Paris Editor Gabriela Billini
Paris Editor Gabriela Billini
Gabriela is a non-native New Yorker who travels the world to understand why people wear what they wear and how. She is an independent fashion reporter, trend chaser, and self-proclaimed beatnik.

AALTO Spring 2018: Paris Fashion Week

AALTO Paris Fashion Week SS18

(Represented by PR Consulting Paris.)

AALTO’s Spring 2018 collection, shown at Paris Fashion Week, was a show that raised more questions than answers.

Before the show even started, you could tell something was up, considering the invites had a VW car logo on them. Upon settling into their seats, showgoers faced a series of old static TVs individually broadcasting a letter, which spelled out “After Nature.”

AALTO: Paris Fashion Week SS18

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The overall message was highly political, and that says a lot considering the recent regression of U.S. President Trump, pulling out of the Paris Accord. The collection was tailored for those looking for meaning as we face climate change.

The clothes themselves had airs of high and low — a styling mechanism I’m convinced is here to stay. Then the balloon-like volumes contrasted some lax-body silhouettes, but bounced back to match YSL’s Spring 18 collection presented 18 hours prior. Though I’m not a huge fan of the summer gloves due to practicality’s sake, it’s a nice and refreshing touch.

There’s something to be said about suits here, as last season’s collection did.

Though less glamorous, AALTO had not only boy summer suiting, but a nice city slicker waterproof pant suit. Even a butterscotch high-slit skirt suit made an appearance, with traditional pleating. Gathers in irregular, probably inconvenient places, as well as handbags mirroring bicycle bags with a clip, easily attached to outerwear and jeans. A palpable streetwear infusion contrasts the ultra femme dresses, as well as a one-off burnt pink knit look. I still find that this brand shows in the wrong city, given its lack of interest in a uniformed or prescribed look. It screams New York to me.

The designer partnered with a Finnish collective to produce fake logos, it seems, to poke fun at consumerism, which I imagine AALTO stands against. The brand states that it’s a humorous way to promote inclusion and acceptance, but is this a bigger message against fast fashion? Possibly. The heavy-duty yellow bags sent down the runway were also from Finnish company Repack, which aims to reduce waste produced by online shopping.

is this a bigger message against fast fashion? Possibly.

The designer showed us a world of overuse, where we’re basically using the remains of a world we live in. The inconsistencies in the fabrics made me think that he used abused plastic, most noticeable in the handful of electric glitter pink looks. Is it a message to suggest that the path we are on in society is not sustainable? If we continue, that we’ll find ourselves in a place that is a fraction of what we are used to?

From the Press Materials

The working name for it, Anthropocene (gr. anthropos — “human” and kainos – “new” or “recent”), makes it clear in whose hands lays the planet’s future.

In other words, After Nature comes the epoch of the mankind. With it comes the realisation of the profound impact our actions will have on nature. The image featured on the invitation is a powerful testimony to this change of roles.

Our responsibility towards our planet has never been greater, and neither has our power to change it. This collection reflects AALTO’s faith that this change will be positive, and that with the right education and effort to raise awareness, the new generation can learn to cherish and care for the planet they inhabit.

In parallel to the geological reality we now own, we have created a second one, the digitalized version of everyday life. The internet with its overwhelming visual maze of information disguised as symbols, brands and logos has inspired the collection’s colours and graphical prints. As our attention online, the graphics (seemingly) lack focus—they’re a fun, witty mashup of all the colourful, unrelated, distracting images we come across daily, filtered through the AALTO eye.

With the information being so broad yet fragmented, the creative mind adopts a new unorthodox way of crossing references. The outcome is a collection mixing classic men’s tailoring, cocktail dresses, streetwear and strong graphical elements.

Emphasis in the collection is on loose-fitting yet feminine styles, including 30s inspired dresses in washed jersey and casual satins. Gathering, ruching and puffing techniques are used to create balloon-like volumes, accentuating the hips, shoulders and waist to enhance the feminine silhouette, in opposition to the now so street-embraced oversize fashion. All these items are treated in casual materials, and washes, to tone down the dressy-ness associated with traditional eveningwear.

The tailoring, and AALTO’s staple pleated trousers, are reworked for easy-going summer breaks in chino cottons and garment dyed, technical cotton blends. Sheer silks and English ultralight silk and linen blend in nude gingham check have served to make soft jackets, skirts and trousers.

Classic trench with slanted front opening is the go-to summer coat of the season, in declinations ranging from denim-like suede to lightweight nylon and soft cotton.

Colour palette is based on the classic mix of beige, black, white and light grey. Fuchsia and metallic pink are the most prominent colour accent, and the rest of the brutal RGB web colours punctuate the collection to uplift its optimism.

For SS18, AALTO commissioned Matts Bjolin, Antti Kekki and Taru Happonen from the Finnish GRMXXI collective, defying commerciality and traditional graphic design, to work on a set of humoristic “fake” logos. The graphical prints and patches originating from this collaboration decorate garments throughout the collection. The reworked logos transmit liberal values such as acceptance of differences, minorities and diversity.

After Nature, Fun, Bye Bye Baby, Play Play Play, Http, Grl Powa 4ever, Equal Virtuality and Flowers of Tolerance are among the logos placed, less or more discreetly, as prints, labels, plastic patches and stickers on pool shoes, knit jumpers and workwear overalls. The essence is the fun in it, and its immaterial irrelevance.


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