PARIS — A spirited energy surrounded not only fashion show venues but also showrooms and presentations here, as accessories brands resumed their bustling in-person showcases.
Collections reflected this return to social life in different ways, the flashier of which was a reprise in full force of fancy high heels and party-ready footwear, rich in metallic, holographic and sparkly effects. Two certainties here: platforms are back and there’s no sneaker in sight for next season.
On the flip side of the coin, the resumption of daily routines also pushed brands in the opposite direction to include functional styles that could make life easier, especially when it came to handbags.
Meanwhile, changes over the last two years pushed both customers and companies toward a more conscious path in terms of valuing quality, timeless design and find additional purpose in products, as seen in jewelry lines that were charged with philanthropic or spiritual messages.
Here, WWD rounds up some of the highlights seen in Paris during the past week:
Roger Vivier: Creative director Gherardo Felloni conceived another dreamy, Marie Antoinette-esque collection rich in candy-colored satin fabrics, crystals appliqués, embroideries and feathers. While the statement shoe of the season was the Choc Feathers Pump — featuring a swan-like silhouette, the brand’s signature Choc curved heel and feathers applied by hand — there were plenty of dazzling options such as satin pumps scattered with crystal embellishments, square-toed mules and sandals bejeweled with boxy ornaments on the heel and pointy sling-back shoes mixing PVC elements with feminine sparkly bows on the front. Even low-heeled styles were mood-boosting with their charming pastel hues or crystal buckles, while clutches spotlighted the brand’s all-around craftsmanship via embroideries and rhinestones galore.
Christian Louboutin: For fall, Christian Louboutin partnered with Parisian artist Yaz Bukey to release an eclectic capsule collection titled “Loubi Mystery.” Winking to an Ottoman influence and exploring the theme of murder-mystery games, the range included bold styles, such as sandals with a metallic embroidery platform heel or covered in Arabic mosaic-like motifs, as well as velvet loafers replicating the pattern of Oriental carpets. Putting a strong focus on platforms, the range included sandals with translucent heels chiseled in botanical patterns and ankle boots covered in fun symbols and thought bubbles.
By Far: Buzzy contemporary label By Far further upped the glamour ante for fall as founders Valentina Ignatova and Sabina Gyosheva released an extensive, cool collection focusing on liquified, metallics effect and glossy textures. The brand continued to build on the ’90s and Y2K references with baguette bags in extra-long shapes and high- and mid-heeled mules in punchy colors, ranging from neon green to bubblegum pink. The boots of the season, over-the-knee styles in sleek gold or silver hues, were made for walking, yes, but with extra self-confidence. The design is sure the gain the favor of fashion personalities fan of the brand, including Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber. To further intercept this audience, By Far will open its first flagship store in Los Angeles in May.
Alexandre Birman: “No more sneakers, women are back to the heels,” said Alexandre Birman, who during Paris Fashion Week displayed plenty of options to help his customers to mark this return. Phasing out exotic skins, the designer reworked leather in metallic and holographic effects in platform sandals — including a rendition of the brand’s signature Clarita style — and eye-catching designs with sculptural wedges. Elsewhere, he bejeweled stiletto heels with crystal rings or elevated velvet mules with dazzling buckles. “It’s all about cycles and this is a post-COVID-19 return to more eccentric styles. And I believe it is here to stay for a while,” the Brazilian designer said.
Repossi: For the first time, Gaia Repossi explored color in her new Chromatic Sapphires collection. For the 15th anniversary as artistic director of the family business, Repossi partnered with Moyo Gems Organization, an association fighting for the working condition of women in the jewelry industry and especially in Tanzania’s Umba Valley, where the 31 sapphires included in the line were extracted. Coming in beautiful shades of tangerine, red, military green and blue-veering-to-gray hues, these sapphires offered a new take on the brand’s Serti sur Vide collection, which is defined by the floating effect of the gems’ setting. From rings to earrings, 15 unique limited-edition pieces highlighted the different colors and form of the sapphires, which were cut in rounded, oval, heart or pear shapes.
Eéra: Romy Blanga and Chiara Capitani continued to expand their brand’s range beyond its signature neon-hued earrings. For fall, they introduced pearls, keeping their fun approach to fine jewelry by including them in utilitarian designs. Cue to the new “Vita” necklace in which pearls surrounded a single gold snap hook — still the key element of the brand. “We liked the idea of having this kind of contrast between a classic gemstone, but used with a punk spirit, and the color of the snap hook,” Capitani said. A butterfly motif also debuted in the fall range, decorating necklaces and accenting stud earrings with its green, pink, purple and electric blue hues, as sported by Laetitia Casta’s daughter Sahteene Sednaoui in the brand’s advertising campaign.
