Paris 99, the eponymous brand of designer Paris 99 Starn, has made its mark through the reinterpretation of clothing and styles of the past; its unique designs playfully bring vintage trends into the present. A graduate student of art history, Paris achieves this reinterpretation by looking at the art of eras and cultures she draws inspiration from and incorporating their visual similarities and affects into her designs––a legacy she continues in her S/S ’20 collection picnic.
To begin drawing inspiration for her fourth collection, Starn looked to paintings of picnics, beginning with works from the 16th century and ending with ones from the 20th. She noticed that in nearly all of the paintings she examined (from which the garments gleaned their names) the fabrics of the women’s dresses flowed and blended into the picnic blankets they sat and ate their luncheons on. This blending and melding had the effect of creating a dreamy, relaxed mood––an impression that inspired Paris 99 Starn. Following this vein of inspiration, the silhouettes of the S/S ‘20 collection are much more free flowing than any of the brand’s previous collections, making the designs accessible and comfortable to a more diverse range of bodies. To imitate the impression of blended fabrics found in the paintings of picnics, Starn chose a fabric with symbolism that would seamlessly melt into an impression of an Americana picnic– gingham.
Starn chose linen for the collection for the fabric’s breathability and capacity for motion. The garments’ linings are solid linen and the facing fabric a woven, sheer linen: the combination creates a gingham print with the solid lining showing through the sheer facing. These garments are artfully crafted with the lining fabric and facing fabric cut from slightly different patterns, allowing for greater texture and flow. Additionally, Starn, who has in the past been noted for her use of trim as an integral aspect of her clothing, has ditched the ric-rac and incorporated into the gingham fabric patterns the ties and ribbons of the garments, so that the print could be cut from whole cloth with no seams – continuing the pattern with no interruption. Staying true to her tradition of flirtatious details, Starn has removed the lining fabric from the waists, sides, backs, and décolletage of the garments, subtly revealing these areas of the body.
To complete the picnic theme of the collection, ladybug buttons and zippers adorn each of the garments, although these details are only apparent up close. The ladybug buttons, pearlescent and white, read from far away as classic vintage pearl buttons. Upon more careful inspection, however, they are revealed to be ladybugs, as one might expect to see on a picnic blanket.
Rounding out this season, Paris 99 has teamed up with JS by Julia Skergeth to create a collection of leather handbags inspired by picnic baskets to accompany the picnic themed garments. These bags are made of woven leather that mimics the weaving of a picnic basket and feature lining bags made from the same linen fabrics as the collection. The bags come in two styles, and each style comes in two sizes and three colorways: the first style has a rounded body with a looser, open weave that allows for the linen drawstring bag underneath to peep through, and the second style has a tightly woven trapezoidal body; the linen bag is visible only from the top.
Ecommerce photographed by Jessica Portillo
Lookbook photographed by Jin + Dana
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