PARIS — Who would have ever dreamt that Marge Simpson was a Balenciaga gal at heart?
Demna Gvasalia knew it all along, and his clever Balenciaga show, which blurred the lines between fiction and reality, celebrities and the general public, had buyers entranced during a powerful Paris Fashion Week.
Nearly every buyer polled by WWD raved about the Balenciaga show, which saw the stars of “The Simpsons” and the citizens of Springfield, USA strut Gvasalia’s designs on the Paris catwalk in a bespoke episode of the long-running TV series.
The Simpsons short came on the heels of an unconventional presentation that saw celebrities, Balenciaga models, press and guests mingle on the red carpet, and also observe each other in the act of mingling.
“Balenciaga turned the red carpet on its head,” said Elizabeth von der Goltz, chief commercial officer at Matchesfashion. “Paired with ‘The Simpsons’ episode it was truly brilliant.” Federica Montelli of La Rinascente said the show “demonstrated what brands should do in the coming years to stay relevant with young generations.”
The Balenciaga show also embodied the democratic spirit of this first big, post-COVID-19 season, which saw members of the public able to watch the Chloé, Valentino and Balmain shows unfurl in historic bits of Paris.
In addition, Gvasalia’s red carpet experiment, and the Simpsons casting, highlighted the lighthearted mood, sizzling creativity and sense of fun that designers plied into their lavish, sexy collections. It was a season to remember.
Here, buyers critique the week.
Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion and store presentation director, Bergdorf Goodman
Favorite collections: Valentino stood out for its interplay on the sidewalk café life that Paris is known for, underlining how fashion is most alive when it’s worn, and walks out on the street. At Saint Laurent, it was powerful to sit between the effervescent lights of the Eiffel Tower and a wall of dramatic lights and water, to take in quintessentially Parisian kind of provocative glamour.
Gabriela Hearst’s collection for Chloé underlined the romantic and artisanal codes of the house, and was staged memorably along the banks of the Seine, a remarkable first. Dior took us to the Tuileries and gave us the color therapy we needed, setting the pace for the week with the new shorter proportion.
Balenciaga was a groundbreaking conceptual format, with its proportions that shocked the eye, cool attitude and mind bend of self-questioning surrounding red carpet influence, image and our new virtual lives. Chanel, in keeping with new approaches, closed out the very French week with a more welcoming and intimate venue. We loved the fresh, sexy and joyful spirit of the collection.
Top trends: The standout trend of the week seemed to circle around desirability. The body is the must-have item, and the new short length is firmly cemented, as is anything cutaway, leg and midriff-baring. Newfound freedoms are top of mind. Vivid colors and color blocks can’t be missed. We’re noting the return of higher heels, and the new, smaller controlled bag shapes.
Impressions of the week: Paris rebooted! Both the city and the fashion we came to see felt revitalized and full of new energy. We were treated to new ways of experiencing the collections, which perfectly messaged the clothes and simultaneously celebrated the city. They became inseparable. AZ Factory’s touching, collective tribute show for Alber Elbaz was the perfect ending to a week of l’amour for each other, and for the reunited family we call fashion. It was also restorative to get out and meet with our partners again here, get into show rooms, touch (the clothing) and talk.
Bosse Myhr, head of women’s wear and men’s wear, Selfridges
Favorite collections: Rick Owens, Vivienne Westwood, Acne Studios and Courrèges.
Best show format: It was hard to miss the incredible build and setup of Matthew Williams’ Sunday evening show, and the feeling that physical shows are back. A giant floating light oval that was the perfect backdrop for the collection in collaboration with Josh Smith.
Best hybrid format: Balenciaga. First, a red carpet for all attendees of the show, including the models wearing the actual collection, followed by the premiere of a short Simpsons episode.
New talent: Two designers stood out for us this season: Weinsanto and Vaquera.
Marissa Galante Frank, fashion director for accessories and beauty, Bloomingdale’s
Favorite collections: I loved the optimistic mood and ’90s revival at Chanel this season. It was upbeat, playful, and to see the models having fun and smiling made you fall in love with the collection. The debut of the handmade Chloé Craft pieces is very exciting and demonstrates Gabriela Hearst’s dedication to the environment and social responsibility, and the evolution of the brand. Pierpaolo Piccioli continues to move Valentino forward, and appeal to a new generation of consumers through vibrant colors, inclusive casting and a collection that is beautiful, luxurious and wearable.
