Thursday 17 March 2016

Time After Time: Paris Fashion Week's Seventies Zeitgeist

 Ziggy Stardust and all things David Bowie were some of the key inspirations in Paris this season. The 1970s ruled many catwalks with thigh high boots, glitter, tartan and flares. Pictured is a shimmering mini-cape from Barbara Bui's collection. Cover picture & photograph above by Elli Ioannou 
Our correspondent in Paris looks behind the scenes at what it takes to get a collection onto the runway at fashion week in the French capital for Autumn/Winter 2016 and discovers that the 1970s vibe is still the key direction, with David Bowie and the Sex Pistols all important influences along with short hair, thigh high boots and tartan. Story & photographs by Elli Ioannou

5am emblazoned on models at Lea Peckre 
TIME is an important factor when it comes to creating a fashion show, at least five months of preproduction are needed for the designer and their team to put a collection on to the catwalk. And on the day of the show, there are at least seven hours of work and preparation behind the scenes leading up to the models appearing on the runway. This includes briefing the models on the choreography, practise runs for hair and make up, final fittings, garment adjustments and testing the lighting and music.
Neo-Goth meets New Romantic at Lea Peckre

Putting on a fashion show is all about timing and this is a key theme for award-winning French designer Léa Peckre's AW16 collection 5.00am, Dragon arum vulgaris. As guests begin to arrive for the designer's show, the lights are dimmed and the sound designer Erwan Sene sets the mood for the collection with dark, loud and mysterious sounds.  

The models wear square nose rings and tattooed numbers of  5:00 am around their necks reflecting the theme of the collection, while the pre-dawn hour is repeated in more cryptic motifs on the clothes. We sit waiting by the empty runway which finally gets underway half an hour late (like most of the shows), and the sense of time speeds faster as the music cranks up and the models hit the catwalk.

Andy Warhol's "fifteen minutes of fame" matches the length of the shows which are all over too soon for another season.
Big hair and a '70s aesthetic at Barbara Bui
The architectural space where the shows are held also reflect the direction of each fashion house. While more established designers like Barbara Bui showed at the prestigious Grand Palais, emerging designers such as Léa Peckre and Ellery put on their runway collections at the contemporary and more edgy Palais de Tokyo. The place where a show is held not only creates the atmosphere but offers photo opportunities inside and out for the scrum of jostling photographers.

Tartan, leather & velvet at Barbara Bui 
The directions for this season unmistakably embody the zeitgeist of the 1970s, where disco, Studio 54, David Bowie and the Sex Pistols were all important influences. The innovative fashion of the time directed this season's collections with fabrics such as tartan, leather, fringing, tweed, velvet and metallics. The models at Barbara Bui looked like a young Biana Jagger, Iman or Blondie partying at Studio 54 and captured the '70s aesthetic with short hair and thigh high boots, that any Bond girl would have proudly worn.

Green, purple & mini dresses at Barbara Bui
The designer's collection included bright green and purple leather coats, mini dresses, along with Scottish sexy tartan fitted tunics. The Paris-born Barbara Bui has been showing her designs since 1987 and in 1998 BB was launched as a high fashion brand with stores around the world including Paris, Milan and New York. Whereas young French designer Léa Peckre’s “time” collection moved into the 1980s with a New Romantic meets Neo-Goth direction with ruffles, petal-shaped skirts, rippling shirts, fitted mesh tops and leather and white maxi stretch mesh dresses. 
Sheer maxi-dresses & shirts at Lea Peckre 
The colour palette was in white, black and grey. Models also wore another version of the classic billowy white shirt with hanging industrial style strings, sheer fitted dresses in white and black. Before launching her own label in the autumn/winter 2013 season, Lea Peckre worked at Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Isabel Marant and today is one of Paris most interesting young designers.

Australian Kym Ellery showed her collection at the Palais de Tokyo and created metallic gold and bronze dresses with floaty Laura Ashley sleeves, white shirt dresses with tan leather thigh boots, gold mesh, deep velvet and even leather dresses. The collection included over sized tweed, ankle-length coats with hanging strings, outfits adorned with pink swan neck style fur finishes, bell-bottom, tulip-cut jeans and leather ankle and gold velvet boots which could have come directly out of London’s Soho in the 1970s
Ellery's sleek & tailored take on the Seventies
Ellery is based in Sydney and began her label in 2007 after being a fashion stylist for magazines. Known initially inside the fashion world, today the designer has a high profile following who wear her designs including Rihanna, Solange Knowles, Cate Blanchett, and Elle Fanning.
David Bowie has been one of Ellery's greatest muses and inspirations for the label's tailored 1970s looks. Ellery as a label made it's official, on-schedule debut in Paris last season and fulfilled another of the young designer's aims to show on the international fashion stage and with a touch of French elan too.

 Bell-bottom flairs & leather boots at Ellery
The designer has described her aesthetic as understated, monochromatic and often androgynous and she takes great care working with fabrics she has made in Italy and Switzerland which are then made locally in Sydney.

Like London fashion week, these shows in Paris indicated an original take on an iconic period in fashion making it relevant to 2016.

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