Medea: Italian label Medea continues to grasp buyers’ attention with its youthful and irreverent spirit injected in pop handbags. Launched in 2018 with the hit leather iteration of a paper bag, the brand evolved via sleek geometric styles that for fall were joined by new, softer shapes and materials. For one, founders Camilla and Giulia Venturini introduced satin in the Bucket style — offered in lovely combinations of yellow with green and fuchsia with red — and in the Charlie shoulder bag, which featured contrasting eco-leather lining and strategic side pockets to immediately find your iPhone or home keys. The duo also developed the jumbo Crush tote bag made of recycled toilet paper and cigarette packets, and reinterpreted bestsellers Classics and Cydonia in vegan apple skin leather. In sync with their playful attitude, the Venturinis released Medealand, a 40-page print publication developed with Maurizio Cattelan’s art magazine Toiletpaper that doubles as surrealist and fun look book.
Charles Jourdan: One of the biggest news items of the season was historic French footwear label Charles Jourdan’s comeback under the new artistic direction of fashion designer Christelle Kocher. The new course of the brand initiated with wearable and colorful designs with an architectural touch. Kocher revamped a graphic logo from the ‘70s that appeared as a buckle, elevating essential flats and sandals, as well as conceived sculptural, metallic heels that echoed the work of minimalist artist Donald Judd and architect Eileen Gray. Eye-catching options included a pointy style crafted from orange bouclé wool, a flat sling-back in multicolored jacquard and multistrip heeled sandals, which are all set to attract a new generation of consumers to the 101-year-old brand.
Nodaleto: “Since the beginning, we focused on smart styles, but you can be both smart and sexy,” said Julia Toledano, who added some metallic and sparkly effects to her signature square-toe, block-heeled designs that took Instagram by storm since the brand launched in 2019. While its popular mary janes were rendered in holographic textures, flashy fuchsia or forest green satin sling-back styles offered another appealing take on the brand’s aesthetics, which was further enhanced by loafers and laced boots punctuated with colored rhinestones. But Toledano also included more quotidian options via suede designs with contrasting soles. “There are different characters and aesthetics in my head. I can be this girl and this one,” she said showing a glittery shoe in one hand and a suede ankle boot in the other.
Delvaux: In its elegant presentation staged in a “Hotel Particulier” decorated with statement furnishing by interior designer Maria Pergay, Belgian luxury handbag label Delvaux spotlighted its craftsmanship via a fall collection offering both sparkly options and everyday styles. Bedazzling embellishments revamped the brand’s iconic Brilliant bag, which this season was rendered in a mini size covered in multicolored or black crystals. Even without all the glitz, the Pin bucket bag, first created in 1972, shone with its new perforated structure and chic neutral leather tones, while a Pin Swing variant introduced for fall charmed with its bright shades of pink, yellow and baby blue. Also new, the Lingot leather style inspired by the brand’s ‘70s archives made for a functional, compact bag oozing urban sophistication with its essential lines and oversize “D” buckle made out of a single brass bar.
Pierre Hardy: Graphic platforms stood out at Pierre Hardy, where chunky loafers and ankle boots represented a gender-inclusive offering via sizes ranging from 36 to 47. The fall collection also included the ‘90s-inspired, retro-futuristic Blade boots in off-white leather and graphic, minimal heels as well as strappy sandals in metallic hues. Preppy loafers, appropriately dubbed Eton, played with the contrasting colors the footwear maverick is best known for, while the designer continued to prove his sustainability commitment adding new styles developed with deadstock fabrics, such as open-toe pumps covered in leopard print.
Gia Borghini x Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s polished taste and minimalist flair has worked wonders for Florentine footwear label Gia Borghini, which is at its fourth collaboration with the model and actress. Drawing from Borghini’s and Huntington-Whiteley’s mutual penchant for architecture and interior design, the collection included platform boots and sandals nodding to wooden elements as well as more feminine boots and sling-back options with curved heels, all charming in their sophisticated palette of chocolate, olive green, white and purple shades.
Gia Borghini: Looking for unfussy, practical styles to face the wintery season, Gia Borghini and the brand’s creative consultant, Danish influencer Pernille Teisbaek, developed a cool collection of functional boots fitted both for mountain peaks in St. Moritz and the streets of London or New York. Focusing on a palette of butter, beige, forest green and sky blue tones, the leather styles came with chunky smooth or lug soles. A range of sporty sunglasses developed with niche eyewear specialist Ophy was added to complete the look.