Best show format: Chloé’s setting on the Seine River reflected the essence of the collection, as it was natural, freeing and beautiful. The combination of the spectacular waterfall, light show and the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower at Saint Laurent was quite special.
Top trends: Saturated and energetic bright colors were prominent across rtw and accessories. We also saw a continuation of sexy collections on the runway with even more glamour and sparkle. Other prominent trends included crochet, crop tops, cut-outs, platforms, and the return of ’90s shoulder bags.
Must-have items: The Miu Miu x New Balance sneakers, Valentino pearl necklaces and the bright and playful bangles at Chanel.
Impressions of the week: Between the amazing venues, beautiful clothing and standout accessories, Paris Fashion Week delivered on the energy and excitement that we’ve missed.
Lisa Aiken, svp, Fashion and Lifestyle director, Neiman Marcus
Favorite collection: We saw standout collections from several of the big maisons, including Chanel’s 90s-tinged glamorous getaway, Saint Laurent’s powerfully sharp tailoring and evening, and Valentino’s bold optimism which was so refreshingly of-the-moment, while referencing archive collections.
We wholeheartedly believe in Gabriela Hearst’s new vision of luxury fashion for Chloé, both in the attitude of the collection we saw this week, and the social and environmental efforts behind it. Finally, Daniel Roseberry’s vision for Schiaparelli is truly incredible, capturing the ethos of the house with an utterly modern viewpoint.
Best show format: There were many statement-making shows this week, but I have to say Chloé’s show on the banks of the Seine was really something special. And Balenciaga’s red carpet and “The Simpsons” collaboration was as unexpected as ever, and thoroughly entertaining.
Top trends: Paris has been very much a continuation of what we have seen earlier this month: a return to exciting, emotional, must-have fashion. Let’s start with the fact that this week captured exactly what the Neiman Marcus client is looking for right now – glamour!
Strong shoulders, oversized bijoux, sequins, feathers and skin reveals are here to make us feel good. We are embracing bold color and color blocking which feels exciting and fresh. Mini lengths prevailed, whether in a neat skirt suit from Dior, or a sexy Balmain minidress. And tailoring is back as a shortcut to feeling polished.
Must-have items: Logo, but in an unexpected, and very elevated, way whether that is the YSL metal adornment on a bodysuit, Chanel’s opening swim looks, Valentino’s 1970 print or Givenchy’s latest 4G bag.
New talent: There is an interesting resurgence of heritage houses such as Coperni. And I believe the future is very bright for Ludovic de Saint Sernin.
Nathalie Lucas Verdier, general merchandise director, accessories, luxury, shoes and women’s ready-to-wear, Printemps
Favorite collections: After 18 months of digital shows, Loewe offered us the best IRL experience with a strong creative vision, mixing surrealism and experimentation with an unexpected touch of sexiness. Saint Laurent is always a highlight of Parisian chicness and sexiness. Matthew Williams’ first public show [for Givenchy] offered a strong take on street couture.
Best show format: Every season, Demna Gvasalia comes with a radical and innovative concept for his shows. Balenciaga has shown that it’s not only about clothes anymore, and fashion is nothing nowadays without entertainment and celebrity influence. His catwalk was also very inclusive, with [members of the public] sharing the catwalk with super stars. And what could be cooler than a bespoke “Simpsons” movie, the epitome of pop culture?
Top trends: The most obvious one is the return to joy, colors, eccentricity and, of course, sexiness. Lamé and glitter, mini, miniskirts and high heels are back on the runway. Still a lot of tailoring with reworked shoulders, new proportions and details.
Must-have items: A Loewe pair of surrealistic heels; a Givenchy jacket; a Courrèges cape; mini, mini something; a dress from Ludovic de Saint Sernin; a skirt from Miu Miu; a pair of BB Balenciaga crystal earrings.
