The Pearls of Paris Fashion Week

On September 26 at L’Église Saint-Merri, a church in Paris’s 4th Arrondissement, the Fashion Week crowd gathered to worship pioneering designer Christelle Kocher’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection.

This season she introduced soccer to the runway in collaboration with the famed Paris Saint-Germain, cutting the club’s shirts on the bias and crystallizing them to lend some après-match élan. In fact, there were crystal embellishments everywhere: the ornately embroidered plissés Lognon (a technique originated at the famous Atelier Lognon) ramping up the luxury on shirts; ornate métiers d’art (meaning “finely crafted by skilled experts”) metal detailing on the heels of satin shoes finished with tiny colored stones; and crystal-studded leggings, hoop earrings and belt buckles.

It’s the third season that Kocher has been supported by Swarovski, and this time she made full use of the lustrous Crystal Pearl: “I wanted something more pure and sharp,” she said. “I let myself be influenced by what I see and feel around me. Sometimes the crystal itself brings an idea and I follow it; sometimes it comes at the end to transform the piece into something more exceptional.” The result is a clever contrast of traditional luxe with sporty silhouettes and voluminous shirt-dresses made ladylike with cinched waists.

At Y/Project the irrepressible Glenn Martens went even wilder with Swarovski Crystal Pearls, riffing on their exclusivity by embroidering them as scribbled lines on semi-sheer nude dresses: “As the crystals are so precious, we wanted to use them as a contrast with something more random, so we scribbled on a top and this became our graphic chart for the embroideries.”

In elegant contrast, pearl-studded sandals were more soberly decorated. Echoing the athletic aesthetic on the Koché runway, sportswear was given high-class cachet via embroidered crystal detailing, while sparkling brooches were pinned with tongue-in-cheek chic.

Elsewhere, the Swarovski-supported ANDAM 2017 prizewinner continued to experiment with the ornate constructions and innovative proportions for which he’s earning a reputation: Spiral Crystal Pearl earrings the size of dinner plates and huge necklaces caught the eye, as did outsize jackets, swirls of tulle and layers of frothy ruffles. But oh, those sensational, slouchy over-knee boots—they had more velvety wrinkles than a Shar Pei puppy. We want!