Paris Fashion Week marks the end of an historic fashion month, and the French fashion industry certainly didn’t disappoint. The crème de la crème local and international designers showcased their Spring/Summer 2022 collections with gusto, providing many groundbreaking and memorable presentations that will remain a high point for years to come.
As one of the four fashion capitals, and a central hub of creativity and design in Europe, we knew that the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode was saving the best till last, and boy was Paris worth the wait.
Whilst luxury labels in New York, London and Milan marked a return to community values and were heavily influenced by the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, with many designers opting to showcase digitally or present collections that were influenced by the pandemic, Paris delivered a show stopping spectacle that is nothing short of legendary.
Saint Laurent channeled a young Paloma Picasso underneath the arches of the Eiffel Tower, Louis Vuitton lit up The Louvre and Loewe took us to the La Garde Républicaine for their psychedelic and sculptural runway presentation. At Dior, we watched as models spun on a 60’s art nouveau roulette wheel while Olivier Rousting cemented his legacy at his triumphant anniversary show for Balmain. Stella McCartney and Gabriela Hearst had sustainability at the forefront of their brands, highlighting the long awaited shift to conscious design.
Although onlookers, us included, were gripped to the runway, there were plenty of performances off the runway. Balenciaga, for instance, subverted expectations with a hilarious satirical approach to presenting. Following their draw dropping couture show in July, Demna Gvasalia invited the fashion crowd to an exclusive screening. Unbeknownst to guests, the red carpet was the runway, but the marvel didn’t stop there. Inside the Théâtre du Châtelet the Parisian fashion set were treated to a special edition episode of The Simpsons, breaking the rules that the maison had helped instil.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the week was the love filled tribute to the late Alber Elbaz, which also concluded the proceedings. Love did indeed bring love, with 45 prolific designers banding together for a celebration of his life and legacy. This aim was best summarised in the opening of the show, with a touching voice over from Alber’s partner Alex Koo, to “bring together the best talents of the industry in celebration of love, beauty, and hope.
Paris Fashion Week made it apparent that fashion was back and better than ever. No longer will models be substituted for marionettes or front row guests watch shows from a TV screen. Paris Fashion Week proved that those days are behind us, and the industry is willing and ready to take the plunge into the ‘new normal’.
With Spring and Summer just around the corner, we’re waiting with bated breath for these styles to infiltrate our streets and land on our shores. Below, we’ve rounded up the best trends from Paris Fashion Week for you to try.
Whilst there is no doubt that we need to do more to close the loop and instill sustainable practices, Gabriela Hearst and Stella McCartney are paving the way for the future of fashion. Chloé is shifting the needle by incorporating changes to their supply chain, manufacturing and fabrication traceability to ensure less environmental harm. Stella McCartney on the other hand devoted her entire return to Paris Fashion Week to mushrooms, marking the first time the prestigious runway saw animal leather alternatives. This truly is the future of fashion.
In recent years, corporate suiting has made its way from skyscraping offices to the streets, with tight tailored trousers and oversized blazers becoming a fan favourite, even for those who don’t work 9 to 5. Miu Miu overthrew every dress code with their back-to-work inspired runway. Hemlines were short, NSFW short and collared shirts cropped. Avoid wearing into the office at all costs, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The age of enlightenment is upon us. While Maria Grazia Chiuri was looking back to the 60’s and Anthony Vaccarello emulated the 80’s, Nicolas Ghesquièr was channeling the late 70’s—the 1870’s that is. Regency era gowns, tail coats, crinoline and petticoats have never looked more appealing, or relevant for that matter. After a period of lockdown, we’re ready to party like a royal, with the opulence and debauchery. Let them eat cake, we say.
Bellybuttons are back in a big way. Where high-waisted bottoms have prevailed for years, post-pandemic dressing is arguing for this part of anatomy to have it’s time in the sun. While for many this may be a passé, Ludovic de Saint Sernin and Isabel Marant are pleading for us to ‘free the belly button’ this season.