Hemlines rise when the good times are rolling. Fashion folklore says that the Paris catwalks are a sign of good times ahead.
Carla Bruni Sarkozy, the ex-first lady of France, wore a mini-mini dress with pearls and embellishments in a huge show this week. It was part of Olivier Rousteing’s 10th anniversary as Balmain designer. Saint Laurent – which stages its catwalks underneath the sundown light show at the Eiffel Tower, to make it clear that Saint Laurent is the brand that best represents after-dark Paris glamour, wore models in blazers that reached the upper thigh and paired them with short dresses with tights or heels.
Four years after Azzedine Alaia’s death, the iconic Alaia house was back on the catwalk, under Pieter Mulier, a Belgian designer. This time, the skirts are paired with hoodies. On the riverside terrace at Le Tout-Paris (the city’s newest restaurant, atop the newly opened La Samaritaine departmental store), micro hemlines outnumbers midi skirts while diners enjoy oysters and sole meunière.
The mini is a symbol of confidence and optimism in fashion. Mary Quant, who is credited with creating the miniskirt in 1960s, later commented that “when you look back at the clothes that I designed then, it’s quite clear that they signalled high spirits… they celebrated youth, life, and tremendous opportunity… they had a kind of “look at me” quality.” They replied, “Life is great.”
A mini can be a positive energy source that helps you believe the worst is over. Lyst, a global fashion shopping platform, reports that searches for “miniskirts” have increased 76% quarter-on-quarter. Lyst spokesperson Morgane Le Caer says that “It’s evident that fashion lovers want the joy of dressing down again.” “Micro skirts at Saint Laurent, Miu Miu, and LaQuan Smith have been the driving force behind a rise in party-dressing, which has inspired shoppers to stock their post-pandemic wardrobes full of minidresses, high slits, and other fashionable pieces.”
The miniskirt has become less of a luxury for the thin and young. The Balmain show featured Milla Jovovich (45), Naomi Campbell (51) and Bruni-Sarkozy (53). Ottolinger, a Berlin-based female design duo showing as part of Paris fashion week, showed their athleisure-meets-underwear minidresses, wrapped and twisted into a lattice of skin against fabric, on a range of body shapes. Lately, catwalks are catching up to the rest of the globe in celebrating diversity. It was evident that the Balmain crowd roared louder than the sample-sized crowd for Precious Lee, Alva Claire and their models on the catwalk. Harrods’ buying team described the Balmain show’s message as one of power, sensuality,… and confidence.
The miniskirt speaks of nostalgia for the carefree optimism of simpler pre-pandemic, pre-climate-emergency times. The look is reminiscent of the youthful, bouncy early 1960s with the clean, boxy lines that dominate the season’s catwalks. Marc Bohan’s 1961 Dior collection was the inspiration for this week’s dior minis. Courreges’ origin story is centered around the miniskirt. They first appeared on the Paris scene in 1961 wearing little white dresses and gog boots. Nicolas Di Felice is the label’s designer. He had photos of young people dressed up for music festivals and vintage minis from Andre Courreges on his moodboard.
Although the skirt suit has been out of fashion for almost a decade, it is back in style. This time, the skirt is shorter than the jacket. The revival of miniskirt suits in Paris is being led by Olivia Rodrigo, who wore a vintage Chanel skirt suit to support a vaccination drive. Schiaparelli’s clothes were seen on Lady Gaga’s inauguration and on Bella Hadid’s Cannes festival red carpet. Cardi B was also present on this week’s front rows. Lanvin’s June resort show in Paris featured two monochrome miniskirts suits, with matching handbags, while Schiaparelli’s current collection has two monochrome miniskirts suits.