The Biggest News From Paris Fashion Week Fall 2017
The Paris collections ended with a bang at Louis Vuitton’s show at the Louvre last night, but what’s the week’s major takeaway? Where the other cities seemed to coalesce around general themes of political activation (New York), diversity in heritage and craft (London), and lively celebrations of womanhood (Milan), Paris was a mixed bag—from the practical eclecticism of Céline and Louis Vuitton to the retro kitsch of Miu Miu to out-of-this-world spectacle courtesy of Chanel. The broad-strokes trends seemed to herald the return of bold, tailored suiting and pretty, easy dresses simultaneously, from the peaked shoulders of Stella McCartney to the calf-sweeping hems at Loewe. There was couture at Balenciaga and a cerebral mind bender at Comme des Garçons.
Perhaps the big message from the City of Light is that designers will not be banding together around a theme, but rather celebrating their uniquely unflinching points of view. That’s a good thing, even if it means that by day eight of nonstop shows, performances, and parties you feel a bit like you’re still on Céline’s merry-go-round set—head literally spinning.
Fret not, here, Vogue Runway recaps six moments that left an impact in Paris. Til next season!
The Wow Factor Was Dialed Up to 11
No one did over-the-top spectacle better than Chanel, which launched a mock rocket in the Grand Palais, though Céline’s rotating seating, Miu Miu’s purple shag interior, Loewe’s dark interiors, and Louis Vuitton’s resplendent set inside the Louvre are all hot contenders.
Designer Departures Continue to Fuel the Rumor Mill
Remember the rapid-fire designer departures, firings, and hirings of 2016? Even if the trend towards constant reshuffling seems to have cooled momentarily, Paris wasn’t without a few shifts. Clare Waight Keller presented her final collection for Chloé amid whispers of where she’ll end up next and who will be taking her spot. The top contender is Natacha Ramsay-Levi, a born-and-bred Frenchwoman who has served as Nicolas Ghesquière’s right hand for roughly a decade. Elsewhere, Givenchy presented a Riccardo Tisci retrospective in red, prompting many to ask who’d be replacing the bold Italian and where he’d be taking up residence. (Popular gossip says he’s decamping to Versace in Milan.) There’s also still the matter of fashion’s most eligible designers—you know them by first name: Alber, Hedi, Stefano—and what deals they might be signing soon. Stay tuned.
Fashion Would Rather Be Anywhere but Here
Political and social tumult has led designers to consider escapes of all kinds. Rick Owens and Undercover did shows that felt ceremonial, pagan in the first case and royal in the second, while others looked to science fiction for answers. The Matrix had a moment at Balenciaga and Olivier Theyskens in the form of Neo-worthy sunglasses. Space-age vibes were in the air with Julien Dossena revisiting Françoise Hardy’s silver suits at Paco Rabanne and Rei Kawakubo offering chrome puff pieces that looked like plush satellites. At least we now know what to wear should we ever reach Trappist-1.
Models Found New Advocates Around Every Turn
Casting agent James Scully sparked the news story of the season with his Instagram post about model mistreatment. The comments on Scully’s original post are filled with validation of his claims, as well as stories of long hours, no food, and bad conditions at castings. Scully’s advocacy sparked a larger dialogue in Paris, not only about the treatment of models, but also the importance of diversity on the runway. On the runway, Dries Van Noten, Isabel Marant, Vivienne Westwood, and Miu Miu led the charge, casting women of all ages and races. Next season, let’s see more body types represented too, okay?
A Revealing Moment Takes Over the Front Row
The front row surprise of the season wasn’t Justin Theroux at Vuitton or Cara Delevingne at Fenty x Puma, it was Nicki Minaj’s bare breast at Haider Ackermann, of all places. Shoutout to her seatmates, Caroline de Maigret and Lou Doillon, for playing it cool.
Modern Masters Got Their Due
Paris Fashion Week included a Balenciaga exhibition at the Musée Bourdelle, where Véronique Belloir gathered some of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s most beautiful works in black. The week ended with a preview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s upcoming “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” where several of Kawakubo’s red creations were displayed. These artful demonstrations had their echoes on the runway, and delightfully so, with Demna Gvasalia revisiting some of Balenciaga’s more voluminous couture pieces and Kawakubo continuing her meditations on form.