It was understated chic at its very best. Belgian designer Cédric Charlier returned to Paris fashion week last season after a two-year hiatus. He’s been around for a while — the brand was created in 2012 — but he only just seems to be hitting his stride.
Charlier based his collection around birds as symbols of freedom and spirituality, and experimented with feathers on daytime looks. The result was seductive: Charlier’s signature masculine silhouettes were lined with fluffy trims, adding softness to straight lines and boxy cuts. Feathers were appliquéd to a white and navy belt, jazzing up a simple blue shirt and navy wool pants, or sewn on to the pockets of a pale pink suit.
It was less convincing on accessories: the feather-lined leather sandals looked a bit Big Bird. Medieval pointed leather shoes were also puzzling — some of them were worn with leggings, making them look like thigh-high boots, and all of them jangled as models walked. But a tough-looking black leather belt bag with metal rings added an edge to a ladylike silk dress.
Outerwear was strong this season: wool plaid was covered with a plastic sheen, rendering it waterproof, and cotton trench coats were worn with cozy quilted stoles, modeled on ladylike fur muffs. The designer reworked the classic suit jacket, lifting its hemline to create a front opening, while some shirts had long accordion-pleated trims. There were some printed silk pieces, illustrated with graphic birds and labyrinths, but the strongest looks were the block colors: a luxe palette of gray, navy, sky blue and caramel, outset by flashes of red on a pleated dress and skirt.