New talent: Minuit’s third collection was definitely a highlight, but also Christoph Rumph, the young Hyères Festival winner in 2019. He’s back with a grown up collection, mixing upcycling with immaculate tailoring.
Impressions of the week: Though this post-COVID-19 fashion week was still transitional, the energy and the joy of the brands’ creative vision was extremely rewarding after two digital fashion weeks. The past year and a half has definitely challenged designers’ creativity. The Paris dynamic is always chaotic, between traffic, protests, weather and late shows. But that makes Paris unique, and the city’s noise was exalting again.
Sybille Darricarrère Lunel, director of offer and head of buying, women’s wear, lingerie and kids, Galeries Lafayette
Favorite collections: Chanel, Coperni, Courrèges and Chloé.
Best show format: Balmain, with a show that felt like a concert with a festival that was open to the public, and with brilliant, inclusive energy.
Top trends: Glitter, transparency, cutouts and shiny fabrics.
Must-have items: A silver lamé dress from Coperni, an embroidered bomber from Isabel Marant and a crochet dress from Marine Serre or Chloé.
Budgets up or down: Up.
Focused on buying: Feminine, festive and sexy clothes.
Impressions of the week: It’s very positive to feel the energy of fashion week again, and we feel that brands want to celebrate and have fun.
Jennifer Cuvillier, style director, Le Bon Marché
Favorite collections: Dior, Chloé, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Rick Owens and Dries Van Noten.
Best show format: Back to real shows, which makes you feel, once again, the complete message of the brand and designer. That makes it alive.
Top trends and must-have items: Monochrome silhouettes with bright, fluorescent or dégradé colors; crochet; 1960s-inspired minidresses and cropped tops; summer capes; clean and simple silhouettes; beautiful materials and shapes; denim; cream-colored, natural and khaki fabrics; swimwear; summer camp sandals and boots; stacked bangles and extra-extra-large earrings.
Impressions of the week: Dynamic, back-to-fashion week excitement with discovery and exchange — a very special moment for all of us to restart again.
Federica Montelli, head of fashion, La Rinascente
Favorite collections: Loewe, Chloé, Saint Laurent, Valentino, Chanel, Miu Miu, Raf Simons, Acne Studios and Coperni.
Best show format: Balenciaga’s meta-show with a real/non-real red carpet and “The Simpsons” collaboration was the highlight of the week. It showed that the boundaries of what fashion “should be” are easily shattered, and that digital formats shouldn’t necessarily be cold, or less engaging. It demonstrated what brands should do in the coming years to stay relevant with young generations.
Top trends: Miniskirts; platform shoes, both extreme wedges as seen at Acne Studios or Saint Laurent’s high-heeled sandals; cropped tops, bralettes and cropped cardigans. Exposed midriffs were a must, together with low-rise pants and skirts making a comeback in a full Y2K aesthetic.
Must-have items: Loewe’s shoes with a statement heel were one of the standout pieces, and really became viral. On the other hand, Saint Laurent’s expertly tailored blazer and denim ensemble was one of the best overall looks. Paired with a clutch tucked into your jeans, it will surely be mimicked by the high-street labels. This outfit, in its simplicity, showed what luxury Parisian glam means.
Impressions of the week: The whole week screamed “We’re back in Paris!” All locations were central to the narrative, from Saint Laurent at the Tour Eiffel, to Chloé’s walk on the Seine, to Valentino’s Carreau du Temple. They talked about Paris and the beauty of the city, in its grandeur, and its more common places. Many designers had some of their best outings in a while, [letting us witness] a creative renaissance and renewed energy in the industry coming out of the pandemic.
Beth Buccini, cofounder and owner, Kirna Zabête
Favorite collections: Dior, Valentino and Chloé.
Best show format: We loved Chloé’s intimate format on the banks of the Seine and, of course, Saint Laurent with the twinkling Eiffel Tower.
Top trends: Mod Sixties, corsetry, miniskirts and sexy party clothes.
Must-have items: Valentino’s feathered bag, a Dior skirt suit and an effortlessly chic trenchcoat from Gabriela Hearst’s Chloé.
Budgets up or down: Budgets are up. We are ready to spend on newness and thrilled to meet in person with designers.
