PARIS — Think the only two options left in fashion are comfortable work-from-home options, or fantasy dressing while waiting for better days? Not for this slew of designers who showed you’re only ever a snap, a zip or a twist away from a new outfit with the transformable, multiwear styles they showed during Paris Fashion Week.
Whether it’s emerging into the world again with best foot forward or staying in a while longer without giving in to the sirens of sweatpants, a driving idea was that clothes should rise to any occasion.
With living in a phy-gital manner the new normal, offering easy-to-wear options that covered multiple scenarios felt like a natural progression, on an equal footing with looser fits, softer tailoring and comforting textures.
“There are so many things that are complicated right now. Fashion and our wardrobe can’t be one of them,” Lutz Huelle said. “I wanted pieces that had the ease of sportswear because dressing shouldn’t require a second thought.” They are the kind of clothes that would look just as good lounging at home, taking a video call or out on the streets — with bonus points for machine-washable, easy-to-maintain materials.
In particular, designers looked at easing the transition, without compromising on pulled-together poise. “I wanted to show things that would stimulate people and ease them back into normal life,” said Ujoh’s Mitsuru Nishizaki, offering quasi-monastic gender-free separates with a dash of sportswear and an airy palette. They were meant to be worn as single looks or dissembled into more relaxed variations depending on one’s mood and formality.
Occasionwear was never something Johannes Boehl Cronau, whose brand Ioannes launched in 2018, liked. Changing outfits over the course of a day felt like a passé habit, as well as one that took up too much mental space. “The woman I design for isn’t that preoccupied about putting her looks together,” said the Paris-based, German designer, who has been incorporating details such as ribbons that transform a long-sleeved cozy sweater dress into a more trendy off-the-shoulder version.
“Offering multiple wears for one piece is a reflection of the many lives a person has, but also of how comfortable they’re feeling at any given moment,” he added. For fall, the possibilities of a shirt-cum-slipdress that could be doubled up or worn on either end felt like a fresh and enticing design opportunity and commercial proposition.
Letting the wearer determine the exact combination of items came across in Calvin Luo’s “Front Row Project,” in which 100 women who epitomize the brand — editors, buyers and brand devotees — were invited to style their own looks from his collection. A savvy option would be the work-appropriate little black dress that could be separated at the flick of decorative metallic closures into a midriff-baring brassiere and skirt.
And even though Rok Hwang was betting on women wanting to strike out in fierce, feminine tailoring come fall, he aimed to allow them to personalize each style depending on situation and mood, often coming up with such combinations during fittings, he said in an email exchange. Case in point: his take on a trenchcoat composed of gabardine layers that can be unbuttoned to create a halter top, dress and kilt, one of many recombinable sets.
Clever ways to get more use out of a garment may been the goal of Andreas Aresti, but experimenting with multiple wears also became a fun challenge that he is keen to share with the Lourdes customers. He even claimed that a deceptively plain one-sleeved item look could be worn 19 different ways.
Sustainability also appeared as an underlying motive to offer transformable garments.