PARIS — The name Kim Jones dominated Paris fashion for a second week running as the indefatigable Briton who designs for Dior Men’s returned to the runway for his latest couture collection for Fendi.
Following in the footsteps of the late Karl Lagerfeld at the Roman house’s creative helm is no easy task — but Jones again worked his contemporary sensibility into luxuriant designs to channel the Eternal City.
It produced another clever display.
Here are some highlights of the final day of spring 2022 couture collections:
Fragments of architecture, incandescently lit, were suspended on a dark runway inside the neoclassical Brongniart Palace. Above it, adding to the drama hovered a giant orb made of white light. This was, Jones said, the realm of “the celestial Rome” — but not as we know it. It was reinterpreted with his irreverent eye.
This season’s inspiration was mundane enough: Jones’ walk to work at the Fendi atelier in Rome, where he passed by historic monuments only to arrive in a contemporary environment. Yet the designs were anything but — exploring a juxtaposition between “statuesque marbles” and “ecclesiastical aesthetics” with a futuristic, very sensual vision.
Models walked out to a flash of a strobe light, in a slick effect suggesting they had just been forged by some heavenly seamstress. The designs were equally slick.
A shimmering black gown with turtleneck and cap evoked a priest’s cassock — with the model holding a beaded cord. The skirt was slit, her leg exposed, and her head cocked downward provocatively. This was some sort of fallen angel.
Elsewhere, a black silk gown whose embroideries gleamed like armor looked part heavenly princess, part warrior. The model clutched a handbag resembling either royal orb and a spiked ball weapon. The duality was great fashion staging, thrilling guests, including “Prometheus” star Noomi Rapace who applauded from the front row.
Religious images were splashed across duchesse silks and organzas that merged with inches of exposed flesh for this bold take on couture.
CHARLES DE VILMORIN SPOOKS
Halloween came early for wunderkind Charles de Vilmorin.
The French designer, who catapulted to fame after launching his couture collection in April 2020 and being quickly named Rochas creative director, was inspired this season by the Death Waltz. In case the term is unfamiliar, the house kindly explained that it’s based on a legend from the Middle Ages that suggests you can never escape the grim reaper. Appropriately, “Beetlejuice” director Tim Burton was conscripted to collaborate with the designer this season for a couture display that used de Vilmorin’s signature puffy silhouettes and hand-painted artwork to deathly effect.
An enveloping blood-red satin gown on a model with devil stage makeup was embellished with shrunken skeletons — evoking the final scene of the 1988 movie classic.
Puffy pantaloons in silk, which evoked medieval dress and ended at the knee, conjured up images of the Italian theater. Its model who wore ballet shoes had an off-kilter air with red cheeks and lit spookily in chiaroscuro.
Yet styles sometimes veered off into pure theatrics like a feathered hood in bluebonnet and gauche fringed jacket.