandex also make an appearance. The clashing colours, which the house has always known how to marry in harmony, are hard to ignore. And printed flowers that were unearthed from the archives are more compelling than ever.

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Accessories included Pop Art bright leather gloves, oodles of ritzy jewellery and the “Tribute” platform making a comeback in black patent leather. Also blurring the lines between dressed up and casual is the clutch bag, which was slotted in trouser waistbands, just like Picasso did in a paparrazi shot. And of course, a tribute to the creative force wouldn’t be complete without a nod to her signature scarlet lips.

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Taking place once again at the Paris La Défense Arena, the Givenchy SS22 showcase pointed to the emotional side of luxury and fashion. A mix of indulgence and practicality, as well as lavishness and austerity permeated throughout the live show experience, together with imperfect beauty and humanity.

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"For the Spring-Summer 22 collection, I wanted to build on the tradition of Givenchy's history while also really looking towards the future,” Creative Director Matthew M. Williams said. “To do this, I worked with people I admire across different disciplines who have truly unique perspectives including the artist Josh Smith, whose iconic work is incorporated throughout the collection, and the musician Young Thug, who created the entire score for the show. The collaboration and this collection offer people a remarkably immersive and special experience."

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Bridging the classical, radical and practical, the silhouettes explore the tension between extravagance and discipline, as well as tradition and today. Material experimentation and construction of the silhouette is mixed with an intense contrast in clothing that could only be achieved and exist now. Yet the collection embraces tradition, the techniques of the salon and timelessness, proving that these distinct elements are not mutually exclusive. So, as always, classicism and rebellion play a part at the French maison.

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There’s an arrangement of eras and influences in the pieces, and they are purposely layered and juxtaposed in looks. Traditional masculine tailoring fabrics are featured, with mohair wools, Napa leathers, cotton herringbones and Prince of Wales checks merging with neoprene and sculpted in form. This applied to corsets and peplums – resurrected from Monsieur de Givenchy’s archive – together with shorts, minis and more conventional suiting. Modern raw edges are cleanly sliced while delicate Broderie Anglaise, bound in as trim, stands out. Additionally, tulle and transparencies add lightness, freshness and airy cohesion. Meanwhile, the urbane savoir-faire of the house and the homespun simplicity of handcraft come together in intricate tooling and ‘basket woven’ leatherwork, with macramé and raffia techniques for clothing and bags. (Besides the homespun and handcrafted take on accessories, there’s the new “Kenny” bag, with characteristic hardware handles and Love Locks, and the new “Neo-Antigona,” a new take on a much-loved classic.)

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Humble and homespun stencilling, printing and crafting, the work of the American artist Josh Smith, also help the collection stand out. The punch of the artist’s colour permeates the traditional Givenchy palette, with a transformative and joyful effect. His work, featuring characteristic reapers, pumpkins and various personal ‘totems,’ finds unmistakable form in clothing and accessories.

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