Wandler: Amsterdam-based Wandler keeps drawing attention for its modernist aesthetic channeled via sleek, minimal bags and squared-toe shoes, that keep fueling the sales of the brand distributed in more than 200 wholesale doors. For fall, Elza Wandler released a mini size of the bestselling cross-body bag Penelope, as well as introduced the Uma baguette style and Joanna bag, both imbued with a laid-back attitude. The shoe collection surprised with new Swarovski-encrusted sandals, while the founder further expanded her lexicon with a concise capsule collection of leather apparel separates, including a must-have pant in burgundy shade.
Kassl Editions: Kassl may have started developing handbags as a creative way to repurpose fabric leftovers from its signature fisherman’s coats, but there’s no doubt that this side project has grown to be as compelling as the brand’s main apparel line. The functional range of coated cotton tote bags — including the puffy Pillow designs — and hobo styles now also comprises more compact options in stiffer leather but still oozing the same cool vibe that put the Amsterdam-based label on the fashion map in the first place.
Vanina: “Après la pluie, le beau temps,” or “after the storm, the sun rises again,” in English, was the motto of the Vanina collection. The Lebanese company has kept going despite instability in the country, continuing to partner with local artisans to develop its handmade pieces and mood-boosting collections. For fall, structured bags in geometrical shapes were covered in rainbow-colored pearls or rhinestones, while softer options further revealed the artisanal approach of the brand as they were crafted with a beading technique, often reporting fun phrases emphasizing Vanina’s playful spirit. The same embellishments were introduced in a footwear range, that added to the recently launched clothing line and marked another step in the expansion of the company established by Tatiana Fayad and Joanne Hayek in 2007.
L’Atelier Nawbar: Another Lebanese sensation, fine-jewelry brand L’Atelier Nawbar, keeps drawing an international audience to its colorful creations with a talismanic quality. The brand, which boasts a heritage dating back to 1891 and has been revamped to charm modern customers by the fourth generation of Nawbars, uses gemstones such as malachite, mother-of-pearl, tourmaline, lapis and agate, each linking to healing properties and positive energy. In addition to bestsellers nodding to astrology, the four elements or lucky symbols, the company has released the Lock’in line of geometric pendants and rings, each intended to bring a customer’s wish into the universe. Coming in Art Deco-reminiscent motifs, including stripes or zigzag patterns, all pieces were marked on the back by words including love, joy and strength.
Celine Daoust: In a similar approach, Celine Daoust showed a spiritual jewelry collection in its Parisian boutique. The brand has released a line dubbed “Dream Maker” that included single hoop earrings, bracelets and pendants with open-eye or moon motifs, all crafted in 14-karat light yellow gold and embellished with marquise-cut diamonds and dangling details.
Pupchen: During the first lockdown in 2020, Tunisian architect Duha Bukadi had plenty of time to design. In addition to buildings, she started to explore the world of footwear, with a goal of combining structure and comfort. Pupchen, her shoe line debuting at Paris Fashion Week that was marked by playful and eccentric high-heeled styles, included over-the-knee boots with whimsical drawings of frogs, planets and flowers, as well as metallic mules and pumps with wavy plexiglass or lollipop-inspired structures as heels. “The goal is for our woman to be noticed and for us to create shoes that can spark a conversation,” Bukadi said. Working with different suppliers, including Massaro — part of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art at Le 19M — Italian manufacturer Ballin and Atelier Lebuisson for embroideries, Bukadi developed her fantasy line while also taking into consideration sustainable aspects. “Initially, I wanted to do a vegan brand, but it didn’t work out because the quality of the products was not as we wanted to be,” she said, switching to a step-by-step approach via the inclusion of chrome-free tanned leather or using waste material from factories in her creations, among others.
J.M. Weston: Even heritage footwear brand J.M. Weston stepped into high heel territory for the first time by offering a feminine take on its signature Cambre ankle boot, an equestrian style first created in 1969 that features an upper cut from a single piece of leather. The women’s version of this timeless design was celebrated with the poetic performance “Portrait en Pied,” conceived by the brand’s artistic, image and culture director Olivier Saillard in collaboration with actress Sonia Ichti and staged at the French shoemaker’s Marais flagship. Ichti narrated the story of her life through brief poems, each cited after wearing a different pair of shoes, including interpretations of both the flat and high-heeled Cambre boot, which was also rendered artistically when covered in colored leather fringes, canvas, handkerchief or extra-long trains of fabric for a dramatic effect.
Joseph Duclos: Enduring elegance was at the center of the Maison Joseph Duclos project. The company was established last year to celebrate the legacy of entrepreneur Joseph Duclos, who in the 18th century combined three small tanneries in Lectoure, France, and earned the title of Royal Leather Manufacture by King Louis XV in 1754. Now, under the artistic direction of Ramesh Nair — who made a name for himself at his previous experiences at Hermès and Moynat — this gem of French craftsmanship launched with a series of luxury leather accessories, including the Diane design offered both in the handbag and cross-body options. Inspired by coin purses and crafted from calfskin treated with a natural tanning technique that develops a patina over time, the essential shape was outlined with gold-plated brass engraved with sentences of the founder’s letters and featured a statement clasp evoking the arrow of the Diana goddess of the hunt. The Saint-Clair style also charmed with its contemporary take on pouches worn by royal officers and combinations of leather structure and soft, nubuck flap.
