Vaquera and Weinsanto’s provocative collections open Paris Fashion Week
Milan passes the baton to Paris, kicking off its Fashion Week this Monday afternoon, February 28. The inauguration of the week-long event took place during a grim context marked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Off-White’s first runway presentation since its creative director, Virgil Abloh, passed away last November. The bittersweet day, which saw fashion coexist with the disheartening news of the war, presented the collections of two fresh names in the Parisian calendar: Vaquera’s debut and Weinsanto’s return.
New Yorkers Patric DiCaprio and Bryn Taubensee, the duo behind the New York-based firm Vaquera founded in 2013, were entrusted with breaking the ice. This responsibility did not come without expectations for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion award 2017 finalists, as it was the first time the American brand showcased a collection in Paris. Considered one of the East Coast's most promising brands and boasting more than 68K followers on its Instagram profile, Vaquera caused quite a stir in the heart of Le Marais. More specifically, in the 35-37 space of Dover Street Market on Rue des Francs Bourgeois, where only an hour later, at 6:30 pm, the Weinsanto fashion show took place.
The American designers showed off their winning designs in the dark atmosphere of a rave. Inspired by the 1996 film "Irma Vep" directed by Olivier Assayas, the Fall/Winter collection was full of stylistic references to its protagonist, Chinese actress Maggie Cheung. Both glamorous and surreal, the mixed offering dressed the models in black patent leather latex from head to toe, creating vampiresque jumpsuits.
Angry-looking models clad in juxtaposed ensembles walked at a fast pace to the rhythm of techno music, gliding briskly down the catwalk. The collection was composed of lingerie, frilly dresses, and transparent layers accessorized by balaclavas, voluptuous foulards, and leopard mittens. An array of sweaters, large knit scarves, and even pleated tartan skirts, a clear nod to schoolgirl uniforms, were presented along with mixes of lurex and gauze, voluminous bombers, coats, and black jackets. Denim tube skirts and pants added a streetwear component to certain looks. A variety of prints, silhouettes reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood and classic T-shirts stamped with a gothic interpretation of the brand’s logo completed the memorable lineup.
The irreverent collection was as stylish as it was disruptive. The brand provided attendees with a QR code, through which guests could download the presented collection’s NFTs.
Weinsanto in Paris
Weinsanto returned to Paris Fashion Week, staging a presentation at the same location as his last show, yet in very different circumstances. Only four months after the Jean Paul Gaultier veteran's last presentation, his audience and media interest seems to have multiplied. Becoming one of the LVMH Prize 2022 finalists might have had something to do with this, where he competed alongside creators such as Palomo Spain, Airei, and Bluemarble.
True to the theatrical and circus-themed style that characterizes the Alsatian designer’s shows, a sheer printed jumpsuit adorned with an outlandish tentacle headdress opened the “Murder in Paris” collection. The pink and violet face pattern on this look was repeated throughout most of the collection’s designs. As if coming out of a spectacle, the models sensually paraded wearing garments such as long-sleeved fitted mini dresses or a voluptuous dress in Weinsanto’s favorite color, fuchsia, which dyes his distinctive short hair.
Sensual bodysuits accompanied the corsets, a signature of the brand, and shared the limelight with velvet black dresses, sheer crisscross tops and chiffon tail dresses, accessorized with curtain draped headdresses or feline hairstyles and black round bags resembling medieval weapons. Bondage was continuously referenced through the overlapping belts, straps, and leather intimates. High-waisted thongs visible through transparent dresses and bare breasts with decorated nipples also heated up the runway.
The best surprise was saved for last. Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, star of “Emily in Paris” who portrays Syvlie, closed the show donning an extravagant corset dress and massive bonnet in the same print of faces that was scattered throughout the collection. Weinsanto’s glamorous muse certainly ensured explosive visibility for the brand on social media platforms.
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