Nina Ricci, Christian Wijnants and Issey Miyake explore aquatic worlds in Paris
Dissolving into water, being carried away by the current, breathing in the bracing ocean air – gliding and flowing in undulating outfits. Water has been a recurring theme in the collections presented in Paris this season, perhaps most notably on Friday, the fifth day of shows. From Issey Miyake, which took its audience on a dive into the depths of a swimming pool, to Nina Ricci with its modern mermaids, and Christian Wijnants, who took his inspiration from the Mediterranean coast.
Issey Miyake presented its new collection in a showroom, but also contributed a beautiful film, shot in an architecturally captivating virtual swimming pool, to this season's digital calendar. Wearing a swimming cap, a leotard and a flowing skirt, the first model plunged off a diving board, while the other models climbed down a ladder, submerging themselves in the virtual water, before descending deeper and deeper.
All was peace and quiet, evoking flowing water and the mystery of the ocean depths. Designer Satoshi Kondo, who leads the house's womenswear collections, expressed all of these sensations through the fluidity, lightness and shine of his materials. Ensembles with wide trousers and long, wavy dresses seemed to float around the models' bodies, at times as though the intangible fabric had been simply placed there and fitted with the help of a little draping. Certain outfits were decorated with hand-applied splashes or stripes of paint, which appeared to be diluted by the water.
The Japanese brand's great technical skill could be seen in a series of modular skirts and dresses with shifting contours, made up of rippled circles of fabric that had been sewn together. These pieces could be concertinaed compactly when not being worn and unfurled effortlessly when it was time to put them on. The different-toned disks of fabric each had a porthole-like opening at their center and came together to create a kind of multicolored, ever-moving architecture.
The mysteries of the deep also inspired Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter this season, both for the collection they cooked up for their own label, Botter, and for the one they put together for Nina Ricci, which was presented with a film punctuated by futuristic digital images, where the "mermaids of tomorrow" who gave their name to the collection were plunged into deep water or swallowed up by gigantic waves thanks to digital effects.
The creativity of the Dutch design duo continues to anchor the Parisian label in contemporary fashion with an innovative and fresh approach. Once again, their latest summer collection bubbled over with original and desirable pieces, such as palm-shaped rubber handbags, dive-bootie-like shoes, tight Lycra balaclava-tops that looked like wetsuits, and suits tailored in terrycloth.
In the same nautical vein, the designers wrapped their mermaids up in black tunic-nets, which were worn over other clothes, draped over the models' shoulders, or wound around their torsos or legs, where they were transformed into trousers. Also worthy of mention were the smart cuts of the couple's suits, where jackets and skirts opened out like large portholes, revealing strapless bras, tops and tight skirts in pop shades of turquoise, orange and lime green.
Christian Wijnants unveiled his collection for Spring/Summer 2022 on the seashore, backed up by the sound of cicadas and the come-and-go of the waves. With their coral-shaped earrings, strappy summer dresses, light cotton caftans and painted shirt-dresses, the models were presented immersed in the wilderness.
They scanned the horizon, bent over a cactus in order to observe it more closely, looked up to the sienna-colored sun as they played with a pebble, or broke into dance. One satin dress opened at the back, allowing the sun to caress the model's skin, while tunics in overlapping floral camouflage prints fluttered in the wind.
A stretch of linen crossed around the model's neck served as an improvised dress – perfect for clambering up trees. Head-to-toe looks featured the refreshing color palette so characteristic of the Belgian designer, with outfits in egg yolk, icy mint and orange.
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