#SuzyPFW: Stella’s “Trashion Bags” and Sacai’s Twists and Turns
Stella McCartney’s invitation to her show was a roll of bin liners. But like so many things the activist designer does, it had a bigger meaning.
“We’re trying to make a statement – it’s humour! Is this lost on anyone?” she asked backstage, surrounded by models in sporty clothes, ready to hit the runway.
“First, for me it’s humorous because we are a luxury fashion house that has branded bin liners. They’re called ‘trashion bags’, which in my mind is also a little bit funny. But at the same time we are a responsible and conscious brand, and we’re making a statement about consumption. And what do you fill your trash bags with? Fast fashion? Think about it. It is also kick-ass and completely biodegradable, and modern. It’s a lot of things!”
The designer’s passion not to use any animal material such as leather is well known, and her collection claimed “skin-free skin”. But she has found the balance between being active in her vision for a better world and in making clothes to appeal to modern women. Hence a leopard-print pattern, and poplin created with organic cotton.
The most obvious thing about the McCartney collection was freedom of movement. There was a looseness about her clothes, whether it was a denim in a shade of moss green or a denim jacket with a pink puff of a skirt worn over narrow trousers.
The designer has captured a sporty ease, as seen by the front-row line-up of supermodel Natalia Vodianova and Princess Caroline of Monaco, both wearing sneakers to the grand Palais Garnier opera house in Paris, even if Kylie Minogue, who sat between them, wore shoes.
But there is something open and multi-ethnic about the clothes, with an African glint to a mix of green top and shocking-pink lower half. The overall effect was of easy clothes fit to cross the world.
CHITOSE ABE AT SACAI
Simple clothes twisted into something complicated and then brought back to the “ordinary”. That is a rough introduction to the complex but strangely compelling work of Chitose Abe, who founded the label Sacai.
The Japanese designer started her career with a specific trick: a different outfit for front and rear, put together as one. Since then, she has moved forward, always with the pattern cutting knowledge she gleaned when working for Comme des Garçons. But her ingenuity in bringing an outfit together as a sum of its parts has become exceptional.
So what exactly was the story behind short, even cute, dresses, apparently built from pieces of contrasting fabrics? Using an interpreter, the designer explained the process.
“I was really examining the identity of Sacai,” she said, “in order to explore the structure of clothing, but also silhouettes that are very feminine in a very Sacai kind of way.
“I also wanted to show that you don’t have to go to the end of the earth for inspiration. I am inspired by what’s around me,” she continued. “So from hybridisation to changing the whole silhouette, there are many things that can be worn in different ways. There was a blazer that can be made in a sort of suiting material for example, that could be worn as a regular jacket, but the way that it was worn was off the shoulder and tied.”
The result of these hybrids were patchy; some breathtaking combinations, others a muddle of materials. Yet the overall effect was mostly charming, with many less complex pieces that gave a dose of welcome simplicity. The question with Sacai is whether Chitose intends each outfit – say a flowered and ruffled dress over checked trousers – to be worn together, or to be taken apart.