There was a time not so long ago that Paris became the hotbed of new talent. A lot of it was to do with the arrival of Vetements on the scene, but it was also to do with the appointment of new names at old houses, which suddenly made Paris young and interesting again where once it had only ever been associated with established names. This was circa 2014/15. But a lot has changed since then. Well, it has and it hasn’t. Vetements’ main man Demna Gvasalia went on to become top dog at Balenciaga and Simon Porte Jacquemus went on to become the reason Paris now began earlier on a Monday night; Y/Project took off big time, and those brands who appointed new young names got ruthless and got rid of some of them. So where did Paris’ new designers go next?
Y/PROJECT FW18 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.
While Vetements tends to be increasingly absent from the schedule, its unofficial fledgling counterpart Y/Project isn’t – and it is noticeably stealing the limelight, while doing something all its own. Which to begin with, it felt like it wasn’t. We saw hints of this last season, a move into something more feminine and grown-up, but which fully morphed into something new this time round for boudoir-lingerie and eveningwear looks: huge dramatic swathes of a silhouette upon a cocktail dress. It was a clever move – because Y/Project could have fallen into the category of being a one-trick pony, and to a degree with those super-slouched and ruched boots and trousers it kind of has; but with this offering it showed, be that the case or not, it can certainly ride more than one pony within that box of tricks. It was nice to see a move in to softer territory, steering away from the “streetwear” provenance that so began it; this was ostentatious and dressed up, one dress dripping in all-over strands of beads spectacular. Yes, there were still the hallmarks that Glenn Martens has built the brand on, but it feels like now he knows how to develop this, enabling his template to morph into other spheres. This was an exciting collection and step up.
CARVEN FW18 show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
The thing that works for Y/Project, though, is that it was a relatively unknown brand prior to this new-talent hype some years ago. Carven had been resurrected in the very successful hands of Guillaume Henry, now at Nina Ricci, several years prior to that. But it went through a change of hands. While his former Dior interim partner in crime Lucie Meier has been trying to solve the direction of Jil Sander, Serge Ruffieux landed at Carven. The difficulty here is that Henry did such a great job and Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud did a great job at paying homage to that. Under Ruffieux, collections haven’t been quite as compelling, slightly difficult to digest for too many ideas of youth and fun, the contemporary badges Henry built it upon. Though here the accessories worked particularly well and bags styled two-by-two looked especially alluring.
JACQUEMUS FW18 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.
Of course, change is always going to happen when new designers come into new houses. What is interesting, though, in the case of Jacquemus is just how much his aesthetic has evolved since he began. Because, in the beginning, he did deconstruction-minimalism with a playful charm. Now, over the past three seasons, he’s introduced stealth silhouettes and a grown-up and sophisticated aesthetic; last season he shed that for sexy little dresses; and this time round that was replaced once more by inspiration from Marrakech for a streamlined collection of dresses and tunics of muted tones. It was a world away from what he began with. Which is not a bad thing – this collection also marking the introduction for him in menswear, announced immediately after the show.
ATLEIN FW18 show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.
Which leads us to now: arguably of late, brands like Koché and Atlein are the new kids on the block. The former is very much a streetwear kind of category, a mash-up of inspirations and styles which this season saw parkas and a plethora of gold hit the catwalk. Previous seasons have been stronger and this lacked that buzz Christelle Kocher had originally garnered. Meanwhile, Antonin Tron at Atlein showed a collection that one knows, as soon as it’s on the shop floor, it will sell: because who doesn’t ever not want a great coat or jacket, those precision cuts for workable pieces, impeccably well-made, and with it a sense of intellectualism that made Céline the hit that it was under Phoebe Philo?
KOCHÉ FW18 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.
See Y/PROJECT's full FW18 collection here.
See CARVEN's full FW18 collection here.
See JACQUEMUS's full FW18 collection here.
See ATLEIN's full FW18 collection here.
See KOCHÉ's full FW18 collection here.