PARIS — A giant, glowing crystal rock upon a sand-colored carpet evoked a glamorous alien planet for Hermes’ champagne-sipping VIP guests.
Earthen hues like browns, reds and yellows — colors long-associated with the heritage brand — were used at Saturday’s show to create Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski’s utilitarian, low-key yet luxuriant universe for spring.
Elsewhere, Ukraine’s top fashion designers used the platform of Paris Fashion Week to promote their war-battered industry.
Here are some highlights of the spring-summer 2023 collections in Paris on Saturday:
HERMES’ SUBTLE STRINGS
It was the lone crystal, pulsating glowing color, that brought home the Hermes collection’s key idea: Simplicity is powerful.
Utilitarian features — such as toggles and strange box platforms — were used subtly but with aplomb. The tan suede tunic minidresses sported pleated leather hems — showcased without jewelry on a makeup-less model. Vanhee-Cybulski seemed at times to be making a fashion-forward take on the 80s.
Exposed midriffs latticed with cords and toggles came on otherwise unfussy slim silhouettes.
It brought a sporty and outer-space feel to the pared down collection.
UKRAINE’S “GOOD SIX” DESIGNERS SHOW UNITED FRONT
Last season in Paris, the Ukrainian designers trade fair event took place just two days before Russia’s invasion amid stories of some artists fleeing the country so rapidly they had only their children and their collection in hand.
This season sees no improvement back home for the industry: It’s been battered by increased financial strains as designers try hard to maintain employed staff despite little money, a decrease in demand and ravished supply chains.
A collective of these designer-survivors is showing in Paris beginning Saturday until Oct.6.
Jen Sidary, the collective’s head, said “in my 30 years of working in the fashion industry, I have never witnessed the resilience of a country and its people as they began to focus on keeping their businesses alive, days into the war, from bomb shelters to designing new collections amidst constant air raid sirens.”
The six making up the Paris Fashion Week event — Frolov, Kachorovska, Chereshnivska, Litkovska, My Sleeping Gypsy and Oliz — are showcasing unisex apparel, footwear and scarves. It’s a bid to keep their ravaged industry alive, and form of resistance against the Russian bombs decimating their homeland.
Many of their colleagues back home in Ukraine have had to repurpose their operations to help the war effort, relocating within the country, according to Sidary.
The courage of the Ukraine fashion industry has drawn international attention.
USAID Project Manager Natalia Petrova spoke of the “remarkable resilience, commitment and awareness” of Ukrainian businesses since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Disruptions on the domestic market caused by decrease in demand by population and broken supply chains, are pushing companies to explore export opportunities to diversify their sales,” she added.
ANDREAS KRONTHALER FOR VIVIENNE WESTWOOD
Kink mated with art in the typically quirky fare from Kronthaler — a staple show where a fashion surprise is all but expected.
With his usual encyclopedic flair, Kronthaler wove an aesthetic from yesteryear — medieval and renaissance nobles and peasants — into his drape-heavy silhouettes. Guests almost felt like they were at the theater.
Juliette sleeves mixed with black Renaissance tarbuds, decorated collars and even one wacky but stylish blue loose tuxedo look that could have been worn by the Bard himself. Of course, Kronthaler accessorized it anachronistically with pale blue striped rugby socks. Added to the creative cauldron were chunky Glam Rock boots and a Highlands kilt style with white trimming at the male model’s nether regions, making it look like they might have gotten a front bite.
The opening image of Irina Shayk, often voted among the most beautiful models in the world, in a shiny black bustier and silver-ring earrings riffing off S&M will surely be one picture few quickly forget.