Purveyors of more affordable fashion have been converging on Paris Fashion Week like pigeons on a stray crust of baguette. Vanessa Seward stands out because of her connections, her pedigree and her powerful backer, French contemporary chain A.P.C., for which she had previously done an upscale capsule range.
This alum of Loris Azzaro, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent doesn’t hide her Seventies references, especially YSL from that era: Her lamé blouses, gently flaring wrap skirts and pert blazers are things one dreams of finding at the Clignancourt flea market in Paris — but good luck.
Raw denim capes and swing coats, Bordeaux riding boots and silk secretary dresses all telegraphed daytime Parisian chic. For night, easy options included a lacquered lace tunic over pants, or a plain, long-sleeved black gown with a side slit and a ribbon trailing from the hip.
The show was cloaked in a charming, old-school vibe: the smiling, twirling models with their names embroidered on their tight, high-waisted jeans; the breezy soundtrack by her musician husband Bertrand Burgalat, who looked as if he just walked off the set of “American Hustle,” and the small botanical prints and thrift-shop colors.
What impressed was Seward’s restraint as a designer. Almost every exit could accompany a cool girl to Belle Epoque, the bistrot du moment in Paris — a riposte to those pesky photo bloggers whose eyes hunger for overstatement. “I always say I make fashion for the pedestrian woman who has to walk a lot, hop on the metro and take her child to the playground,” Seward told WWD during a preview, summing up the essence of real, not fake, street style.