PARIS — As designers explore a new elegance in ready-to-wear collections, contemporary brands evolved from streetwear, too, with a new emphasis on preppy and elevated essentials.
Collections on show were dressier and more tailored, with Maje and Maison Kitsuné calling on inspiration from British style, while A.P.C. and Claudie Pierlot looked to classic French codes with a twist. Longchamp’s riding roots offered up a crop of strong outerwear, again a focus of the season.
Collegiate codes were key, with lettermen’s jackets, tweed and plaid blazers but kept an edge of attitude — the popped collars on trenchcoats and plaid jackets at A.P.C. read just a little bit rebellious bourgeoise.
Denim is showing a more structured fit, stiffer in a 100 percent cotton, in part due to the wider shapes and more generous cuts in recent seasons, with the added benefit that the non-blended textile is easier to recycle and helps brands hit their sustainability targets.
The loafer was the key accessory of the season, with A.P.C., Claudie Pierlot, Maison Kitsune and Maje all presenting versions of the footwear classic with a twist from two-tone to studded and sparkly versions. Longchamp offered up a hybrid loafer style with a trainer sole, for a comfortable take on the classic.
High-street brands also expanded their handbag lines, from fabric versions at Claudie Pierlot to the new “Miss M” half moon-shaped shoulder bag at Maje. Maison Kitsuné introduced its first bag, the bowling-inspired “Boogie” in five colorways.
On the crowded main street where contemporary competes with luxury, brands are looking to reinforce their recognition with new iterations of their logos, this season in a polka dot at Claudie Pierlot, with Maje imprinting its motif logo on knitwear coordinates and accessories of scarves, hats and shoes.
Designer Jean Touitou, who during Paris Fashion Week revealed that he’s sold a majority stake to L Catterton, pulled from a few tribes to mix it up this season, layering on bits of grunge and goth atop his preppy basics, mixing up proportions and shapes for a collection full of references and easy pieces.
Dark denim miniskirts were paired with classic pinstriped shirts, lighter denim shirts were tucked into wool pleated trousers cinched tightly at the waist for an ’80s silhouette, while elsewhere he added plaid flannels tied below the hip for a dash of ’90s nostalgia.
Slim zip jackets and straight-cut trousers were suited up in dark khaki, while models sported Elvis-style pompadours for an added air of rockabilly, turtlenecks topped with tone-on-tone gray coats added elegance to a collection that also had strong outerwear.
Touitou had references from every decade which could confuse, but considering all the models were born in 2006, he’s introducing these inspirations to a new generation that feel free to pull from their parents’ — or grandparents’ — closets. It’s all vintage just the same.
The chic contemporary label continued to pull from classic French codes for the stylish Parisienne who spends her weekends on the Atlantic coast.
This brought plenty of marine inspirations on vests and T-shirts, and one clever denim vareuse pullover; sailor tops were revisited in linen, and embellished gold buttons on white wool cardigans held together the sophisticated seaside aesthetic.
The brand ventured onto the other side of the Channel for British inspiration this season as well, in classic plaid blazers and some key chocolate brown pieces. Trenchcoats were tailored yet fuller this season, with pleated skirts meant to be paired with flat-front, full trousers for volume and swish.
Velvet blazers sparkled with touches of crystal for evening looks, shearling outerwear was updated in cropped and double-breasted slouchy shapes, while a cream cashmere cape should become a luxe fall wardrobe anchor.
Going against the grain, the French Japanese brand, which used to present unisex pieces, offered distinct men’s and women’s collections this season. The company looked to England of the ’50s for its boarding school boys and the sass of the Teddy girls and their gender-neutral looks that upended that decade’s fashion.
It’s now designed by an in-house collective that pulled from collegiate codes, with varsity jackets, polo shirts, collegiate strips and a new flag insignia for new takes on staples. Florals for both genders were interpreted in different ways, as camouflage denim for men and skirt coordinates and dresses for women. Sporty sweatpants for men were spiffed up with blazers.
Traditional checks were scaled up in a red-and-black print carried through on trousers and slim-fit bombers for men, full swing skirts and blazers for women. As if to emphasize the Britishness of this season, Maison Kitsuné collaborated with Barbour on a capsule of quilted jackets and other sturdy outerwear, produced at their factories in the U.K.
The French contemporary brand moved on from last season’s party girl mode to collegiate codes that are key to the season.
The plaid blazer was central to the collection, which introduced tweed for the first time in trousers and double-breasted jackets, the conservative textiles countered by studded flats and black leather motos cut loose and belted at the waist for a strong shoulder effect. Classic striped shirts over patterned tights and slouchy cardigans with big gold buttons added to the modern vintage effect.
Designer Judith Milgrom looked to those classic British women — Princess Diana and Kate Moss — as inspirations for the effortlessly eclectic Sloane Ranger goes to Hackney mix.
The brand looked to its riding roots as it jockeys for position in a crowded contemporary market, strengthening its apparel offering as it expands its accessories — still the majority of its sales. Saddle, bucket and binocular bags of all sizes were on offer this season, with several new shapes introduced. The net shopping bag, a runaway hit since featured on “Emily in Paris,” was offered in two sizes.
Blazers were key here, too, particularly in corduroy for a textured take on the important piece of the season.
Creative director Sophie Delafontaine’s clever take on the jockey stripe, reinterpreted on a structured denim suit, demonstrated that the brand’s ready-to-wear is evolving.
Sandro played with contradictions this season, also taking from preppy codes, juxtaposed with some added Parisian sensuality in lingerie underpinnings for women. A midriff-bearing sequined funnel neck was tempered by a tweed Spencer jacket, and lace-trimmed tops paired with pleated skirts. Nothing became too feminine or overt this season, instead items were grounded with boyfriend-borrowed cargo pants, blazers and ties.
One slinky gold dress for evening boasted a high neck and full sleeves, lest it appear too sexy, while black blazers strayed from basic with embellished crystals.
It was another strong showing of outerwear for men, in marled Harris tweeds, shearling hoodies and cozy cardigans. Trousers were tailored but loose fitting, pooling just over chunky brogues. The palette for fall ranged from tan to rich chocolate. Chunky knits and scarves tied everything together.