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

(Paris) Bodysuits reminiscent of bulletproof vests, dark colours, serious runway sets: some have said that fashion lost its “right to exist” during the war, but Paris Fashion Week didn’t ring false, even revealing elements prophetic.

After two years marked by COVID-19, the women’s ready-to-wear week 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 the 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. Though designed several months in advance, many of the collections are filled with ‘protective’ pieces and the runway aesthetic is anything but optimistic.

“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 all-terrain outfit at Dior, quite appropriate, as a premonitory,” he adds.

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

“There is a lot of thinking. How, in these difficult times, to combine beauty, aesthetics and protection? “, explains to AFP the Italian women’s designer Dior, 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 resembling futuristic bulletproof vests, and gold shields.

“My collection can seem inspired by anxiety-inducing headlines. […] But, of course, such a quick reaction would never have been possible,” says 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, maxi 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 padded 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 in long dresses with shimmering gray trains and thick down jackets stood out in a thick fog.


Balmain featured padded corsets, tops resembling futuristic body armor and gold shields.

“The theme of protection was very present this week, like Rick Owens’ huge wraparound and padded coats in which you feel protected, comforted… The same thing happened in London” (mid-February), Dana comments to 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, professor at the French Institute of Fashion, 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 era,” 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 half-naked, evoking refugees fleeing the war.

At Vuitton, the latest look, a broad-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, too, will do our part to build a world of peace”) and closed with the song by John Lennon/Yoko Ono give peace a chance.

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