The rain hasn’t let up for even a full hour in Paris this week. Fashion week show-goers have moved en masse, heads down under umbrellas, as quickly as possible from one venue to the next. So when the bleacher seating at Céline’s fall 2017 show started to rotate, people were jolted from their rain-induced stupors.
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Wake up! Phoebe Philo seemed to be saying with her ingenious rotating set, designed by French artist Philippe Parreno. And also: Try not to get too dizzy!
It can feel strange to attend fashion week in the midst of uncertain and increasingly terrifying times. Perhaps this was some kind of acknowledgement of that.
Whereas some designers have been more overt in their political commentary (statement T-shirts at Prabal Gurung, white bandanas as a show of solidarity at Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger, assembling the founders of the women’s march at Mara Hoffman), this may have been Philo’s subtle means of weighing in: A set that forces you to look not just at the clothes on the models but also at the other guests as you rotate past them; clothes that serve up style as well as confidence.
When the world is in turmoil, it’s easy to say that fashion doesn’t matter. But we all have to get dressed every day, and what we put on can serve as armor—a bit of protection to face the world. With big blankets thrown over one arm, relaxed tuxedos worn with flats—a powerful, easy look—and stretchy, dancer-like bandeau tops with voluminous bottoms, Philo’s collection offered clothes to move a woman through every stage of her uncertain, hectic day with comfort and confidence.