As two rising names, Anne Sofie Madsen and Wanda Nylon, made their Swarovski Collective debut at Paris Fashion Week (September 27–October 5), another collective member, Tuomas Merikoski of Aalto, consolidated his reputation for exquisite flights of fantasy. Swarovski-supported French designer Christelle Kocher, meanwhile, surprised everyone by presenting her Swarovski-embellished Koché show in a shopping mall.
“Diverse” and “democratic” neatly describe Paris’ Spring/Summer 2017 collections. Are we seeing a manifestation of the current seismic shifts in gender and party politics? Perhaps. It was clear that Madsen’s runway used crystal to shine a light on the awkward interplay between sex appeal and geek-factor. Zipped sports tops, librarian specs, bobby socks and high-tech fabrics were presented as a subdued canvas of beige, black and gray enlivened with ultra-glam crystal flashes: Crystal Mesh straps snaked around asymmetric silhouettes and an eye-catching, crystal-decorated bra elevated the utilitarian to a striking contemporary femininity.
The functional made fabulous also made an appearance at Aalto, where Finnish author Tove Jansson’s utopian Moomin universe was the inspiration. Uusi Fantasia (“New Fantasy”) saw looser, fluid re-workings of classic tailoring, along with muted hues pepped up with iridescent, jewel-colored velvet. Highlights included customized Crystal Mesh panels depicting Jansson’s diverse cast of fantastic characters, and Crystal Mesh chokers and ropes made of crystal pearls worn as hat straps.
Christelle Kocher has built the Koché name on a streetwear-meets-couture aesthetic, so it was only natural that she should take the runway to the streets. An army of models, plus model friends, invaded the Forum Des Halles shopping and public transport hub to the surprise of the public and fashion elite alike. Embroidered crystallized flowers, together with jacquard, brocade and lace were teamed with plain fabrics for an exemplary lesson in fashion democracy.
Recent ANDAM Award winner Wanda Nylon has exploded out of its cult rainwear label status to set the high fashion runway aflame. All eyes were on what Johanna Senyk would do next to develop the brand, and this collection proves her talent beyond the signature vinyl mac. With a steely power-woman attitude, an “Electro Sunset” palette blazed with iridescence, metallics and shimmering crystal fishnet pieces. Accessories were no less persuasive, as lampshade hats and clutches studded with large Swarovski stones made front row impact.