Paris Fashion Week trend round-up: a 12-step guide to next season, from It-blankets to the power of navy

Emma McCarthy, Karen Dacre
Dries Van Noten AW17 at Paris Fashion Week: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty

1. Big bags and bigger ball gowns

He’s a designer who is uncomfortable working within the conventions of the contemporary fashion world.

So when given the task of leading the celebrations for Balenciaga’s centenary year, Demna Gvasalia was never going to do a straightforward reworking of the archive.

Instead his latest offering was a love letter to the power of silhouette, with a host of made-to-order couture gowns the jewel in the crown of a blockbuster showcase.

Balengiaga at PFW (Rex Features)

Designed to awe, but also to reflect the changing face of the red carpet-frequenting woman, these were works of wearable art presented alongside laundry bags and spiky stocking boots.

2. It’s all navy

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s second ready-to-wear collection for Dior was a homage to style’s most democratic shade - navy. In a move guaranteed to get fashion editors swooning, the house’s first female designer delivered a masterclass in a foolproof dressing with bar jackets to ball gowns splashed in a sea of blue.

Dior at PFW

Along with a hefty dose of denim, Dior’s offering also provided next season with its hautest hoodie yet. Unlike her debut, there was no in-your-face feminist message - this was empowerment of a different ilk.

3. Save for shearling

From the moment the first show of the season got underway in New York last month, shearling reigned supreme. Fast forward four weeks to the final hours of Paris Fashion Week and even the world’s most prestigious leather brand is declaring its love for the fuzzy fabric.

Hermes at PFW (Catwalking.com)

Weighted with butter soft calfskin and crafted with oversized pockets, Hérmes’s take on the shearling coat is this trend’s Dom Perignon. The catch? You can expect to remortgage your house to pay for it.

4. Modesty sells

If there are lessons to be learnt from Pierpaolo Piccioli’s early success as sole designer of Valentino, it’s that thigh splits and plunging necklines are not the tools required to gain the youth vote.

Valentino at PFW (Rex Features)

Dedicated to majestic silhouettes and long flowing dresses that feature wrist-grazing sleeves and delicate collars, Piccioli blended urban Goths with protest girls of the Sixties and Seventies to create his latest collection. Heavy-duty biker boots were juxtaposed with delicate plissé and a sugary palette in a collection that sought to repurpose femininity for an assertive young woman.

5. Be a knit wit

The fashion pack’s enduring love affair with jumpers, worn at every available opportunity, shows no signs of abating next season.

Loewe at PFW (Rex Features)

At Loewe, Northern Irish designer Jonathan Anderson took a new tack to the woolly stuff by offering up cocktail-hour solutions in the form of a half polka-dot silk, half Fair Isle knit dress we’re dubbing high-fashion hygge.

6. Age is just a number

To celebrate his 100th collection, Belgian designer Dries Van Noten welcomed back a cast of models who had appeared in his shows throughout the decades, from Nineties waif Emma Balfour, who travelled all the way from Sydney to mark this milestone, to supermodel Alek Wek, who came out of runway retirement.

Dries Van Noten at PFW (AFP/Getty Images)

But this was a show which came without a hint of nostalgia. Instead, Van Noten took 100 prints from each previous collection and reinterpreted them for the 2017 consumer. The result was fresh, relevant and thoroughly deserving of the standing ovation that ensued.

7. Fashion is a numbers game

Instead of conjuring up abstract prints or rehashing motifs from their archives, storied fashion houses celebrating special anniversaries this season chose to do so with simplistic numerical branding.

APC at PFW

At Balenciaga, Gvasalia unveiled gowns embroidered with the numbers correlating to those found in Cristobal Balenciaga’s original look books while in APC first ever show on the official Paris Fashion Week schedule, the basics brand showed its age with the slogan Hiver 87. We’ll let you do the maths.

8. Blankets are the new bags

With sales generated from accessories very much the wind beneath the wings of Phoebe Philo’s Céline, the can-do-no-wrong designer is the perfect candidate to give her navy funnel sweater-clad following a new add-on purchase.

Celine at PFW

The blanket, worn strewn over the arm, is the must-have piece for next season. In a show which featured masterfully cut trouser suits, ruched bandeau jersey dresses and the perfect trenchcoat, the blankets, which came emblazoned with thoroughly British slogans including “bangers and mash”, mean next season will be a picnic for those who can afford it.

9. Long live Nora Batty

While we’re not convinced Parisians are au fait with Last of the Summer Wine, there’s no doubt that the comedy’s most cantankerous character has inspired a legacy on the French capital’s catwalks. From the banana-yellow and bubblegum-pink tights at Balenciaga to the sparkly Lurex socks at Isabel Marant, nylons garnered plenty of attention this season.

Rochas at PFW (Rex Features)

But the most Nora Batty-approved styles belonged to Rochas, who teamed an austere collection with flesh-coloured knee-high stockings. To attempt this look, match with a geometric-print skirt and architectural heels - it’s best to leave the pinny and hair rollers in the Seventies.

10. Join the It-jean waiting list

Isabel Marant - a French designer with a knack for spearheading cult sell-out sensations - has gifted It-girls with an It-jean worth Instagramming. As modelled by alpha It-girl Gigi Hadid, next season’s must-have denim came slim-fit and studded with rhinestones.

Isabel Marant at PFW (Getty Images)

Other variations included star-print versions and skinnies embroidered with tiny flowers. Note to self(ie): if you’re quick enough to get your hands on a pair, make sure all of your followers know about it.

11. Paganism is the new black

Following the Alexander McQueen show in Paris last night, Sarah Burton cited Cornish wishing trees and a “woman’s connection to the earth” among her leading motivations for a romantic collection which conjured the drama of a rugged coastline into an ethereal fantasy. The result was showcase laden with delicate handwoven lace dresses and jewellery inspired by trinkets left tied to trees.

Alexander McQueen at PFW (AFP/Getty Images)

One part Poldark heroine and another Queen Guinevere, this is outfit inspiration for strong women who like their evening attire to come with a gothic twist. Lovers of pink sequins and frou-frou peplum trims need not bother.

12. Big sleeves are hanging around

If you’ve only just learnt how to successfully navigate a soup bowl while championing this season’s flouncy sleeve trend, your time has been well spent. Next autumn’s arms are set to be just as dramatic, with ruffles, ruches and hand-vanishing cuffs ranking high on the agenda.

Lemaire at PFW (Rex Features)

The balloon-sleeve blouson from Lemaire’s latest collection is a fine example of how to work this trend in the office, providing you can get on board with touch-typing and extravagant handshakes.

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