The French are well-known for their sartorial eccentricity, (consider Marie Antoinette's four-foot-high hair 'poufs' embellished with fruit, birdcages and miniature ships, for one) so it shouldn't come as a complete surprise that many of PFW's first presentations have been served with a good dose of quirk.
Jacquemus, known for his sculptural shapes and wearable art styles, presented a suitably eccentric collection of monster-sized tailoring, tops with straps that hovered several centimetres about the shoulders and one bustier dress of note that shamelessly contoured under one breast, leaving it exposed. Much like the rest of the collection, though not entirely practical, it certainly was fun.
Looking to Luisa Casati for inspiration (famous for wearing a 'necklace' of live snakes, among other things), Dries Van Noten presented an artful, decadent collection not without the label's signature whimsy. Casati once declared, "I want to be a living work of art," and the Dries woman of A/W '16 is sure to be. Each model walked down the runway in heavy, smudged, kohl-rimmed eyes in opulent looks featuring metallic gold, leopard spots, faux furs, abstracted prints, velvet ankle boots, pearl-dotted jackets, chunky jewel-encrusted accessories and heavy embellishments, often finished with fuzzy neck ruffs.
Also indulging in imperial, bower-bird styling was Rochas. Presented by creative director Alessandro Dell'Acqua, an acidic palette of lime green, chatreuse, flesh pink and orange set a moody, retro tone for the collection. Gold brocade was layered with intricate liberty florals, satin tie-neck blouses, ruffled velvet, lush furs and sequins - all paired with off-coloured knee socks and Mary Jane heels.
At Maison Margiela, John Galliano who is no stranger to theatrics, worked with the house's boundary-pushing aesthetic to offer what show notes suggested would be a "non-traditional approach". In an explosion of materials and references from utilitarian military wear to iridescent interstellar travellers finished with undercut bobs, the collection was wonderfully puzzling in concept and styling - one model wore gold sneakers on one foot and a hiking boot on the other. In the hands of Galliano, the crazy manages to come off chic.