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Paris fashion week autumn/winter 2018: the key shows – in pictures

From a graffiti covered mountain at Balenciaga to an avenue of fallen leaves at Chanel, the Observer’s fashion editors pick their key highlights from Paris fashion week autumn/winter 2018


  • LOEWE


    Jonathan Anderson’s set for Loewe was dotted with sculptures of Japanese artist Tetsumi Kudo, surrounded by a maze of mirrors. Top-stitched detailing on leather was spliced through in panels on plisse dresses, trousers were worn with smock tops. The coats were key – voluminous shapes that cut and flared, appearing in gaberdine, shearling and optical jacquard. Anderson’s expert eye for deconstructing and reconstruction was apparent. Fusions of textures and yarns on dresses were contrasted with the simplicity of a houndstooth coat and a white dress.

    Photograph: Manuel Braun

  • MAISON MARGIELA


    John Galliano for Maison Margiela took dressing in reverse and dressing in haste as the idea for this collection – a trench coat worn under a dress or a jumper thrown over a blazer. Experimenting with the hybridisation of wardrobe classics, a fusion of knitwear and tailoring showed a herringbone jacket whose arms and hem line bled into a knit. Holographic and transparent fabrics were key. Parkas and anoraks had oversized hoods and some had giant padded sleeves. Top of the hit list were the new Security Margiela Sneakers. Galliano has an uncanny knack for being current.

    Photograph: Estrop/Getty Images

  • SAINT LAURENT


    A huge spotlit box appeared to have landed opposite the Eiffel Tower. Inside, yet more lights and a collection which opened with leather and velvet shorts, and mini dresses. There were also plenty of exquisitely tailored jackets, cropped jeans and embroidered blouses and a full menswear collection. Most notable was a tassel-trimmed sequined jacket and a crystal-embroidered Prince of Wales smoking coat. The finale came bright and furious in a medley of colorful sparkling evening dresses.

  • CHLOE


    This is the second season for Natacha Ramsay-Levi at Chloé and she has already hit her stride, opening with a strong silhouette, jodhpur jogger trousers and blazer, a trench coat, and chunky knit worn with a pleated lace insert skirt. There were enough dresses to keep the every customer happy: open V-neck shirt dresses worn with a pendant necklace; drop-waist dresses, some with knife-pleats, others embroidered. Trickier were the cutaway at the hip dresses exposing the skin, the idea was great but needs clever layering in real life. At an entry level there were Chloé logo socks.

  • ISABEL MARANT


    Isabel Marant knows how to take a trend and turn it into something every woman wants in her wardrobe – the Wild West as seen through the eyes of a cool Parisian woman. It was all raw wool blanket-style coats and reversed sheepskin; chunky knits with colourful quilting patterns; a white lace blouse worn with wide-cuffed jeans and western shirts tucked into ruched mini skirts; and short floral prairie dresses worn with thigh-high cowboy boots. The metal-tipped fringed ankle boots and slouching thigh-high cowboy boots are destined to be a hit.

    Photograph: Ludwig Bonnet-Java

  • DRIES VAN NOTEN


    Dries Van Noten’s show was a feast for the eyes. Mixing 1920s Poiret, 1930s Deco and 1970s glam and modern graphics. Opening with an array of coats and parkas, the silhouette was softer and oversized with a rounded shoulder. Some had glistening embroideries, other had prints drawn free hand in his studio and inspired by Art Brut. Snippets of sportswear were mixed in with classic tailoring and dresses. Feathers floated across dresses and skirts, with voluminous blouses worn on top. A quieter moment came in the guise of a black coat and jacket fastened with a feathered brooch.

    Photograph: Kim Weston Arnold

  • CHRISTIAN DIOR


    Maria Grazia Chiuri is still on the path of the feminist uprising. Her set was wrapped in protest art from the 60s. The late 60s saw the launch of Miss Dior, the house’s first ready to wear line. Chiuri ran with the idea of the individuality created in that decade. Making this point, kilts came in different lengths and unpredictable fabrics, such as the delicate point d’esprit worn with a masculine jacket, or short coat. Knitwear was heavily embroidered. Top of the shopping list will be the printed bags with embellished straps and patchworks of Dior archive prints.

  • COMME DES GARCON


    A fantastical fashion moment with 16 breathtaking looks from Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçon. Models climbed on to an elevated catwalk, to rise above the on-looking fashion crowd, who gazed up in awe, as one after another appeared creations of loveliness. Layers of ruffles and lace, followed by a mille-feuille of fabrics, a gigantic proportioned tulle skirt wrapped in black lace. Each look topped off with glittering head dressings, one a triple bun. This was a masterclass in design.

    Photograph: Estrop/Getty Images

  • VALENTINO


    ‘Romanticism is strength’ was the theme of Pierpaolo Piccioli Valentino show. Opening with monochrome bold intarsia flowers that wrapped around the body, pops of contrasting colour came in the form of dresses with elegant flowing lines that moved with ease on the runway, some with scalloped edges, all layered over trousers. The minimal and dramatic silhouettes felt modern, adding strength to the collection, the decorative floral appliqué added the romantic touch. Simply delightful.

  • GIVENCHY


    ‘The end of a night seen through a black and white lens,’ read the show notes, which translated into a predominately monochrome co-ed collection with accents of oil slick green and metallic flashes in a trio of plissé fluted dresses. Givenchy joined the fur free ranks with four highly realistic retro looking faux fur coats opening the show. The trend for English Heritage fabrics played out with sharply tailored dogstooth coats.

  • STELLA MCCARTNEY


    Another debut co-ed show, and for Stella McCartney it is also the first time she has put her menswear on a catwalk. McCartney is well known for her mannish tailoring for women, for this collection she put her signature slouchy suits and knitwear at the forefront for both sexes. Often styled with trainers (made recyclable with hooks and stitching to avoid glue) the feeling was relaxed and timeless. Lingerie inspired dresses, and prints of work by J H Lynch layered under tulle also stood out.

    Photograph: Estrop/Getty Images

  • BALENCIAGA


    A snow-covered mountain covered in neon graffiti took centre stage at Balenciaga – 90s snowboarders and their layered outfits providing the inspiration for AW18. The finale looks of extreme bulky layered silhouettes, spawned instant memes on social media of Joey inFriends wearing all Chandler’s clothes. This show saw women’s and men’s wear presented together for the first time with more cohesion in themes. An initiative with the World Food Programme, for six months from August 2108, sees Balenciaga donate 10% of each WFP branded product.

    Photograph: Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock

  • CHANEL


    Karl Lagerfeld presented a gentle stroll through autumn in Paris at the Chanel show. The Grand Palais was filled with an avenue of trees and fallen leaves covered the catwalk. This provided the basis of the leaf print used through out the collection on jackets, dresses and coats. Metallic accents were key. Flat gold boots were worn with bouclé tweed skirt suits and golden flecked tights. The LBD finale was styled with a pink opera glove version of Lagerfeld’s signature fingerless gloves – which looked a bit like the models were about to wash up after a dinner party.

    Photograph: Swan Gallet/WWD/Rex/Shutterstock

  • MIU MIU


    Banners decorated with an illustrated female alphabet dubbed ‘The Miu Miu type: an ABC of actions, behaviours and comportment’, hung from the ceiling. American actor Elle Fanning opened the show sporting a beehive, neck scarf and camel donkey jacket that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Carol White movie from the 1960s. Blouson bomber jackets in leather, patent and one in stone-wash denim, took things forward to French night clubs in the 80s.

    Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

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