Fashion Review: Designs on Female Empowerment at Chanel and Dior


Ms. van Herpen uses technology — laser-cutting, 3-D printing and heat bonding — to create a new morphology of the body, bringing it into a realm somewhere between the digital and the divine.

This season she took a long view (literally: of the earth from above), twining iridescent vines, draping perforated leather and liquid fabric bonded to Mylar into cloudlike gowns, picking out new bone structure in parametric patterns, all within a frame of an almost medieval silhouette. It is genuinely original work, with a strength all its own — not least because, though the base was nude, there was not a breast in sight thanks to matte bodysuits. If only someone would wear it to the Oscars.

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Iris Van Herpen: Spring 2018

CreditRegis Colin Berthelier/Nowfashion

Given the idiosyncrasy, that’s unlikely — far more probable would be any number of spun-sugar confections from Chanel, where the designer Karl Lagerfeld built a French garden complete with trellises, climbing roses and a working fountain in the Grand Palais, and then decorated it with a bouquet of pastel bouclé suits with matching bouclé bootees (also some bouclé knickerbockers, but let’s forget those), berry-hue cocktail dresses twinkling with flower fairy lights and feathers, and little sheaths that shimmered under the airbrushed scrim of a silk chiffon overdress, but that allowed an easy stride.

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Chanel: Spring 2018

CreditGio Staiano/Nowfashion

It was a sly demonstration that the unabashedly pretty could also be liberating. For those who didn’t get the message, however, the show ended with a flower boy scattering roses before a bride in a long, extravagantly feathered skirt, short cape — and waistcoat plus trousers. In case there was any doubt about who he thought was going to wear the pants, going forward.

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