In perhaps the perfect end to the long fall season, Paris Fashion Week delighted buyers and press alike. “It’s been brilliant,” said Barbara Atkin, fashion director at Canada’s Holt Renfrew. “There was excitement in the presentations and in the clothes. We’re buying more and more out of Paris.” Retailers also noted the Paris season “sparked with vivid colors, expert tailoring, innovative knits and strongly individualistic, yet still very salable, fashion statements,” WWD reported. Standout shows included those of Dior, Yohji Yamamoto, Viktor & Rolf, Nina Ricci, John Galliano, Miu Miu, Lanvin and Balenciaga. During the eight days of Paris Fashion Week, there were 71 million page views on Style.com, which was a 58 percent jump over last year.
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Nabbing the top spot once again this season is Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel. With fallen snow as a floor covering to his runway, Lagerfeld packed the collection with tweeds, stocking caps, penguin sweaters and even some ice skates. He paired short coats with jeans and skirts with flat, functional boots, and focused on knee-length dresses.
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“It’s the girl on the street with her jacket, her pants, her scarf,” Balenciaga’s Nicolas Ghesquière noted, referring to his fall woman. But in addition to his understated pieces, he showed spicier frocks, like the shrunken jackets, confetti tweeds and textured coats. “It added up to the most complete and wearable collection Ghesquière has ever done,” said WWD.
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Offering a diverse, yet low-key lineup for fall, Marc Jacobs sent out chic pullovers, skirts with feathers at the hem, belted jackets and divine party dresses — all done up in a rich palette. As for the handbags, “Jacobs offered a monogrammed bonanza,” said WWD, including “quilted patents, plastic-coated sheepskin and embossed felt.”
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John Galliano focused on the sensual, exotic woman for Dior’s fall — he went heavy on embellishments on his bustier dresses, slim suits, trapeze coats and eveningwear. He also played with a variety of materials, from silk, suede and leather to croc and fur. The collection moved up an impressive five spots from last season’s rankings.
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It was all about a new attitude in the house of Chloé. Paulo Melim Andersson ventured away from Phoebe Philo’s sweet and charming ways and headed into brooding and edgy moods for fall, sending out artsy minis and shifts embellished with mirrored accents. He also showed more aggressive fare with his heavy furs and textured frocks.
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Working with the theme of “Salem Witch Trials,” Alexander McQueen offered short, structured shapes. Some dresses featured stiff vertical arcs in back and others revealed pointed protrusions — all done in the darkest of palettes. “One must admire McQueen for continuing to take such bold creative risks this far into his career,” said WWD.
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WWD deemed John Galliano’s fall lineup a “blockbuster signature collection,” noting his theatrics were back in full force — it paid off, as the collection rose six slots in the rankings. The show reflected hints of Gustav Klimt and Mary Pickford in the designer’s floral embroideries and cascading ruffles. Evening revealed elaborately beaded bias-cut gowns.
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It was more of a toned-down fall for Alber Elbaz this season. The designer matched edgy frocks with softer pieces — like exposed zippers with washed silk — and did so effortlessly. WWD said of his use of detailing, “Silk sheaths spilled into sweeping, painterly collars. Dresses were trussed into ruffles that scalloped down the spine.”
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Miuccia Prada continued to revisit the classics she showed with her signature line in Milan. She sent out sturdy wools, quilty metallics and nylon tweeds, mostly in neutral colors, with the occasional blast of red or hot pink. She also emphasized volume within her blazers and giant flared skirts.
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Olivier Theyskens’ debut for Ricci was a hit: The collection emerged from out of nowhere to sit among the top 10. Theyskens focused less on strict tailoring and more on softened shapes with layered looks in moody grays, including jersey knits cut with curved zippers and overlays. For evening, he offered shapely feathered gowns.