BEST IN CLASS: A blond bob in the front row had guests atwitter ahead of the inaugural BA show at the Institut Français de la Mode on Monday.
It was France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron, clad in a white Louis Vuitton blazer paired with skinny black trousers and sporting a matching black-and-white Prada bag. She took her seat between the fashion school’s general manager Xavier Romatet and newly elected chairman Sidney Toledano.
Before the show, the first lady took a tour of the students’ exhibition, listening intently as they explained their work and offering praise to the soon-to-be graduates.
For this first show, the crème de la crème of the Paris fashion firmament turned out in force, ranging from luxury executives including president of fashion and president of Chanel SAS Bruno Pavlovsky, Kering’s chief sustainability and institutional affairs officer Marie-Claire Daveu and LVMH executive vice president of human resources and synergies Chantal Gaemperle; to designers Isabel Marant and Julie de Libran.
They took in the 32 collections selected out of the class of 71 third-year bachelor students that is set to graduate this summer. Students referenced a wide range of topics, like Black joy, questions around masculinity, ’70s automobiles, the French student protests of 1968, familial memories, body perception, material shortages and the ubiquity of data exchanges.
One student used millinery techniques and hats to create sculptural summery gowns. Another imagined Paris turned into a heat-baked desert, with inhabitants turned into nomads lugging water reserves around. Silhouettes from disparate materials were particularly popular, as they spliced sports jersey together, coated textiles to sculptural stiffness or created footwear entirely of 3D printed elements.
A good number tried their hand at knitwear, a particular focus at IFM thanks to its expansive studio and equipment, turning out spidery psychedelic layers or organic volumes that slid down the body.
The final lineup was a mashup of inspirations in larger-than-life versions, including a bright yellow tableau composed of a student carrying another to mimic religious Pieta paintings of the Renaissance — a revisited classic already turned into further creative fodder over Instagram.