Arguably the most important chunk of the fashion calendar, Paris Fashion Week was ripe with newness this season. At Lanvin we saw a different day as Bruno Sialelli took creative helm of the fashion brand, while elsewhere designers continued to retool their creative thinking for Fall/Winter 2019. Yet still, in a time of new appointments and a constantly-churning fashion machine, Casey Cadwallader, Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, and Marine Serre have challenged the system in different ways, creating new excitement for their respective brands and the fashion world at large.
Casey Cadwallader, Creative Director of Mugler
Reawakening a fashion label brand into relevancy is no easy feat—especially when its eponym is already having a second coming all on his own. Such is the case with Thierry Mugler, whose avant-garde fashions fetishized the Parisian runways—and ultimately pop culture—from the 80s until his departure from the label in the early aughts. While the designer’s archival pieces have recently regained attention (thanks to a new retrospective on his work as well as several well-placed red carpet spots), so too has his former brand under the creative vision of Casey Cadwallader.Originally a student of architecture, American-born Cadwallder turned down a design dream job with Richard Gluckman, who built Helmut Lang’s stores in the ‘90s, to start his career in fashion under Richard Chai at Marc Jacobs. “I was always obsessed with the shape of the human, and the further I got into architecture the closer I got to realizing that,” he tells CR. After stints at Narciso Rodriguez, Loewe, and, most recently, Acne Studios, the appointment at Mugler is Cadwallder’s first fully in charge. One year in, the designer is truly flexing his creative muscle, reenergizing the Parisian label with a fresh aesthetic and cool-kid list of collaborators. Most recently on the runway for Fall/Winter 2019, Cadwallder offered his take on the archetypal hourglass shape in subversive separates with architectural tailoring and elaborate material development inspired by Venetian glass. Mugler’s fashion show itself was noticeably more intimate than those of its namesake, which, like the Spring/Summer 1991 offering that Diana Ross performed before, quite literally became concerts. “I want to keep [my show] very small,” explains Cadwallder. “It’s a new time and I want the show to be different. I want everyone there to know that they are special to be there.”
Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer, Co-Founders of Coperni
In July 2017, designer couple Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant announced their departure from Courrèges, the Parisian fashion brand that they helmed for nearly two years. Under their tenure, the co-creative directors modernized the label famous for its mid-century modernist design heritage in a variety of unorthodox ways. Their debut runway collection for Spring/Summer 2016, for instance, was less of a fashion show and more of an informal invitation to the designers’ new vision. Prior to the unveiling of the line Meyer and Vaillant delivered a lengthy speech about their new no “full look” approach (a stark contrast to other houses’ policies); instead, 15 separate pieces with wearable appeal would go into production in 15 different variations. This simplicity in design and pure focus on product pervaded the duo’s time at Courrèges and remains even more true today—nearly a year and a half later—with the relaunch of their band Coperni.
First founded in 2013, Coperni propelled Meyer and Vaillant into the fashion spotlight through their win of the ANDAM First Collection Prize in 2014. But after their appointment to Courrèges the year after (and with most of their team following behind them), the designers chose to put the women’s ready-to-wear and accessories label on hold. Now, thanks to years of pestering from friends and loyal clientele, Coperni is back and more unique than ever. For Fall/Winter 2019, the two chose to forgo the runway, and opted for Instagram to debut their relaunch collection. Modeled after a Choose Your Own Adventure book, the social media account @copernize_your_life allows viewers to explore the new collection (sharp yet soft suitting, beautifully simple asymmetrical cocktail dresses) through a series of everyday decisions with a few famous cameos. “One of our main goals in coming back to Coperni was to incorporate the people and community around us into it,” explains Vaillant. “We also wanted to do something really cool digitally.” Shall you grab a café au lait or will you jump in a cab to the after party? The choices are endless but—spoiler alert—with Coperni you eventually always find yourself on the dance floor.
Marine Serre, Designer
In the last few years, 27-year-old Marine Serre has been loudly disrupting Paris’ fashion scene, establishing herself not simply as one to watch but rather one to take seriously. French born, Serre studied at the prestigious La Cambre school in Brussels before apprenticing for the likes of Martin Margiela, Raf Simons, and Alexander McQueen. Her first formal attempt under her own name was quickly picked up by stores such as H. Lorenzo in Los Angeles and The Broken Arm in Paris, giving her the momentum she needed to apply to the LVMH Prize, which she won in 2017. The collections that followed delighted in the designer’s pioneering style: radical bodysuits and bright-hued balaclavas with Serre’s signature moon print all playing careful consideration to both the past and present of society.In fact, ecology and sustainability have been central to Serre’s focus since her beginnings and for Fall/Winter 2019 that remained true. The designer has long-favored runway locations outside of the traditional schedule (last season she held her show on a sunny bridge in the 18th arrondissement of Paris) and this show proved no different. In the underground wine cellars of Issy les Moulineau, Serre staged a fashion apocalypse replete with puffers befitting of end of the world warriors, faux-fur accented plaid-covered coats with hourglass waists and, of course, plenty of blacklight. “This show was a kind of dream or, I don’t know, a kind of reverie on the future, and then the idea was that it would be an apocalypse,” the designer mentioned backstage. “This girl will be the girl from 2050 that survived.” END
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