Paris Fashion Week, the cream of the crop of fashion month and the time all fashion insiders and influencers have been waiting for, has begun. The serious collections are walking the runway and it's hard to keep up with all the excitement, beauty, and innovation. Two of my favorite collections so far are from ladylike but quirky labels Dries Van Noten and Rochas. Belgian designer Van Noten has been praised for ages, and Rochas has been thriving in France for even longer, more recently with Alessandro Dell'acqua pulling the reins as creative director.
I was blown away by the odd femininity of these two collections, and the unique ways they used texture, print, and layering to create strangely beautiful garments.
Old-School Prints, Made New
Both labels used traditional prints like brocade and florals that could lean in a mature direction, had they been used in the expected manner. Dries Van Noten mixed prints throughout his collection, combining traditional prints like brocade to make something quirky and bold. On the other hand, Dell'acqua let each print speak for itself rather than mixing them, but he elevated them to a fresh and modern place by layering embellishment over the print and using old-fashion brocades on very new and young silhouettes.
Though the collections were for the warmer months of spring and summer, both Dries Van Noten and Rochas revealed collections full of layering. Between actual layering of garments and of the odd combinations of embellishment, their layers ranged from the minute to the large scale. Both designers put heavy brocade over sheer silk, thick ruffles over tiny sequins, and carefully-placed beads to add intricacy to already-interesting pieces.
Sheer But Not Too Sweet
Both Dries Van Noten and Rochas had looks walk the runway with dreamy sheer overlay. Despite the girly and delicate associations with sheer and floaty garments, both designers stayed away from a saccharine place by layering sheer over bold graphics and patterns.
Layering Bra Tops
Both labels took the bra top, something stereotypically sexy, and toned it down by layering it in odd ways and reworking it in unexpected fabrics, like Rochas' vinyl bra. They proved the bustier bra and bralette are key pieces to keep around, so long as you're willing to do some bold layering.