Fashion Week

Severe shoulders: the Paris trend we’re craving

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Anna Pollitt
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Yes, quilted puffa coats are cosy but when you need extra, nothing beats a big shoulder. 

Many of Fashion Month’s finest have been slouching along to shows cocooned in those ubiquitous quilted puffa jackets. Hands stuffed nonchalantly into the pockets of wearable duvets, theirs is a loose, bubbly look that whispers “naptime”. Soft and warm, yes, but lacking in ooh la la. Now, the city of chic has brought us a trend that barges masterfully to the front of the fashion consciousness: severe shoulders.

Saint Laurent

Balmain

Balmain

Inverted triangle torsos pitched up in force at Saint Laurent, where designer Anthony Vaccarello declared: “Everything starts from the shoulder, so I work around the shape of that.” The broad-shouldered look was all the more formidable perched atop narrow paperbag-waist trousers.

Casting off their cushiony layers of padding, street stylers gleefully embraced the warrior-like structure of Olivier Rousteing’s ‘80s-inspired outfits for his Balmain show, where big shoulders are a regular fixture. 

Eleonora Carisi outside Balmain     

Xenia Adonts outside Balmain

Rick Owens, Chloe and Isabel Marant also eschewed sloping shoulders for structured, gravity-defying lines.

Isabel Marant

Rick Owens

Chloe

Big shoulder energy consolidates a shift towards themes of historic masculinity and lavish functionality. Fluid tailoring, utility trends such as oversize pockets and toolkit belt bags, bovver boots as seen at Versace and Bottega Veneta and ballgowns with pockets, worn with trainers, a la Gigi Hadid at Off White are for women who want to make an impact without compromise.

Audacious and unapologetic, severe shoulders provide the wearer with a detachment from her surroundings. In the ‘80s they exploded as a device in the power dressing movement. Now? Perhaps it’s an architectural antidote to the blunted profile of a pillowy soft puffa.

Images: Getty

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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at Stylist.co.uk, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.

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