February 21, 2014 7:06 pm

Yang Li, Jean-Paul Lespagnard and Cédric Charlier at Paris fashion week

 Yang Li

Expectations are high for the third show from China-born designer Yang Li, thanks to his vision of modern luxury. The 26-year-old takes the traditional pillars of luxury, such as fine leathers and rich fabrics, and juxtaposes them with “the brutal romance of human nature” by deconstructing them and introducing streetwear elements.

Shortlisted for this year’s LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize, Li believes that luxury pieces need to be absolutely unique and have “an element of emotion”. For his latest show on Wednesday, he asked his factories to make up garments perfectly and then destroy one element. Needless to say they were quite surprised. Li describes his designs – such as spring/summer’s full evening skirt with frayed hem – as “romantic minimalism”, and they have attracted stockists including Dover Street Market.

. . .

Jean-Paul Lespagnard

Lespagnard, 34, is a Belgium-born designer who is being backed by Anne Chapelle, investor in the businesses of Haider Ackermann and Ann Demeulemeester. Lespagnard will not be appearing on the official Paris show schedule after deciding the fashion week “system” actually hurt, not helped, his business. “My clients see the spring/summer collection in the press and then they no longer want to buy the autumn/winter collection that just arrived in the stores – it doesn’t make sense. So I’ll skip March and present my collection in June.”

But opting out of the shows hasn’t left Lespagnard without a platform. Galeries Lafayette has given him an exhibition space. Inspired by a trip to Mexico, Lespagnard’s signature mix of sporty, brightly coloured and fun casual wear (reminiscent of Jeremy Scott), sits alongside his artworks and spoof holiday keepsakes for sale. There are two-price points: an intricately hand-embroidered jumper at €2,000 can be complemented by smaller pieces such as T-shirts, scarves and caps.

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Cédric Charlier

Former artistic director of Cacharel, Charlier, 35, generated a buzz with his first solo collection in 2012. He has just opened his own area at the Printemps store in Paris: a mini-coup for any designer. Backed by Aeffe S.p.A, the Italian fashion company, as his licensee, Charlier is a shrewd addition to the Aeffe portfolio with his focus on designs for urban professionals. With a nod to contemporary art, Charlier applies stripes, graphic prints and block colours to minimal, unfussy tailoring. Slim-fitting dresses or voluminous culottes are paired with oversized three-quarter length wool-mix coats and folded envelope pochettes in soft leather. Also a fan of metallic hues, Charlier will often pair navy blue cottons with oversized copper or gold- toned jewellery.

Paris fashion week starts on Tuesday

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