Focused on buying: New and emerging designers, as well as special-event dressing. Clients are ready to party.
New talent: We’ve seen so many new designers, it is going to be hard to decide who to add.
Impressions of the week: Our team loved being back in the always-inspiring Paris and to seeing the clothes in person. The mood was ebullient.
Libby Page, senior market editor, Net-a-porter
Favorite collection: Loewe.
Best show format: In terms of creativity, it had to be Balenciaga’s “red carpet show” and “The Simpsons” episode.
Top trends: A tale of two color stories, ranging from white, beautiful, fresh dresses at Chloé and Isabel Marant to bold brights at Valentino, which paved the way with its neon minidresses.
Must-have items: Everything at Loewe: the mini hobo bag, the fun lipstick, cracked egg and wilted rose heels as well as a simple white tank top with a super small Loewe logo, which feels both luxurious and iconic.
New talent: Gauchere. Both its film and intimate collection walkthrough featured easy wardrobe pieces in beautiful pastels, neutrals and luxurious fabrics. Quite simply, I could wear everything.
Impressions of the week: A real sense of thoughtfulness (at the Chloé show in particular) as people came together again in the fashion capital. It’s great to be back at physical shows. You can’t beat it.
Brigitte Chartrand, vice president of women’s wear buying, Ssense
Favorite collection: Kwaidan Editions, Chloé, Balenciaga, Marine Serre and Acne Studios.
Best show format: Balenciaga’s digital and physical was a standout.
Top trends: The oversized men’s wear tailoring that we’re accustomed to seeing at Balenciaga and The Row. As more designers embrace upcycled materials, we’re buying into patchwork designs, and many prints this season.
Must-have items: Love the tailoring from Look 28 of Balenciaga’s show: it’s exactly the type of silhouette that I’m inspired to wear. Another must-have: the open knit dress from look 11 at Kwaidan Editions.
Budgets up or down: Up.
New talent: We’re excited to be picking up Ludovic de Saint Sernin for spring 2022.
Impressions of the week: It has me looking forward to experiencing Paris Fashion Week in person once again.
Tiffany Hsu, fashion buying director, Mytheresa
Best collections: Anthony Vaccarello presented a standout collection at Saint Laurent. I loved the masculine tailoring jackets mixed in with lanky high-waisted jeans or tight pants. Another favorite was Balenciaga. The gigantic gowns, sequined columns, outsize black tailoring — the pieces oozed glamour. It was spectacular.
Must-have items: New season must-haves are a Saint Laurent catsuit and a pair of Balenciaga Crocs.
Impressions of the week: Paris Fashion Week has been just magical: we have seen many spectacular shows and a real celebration of the return of physical fashion week.
New talent: Nicolas Di Felice showed beautiful designs at Courrèges, which were respectful of the maison’s heritage yet had a modern twist. Ludovic de Saint Sernin is another name to keep a close eye on. His uber-sexy designs were given a sharp fashion edge by the artisanal craftmanship that goes into them.
Best show: I loved the Saint Laurent show. The setting close to the glittering Eiffel Tower, the cascading waterfall and the pyrotechnic light display at the finale were amazing.
Top trend: The most notable trends to emerge from Paris were the hot-girl summer look, cutouts seen on body-con pieces and pretty much anything Y2K-inspired.
Sakiko Hasegawa, director, Adelaide and Addition Adelaide
Favorite collection: Peter Do, across all cities.
Best show format: I still think the runway is the best, but anything that is creative, just like Demna (at Balenciaga) did this time, also works.
Top trends: No trend is a new trend — I don’t see any prominent trends in seasons. Every season, fewer and fewer designers are releasing thematic collections. After COVID-19, it seems designers don’t want to follow any conventional ways and are presenting their collections freely.
Must-have items: A long shirt dress, beige sets, small handbags.
Budgets up or down: For this season, our budgets will stay stable.
Impressions of the week: Balenciaga’s “red carpet.”
