Robots, garden gnomes and aliens — Paris has gone sci-fi.
Paris fashion week can always be counted on for bringing the wackiest, most absurd designs to the runway, but this season’s creations were truly out of this world.
Apocalyptic technology was at the forefront for many of the fall collections — and no wonder, given the recent panic about troublesome artificial intelligence software ChatGPT. Rick Owens sent out models with spooky black alien eyes, Off-White dropped its catwalkers led by Naomi Campbell on the moon and COMME des GARÇONS re-created the Big Bang, a vision that seemed to include human lawn ornaments.
There were less ominous, but still technologically advanced, shows, too. Anrealage created heat-sensitive clothing that changes colors in UV lights, while Coperni partnered with Boston Dynamics to send robots down the runway with models.
Here’s to the future?
COMME des GARÇONS
COMME des GARÇONS’ show at American Cathedral in Paris was otherworldly — as signaled by the show music, like Ellen Allien’s “Exit to Humanity” — with models donning garden gnome-like hair and a variety of futuristic fabric origami.
Designer Rei Kawakubo told Vogue that re-creating the “beginning of the world” was “the only thing to do.”
“She thinks it is really good for the world if we go back to our original source and start again. To try not to f–k it up again,” her husband added. “Basically that’s the feeling.”
Some haters on Instagram, though, were not impressed.
“This is just silly, not fashion,” wrote one, while others questioned whether the footage was even real. Some even echoed the outfits seemed more like “Halloween” or “nonsense.”
“Just no. Stop pretending that this means something,” added another. “This is silly or maybe I’m not evolved enough.”
A run-of-the-mill Rick Owens collection would be more of a surprise than the American designer’s typical avant-garde fare, but his collection entitled “LUXOR” was an apocalyptic, sci-fi fever dream with voluminous proportions.
“We are one year into a war and witnessing how inspiring dignity in the face of aggression can be,” Owens wrote in his all-caps show notes. “Times like these might call for a respectful formality and sobriety with moments of delicacy as reminders of what is at risk and at stake.”
Sometimes the world feels like it’s on fire, but Heliot Emil actually set models ablaze for its show, which many compared to “The Hunger Games” online.
“This brand is the master of a utilitarian futurism almost like if a Sim spawned on Mars,” Brooklyn fashion blogger Hunter Shires told The Post.
Still photos can’t fully illustrate Anrealage’s collection, which included color-changing clothing that reveals intricate patterns and designs when under UV light. Models stood onstage wearing relatively plain, but heat-sensitive, garments that completely alter when light shines. Designer Kunihiko Morinaga told Vogue that the clothing would react similarly in sunlight.
The LOEWE collection had many garments printed on garments, and designer Jonathan Anderson told Vogue the “ghost” designs were meant to be a sort of optical illusion.
“I was fascinated about the psychology of how we ultimately see things online. The blurry aspect in motion looks like a glitch,” he said. “It’s out of focus. Is it staged, or not staged? Is it the right color, is it photoshopped?”
One look constructed out of feathers elicited some mocking online. “We are birds now?!” one hater wrote of the plumage. Others laughed at the “pirate boots” and dresses that resembled “sheets.”
“I can imagine what my mother would say if I wore a satin bedsheet out to the supermarket,” one person joked.
Chinese designer Peng Chen made his label Chenpeng’s debut at Paris fashion week with an all-black collection with so much volume in most of the garments — which ranged from puffy to tufted to ruffled — that they appeared inflated like animal balloons made out of garbage bags.
Showing his first collection after the tragic passing of the beloved designer Virgil Abloh, Off-White’s Ibrahim Kamara dropped models onto a Mars-like red rock surface at the Tennis Club de Paris for his “Lunar Delivery” show.
But they sure weren’t wearing NASA space suits.
“What would you wear in outer space if you were a boy who liked to rap and was cool enough?” he told the New York Times of his inspiration.
There were grommets galore, including some adorned on one male model’s entire face, tactical utilitarian outfits and accessories, and even massive, alien-like earrings.
Viktor & Rolf
Viktor & Rolf flipped PFW upside down, showing gowns completely upended, rotated 90 degrees and levitating next to the body — basically any angle instead of simply being worn.
“Haute tortured,” one user joked online, while another declared, “I feel so sorry for these models.”
Gucci went with last season’s “less is more” trend approach and opened its fall show with a chain bikini top with such minuscule coverage, it may as well have been a necklace.
After embattled brand Balenciaga’s BDSM scandal, designer Demna played it safe — perhaps a good idea after ad campaigns with children in bondage and child pornography court documents caused an uproar.
The Georgian fashion designer, who has since apologized, seemed to not want to stick his neck out. Instead, he covered models’ necks with extreme, cartoonish round shoulder padding.
Saint Laurent went heavy on the shoulder padding, too. Many of the crisp, tailored looks from Anthony Vaccarello were inspired by Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver in “Working Girl,” the designer told Vogue.
Stella McCartney is tired of seeing “so much leather, fur and feathers” in fashion, she told The Guardian, so she put live horses on the runway “to show that you could show animals in a different way.”
“My clothes haven’t killed anything,” the designer added.
Showing her “Horse Power” collection at France’s oldest riding school, the Manège de l’École Militaire, McCartney focused on sustainability with “cruelty-free innovations.” The brand noted that the collection was “crafted from 92% responsible materials” and was their “most conscious winter offering ever.”
“Leather” items were constructed using Natural Fiber Welding’s plant-based leather alternative “MIRUM,” while bags were made out of grapes, apples and mushrooms.
“Every time you eat an apple,” she noted, “you’re basically eating a handbag.”
Robots are so hot right now.
Coperni partnered with Boston Dynamics and included the engineering and robotics company’s robo-dogs into the show, which designers called a “modern fable about the relationship between humans and technology.” The yellow “Spot” robots acted as professional bag holders for the likes of Lila Moss but also put on a show by kissing models and tugging at one of their outfits.
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