The best is often saved for last, and Paris, as part of the fashion calendar, is no exception. With eight days of shows containing the world's best design talent and foremost fashion houses, it's hard to pick just five. And moreso as it was an especially good season. Following a string of unsatisfying Bouchra Jarrar shows and Oliver Lapidus' disastrous debut, even Lanvin was good. Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel, which rarely strays outside its safe yet successful formula, seemed surprisingly fresh. Paco Rabanne is making waves again. However, there are always those collections whose looks get etched in your memory. The ones that make a lasting impression, and you may remember to attribute to AW18 in a few years. Here they are:
1. ALEXANDER MCQUEEN
The obvious beauty of this silk-fringed dress needs no explanation. Sarah Burton continues with the severe, avant-garde take on femininity that Lee McQueen created, softening it a touch and elevating it to the max. Another thing to appreciate about her clothes, something that often goes unmentioned, is that due to the craftsmanship, they look expensive. A welcome alternative to those that just are.
The industry is notoriously hard on Olivier Rousteing. Whether the individual criticisms are warranted, the ladies, myself included, generally quite like his collections. It's much like in film: there are Sundance Award Winners and there are crowd-pleasers. Rousteing's Balmain is a crowd pleaser. And while this collection could have been better-edited, no one has shown iridescent clothes (a crowd-pleaser in itself) in some time.
After holding back in her debut collection, and a stellar Haute Couture show, Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy is in full swing. These high-impact silhouettes, irreverent ankle boots and unabashed luxury cool is exactly what one expected to see when they heard of the announcement of Keller at the house. Save your pennies.
Deep down, we all long to be children again. To have our needs consistently met, and even anticipated. To be present and aimlessly enjoy things just because. Despite the more obvious merits of Pierpaolo Piccioli's beautiful collections - his creativity, silhouettes, his superior use of colours, materials and erudite inspirations - it's his ability to tap into this longing with fairytale references that sets him apart. And this season, we can channel an elevated Little Red Riding Hood.
Although Chitose Abe's collections are most often a hit, their hybrid aspect was especially welcoming this season, with everyone trying to really pin down the right definition of femininity in a post #MeToo world. It's as if we can put together a good chunk of girlishness, add two cups of tough-luxe, a sprinkle of avant garde and a dash of armour, we can arrive at "what it means to be a woman today". Nonsense. Women just are, and Abe has always known this.