The Return of the Dry-Clean-Only Wardrobe | Kanebridge News
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The Return of the Dry-Clean-Only Wardrobe

Organza blouses, cashmere overcoats and tailored skirt suits: Fashion’s Paris forecast signalled an end to washable WFH-wear

By RORY SATRAN
Tue, Mar 7, 2023 8:55amGrey Clock 4 min

PARIS—With the frisson of a downturn in the air, designers at fashion week here better known for drama battened down the hatches, sending out streams of polished, functional blouses, jackets, skirts, pants and pumps.

Above all, however, they sent coats. Some highlights: strictly cut propositions at Givenchy and Alexander McQueen, luxe puffers at Schiaparelli, and today’s belted, no-tricks camel-coloured overcoats at Louis Vuitton. Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at British retailer MatchesFashion, praised Paris Fashion Week’s notably beautiful coats in an interview and rated them the “number-one investment” for customers who, in a change from their usual habits, might be choosing between luxuries this year.

And those buying habits are indeed changing. At a dinner for his independent Vienna-based brand, Petar Petrov told me that his clients are no longer searching for the comfort-forward attire of post pandemic life. Instead, women are again craving silk dresses and blouses, things to be worn to appear soignée at work, dinner, on dates (and then dry-cleaned… unthinkable in 2020).

Button-up blouses, a neutral palette, androgynous coats—if it sounds familiar, that may be because Lydia Tár pretty much foretold the fall collections. Although Cate Blanchett’s problematic composer in the Oscar-nominated movie “Tár” was not exactly an aspirational figure, her impeccably tailored wardrobe resonated well beyond the film.

Ms. Wiggins said this season was all about “more tailoring, cleaner looks and what I always call ‘real clothing’—but with added value and details that mean you will have it in your wardrobe forever, and it won’t feel too trend-heavy.”

Here, five brands that made persuasive cases for “real clothing”:

Loewe: Where ‘innovation’ is not just a buzzword

Jonathan Anderson, the designer behind Spanish LVMH brand Loewe, is one of the rare designers who uses innovative techniques and materials to make clothing that is supremely wearable. Without last season’s dependence on surreal elements such as exaggerated anthurium-flower tops, the fall collection focuses on more realistic pieces, like long leather coats and proper trousers.

That realism was imbued with tireless experimentation—the kind that people who love clothing will want to pay for. The seemingly simple silk printed dresses were printed with faded images of dresses from decades past, giving the contemporary pieces a sense of history. Shearling coats were moulded into hourglass shapes. Cropped leather jackets and skirts were vacuum-stiffened into firmness.

Mr. Anderson also excels when he considers and updates familiar and functional pieces—like last season’s Barbour jackets, or this season’s work boot. The Loewe representative who took me around the showroom said that the house’s employees—both men and women—were all excited to wear fall’s comfortable work boot, with its large toe box and nubbly texture.

Balmain: An approachable elegance

In recent seasons, the Balmain show has been an over-the-top spectacle bringing together thousands in stadium-style shows, often with live music. Last season, a raised runway showcased nearly 100 looks, Cher sang and there was a hamburger stand. The styles—as befits a brand beloved by Beyoncé and the Kardashian sisters—prioritised drama, including wide hats and sculpted pieces in unorthodox fabrics like banana leaf. But the show was late and chaotic, and attendants complained (a Vogue reviewer bemoaned his soggy bottom).

So this season the brand swung back to basics, or as close to basics as Balmain gets. In an interview, creative director Olivier Rousteing stressed the importance of looking to the house’s founder Pierre Balmain’s “legacy, and the power of the distinctive tailoring, structure and spirit behind his ‘New French’ style.” The term “New French” was coined by Gertrude Stein’s partner Alice B. Toklas after seeing the brand’s first collection in 1945. It’s a moment—as crystallised by a famous Horst photograph of Stein with her poodle Basket and a Balmain model—that Mr. Rousteing referenced with this collection.

That resulted in a collection full of elegance, like jackets with nipped waists, capes, full skirts and reworked tuxedos. Many looks were worn with simple black velvet cropped pants, the kind of piece that could augment any wardrobe. One guest—74-year-old model Maye Musk (Elon’s mom)—nodded her head in approval.

The Row: Creature comforts, from cashmere to chocolate

The Row, the American design house founded by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, has found a spiritual home in Paris, where it has an office. Like the Japanese brands Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake, both of which show their collections in the French capital, the Row’s pure and formally inventive clothing makes sense when seen against the backdrop of Haussmannian moldings and herringbone floors.

This collection did not stray from the brand’s specialties: Lydia Tár-like suits, shirting and Serious Coats, spare evening wear, elbow-length gloves, flat boots perfect for city walking. But it felt particularly right in the context of a season of realistic, investment-grade fashion—as if the world synced up to the Row than vice versa.

At the show’s conclusion, young men proffered green juice, green tea, perfectly ripe pears and hunks of dark chocolate. Along with great knitwear and flat shoes, these are the keys to many women’s affection.

Balenciaga: A postscandal return to ‘the art of making clothes’

The most hotly anticipated show this season was Balenciaga’s, but not for the usual reasons. With a hint of schadenfreude, editors gossiped about how creative director Demna would react (or not) to the uproar around the brand’s recent campaigns that some interpreted as endorsing child pornography. Demna has apologised for featuring children in the campaign, and Balenciaga’s owner François Pinault last month said “we’re allowed to make mistakes in a group like Kering.”

