Paris Fashion Week: Shock on the catwalk as wearable clothes abound at the Louis Vuitton show

 

If the most remarkable thing about Nicolas Ghesquière’s Louis Vuitton collection – for fashion folk at least – was its eminent wearability, it was by no means an isolated incident. The overwhelming, overarching theme of the autumn/winter 2014 shows has been how resolutely unshowy they have all been. As is often the case in fashion, Paris has served to underline, even magnify, the emergent themes.

Witness Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu show. Stripped of beads, tassels and frills, its focus was sportswear in the truest sense of the word. Her latest collection opened with sugared-almond shell-suits, quilted down parkas and gilets striped with contrasting colour.

Synthetic was the word – Prada wrapped her entire venue in plastic and sent out models with bruise-coloured lips in glistening layers of transparent PVC. Everything felt rubberised, polished and artificial. But, like the boiled sweets those surfaces resembled, they held an irresistible allure.

 

That wanton artifice is polar opposite of Hermes – a house whose leather-cosseted threshold has never been crossed by anything less than 100 per cent silk. Their womenswear designer Christophe Lemaire showed his latest wares in the Palais Brongniart, the historic home of Paris’ stock exchange.

Was that an acknowledgement of Hermes’ recent tussles with LVMH, who have tried to wrest control of the house? Or maybe just the prices of their hyper-luxurious wares. A crocodile dirndl skirt probably costs as much as a small house, or a large car. But it was the quieter luxury of cocooning tailoring in grey, black and olive that murmured must-have.

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