Goossens: Blending art and goldsmith craft, Goossens made a name for itself collaborating with Chanel and making jewelry for designers such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy and Christian Lacroix. While continuing to work for numerous fashion houses today, the brand expanded its jewelry assortment under its own line with a charming fall collection nodding to antique pieces, including hammered bangles and rings, pearl-encrusted brooches and dangle earrings, all evoking byzantine ornaments. Styles are crafted in brass soaked in gold bath and often embellished with cabochon-cut stones.
Alia Bin Omair: Emirati award-winning brand Alia Bin Omair, which also scooped the 2021 Fashion Trust Arabia prize for the jewelry category, blending art and design to create statement pieces with an artisanal touch. Highlights of the collection included the Leaf line defined by a raw look and irregular shapes nodding to natural elements. The range comprised 18-karat gold adjustable rings, one-piece earrings and chokers with delicate leaf details punctuating a thin gold wire.
Elleme: Under the creative direction of founder Jingjing Fan, Paris-based brand Elleme has quickly grown from accessories to ready-to-wear, which was at its third iteration this season. While the label has ambitious plan to further beef up the apparel category, its core footwear and handbags offering continues to attract retailers, which include Harvey Nichols, Browns, Rinascente and Mytheresa, among others. New footwear styles included a tougher take on the mary jane shoe with a squared toe, block heel and rubber sole as well as loafers and high boots adorned by the brand’s signature Couchou ruched band. Handbags ranged from the cross-body, half-moon shaped Dimple bag and the Space bag boasting a futuristic, curved shape to the Panda bag with frontal zippered pockets, that was rendered in different textures, such as shearling, canvas and leather.
Tweek: Think zero-waste in jewelry is melting metal once more to reuse it? Think again. For jewelry brand Tweek, it’s about using a sheet of metal so completely there’s nothing left, from the metal laticework that is created by punching out another shape to compressing any leftovers for new shapes. Behind the industrial charm of this Dutch label, the contraction of “twin sisters Eek,” are twin cofounders Roos and Geertje Eek. The former has experience in metalwork while the latter worked in product design, combining their knowledge to harness heavy-duty machinery in order to produce eye-catching geometric designs. — Lily Templeton
Sweetlimejuice: Hong Kong designer Simpson Ma took home the Swarovski Innovator Award for his unique stone swaddling method the same year he graduated from London College of Fashion. Now behind London-based Sweetlimejuice, the latest collection is infused with cultural contradictions. He borrows from Japanese, Hindu, Islamic and Christian religious imagery, such as a crucifix cleaved in two on the sides of a chunky chain. “These things remind people about connection, closeness and beliefs.” Elsewhere sculptural notes appear in scalloped curved-link chains in gold-plated sterling silver. The brand used black freshwater pearls on bracelets and necklaces, and his signature wrapping technique is applied with fabric cradling chunky semiprecious stones in yellow and a royal purple. — Rhonda Richford
L/Uniform: Jeanne Signoles continued her exploration of all-things canvas at her L/Uniform brand, which epitomizes effortless French style in pragmatic, everyday accessories. While Signoles’ colorful take on the fabric continues to attract customers via trend-free styles, the founder introduced the Quadrille blend of natural beige cotton with navy linen thread in a new array of models, encompassing satchels, tool and tote bags and pouches in different sizes. She also launched the new Gibecière saddle bag, a compact cross-body design with leather details, that she defined an all-purpose bag. “The initial idea of the brand was to do a bag not just for a Saturday night but for every day. I spend most of my time outside from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., so I need to be well equipped for that,” Signoles said. The company has a store in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and soon will triple its ground floor at Le Bon Marché, where it is showcased at both the fashion accessories and home divisions, since its vast assortment is also extended to cooler bags, kitchen aprons and guitar cases, among others.
Malone Souliers: Opting out of Paris Fashion Week this season, London-based Malone Souliers presented its fall 2022 collection remotely. “I wanted to embrace the unconscious, taking inspiration from the freewheeling visions and impeccable style of the surrealist art movement,” said founder Mary Alice Malone about her new designs that played with different materials and shapes, ranging from high-heeled boots with drawstrings creating ruched effects on the leg to party-ready satin mules with feathers.
Lily Templeton and Rhonda Richford contributed reporting to this article.