Seville Chow, senior vice president, fashion, Lane Crawford
Favorite collection: Loewe by Jonathan Anderson, I was inspired by the surrealism during this post-pandemic outing, which amplified the need for experimentation. It was refreshing to see a new aesthetic emerge, as well as his creative expression of how we are all adapting to a “new normal.” This was evident throughout the collection, with the sculptural elements, and the organically shaped breast plates. This was one of our favorite collections because it was daring, colorful, cleverly executed and just beautifully designed.
Best show format: Balmain: We could feel the celebratory energy of the 10th-year anniversary with Olivier Rousteing. It was a celebration of Balmain’s attitude of glamour and sensuality for the modern-day woman. At Valentino it was so nice to see the brand bringing us back to the level of extravaganza from the location venue, scale of production and the 100 or so outfits showcasing artisanal handcrafted design and the vibrancy of color. The Balenciaga “Simpsons” show was fun and a novel departure from the other shows. It was fun to indulge in the fantasy of a fashion-filled, non-pandemic universe.
Top trends: Many of the designers embraced color, color and more color throughout their collections, from the pastel hues to the vibrant pops that we saw from Loewe, Valentino, Cecilie Bahnsen, Rick Owens, Saint Laurent and Dries Van Noten. We also saw long lean and fluid silhouettes present in Chloé, Loewe and Rick Owens, giving a sense of freedom, and rebirth of a new world. Soft tailoring continues to be strong in the collections from Balmain, Raf Simons, Saint Laurent and Yohji Yamamoto.
Must-have items: A worn black trenchcoat, and a worn black denim jacket from Loewe, cutout details with layering looks from Balmain and Rick Owens, a leather crochet and fringe bag from Chloé.
New talent: I really think Meryll Rogge incorporates a well-thought-out juxtaposition of colors and prints in her designs. She has a refreshing approach to a more advanced/sweet-chic aesthetic unlike any other brands we have seen. Rok Hwang of Rokh’s interpretation of black cocktail dresses that combine tailoring and deconstructed/constructed elegance made for a beautiful yet modern collection.
Impressions of the week: Optimism! We can feel there is a strong sense of positive energy. The moment of reset equates to birth as stated by Jonathan Anderson. It was great to see the brands that are back on the show calendar. It feels that fashion has made its return. The return of beautifully crafted clothes for people to wear and be seen in again.
Sam Lobban, senior vice president of designer and new concepts, Nordstrom
Favorite collections: Saint Laurent, Chanel, Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Dries Van Noten, Chloé, Valentino, Givenchy and Raf Simons.
Best show format: We loved the all-out Parisian spectacle of Saint Laurent, the ’90s throwback setup of the Chanel show and, of course, the ingenious red carpet movie premiere of “The Simpsons” collaboration with Balenciaga. Along with Christian Dior, all of these shows had a feeling of familiarity and nostalgia that also echoed through the collections, taking inspiration from fashion across different decades, while making it feel relevant, new and inspiring for their customers.
Top trends: We loved the different takes on color, fabrication and technique on display at Dries Van Noten, Chloé, Valentino and Givenchy, all of which felt uplifting and engaging. We saw the intricacy of some of the garments come to life on screen as if they were in the room with you. Raf Simons’ gender-blurring collection felt dark and broody, yet really novel and interesting with the new and unexpected, but subtle tweak on shape and proportions.
Impressions of the week: It was so much fun to see the return of highly conceptualized theatrics as well as have the in-person element at the Paris shows.
Elizabeth and Dominick Lepore, owners, Jimmy’s New York
Favorite collections: Azzi & Osta, Chanel, Hermès and Saint Laurent.
Best presentation concept: Balenciaga offered something new and exciting, just when you feel you’ve seen everything after 75 years in the industry. That said, Saint Laurent brought glitz and glamour and the wow factor to the return of Paris and high fashion.
Top trends: Bright and colorful; cutouts and cropped tops showing skin; catsuits; an array of gowns to party again!
Must-have item: Something cropped or crocheted.
Impressions of the week: The effort of dressing and presenting oneself has returned as we reemerge in social settings. From the retrospective of Thierry Mugler to Jean Paul Gaultier, fashion’s most provocative designers from the 1970s have resurrected corsetry, bras and skin-baring for spring 2022. Both past and present showcase the woman’s form and body-conscious designs.
