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Stella McCartney, Sonia Rykiel, Hermes: women on top at Paris Fashion Week

Girl power was a hot topic on the Paris catwalks on Monday, as some of fashion’s top female designers revealed chic yet functional clothing designed to make modern women’s lives that much easier.

Stella McCartney

For this summer 2017 collection, Stella McCartney’s sporty, surf-inspired outfits and tees emblazoned with “no leather”, “animal free” and “thanks girls” logos spelt out her ethos. Rather than chastising those meat-eaters amongst us, it was a celebratory show, with a finale parade of dancing models, who had all practiced a charming, playful dance routine which lasted several minutes and had the audience on their feet swinging along and snapping pictures. The clothes were beautifully textured, with asymmetric dresses and billowing dresses made of organic woven cotton muslin in natural shades from khaki to cedar. Accessories such as reflective cat’s-eye sunglasses, bold plexiglass jewellery and Falabella Box bag added an avant garde edge.

Hermes

The Hermes show was probably the most civilised of Paris Fashion Week thanks to the luxurious (read: spacious) seating and unlimited champagne. This season it became the perfect place to spot spring’s top trends. The gathered smock dresses and tops we’ve seen all week were given the Hermes touch through the use of luxe fabrics such as calfskin leather.

There was no Hermes orange in sight as designer Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski opted for what is becoming the official colour of the season, pink, in shades ranging from dusty rose to bright fuchsia. Textures also came into focus as she played with fringing on leather tunics, openwork embroideries on men’s shirts, and flyaway threads on dresses.

Of course a Hermes show would be nothing without the covetable accessories, which included elegant leather boxes and tiered horsehair bags that resembled a giant tassel. We’re also partial to the miniature croc and lizard bags threaded onto long chains worn around the neck.

Sonia Rykiel

Legendary designer Sonia Rykiel’s legacy lives on. Designer Julie de Libran orchestrated a moving tribute to the flame-haired designer who died this summer: the spring show opened with red-haired models walking down the catwalk wearing sweaters that spelled out “Rykiel Forever.”

The collection that followed paid homage to the confident, free-spirited woman that Rykiel cultivated throughout her career.

De Libran took workwear pieces and transformed them into playful, easy-to-wear looks including oversized sailor tops decorated with gold buttons and voluminous sleeves, wide-legged trousers, wrap denim tops and a utilitarian coats with snap fastenings.

More feminine were the light and airy dresses decorated with colourful stripes or overblown florals. For the evening, sheer lace pieces in black were both seductive and glamorous.

Additional reporting by Divia Harilela