the watchword of fashion to fight against a gloomy return to school

Paris, February 2020: Editors around the world are returning from Milan Fashion Week and getting ready to celebrate Paris Fashion Week. On the catwalks, an oil slick and an apocalyptic threat set the tone. Behind the scenes, we are only talking about the coronavirus and the pollution index. We are looking for meaning at the time, a new (non-polluting) trendy essence. Tim Blanks, editor-in-chief of BOF magazine, interviewed by Mademoiselle Agnès for her show New Fashion, on Canal +, expresses himself laconically on the feeling of the moment: “It’s a bit like when humans build houses on faults or flood zones.” Atmosphere.

Paris, end of August 2020: Le Bon Marché is preparing to celebrate the fall-winter collections. After the dark hours and a year marked by strikes and the health crisis, the department store chose to … laugh. From “zwanger”, more exactly – a typically Belgian word which designates the art of joking specific to the country, this way of joking mixing irony, irreverence and just the right amount of surrealism. “We invited Belgium for our back-to-school exhibition,” explains Jennifer Cuvillier, style director at Bon Marché. We will therefore meet in the shelves the Marsupilami, Gaston Lagaffe, the Smurfs …, all these heroes of comics made in Belgium. We also invited comedian Stéphane de Groodt to imagine a surreal supermarket. The idea: trigger an immediate smile in the aisles, infusing a joyful and friendly universe among the Belgian labels that we have selected. ”

A new impetus

Courtesy of press office

“Happy”, the word is launched. Like a desire for light after a particularly dark year. Fashion designers and buyers in the sector affirm it: they all felt, after the period of isolation due to confinement, like a thrill, a new impetus: that of the assumed pleasure of getting ready, of adorning oneself after months spent in jogging or in pajamas on his sofa, that of a more pronounced taste for color and fantasy. Getting out of your comfort zone? Yes, twice yes. Leaving your slippers, taking height, fighting against renunciation, gaining weightlessness were the new markers of deconfinement, and they should continue in the fall.

As proof, the forecast trends for the season analyzed by Heuritech, the artificial intelligence platform that grinds three million images and fashion videos on social networks every day in its algorithms. For the fall of 2020, the Parisian start-up has identified five segments that have risen sharply compared to last year: psychedelic tie and dye (+ 68%), flower infusion (+ 15%), lime green (+ 16%), sophisticated and colorful taffeta (+ 13%), and the cashmere print, which made a strong impression (+ 10%).

Le Bon Marché, which has decidedly fries this season, has also bet on the Belle Époque trend in its fashion departments, giving pride of place to the invigorating breath of the seventies, to sets in bright color blocks, to Art Deco prints, to tangerine colors. , lime green, sunny yellow, turquoise blue, with bloused Lurex dresses. A bright dressing room for a saving optimism, a fashion situated between joy and conscience, echoing a new way of life, as the house’s communication underlines.

An explosion of colors

Les color blocks d’Hermès.


We are far from the tsunami of black that swept over the catwalks during the last Fashion Week, or from the minimalist spirit of the Parisienne. “We are coming out of a grim situation where everything has been so heavy that people only want one thing: a little joy and lightness, analyzes Serge Carreira, lecturer at Sciences Po Paris, specialist in luxury. And fashion reflects this aspiration. She has always been a valve to restore hope after difficult times. The moments of tension and suffering also open universes where the field of possibilities widens, where the exploration of serious and serious matters does not prevent optimistic projects. ”

The Printemps department store understood this well, which, in the midst of the retail crisis, launched its e-shop by choosing as the common thread of its visual identity an invigorating fluorescent green, terribly attractive. “It was“ breakthrough ”compared to the period, admits Karen Vernet, director of e-commerce development on the site. Green is the color of renewal, optimism, energy and hope. And Michel Pastoureau (historian specializing in colors, Editor’s note), which we asked to confirm our choice, confirmed to us that it referred to notions of vigor, freshness and youth. ”

Make way for femininity

Chloe’s shades of autumn.


A rebirth, in a way. Like the one the French women felt when they came out after eight weeks of confinement, busy teleworking and domestic logistics. Marie says it: she, who never took off her flat moccasins, offered herself red sandals with heels. Sophie, still in jeans and a black jacket, bought a daring yellow wax dress with a low back. And many of them have expressed their desire for little follies in this way.

