Waterfalls, unicorns, and lots of pastels made fashion feel, dare we say, fun again

There was something about Paris Fashion Week that felt fantastical. Maybe it was Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren strutting down the runway, or maybe it was Chanel’s pastels and plastic knee-high boots underneath a waterfall. Or, maybe it was the life-size unicorn on the runway at Thom Browne. Amid the heaviness of this past week — and this past year — so many of the shows at Paris Fashion Week felt like escapism. It was a vacation we’re happy to take.

If you thought we were perhaps peak-unicorn, Thom Browne’s Spring 2018 show will make you think again. Browne is known for his whimsical style, and a model in resplendent white leading a unicorn (actually two male models in tulle costumes) out on stage very much lived up to his signature.

On the last day of fashion week, you had, as i-D wrote, “the biggies jostling to have the final word, with the subtext being that they are fighting in a crowded field, one where brand loyalty is a thing of the past.” The results were no-holds-barred and delightfully excessive looks. Chanel mixed ’60s pastel tweeds with transparent PVC for a very space-age meets disco effect.

Dries Van Noten was “glittery and earthy” with lots of organza, printed silk and brocade trousers. At Céline, color combos like pistachio pink with yellow — and trenches with hems so long they doubled as capes — made menswear-inspired pieces feel wearable and fun. Nicolas Ghesquière’s thorough attention to patterns and construction seamlessly transitioned otherwise contradicting looks like an 18th-century frock coat to running shorts.

Sarah Mower, chief critic at Vogue, summed it up: “The idea that spring was a season when things that will be in will soon be out again just seems even more like nonsense. The exceptional clothes you’d pick out now—a Louis Vuitton jacket, something from Chanel, maybe even a crazy couture jacket by Thom Browne—are things you’d care about so much you’d wear and keep them forever.”

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