Jessica Crawley, divisional merchandise manager, Ounass, part of Al Tayer Group
Favorite collection: Valentino.
Best show format: Valentino and Chloé, who didn’t limit the show to only invited guests. These are usually two shows where tickets are hard to come by, but for spring 2022, the two houses gave an opportunity to passersby to get a glimpse of what is normally reserved for selected buyers, press and influencers.
Top trends: Lengths were short, dresses were slinky and there was no shortage of skin on the runways. Specifically side cutouts that we saw from Valentino, Balmain, Stella McCartney, Saint Laurent and Chloé. We also saw a lot of black but broken up by vivid colors like deep purples, bright reds, cobalt blues, emerald greens, pinks and neons, which made collections feel dramatic and energetic.
Must-have items: Lace-up sandals that went down the runway from Valentino and Isabel Marant and swim-inspired pieces, which we saw from Balmain, Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney.
Budgets up or down: Way up.
Impressions of the week: This week has been all about optimism and positivity. Fashion week was back in full force and the excitement could be felt even through virtual buying appointments.
Tyler France, vice president fashion director, Hudson’s Bay and The Room
Favorite collection: Loewe showed an exciting and refreshing collection from Jonathan Anderson. The color, shapes and surrealist elements brought us a sense of escape and re-appreciation for a runway show. Rick Owens and Chloé were two others that were best in class.
Best show format: Balenciaga’s staged red carpet experience was one-of-a-kind and the most buzzed-about show of Paris. In keeping with the idea of finally getting out and being social after a challenging few seasons, Valentino’s literal street style felt like an optimistic way to celebrate the return to the runway.
Top trends: Revenge dressing and a return to eveningwear-crafted details like crochet and embroideries, resort and vacation themes, and bright/optimistic color and print.
Must-have item: The bra top. Shown in nearly every collection, the skin-baring top is a must-have. I’m most excited to see this trend embraced and styled in so many ways on so many different body shapes and sizes.
Impressions of the week: Fashion is fun! Art prints, bold color, surrealist details and lots of skin make the season one to look forward to. I couldn’t be more thrilled to see the customer surrender their sweats and start dressing to impress once again.
Ida Petersson, buying director, Browns
Favorite collection: Loewe was mind-blowingly beautiful, Jonathan Anderson delivered on every level, and we are all still thinking about it now.
Best show format: Balenciaga, without a doubt. We had tears of laughter in our eyes throughout. It was such a genius move, and what we can only expect from Demna Gvasalia. We have never wanted to dress in Balenciaga more.
Top trends: The key message this season, and prevalent from the very beginning since New York City, is that sexy is back. Hemlines were short with a twist, silhouettes were close to the body, skin was on show. Tailoring has also had a comeback, but with a sexy update, and cutouts are key. Lastly, a summer update on knits, crochet is everywhere.
Must-have items: In footwear, it’s got to be the Miu Miu x New Balance’s collaboration, Balenciaga’s knee-high city boot, Piferi’s laced sandals at the Ludovic de Saint Sernin show; the already viral broken egg heel from Loewe.
In jewelry, EERA’s black diamond tennis bracelet was a standout, while in ready-to-wear, Loewe’s turquoise sequined skirt and sparkly knits were playful, quirky and totally enviable. The Rick Owens cutout swimsuit used as underpinning was striking, and Miu Miu’s micro kilt and matching jackets were a fun and daring update on a traditional office look.
Budgets up or down: Up — across all cities. This season has left us inspired and hopeful for the collections to come. The breadth of talent and creative output has been undeniable.
New talent: True to form, Ludovic de Saint Sernin delivered the sexiest collection of the season, and Ester Manas’ casting went above and beyond in highlighting the importance of body inclusivity.
Impressions of the week: We’ve come out of this with a resounding feeling of “We’re going out-out next season!” And it was so good to be back with our industry colleagues and friends in what was a packed fashion month.
Elizabeth von der Goltz, chief commercial officer, Matchesfashion
Favorite collection: My personal highlights have been Saint Laurent, Chloé, Valentino, Germanier, Ludovic de Saint Sernin and Thebe Magugu.
