Bode goes to the circus, Phipps shoots for the stars
For her namesake label's first runway show on the official Paris Fashion Week calendar, New York-based designer Emily Bode chose a venue in the French capital's 16th arrondissement, taking over a hôtel particulier near the Boulevards des Maréchaux. This elegant setting echoed with birdsong as the audience arrived, before a live band struck up, playing a romantic, folky piece which announced the arrival of the first looks on the runway, all in super slow motion.
The collection was inspired by the American designer's family history and the Bode Wagon Company. Founded by Emily Bode's ancestors in the 19th century, this wagon manufacturer provided the Barnum & Ringling Brothers Circus with its caravan, and it was precisely this connection which came through in this Spring/Summer 2020 collection.
The clothes borrowed their graphic references and colour palette from the circus, mixing them with apparel trends from the early 20th century. Colourful crocheted and knitted pieces alternated with shirts and full-body silk outfits, as well as canvas jackets decorated with wide multicoloured stripes or embroidery, painted blousons and shorts featuring images taken from the archives of the Ringling Brothers Circus.
The models took to the runway in shoes fit for dancers or acrobats, accessorising with linen bags and vintage hats, while the designer concluded her first Parisian show with a pair of young men wearing papier-mâché carnival masks, before she came out to take her own bow with touching timidity.
There was a quite different atmosphere over at the show organised by Spencer Phipps. The American designer, who has previously worked at Dries Van Noten and Marc Jacobs, chose to show at the Cité Internationale des Arts, a little-known artist-in-residence building.
With this Spring/Summer 2020 collection entitled "Like a Rock", the designer was looking to explore "the relationships between man and the planet since the beginning of time". A varied cast featuring everyone from "gym queens" to "space cowboys" was tasked with showing the clothes resulting from this cosmic inspiration, which was visible in a series of t-shirts and vests with galactic or lunar prints, as well as in an oversized down jacket in a similar palette.
Workwear was also a strong presence but the dominant Phipps look took its inspiration from mountains and rocks. Ponchos and anoraks in technical fabrics, jackets and trousers with earthy prints, shorts and full outfits taking their inspiration from the uniforms of mountain guides and forest rangers: the whole Phipps universe was out in force .The designer even sent out 25 pieces made in collaboration with French mountainwear specialist Millet, which called on his services a few months ago.
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