On Sunday, four days after the final shows on the official Paris Fashion Week schedule, and four days after most of the fashion flock had left the French capital, dispersed to homes and desks around the world, one more show took place.
Azzedine Alaïa, ignorer of all calendars other than his own, hosted a series of small gatherings in his atelier to unveil his spring collection. Rather than an afterthought, however, to those in the room — not me; I had seen a dress rehearsal at 11 the night before I left Paris — it probably seemed a bit like a portent.
Because while Mr. Alaïa’s work in the 1980s — tight, bandaged, body-celebratory — proved something of an “inspiration” to designers such as Olivier Rousteing at Balmain and Peter Dundas at Roberto Cavalli this season (indeed, when it came to the latter, so much of an inspiration that it made Instagram), the man himself has moved on pretty dramatically.
“Move” being the operative word.
Dresses — seamed to trace the body but not to trap it — came with backs transformed into capes that flew away from the shoulder blades and shadowed the curve of exposed spine; thin-knit tunics were trimmed in raffia-like lacy fringing; jackets were cropped in at the waist and bloused out at the back like truncated sack dresses; and a crisp white sleeveless shirt was cut with precision lines to tent out from collarbone to hip over a plissé long skirt. Also a shirtdress, full of swing.
And then there were the pants.
Lots of pants. Pants cut wide with a perfect crease down the front. Pants worn with big ruffled blouses. Pants in a geometric print with matching bombers. Pants with a cropped gold top, like a cooler tux. More pants than Mr. Alaïa has done in a decade plus. And, to go with them, sneakers.
All the better to stride forward, you know. Whatever the schedule.