What You Really Need Next Season is a Big Black Coat
PARIS — Paris Fashion Week, and with it the whole monthlong show circus, ended on Tuesday just as one of the largest labor strikes of the year took place in France, halting transport and other services and causing chaos, to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the retirement age.
Editors — the ones who hadn’t already changed their departure reservations — scrambled out of the Miu Miu show, panicking about getting their planes home, even as Miuccia Prada’s visions of eccentric policy nerds in gray cardigans, horn-rim glasses and sheer pencil skirts that revealed the waists of pantyhose were dancing in their heads. Sometimes, under the dowdy sweaters, models wore only crystal-spangled briefs. Sometimes it was turtlenecks and hoodies under oversize jackets, sometimes 1950s-era halter-neck sheaths. Always, they tucked their handbags neatly into the crook of their arms, even when their hair looked like it was standing on end.
“I am thinking too much about what’s happening around us and how,” Mrs. Prada said with a sigh, as her guests rushed for the exits. “But I can’t leave fashion like some place of nonsense. Basically, I think we have to dress for thinking, for doing things and so on.”
Or maybe half-dress, as if someone woke up with a brilliant idea, pulled on the clothes nearest at hand, was so excited she forgot the bottoms and then rushed out the door with serious bed-head to make it happen. Either way, she wasn’t just “dreaming about strange party fashions,” as Mrs. Prada said.

It was a fitting end to the French collections, which had begun with Dior’s toned-down paean to the 1950s and Europe in the wake of World War II, a show that proved more prescient than anyone knew when they took their seats in the Tuileries on Day 1. There’s a rigor in the air, and in the clothes; a quiet fierceness that is both protective and practical. Time to get on with things.
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