PARIS — When the world itself becomes surreal — when every day you look at the headlines and can barely believe your eyes — what’s the designer of a famously surreal fashion brand to do?
This was the challenge facing Bertrand Guyon at Schiaparelli, and this season he mostly decided to play down the visual puns and play up the drape. If you can’t beat ’em, take a breather.
So while it may not be a Schiaparelli collection without a lobster (this time embroidered in red beads on the bib of white leather motorcycle overalls) and a few trompe l’oeil looks — faux necklaces embroidered on sheer skirts and Picasso guitars forming the lapels of squared-off jackets paired with full tulle skirts — they were a lot less interesting than a series of light-as-air silk mousseline and jersey columns suspended from shoulders and floating around legs.
Simple in shape and complex in shade, these gowns seduced without joking (which is not to suggest they were too serious).
Mr. Guyon can make fabric suggest a flowing river on the body, no slapstick necessary. Maybe it’s time to leave the crustaceans to the history books.
Besides, for something truly out of this world, there is Iris van Herpen, whose work exists in its own space between technology and tradition. Celebrating her namesake brand’s 10th anniversary, she decided to explore “the nature and anatomy of air” (that what her show notes said) and the power of water.
Five Danish performance artists from the group Between Music played instruments while immersed in five tanks filled with liquid (really), coming up every now and then for air as around them swirled models in 18 pieces — you could barely call them dresses, though they were, and capes — that had been 3-D molded and laser cut and fused and heat-bonded into form.
If sound waves were wearable, or clouds had visible structure, they might look like Ms. Van Herpen’s creations. Thin strips of silver had been hand stitched to create a turtleneck mini that looked as if it had been molded from liquid mercury, and metal cut into geodesic flowers strung together to create a proprietary universe for the body.
Watching the presentation, it was hard to trust your own eyes.