With the Rugby World Cup coinciding with Paris Fashion Week, rugger followers will be sharing the city with fashion folk: the former in search of scrums and goals on the field, the latter looking for some emotion and fireworks on the runways.
After a long run of strong seasons in Europe’s cradle of fashion, hopes will be pinned on the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, Nicolas Ghesquière, Alber Elbaz, Stefano Pilati and Alexander McQueen to keep the winning streak going. Will McQueen lighten up after his dark witch’s brew of a show in March? Will Ghesquière be futuristic or retro at Balenciaga?
A few sophomore efforts also will be closely watched: Olivier Theyskens’ second collection for Nina Ricci and Paolo Melim Andersson’s for Chloé.
And Marc Jacobs—responsible for the Takashi Murakami craze at Louis Vuitton a few years back—is said to have cooked up a fresh collaboration with another of his favorite artists, Richard Prince, for the Louis Vuitton show. But he doesn’t want to spoil the surprise, so let’s leave it at that.
The season boasts few newcomers, other than Nicolas Andreas Taralis, who is slated to show his first women’s collection for Cerruti, and the hot young label Commun, which has an eco bent. At press time, Emanuel Ungaro and Scherrer had yet to announce their new designers. Ungaro plans to show a collection by its design studio following the July exit of artistic director Peter Dundas, while Scherrer’s show—or no show—was still up in the air.
Crammed as the French calendar is with Japanese, Belgian, French and Italian names, organizers manage always to squeeze in a few more, this time welcoming two Indian designers into the mix: Anamika Khanna and Manish Arora.
“It’s more and more international,” Didier Grumbach, head of the French Fashion Federation, says of show week, also noting the return of Americans Ralph Rucci and Jeremy Scott as the latest evidence of Paris’ global drawing power.
Late-night shows in faraway venues notwithstanding, Grumbach cites efforts to further centralize the season: He’s added a second tent in the Tuileries Gardens and secured the Petit Palais to host presentations by young designers.
Off the runways, there are plenty of new or upgraded stores to check out. Continuing to mark its 60th anniversary, Dior has enlarged and refreshed its Avenue Montaigne flagship, also adding artworks by Claude Lalanne, Rob Wynne and others. Further up the tony shopping street is the first Paris location for Blumarine and a new Roberto Cavalli boutique. New York–based Brazilian designer Carlos Miele plans to show off his new store on the Rue Saint-Honoré during fashion week. And Elbaz is expected to unveil a revamped Lanvin flagship on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. There’s also a new multibrand store called Le66 Champs-Elysées, measuring 12,000 square feet, opening at 66 Champs-Elysées. It’s a fashion store à la Colette with magazines, CDs and the like.
Glove fans will be able to get their mitts on designs by Causse, the supplier of Karl Lagerfeld’s famous fingerless wonders. The storied French glove brand will open its first boutique in September, situated at 14 Rue de Castiglione in Paris’ 1st arrondissement. The pint-sized space is dedicated to the brand’s signature line and will carry limited edition collaborations. Highlights for fall include Grace, a white leather number featuring a rhinestone bow, and the house’s panther-print glove. Prices range from $200 to $1,400. Causse, 14 Rue de Castiglione 75001; +33.1.4770.5040
This season, Fashionistas will have the opportunity to bicycle around town between shows, thanks to the 14,000 bikes available in 1,000 Vélib stations spread throughout Paris. The effort was launched in July by the city and already counts thousands of users. JCDecaux, inventor of the concept of Street Furniture, came up with an exclusive design that balances aesthetics and sturdiness, ergonomics and comfort. The bike also features a convenient basket on the front. Yearly subscriptions are available for $39, weekly subscriptions for $6.80 or daily for $1.35. Each biker can ride for free for 30 minutes and put it back in any Vélib station in the city; riders are charged for any additional time. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the self-serve bikes are considered an urban revolution.
CHECK IT OUT
The Plaza Athénée hotel and its bar continues to be the hot spot for international celebs and VIPs like Mick Jagger and Woody Allen. 25 Avenue Montaigne 75008; +33.1.5367.6665
Bar Hemingway at the Ritz is a cocktail lover’s favorite, thanks
to Colin Field’s shaker. 15 Place Vendôme 75008; +33.1.4316.3030
Le Chateaubriand in the 11th arrondissement is a trendy restaurant with its rock ’n’ roll chef, Inaki Aizpitarte. Jean-Paul Goude has been spotted there. 129 Avenue Parmentier 75011; +33.1.4357.4595
La Perle bar in the swinging Marais is one of Paris’ busiest bars. It’s a favorite hangout for the fashion crowd as well as young French actors such as Romain Duris. 78, Rue Vielle du Temple 75003; +33.1.4272.6993
Hotel Amour for late-night dinner and drinks. Owner André from Le Baron attracts the city’s cool clientele, including his sweetheart, Emma Decaunes, until the wee hours. 8 Rue de Navarin 75009; +33.1.4878.3180
Rose Bakery for a late, leisurely breakfast and the best English pastries in town. 46 Rue des Martys 75009; +33.1.4282.1280
Grab a coffee at Ladurée and have the best excuse to indulge in a delicious macaroon. 16 Rue Royale 75008; +33.1.4260.2179