For her fourth show at New York Fashion Week, Creative Director Sophie Delafontaine envisioned a Parisian woman who is constantly moving forward, ceaseless in her pursuit for what’s new, what’s next. She is the star of her own movie, a complex character built of layers, who is far from one-dimensional.
For Delafontaine, the starting point was the ’70s, a decade that encapsulates a free mindset, when self-expression was typified by the era’s leading ladies, including Catherine Deneuve, Romy Schneider, and Stéphane Audran. Each of them were known for having their own individual style, a distinct point of view that set them apart from everyone else - sentiments that are clearly reflected in every look in the collection.
Every ensemble stands alone, imbuing a distinct personality, but are all connected through the rich colors and textures. Bomber jackets with pronounced shearling collars cocoon over mid- length skirts or gauzy black dresses that feature embroideries stitched in light wool. Leather Bermuda shorts are paired with patterned jumpers, effervescent blouses, or capes. Long, flirty dresses are cast in an eye-catching meccano print. Shin-grazing coats fit firmly on the bodice and then gradually flare to form a charming shape.
Leather in cognac, suede in terracotta, and patent leather in red are skillfully pieced together with aplomb, transmitting energy and vitality. They recall the colorful artworks of Josef Albers and the saturated hues of John Chamberlain’s sculptures made of deconstructed automobiles. Indeed, the speed and dynamism associated with the design of racecars are not only evident in the colors and prints, but also in the volume and structure of the silhouettes.
Tempering the boldness are belts that infuse sleekness and femininity, and knits that touch on the soft, cozy vibe indicative of the ’70s. Further refining the silhouettes—and adding contrast—are heeled knee-high boots in bright hues like green, yellow, and silver. They feature a chain detail with a ball on the vamp, reinforcing the vigor in the lineup.
This season’s series of iconic bags, redefined, punctuate the collection. The Le Pliage® takes the stage in various sizes from micro-mini to oversized, while the Roseau, with its signature bamboo hardware, has been given new architectural proportions. Delafontaine revived Longchamp 1980, the brand’s original “It” bag—a timeless heritage style she wore as a young girl. Whether it is embossed calfskin made to look like crocodile leather or python, or a mélange of contrasted leathers that form a meccano pattern, every piece packs personality and style.
It is this sense of individualism and freedom of expression that is the essence of the Parisian woman. She is effortless, chic, cinematic, and always takes top billing on the marquee.