Best show format: It was wonderful to see designers celebrating Paris and the beauty of the city, from Chloé’s show on the Seine to Saint Laurent’s Eiffel Tower backdrop. Local Parisians were able to experience and enjoy the shows at Chloé and Valentino, too, which felt very special. Finally, Balenciaga turning the red carpet on its head. Paired with the “Simpsons” episode it was truly brilliant.
Top trends: As we have seen throughout the other cities, Technicolor continues to be a key trend for the season. Valentino minidresses, Isabel Marant’s bohemia and Loewe’s surrealism were all standouts. We also saw a strong craft element at the shows, with a focus on texture, crochet and fringe detailing. Chloé really led the way here with the crochet rainbow dress and upcycled flip-flops being highlights.
There was also a new sex appeal coming through with bra tops and miniskirts being quite prevalent throughout. Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s collection is a key callout for this trend, along with Saint Laurent’s silhouettes and body-con fabrications, Givenchy’s more pared-back approach with thigh-high chunky boots and Valentino’s micro mini styles with daring cutouts in pop colors.
Must-have items: For footwear and accessories we loved Saint Laurent’s new clutch; Valentino’s Roman stud gladiator sandals; Givenchy’s over-the-knee sneaker boot; Loewe’s rose heel shoe; and Chloé’s flip-flops in collaboration with Ocean Sole. For rtw, Johanna Ortiz’s printed slipdress and matching robe were the perfect modern eveningwear look, Valentino’s hot pink cutaway mini dress, summer neutrals with lace and crochet detailing from Isabel Marant and, of course, anything crochet from Chloé.
New talent: Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s show epitomized this new sexy mood we are seeing. Ludovic is known for pioneering sex positivity in fashion and his collection was so true to the brand’s DNA. The collection had a strong craft and artisanal feel, too, being entirely braided, knotted and laced by hand.
Impressions of the week: Paris was full of positive energy: show concepts felt more creative, thoughtful and interesting this season.
Roopal Patel, senior vice president, fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue
Favorite collections: Anthony Vaccarello kicked off the week with a magnificent show for Saint Laurent that felt like a love letter to Paris. The collection was sexy and quintessentially French, and setting the show against the Eiffel Tower was dramatic, impactful, and big. At Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia created one of the most unique, forward-thinking moments of the week.
Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino taking over the marketplace and neighboring cafés at Le Carreau du Temple was also a special moment. Olivier Rousteing’s 10-year anniversary celebration for Balmain felt like both a concert and a celebration: Coachella meets Lollapalooza. Other standouts included Rick Owens, Chloé, Loewe and Chanel.
Best show format: Balenciaga’s show was so unexpected, whimsical and out-of-the-box. I don’t think anyone could have predicted the Balenciaga “Simpsons” episode that followed their red carpet preshow. It was so hilarious and tongue-in-cheek, with nonstop laughter and applause in the crowd. It was such a unique experience and definitely the first time the fashion industry has seen something like that at Paris Fashion Week. The AZ Factory tribute show for Alber Elbaz was also incredibly moving. Seeing all of the major fashion houses pay homage to Elbaz was a beautiful and meaningful way to close out such an incredible week in Paris.
Top trends: The top trends for spring are all about strong, statement looks, including barely there cut-outs, sexy catsuits, sculptural body armor, dip-dye, crochet, hand knits, cropped tailored jackets, fringe, designer denim, sculptural moments, cropped jackets and the return of glam eveningwear.
Must-have item: A Saint Laurent cutout catsuit.
New talent to watch: Kenneth Ize, Thebe Magugu and Gauchere are all on our radar.
Impressions of the week: What a return to Paris Fashion Week! It was well worth the wait after these past 20 months. Each house was truly thinking outside of the box and bringing a fresh, new energy to the City of Light. Throughout the week, we saw designers exploring ways to connect with this global digital customer.
There were big moments and big presentations that brought sheer delight to the senses. Paris Fashion Week shone and beamed with pride and the spark that is only felt in this magical city. Outside of the shows, the Arc de Triomphe wrapped up by the creative genius of Christo and Jeanne-Claude was the best dressed and most photographed subject of the week.