I feel for designers today who make wearable clothes with a personal and original twist — while those who were enfants terrible 30 years ago carry on stealing the limelight with artistic daring.
It was once so different: the French ready-to-wear designers in the Seventies faced off the establishment.
They were the iconoclasts and providers of fresh clothes to a new generation.
They were joined by international names who produced clothes that shocked — and continue to do so to this day — especially Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, the Antwerp Six, and brave figures like Rick Owens or Vivienne Westwood. These designers continue to push boundaries, even at the age of 60 or 70. But where does that leave the relatively young designers who need to sell the clothes they show?
Cédric Charlier sent out a perfect collection, for what he is aiming to do: clothes for a modern, youngish woman.
The style is very French: tidy pleated skirts, smart jackets and quiet, even school uniform-style colours — oxblood, hedgerow green, navy, sometimes all three in neat graphics. Or perhaps the base colours would be livened by shrimp pink — pretty, but not a trace of sugar. The concept of geometric design is not new, but Charlier made it work as vertical and horizontal lines, and the occasional graphic clash on a dress.
With models elevated on thick plastic heels, the show was clean and sharp, especially in the way Charlier played with the texture of shiny leather and worked lustrous pleating. Nothing here to frighten the horses or make fashion history. But all credit to the designer for making it real.