It’s difficult to look at a bright pink article of apparel these days without thinking, “Barbie!”
Dopamine-inducing images from Greta Gerwig’s film with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, which is currently filming, have become the social media dopamine hit of the season, full of plastic-y postmodern perfection and a potential revisionist narrative for the doll that codified gender stereotypes in more than one billion children’s memories. Moreover, if ever a movie was ripe to affect fashion, it would be this one, particularly today, when all that’s available are a few photographs of the neon-clothed actors that appear largely like wild clever fun.
Even if Giorgio Armani didn’t want it this way, his 10 bubble gum pink outfits in the centre of his Privé runway are sure to be caught up in trend roundups (and there will be many of them). A throwback to the days of Champagne toasts and bright starry nights, Mr. Armani’s Hollywood reference book is less pop culture and more olde silver screen beauty. Instead of Mattel calling out “Think pink!” Kay Thompson screamed it in “Funny Face.”
The first Armani couture show in two years was essentially a tour of his own greatest hits, the ones that transformed the red carpet way back when, with liquid suiting in black velvet and silver, his Chinoiserie jacquards and a whole nightclub’s worth of twinkling beaded dresses. The Salle Pleyel music hall on the Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré in Paris was transformed into a duplicate of his Milan office, replete with white-cushioned stadium seating.
Next, there were some sombre blues with fringe and satin peplums, bristling with frill and glistening beneath the lights after the pink phase, which featured an evening cloak that was loofah-like and a slippery pantsuit that was sequined. Finally, as if to signal the end of an era, a white beaded T-shirt and vest were worn with swishy silk pants.
Despite the glitz and glamour, it lacked any feeling of enjoyment. At the couture, where money and tradition may weigh heavily, that’s essential.
As an example, the soft-sculpture constructivist creations by Xavier Veilhan for the entrance to the Chanel show: a series of enormous baby pink blocks, arches, and spinning tops that transformed the equestrian centre in Bois de Boulogne into something of a giant’s sandbox and set the stage for what turned out to be one of the designer Virginie Viard’s lightest collections. One that didn’t go overboard with the home lore.
It was a far cry from the want tobe-cool ’80s allusions Ms. Viard has embraced since taking over the company; instead, she was just playing in the fields of Chanel with slouchy, long-line designs from tight little shoulder to mid-calf skirt in versions of the brand’s distinctive bouclé. Metallic floral-print tea dresses (including one in pink) paired well with tulle trapeze dresses for a low-key, but sophisticated aesthetic.
Paco Rabanne, one of the cluster of labels (including Alaa and Patou — which also occurred to have several LPDs, or tiny pink dresses) that worked as type of opening acts for the couture, also had Julien Dossena’s ultimate plastic-fantastic vision.
Mr. Dossena used latex, chain mail, PVC, and lace to create a fetishy procession of slipdresses and grunge anchored by heavy combat boots and capped by babushka scarves, which he filtered through a dystopian lens. Others seemed to have been made from Play-Doh, while others resembled armoured tutus. Propulsive energy was as important as the clothing’ substance.
For “The Hunger Games,” Barbie would wear this outfit.