Paris fashion week | A serious and protective fashion in times of war.

(Paris) Suits reminiscent of bulletproof vests, dark colours, serious show set designs: some have said that fashion lost its “right to exist” during the war, but Paris Fashion Week didn’t sound fake, it even revealed elements prophetic.

Posted on March 8

France Media Agency

After two years marked by COVID-19, the week of women’s ready-to-wear that ends on Tuesday was thought of as “a kind of reunion”, but it was impossible to “celebrate” it in the context of the invasion of Ukraine, he told AFP the president of the Fashion Federation, Ralph Toledano. He had called from the first day to live the parades “in gravity”.

And fashion has responded. Although designed several months in advance, many of the collections are full of ‘protective’ pieces and the runway aesthetic is anything but upbeat.

“Smell of Time”

“The world has been serious for a while, fashion has largely integrated feelings of seriousness. […]. It absorbs the scent of time,” fashion historian Olivier Saillard told AFP.

“There was an off-road outfit at Dior, quite appropriate, as a premonition,” he adds.

At Dior, inflatable cushions are worn like a corset or vest, a little gray dress evokes armor, and pads cover shoulders and ankles.

“There is a lot of thought. How, in these difficult times, combine beauty, aesthetics and protection? “, explains to AFP the Italian Dior women’s designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri. The war in Ukraine “is much closer to us. But the world was already at war. COVID-19 was another war […]We have lived through extremely difficult months.”

Balmain also introduced padded corsets, tops that resemble futuristic bulletproof vests, and golden shields.

“My collection can seem inspired by anxiety-provoking headlines. […] But, of course, such a quick reaction would never have been possible”, clarifies the Balmain stylist, Olivier Rousteing.

The Belgian Anthony Vaccarello, artistic director of Saint Laurent, broke for the first time with his “sexy glam” aesthetic to offer a poetic parade at the foot of the Eiffel Tower “that suggests a moment of reflection”.

Black, long dresses, tuxedo pantsuits and sumptuous faux fur coats: there is no room for provocation anymore.

In the Japanese Yohji Yamamoto, certain looks that cover from head to toe, with several layers of draped or quilted fabrics, resemble tents.

The American Rick Owens, master of the apocalyptic parades, presented a parade accompanied by the Symphony No.5 by Gustav Mahler, creating a dreamlike and solemn moment.

Silhouettes of long dresses with shimmering gray trains and thick puffer jackets stood out in a thick mist.


Balmain introduced padded corsets, tops that resemble futuristic bulletproof vests, and golden shields.

“The issue of protection was very present this week, like the huge wrap-around and padded coats by Rick Owens in which you feel protected, comforted… The same thing happened in London” (mid-February), Dana told AFP . Thomas, American journalist and author of modapolis.

poem and song

Does fashion anticipate the convulsions of history? This is the question posed by Benjamin Simmenauer, a professor at the French Fashion Institute, in a post published by the French newspaper Release.

“It is true that fashion often anticipates its future states and informs us about a certain time,” he writes.

The Balenciaga show imagined by Demna, the Georgian designer himself a refugee from the war with Russia, was a declaration of love and support for Ukraine, with a poem recited in Ukrainian during the show, t-shirts in the colors of Ukraine placed on each seat and a note explaining that fashion lost “its right to exist” during the war.

The models walked on the snow defying the wind, some semi-naked, evoking refugees fleeing war.

At Vuitton, the latest look, a wide striped T-shirt over a flowing floral dress, is in blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine. A subtle way of putting the show in context.

Stella McCartney opened her show with a speech by US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (“We will also do our part to build a world of peace”) and closed with the John Lennon/Yoko Ono song Give peace a chance.

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