When three designers on the same day show the influence of underwear on their respective collections, it is more than a coincidence. It is a trend.
Yohji Yamamoto shared the spirit of Raf Simons and Alexander Wang, who brought lingerie to their respective houses of Dior and Balenciaga. But the Japanese designer had a different vision of romance: the broken crinoline.
Yohji has a history of being fascinated with the Victorian era, over a century ago, when women put the lower half of their bodies into a cage of horsehair and cotton hoops called a crinoline. Working like the frame of a tent, fabric was laid over the hoops to make the skirt stand out.
The dresses in the Yohji collection started out soft and draped — everything black, except for a tuft of scarlet hair across the brow. Then a mass of fabric was wrapped around the hips into a cascade of bows, or a drape was left dangling as an uneven hem.
I saw front-row guest, the film director Wim Wenders, look intently at a dress on which circles of fabric with wire edges aped the Victorian crinoline. Gauzy chiffon with ragged edges was draped over hoops; brightly coloured threads decorated sausage rolls of fabric. By the end of the show, it was hard to think of any Yohji fashion gesture that was not below the waist.
The grace and whimsical elegance was familiar — so were the vast black umbrellas, looking more like giant parasols or elephant howdahs from India than outfits for today.
Yet again I was seeing a Paris play on underwear. I refer once more to the current exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay: Splendour and Misery. In paintings and illustrations, it shows the lives of prostitutes during the Belle Epoque, creating a racy picture of the social subculture.
I am not suggesting that these designers have been inspired by an exhibition that has only just opened, but that undress is in the fashion air.
And there is no image more evocative to end a day of Paris fashion than Yohji deflating a full skirt by collapsing the crinoline beneath — its fractured parts becoming symbolic of broken dreams.