Carole Benazet, the founder of Département Féminin – a luxury multi-brand boutique in Toulouse – confirms: “I saw that my clients wanted to reclaim their femininity, to feel prettier. They were also less focused on prudent purchases and preferred creative pieces to basics. For example, they have invested in the beautiful wax jumpsuits from the Dior cruise collection or in the very fun and colorful dresses from the Saloni brand. I think that, in the fall-winter, they will also leave the essentialist panoply to climb a tone in the audacity, the cheerfulness and the sophistication. ”

In video, the Dior cruise 2021 collection

The bias of the creators

Fashion designers, who were working on their spring-summer 2021 collections during the lockdown (the latter will parade or be presented during Fashion Week in September), also felt the need to express a less austere vision. “I imagined my collection as the beginning of a breath – the end of a tunnel, in a way -, and I wanted positive and joyful things; above all to remember that if fashion allows you to talk about yourself, it is also made for fun, says Natacha Ramsay-Levi, artistic director of Chloé. The fact of having calmed our social life has given us back the desire for fantasy. From the constraint and frustration that have been imposed on us, a form of desire and lightness is reborn. ”

Angela Missoni, locked in Italy during the spring, has also taken the side of color, joy, optimism and openness for her next spring-summer collection. “When I hear that we’re going to have to focus on basics and classics, I don’t agree. Of course, we are going to reduce our collections, but that should not prevent us from pushing the creativity and desirability of our products even further, to counter the gloom. ”

Guillaume Henry, who imagines the most smiling fashion of the moment for Patou, has for his part thought, for his winter collection (which he will present in September with that of spring), of the post-war period. “I thought of the women of that time and how they reinvented their wardrobes by painting flowers on their black dresses. My winter collection, I wanted it to be both fair and festive. In particular, I worked on a print that evokes optimism, renewal and joy. ”

Madly eco-responsible

Richly embroidered matador jackets from Louis Vuitton.


The designer also speaks of fantasy in gravity. Because in this period of economic crisis where eco-responsibility is more than ever the behavior to be adopted, do we still have the right to have fun with fashion? “I think we have all understood that we must protect the planet; buying less but better does not mean that you have to put aside your dreams and no longer have fun, ”adds Nathalie Rozborski, general manager of the Nelly Rodi consulting agency. Fashion reflects social issues, but it has also always been a cultural code of pop culture. We must stop opposing the two visions – the basic problems and the desire for renewal and creativity. The two coexist, and so much the better. It’s like asking the younger generation to choose between Greta Thunberg and Billie Eilish! ”

Judith Milgrom, founder of Maje, shares the same feeling: “What a joy to see young people outside again, to hear them laugh and have fun! You have to enjoy life, have fun ”, says the one who was inspired by the Palace and the Bains Douches for her fall-winter collection. Romper, little Lurex dress, sequined top, everything at home invites to party. Well, dance now …

5 ways to deal with gloom

We hijack our big blazer working girl by wearing it with a brassiere (Jacquemus spirit) or a sulphurous and chic black bra (Saint Laurent mood). The more cautious will be satisfied with a little very short sweater under their jacket.

We strangle everything: dress, jacket, coat and puffer jacket – even if, on the latter, belting it seems more complicated. This avoids the boring linear side and gives an immediate boost, as on the catwalks of Dior, Chloé or Prada.

We seize the bourgeois allure at full speed, taking inspiration from the Celine culottes, lavallière blouse and high heeled boots combo (especially no flat, unhappy!). And we lean more towards Funny Ladies than Claude Pompidou or Marie-France Garaud.

We try something else than black or beige in winter. Mikado stripes, for example, or beautiful color blocks (like those from the Hermès show) to enhance its look. You can also try a sunny yellow dress (Gucci), a scarlet red cape (Balenciaga), and, of course, we go for anything that is green (such as the pantsuit offered by Lacoste).

We play it baroque and belle époque, Barry Lyndon and Gatsby the magnificent : full balloon sleeves (as on Chanel dresses), pearl and crystal breastplates (Miu Miu), and we put on crinoline petticoats or richly embroidered matador jackets (Louis Vuitton).

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