Otherworldly Universes Rule At Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood And Hermès

kristen mcmenamy kronthaler vivienne westwood aw24
Runway Rundown: Otherworldly Universeslaunchmetrics.com/spotlight

With a few days left of Paris Fashion Week, Saturday, day five of the anticipated week in the fashion calendar proved to be a day that was all about storied luxury houses.

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Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood took show attendees to the Renaissance era with a collection which riffed on the idea of historically constructed pieces boasting a sporty edge. Hermès, quite literally, brought the rain as droplets hit the indoor runway floor, adding to designer Nadège Vanhee‘s fantasy of an equestrian-rider-turned-motorcylist, with a painfully stylish wardrobe to boot.

The first collection from the successor of Alexander McQueen's former creative director Sarah Burton, Central Saint Martins alumni Seán McGirr, was perhaps the hottest ticket this Paris Fashion Week. Held inside a formerly derelict train station, ‘rough opulence’ was the running thread throughout the line, which saw stars including Salma Hayek and Shygirl perched on the front row for the occasion.

Here’s everything you need to know about the fifth day of Paris Fashion Week:


The Inspiration

Staged inside former university campus Sorbonne-Nouveile now titled Cèsure, a space for students and the public, Kronthaler's inspiration this season derived from the love he and his partner in work and life, the late Vivienne Westwood, had for Renaissance costume and sports protective gear made during the 1600s. A continuation of Kronthaler and his late wife's legacy, the concept of the line was obtained from Giovanni Battista Moroni’s 16th-century painting 'The Tailor', as the designer was enthralled by the austerity and elegance of his work, sentiments echoed by the late Westwood who ‘was a fan of history’, Kronthaler stated. Adding more fuel to his mood board was a thorough interest in Everybody Knows The Patterns of Fashion by Janet Arnold.

Over at Hermès, a subversive take on the everyday equestrian rider was the goal of creative director Nadège Vanhee. ‘An urban energy, the equestrian biker who has swapped a horse saddle for a motorcycle seat. With a riding jacket and biker boots, the possibilities of leather are reinvented, while zips offer freedom of movement,’ said Vanhee of the line.

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Elsewhere, McGirr's inspiration was plucked from the idea of tension between a dishevelled and polished uniform. A listicle of each look provided a detailed insight into the newly appointed Dublin-born creative director's mindset, with hoof boots, metal arrow pins and a return of the original skull motif Lee McQueen brandished his creations with.

The Clothes

The corsetry we love and attribute to Westwood found a home in AW24 in the form of a black, figure-hugging bodice dress with a pannier skirt and a laser-cut top with a slight emphasis on the waist. Cropped plaid jackets and skirts were complemented by vertiginous platform boots with the famous Westwood checks, and a boxy sparkled top was layered over bloomer-style shorts and paired with pink ballet flats. Breeches boasting jockstraps were also coupled with capacious knee-length boots.

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It was leather galore at the Hermès show, with iterations of wine-hued, cropped buttery jackets and longline styles. Carmine gilets were sent down the runway with leather trousers with gentle flaring and towards the middle section of the collection rich, lindt brown, fawn and buttery yellow shades materialised across a selection of leather skirts, snug polo-neck and off-the-shoulder knits, tall jodhpur boots and, of course, divine top handle bags and clutches.

A new direction was abloom at McQueen, where there was an amalgam of silhouettes for the steadfastly loyal McQueen dresser, varying from a shearling coat with exaggerated shoulder pads, a wool jumper with a quadruple collar in black and off-white, double-breasted tailored coats with arrow pin closures in addition to pony hair corsets and zip-up jackets with peplum detailing. Standouts included a dress with distressed silver hammered sequin embroidery, blue, neon and black 'car' dresses made from steel along with pony hair 'hoof' boots.

The Frow

The front row of stars at Vivienne Westwood was essentially a who's who of risk-takers and rule-breakers. Julia Fox, Barbara Palvin, Celeste and Coco Rocha were all in attendance, clad in the Westwood, of course. Sam Smith made a runway appearance, not once, but twice, followed by Amelia Gray, Lila Moss and Kristen McMenamy, who closed the show.

paris, france march 02 salma hayek and shygirl attend the alexander mcqueen autumnwinter 2024 show during paris fashion week on march 2, 2024 in paris, france photo by dave benettgetty images for alexander mcqueen
Dave Benett

Kelly Rutherford and Maria Sharapova were a few of the buzzy names at Hermès, and at McGirr's debut muses Yves Tumor, Shygirl, and Emma Chamberlain held down the front row fort. Plus, original McQueen muse Debra Shaw took to the runway accompanied by Frankie Rayder (both were revealed last month as the faces of McGirr's first campaign for the house).

The Set

Inside Cèsure, eyes zeroed in on Sons of Siss, a Vienna-based folk band that brought their sound to the runway via self-made percussions, yodelling, and tap dancing – and they even incorporated some spinning and whipping sounds. Stumps of tree bark were placed on the stage, and the musicians used them as props for their performance.

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Hermès’ rainfall indoors made for a picturesque scene, with the objective of 'awakening the sense,' shared the brand. Models strutted up and down the inside of the Garde Républicaine. A renovated train station set the scene for the McQueen show, and the set design featured billowing white parachutes, mimicking an industrial forest. Irish musician Enya's 'Boadica' and 'Orinoco Flow' soundtracked the entire show.

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