As temperatures reach historic highs for the time of year in the North, it’s been hard for brands to push their outerwear and knits in Paris this week. But if there’s one thing we can count on Zimmermann for, it’s breezy silhouettes that fan the front row as they float past. It’s been four years since the Australian export put down roots in Paris and one year since it made its official schedule debut. These days, with stars and clients around the globe pining for a piece of the brand, it’s a “home away from home” for creative director Nicky Zimmermann.
Many of us, particularly in Australia, seek adventure elsewhere. It’s a right of passage to leave the nest and flock to these epicentres, where it feels like everything is happening. We want the full experience. Yet as I watched the show from the back of a cab in bumper-to-bumper traffic—horns blaring and indistinguishable cusses liberally dished out—I was reminded to be careful what you wish for. I may have missed the big moment, but as Zimmermann knows all too well, Paris waits for no one. But I’d do it all again for this homegrown hero.
For its second PFW collection, Zimmermann fused what connects the eternal city and her home, Down Under: nature. In both environments, no matter where you turn, there are glimpses of natural beauty that development hasn’t touched. And, at the Palais de Tokyo, the Spring 2024 ready-to-wear collectionbreathed this ethereal sense of untouched beauty with colours, textures and movement of the natural world. While Paris is a city of manmade sublimity, from the manicured gardens to the Haussmannian architecture, Australia boats a more rugged magnetism. Both, though, come alive in the spring.
Nature is the oldest muse, and for this collection, Zimmermann’s trademark prints were particularly inspired by the way it’s been interpreted through various artforms.
“For key collection prints, we were drawn to the lovely, unexpected colour combinations of abstract landscape colourists and mixed these with the more scientific mood of classic botanist art against clean white backdrops,” wrote Zimmermann in her show notes, adding that this also influenced the more natural-inclined shapes we saw. “[We] looked to 3D naturalist sculptures for inspiration in creating detail, shape and movement,” she said. “The collection direction is clean and fresh, with a strong expression of colour, sculptural silhouettes and a variety of textures. All taking their cues from expressions of our natural surroundings.”
Straight out of a botanist’s sketchbook, raw floral illustrations were presented in sheer prints and three-dimensional floral embroidery that actually fluttered in the wind and seemed to bloom on dresses and floaty separates. Elsewhere, draped bodices reflect the organic, asymmetric shapes found in nature. Revisiting gradient tones, sumptuous ombre silk-scarf silhouettes traversed the runway in dresses and co-ord sets.
Taking a more practical approach this season separates were, on the whole, more of a focus. Loose denim complimented signature uber-feminine dresses, while boxy shirts and cropped jackets in smooth nappa leather explored earthy textures. Even delicate pieces were styled with contrasting layers and roomy tailoring for a more urban feel. It’s always been up to the wearer to make versatile pieces of Zimmermann’s range, but this season, she shows us just how we might go about doing that.
Of course, the brand’s loyal following will delight in new-season floral gowns with laser-cut fabric flowers that grow like sculptural gardens along hemlines, across bodices and patent corsages. And even if florals aren’t your thing, micro tops with coordinating drop-waist skirts flanked by skin bring a modern take on the maxi dress.
Colours of pink, lilac, coral and baby blue are rounded out by a vibrant tomato red, invigorating the collection with the zealous hue reminiscent of swanky Parisian awnings. To close, airy silk linen organza gowns, backless and breezy, moved with ethereal ease.
Speaking to GRAZIA, Zimmermann recalled what keeps her coming back to the eternal city.
“I have very fond memories of visiting Paris in my twenties, and I think the cultural backdrop is one of the first things that I got a sense of,” she said. “I’ve been fortunate to spend quite a lot of time in the city over the years, and apart from being incredibly beautiful and very inspirational, it’s obviously the epicentre of fashion, and so for a designer, it’s really exciting. Being an Australian brand that’s been able to open and expand in Paris has truly been a dream.”
But if you think life in Paris is all walking along the Seine to shopping and celebrity spotting at Avenue Montaigne, it’s the simple things that still draw her in. “I still enjoy walking around the streets, soaking in the incredible architecture and idyllic landscapes,” she tells us “It’s never lost on me.”
So, ‘why Paris?’ many may ask. Where else can you find awe around every corner and out every window? And even in the back of a cab, in the sweltering heat, laughing at my own bad luck, I have to agree that there’s no better place to be.
This article originally appeared on Grazia International