Female designers in Paris unveil contrasting visions: Victoria Beckham, Christelle Kocher, Cecilie Bahnsen and Minuit
All about creative women in Paris within the last 48 hours in Paris, with four diverse collections by female designers, addressing the strong and dynamic as well as the more romantically inclined.
Victoria Beckham: Urban logo beauty
This season, Victoria Beckham skipped a runway in London and staged a presentation in Paris, showing a collection that managed to combine two very differently silhouettes – the body con heartbreakers of her early fashion career and a selection of contemporary cocoon shapes.
Beckham also unveiled a new logo, a subtle monogram that featured the left side of a V and a capital B. Seen in knit stretch body-stockings; inner city trenches; a great series of fun soft denim jeans and jackets; or bright orange matelassé cabans.
“Making a monogram is a big decision, since they have to last for a long time. So that’s why I wanted more of a print than just a big logo,” explained Beckham, at a private viewing of her collection in a showroom on Avenue Hoche.
La Posh also unveiled her first full bag line - soft architectural shoulder bags, sleek leather buckets with gold top closures that opened into squares; and even totes made of the same fabric as the cabans.
A lookbook video, shot in an office tower in mid renovation behind London’s Liverpool Street station, captured the juxtaposition within this autumn 2020 collection. Head-turning and sizzling cocktails and tops made in dark sequins covered over with gauze, mixed with volume coats in snappy colored wool bouclé.
Beckham originally had planned to host a dinner in Paris on Friday night. But concern for the invasion of Ukraine, led her to discreetly call off the soirée.
However, despite the low key approach, this house feels very much on the move, both creatively and aesthetically.
Koché: Contemporary gothic
It felt like a breakout moment for Christelle Kocher, as she presented her latest street chic ideas for Koché on hallowed ground in fashion history.
Her setting, no less than the Salon Napoléon of the Westin Palace, the scene of most of Yves Saint Laurent’s shows in his final two decades.
Emotions elicited by the soft rock gothic opening – with spiky ruffles, fishnet tights, slashed cocktails and calcio tops. An 80s power silhouette with micro cocktails cut with Flash Gordon shoulders and made in golden brocade. A bold opening suddenly leavened with soft cable knits, in a show whose cast came with red bee-stung upper lips.
“Emotional and comfortable couture,” smiled Kocher, after being mobbed by fashion insiders in the backstage.
A co-ed show with guys in paneled suits and very wide-leg pants, cut very high above the waist – the key trouser shape in Europe.
Though Kocher’s key talent is applying couture shapes and frills to youthful party clothing, adding sexy grandeur without being pretentious.
Cecilie Bahnsen: Copenhagen cosplay
The Scandi fashion movement is all about girls wearing clothes in which they can ride bicycles. Not at Cecilie Bahnsen, a subtler talent who favors complicated blends of fabrics and folds, designed to be worn when walking, or better yet posing.
Inspired by the Danish poetess Tove Ditlevsen, the collection had a similar wistfulness to the poetry.
“The rain stopped, leaving only naked trees, dripping quietly,” read the intro to her poem 'Night Wandering'. A truly talented poet, who struggled with substance abuse, and took her own life in 1976.
Yet Tove’s influence seemed far more innocent. The cast wandering around the upper salon of the Palais de Tokyo, in scrunched up mini jackets and boleros worn over pinafores or dresses hoisted, ruched and all tied up with drawstrings. Finished with fabric petals or oddly cut leaves. Eccentrically romantic, and with moments of beguiling charm, the clothes looked ideal for an Instagram weekend in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo.
Copenhagen cosplay in the best sense of the term made in sugary pink; soft rose; aerospace orange and electric blue. Though the key moment was a quintet in black – especially an askew and asymmetrical dress in crinkly brocade. A singularly striking image.
Perhaps, by accident or influence, the collection recalled Simone Rocha, yet it nonetheless felt like a graceful fashion moment.
Three contrasting female fashion talents, each taking their own path.
Minuit: ‘Round midnight
A blend of New York energy and French seduction in this season’s Minuit, the happening Parisian ready-to-wear marque, helmed by Laurie Arbellot.
That, and a homage to Charlotte Rampling, in the latest collection this season to reference strong leading ladies of the 1970s.
“I love the sheer strength of an actress like Rampling; and the idea of woman not covered in accessories,” explained Arbellot, as she greeted a steady stream of buyers and editors to her third floor, 1st arrondissement office.
A former designer at Proenza Schouler, Arbellot taps into her New York experience with subtle tough chic patent leather mini Eisenhower jackets and cotton vernis trench coat topped with reversible shaggy faux shearling collars. Her two mannish blazers in either chunky silvery wool bouclé or crisp black fine wool, were snazzy and chic, summing up the heart of Minuit’s style.
Though her strongest statements were the slip dresses, cut with intricate straps, holding her model in a gentle clinch; a sleeveless column in mesh finished with twisting strings and mini logos; or the semi-sheer organza tops worn with mini bras finished with mirrored strass. Her only accessory, a matelassé satin scarf with her debut logo.
Subtle, sensual and sexy, by a fledgling brand that seems poised to soar.
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