In his show notes, Demna declared a return to the purity of design: “Fashion to me can no longer be about entertainment, but rather as the art of making clothes.” That manifested as elemental forms and silhouettes, starting with sweeping black lace dresses punctuated by crested shoulders. Blazers, denim jackets, overcoats and trenches were all oversize, dwarfing their wearers. Demna applied his contemporary touch to ladylike Balenciaga signatures like bows and florals.

But under the designer, Balenciaga has always been about far more than clothes. Stunt shows commenting on current events, a Simpsons collaboration and Kim Kardashian mummified in danger tape made it a part of the zeitgeist. Are clothes alone—even ones as thoughtful as this—enough?

Saint Laurent: A powerful vision of business-not-very-casual

When was the last time you saw someone wearing a proper skirt suit—outside of a retro movie or TV show? Chances are, you’re scratching your head, but if Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent show has anything to do with it, the skirt suit will be on the ascendant come fall.

The show’s vision of a powerful businesswoman—albeit one who still values comfort and sex appeal—began Paris Fashion Week with a slap of chicness. Some fashion obsessives on Twitter used the occasion to compare Mr. Vaccarello’s early work—characterised by micro party dresses and lots of leather—to his sophisticated forays of recent years. The brand has grown up with him.

Although the extreme shoulder of the blazers and the deep décolleté of the camisoles will not be for everyone, the pinstriped wool suit separates and blanket coats are future classics. And Ms. Wiggins of MatchesFashion pointed to the show’s organza blouses, with their dramatic streaming neck ties, as the perfect tops for a dinner date.



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Designing Dreams: David Charette’s fascinating Spaces for Children’s Adventures

David Charette has teamed up with CIRCU Magical Furniture to design spaces that capture the essence of childhood wonder.

Tue, May 21, 2024 4 min

This collaboration between David Charette, founder and principal of Britto Charette, and CIRCU Magical Furniture aims to stimulate the imaginations of children, encouraging them to invent their own tales of adventure. Drawing on his extensive travels, Charette believes that journeying through different cultures can spark creativity in young minds.

His latest venture uses a mix of luxury elements and magical themes, incorporating products from CIRCU, Covet House, and other vendors to create unique, enchanting children’s rooms. These spaces are designed to reflect the excitement and mystery of exploring new worlds.

The Sleeping are:

David Charette has transformed a Montreal residence into a magical sleeping area where time seems to pause, and adventures await. Known for its long, cold winters and short days, Montreal served as the perfect backdrop for Charette’s vision of a space that remains warm and bright throughout the year.

Central to the design is the concept of “light and bright,” brought to life using de Gournay‘s hand-painted wall coverings in fresh mint, decorated with flying butterflies. These elements beautifully complement the original shapes of the KOKET Nymph Wall Lamp and the organic curves of the CIRCU Tristen Bed.

Charette’s attachment to the Tristen Bed stems not only from its youthful appeal but also from its ergonomic design, which makes it easy for children to climb in and out of, enhancing both its functionality and charm.

The Bed:

Charette paired the modern lines of the bed with the unique design of the Boca do Lobo Wave Nightstand and the funky style of Delightfull’s Billy Table Lamp. By blending these contemporary pieces with the classic elements in the decor of this luxury kids’ room, Charette has crafted a unique space that breathes a natural breeze of inspiration into any child’s environment.

This combination not only adds aesthetic appeal but also stimulates the imagination, making the room a perfect sanctuary for creativity and dreams.

The seating area:

The room also includes a cozy seating area perfect for young readers. Centred around the CIRCU Dainty Armchair, this space is tailored for kids, with the chair’s delicate structure and elegant design enhancing the room’s charm. Its pink velvet upholstery adds a vibrant pop of color, enriching the room’s palette. To distinctly separate this reading corner from the rest of the sleeping area, Charette chose the Boca Do Lobo Gold Folding Screen from Covet House, which not only adds an element of privacy but also contributes a touch of sophistication to the space.

The Play and Study area:

David Charette aimed to create a space with an “Out of Africa” vibe to spark a child’s imagination and inspire a passion for lifelong adventures and travels. Drawing from fond memories of camping during his own childhood, Charette incorporated a Teepee Tent into the room’s design, allowing children to feel as they are camping in a forest right within their own bedroom.

This nature-inspired theme is beautifully complemented by the Fornasetti wall coverings from Cole & Son and the Filigree Cricket Wall Lamp, which are insect-shaped sconces by Boca do Lobo.

Adding to the ambiance, Charette notes, “The clouds on the ceiling further the idea of camping (in this case “glamping”) and dreaming, and the Circu Cloud Suspension lamps add to the dreamy camping vibe.”

To maintain this adventurous theme, Charette selected the CIRCU NODO Suspension Chair. It not only brings a hint of outdoor fun indoors with an elegant flair but also offers a comfy spot for kids to unwind and lose themselves in their favorite stories.

In his design, David Charette, of Britto Charette, focused on enhancing the sense of freedom and sparking children’s imaginations in their own space. He chose one of his favorite pieces from CIRCU, the Sky Desk, for its playful design and inspirational form. Shaped like an airplane, this desk not only becomes the central feature of playtime but also transforms homework into an exciting adventure. The unique design aims to captivate and motivate young minds, turning everyday tasks into a flight of imagination.

David Charette designed this luxury children’s room with the hope that it would inspire children to dream, play, and develop a deep respect for nature as they embark on their own adventures.

He crafted the room to be “transitional,” capable of evolving with a child from toddler years into adolescence. This design approach not only aims to create a lasting, imaginative space for children but also to show parents the value of investing in unique, high-quality pieces like those from Circu. These carefully chosen items stand out from mass-produced children’s designs, offering both aesthetic appeal and long-term utility.

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