From staggering sets to Karl Lagerfeld’s last collection for Chanel, Paris Fashion Week/Fall 2019 was full of poetry and emotion. Here’s The Post’s recap:
Ready, set, show!
Paris-based designers went all-out with decadent set designs, each more original and unexpected than the last. Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello thought outside of the box when he showed his feathery party frocks behind a day-glo-lit glass partition across from the Eiffel Tower. In a moment of jaw-dropping surrealism, Louis Vuitton rebuilt the colorful Centre Pompidou at the Louvre, its usual fashion-month venue. But it was Karl Lagerfeld’s indoor Swiss chalets at Chanel, complete with a snow-filled runway and double-C skis, that felt epic, like the designer himself.
Stars sitting front row and posing for flashing cameras while wearing the designer’s threads is par for the course in every city, but this season, there was an unexpectedly glittery crop of bold-faced names in Paris audiences and on the runway. Owen Wilson hit Escada, Oprah Winfrey attended Stella McCartney and Jennifer Lawrence graced Dior. In the most major “OMG!” moment, Grace Jones closed Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya’s disco-themed runway spectacle wearing a shimmery bodysuit and rainbow blazer.
London-based South Korean designer Rok Hawang has major fashion cred: He scooped last year’s LVMH’s Special Prize and worked at the old Celine under Phoebe Philo. His forward-thinking collection revolved around wardrobe staples: trench coats and midi-length skirts were spliced and styled with bold floral prints, while windowpane checks were cropped into matching tops and skirts and topped with cozy crochet capes. Some models carried clear purses with smaller purses placed inside — a nod to #oldceline, perhaps?
Bucket hats were a breakout street-style accessory for spring 2019 and the trend has stayed strong. Every model at Dior’s show wore one — plaid, animal print, some in black leather styled with tulle veils. But headgear in the way of feather tiaras (at Loewe), lace lids that clasped around the neck (at Valentino) and exaggerated cloches at Nina Ricci — headed the case that hats are happening for fall.
The week felt like a slow build towards the glamour that defines Paris. The best evening attire came last: Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton offered a dramatically structured red rose gown, while Givenchy gave the classic black ballgown a modern makeover via embellishments and fresh A-line shapes. Over at Valentino, sheer gowns were covered with butterflies and dreamy sayings like “There’s a forever beyond the sky/I think we should go there tonight.” Those were poetry in motion.
Lagerfeld’s last collection
France was overflowing with tributes to Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld, who died on Feb. 19. In Paris, flowers were laid outside the Chanel boutique, designer Marine Serre’s first several looks were a sartorial homage to Lagerfeld (he was an early champion of hers), and Maria Grazia Chuiri at Dior acknowledged the legend in her show notes with the words, “In homage to the alchemist of elegance and beauty, Karl Lagerfeld.”
So, when the Chanel presentation — Lagerfeld’s last for the French house — started at the Grand Palais, anticipation and emotions were running high.
His final collection lived up to the cinematic moment: There was a grandiose set, a star-studded front row, gorgeous tweed ready-to-wear topped with drool-worthy accessories and Penelope Cruz walking the runway holding a white rose. From the minute of silence at the beginning of the show to the long-lasting, tear-stained standing ovation at the end, it was a magnificent homage to a once-in-a-era talent.
By Anahita Moussavian