PARIS — The Eighties ruled on the Paris catwalks, with designers dishing up a vigorous serving of neon, big shoulders and power suits. While Milanese brands went down a campy nostalgic route, their French counterparts worked a more moody take on the decade.
“Russian-U.S. tensions, espionage, stock markets booming: on the runway, this translated into big shoulders, big sleeves, big outerwear, flashes of leather and high-octane mini-dresses straight out ‘Atomic Blonde,’” said Coco Chan, head of women’s wear at Stylebop.com.
Among the most commercially viable shows were Balenciaga, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent and Valentino, with trends such as big shoulders, layered outerwear, faux-fur, tartan, disco glitz and bright color resonating with buyers.
The influence of Raf Simons’ collections for Calvin Klein was felt in Western details such as cowboy boots at Isabel Marant, piped shirting at Chloé and fringe everywhere.
Designers wowed with exceptional venues: Chanel with its forest inside the Grand Palais; Saint Laurent with a black box opposite the Eiffel Tower; Balmain with the gilded ballroom at Paris City Hall; Jacquemus with the soaring splendor of the Petit Palais, and Givenchy with its heavy drapes inside the Palais de Justice.
Buyers also raved about Balenciaga’s graffiti mountain set, though some wished the brand would find a venue inside Paris to stage its shows.
Meanwhile, the LVMH Prize for Young Designers continued to shine a spotlight on new talents, with last year’s winner Marine Serre garnering praise for her runway debut, and buyers zeroing in on several of the brands shortlisted for this year’s edition, including ROKH and Magda Butrym.
However, some buyers felt the streetwear trend has peaked, especially for casual pieces with stratospheric price tags.
“Anything goes and drug addict looks: It was OK for a few seasons, but it’s gone now and was only for stylists and a few fashionistas,” said Emmanuel de Bayser, co-owner of The Corner. “Customers spending money want to look edgy and different, sure, but more sophisticated — especially with the prices we have.”
Here’s a roundup of the Paris highlights from retailers:
Coco Chan, head of women’s wear, Stylebop.com:
Favorite collections: Balenciaga, Maison Margiela, Loewe, Jacquemus and Givenchy.
Top trends: Cold War Eighties; recycled glamour; fab faux.
Must-have item: A big coat. It’s hard to list all the best ones, but leading the pack are Loewe’s oversized sheepskins; Margiela’s iridescent numbers; Dries Van Noten’s jacquard puffers and Stella McCartney’s louche tweeds. I would advise investing in more than one!
Best venue: The Petit Palais — a quintessential Parisian venue that showcased a quintessential Parisian talent: Simon Porte of Jacquemus.
Budgets: Over the last seasons, we’ve been expanding our portfolio and investing in emerging talents. This has been met with great enthusiasm by our customer base and our budgets this season reflect that.
Say bye-bye to: Gypset bohemia — the fashion pendulum has swung away from boho to something with a harder edge.
Talent scouting: Peel away the theatrics and Yang Li’s Goth funeral offered up some impeccably constructed pieces, including knockout dresses. The leather work in particular proves that this is definitely a talent worth watching.
Marina Larroude, fashion director, Barneys New York:
Favorite collections: Paco Rabanne, Chloé, Saint Laurent, Thom Browne and Balenciaga.
Top trends: Layering; strong tailoring; metallics and sparkles, and in general a very relaxed attitude.
Must-have item: Chloé high-waisted pants; Chanel metallic boots; Maison Margiela sneaker.
Best venue: Saint Laurent’s show at Fontaine du Trocadéro.
New talents: Giovanni Bedin evening dresses are to die for.
Jeffrey Kalinsky, vice president, designer fashion director, Nordstrom, and president and founder, Jeffrey:
Favorite collections: Balenciaga, Valentino, Chanel and Balmain.
Top trends: Color; great outerwear, whether eco fur or a fabulous Chanel puffy; tartans.
Must-have item: The perfect coat for fall is always a must-have item.
Budgets: Our budgets are up for Paris, for sure, because there are a lot of fabulous things to buy in Paris, but the second reason is that our designer business is so strong right now, and that’s across all categories, meaning shoes, bags, clothes.
Best venue: It’s just too hard to be going to shows and going to appointments when a venue is really out of the way. As long as it’s conveniently located, it’s a great venue for me.
Talent scouting: I think Marine Serre has it. She’s the real deal, and I can totally see why she won the LVMH Prize. There’s such a couture quality to what she’s doing, and it’s tasteful, and it’s chic, and it’s sophisticated.
Federica Montelli, head of fashion, La Rinascente:
Favorite collections: Loewe, Dries Van Noten, Jacquemus, Balenciaga, Valentino, Chloé and Isabel Marant.
Top trends: Cobalt blue; feathers; plastic and patent materials; holograms; Eighties inspiration; shimmer and paillettes; outerwear (coats, trenches, puffers, capes) with exaggerated volumes; leather in outerwear, as well as in total looks.
Must-have item: A cape trench or bohemian poncho to wear over a romantic elongated dress; knitwear dresses with an unexpected twist, like a slit; slouchy knee-high boots; big fake fur coats, and a white shearling jumper.
Best venue: Paris is all about the more classical venues, therefore I particularly liked Kenzo Memento’s collection choice of organizing a dinner in La Monnaie de Paris paying an homage to Rousseau’s work.
Say bye-bye to: Paris Fashion week is quite long. I would like for the show schedule to be a bit more packed and to have more presentations and less “non-relevant” brands showing.
Talent scouting: We are introducing Jacquemus, even if not new, and are loving South Korean brand Rokh. We are keeping an eye on Marine Serre and Aalto.
Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director, Neiman Marcus
Favorite collections: Saint Laurent, Balmain, Miu Miu, Isabel Marant, Dior, Loewe.
Trends: The Eighties — the importance of the pant suit, especially when tailored razor-sharp with strong shoulders. Neon color — we are ready, it’s time. Sequins for day — disco inferno informs the best pieces of the season. Handcrafted-rarity that continues to remind us in a digital era that the touch of the human hand is what makes fashion covetable and desired.
Best venue: Saint Laurent’s black box under the sparkle of the Eiffel Tower.
New talent: LVMH winner Marine Serre, her up-cycled scarf tops and dresses are superb.
Roopal Patel, senior vice president and fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue:
Favorite collections: Balenciaga, Givenchy, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten, Balmain, Comme des Garçons, Jacquemus, Isabel Marant, Thom Browne and Sacai.
Top trends: It’s the season of getting dressed up, the return of power dressing, tailoring and suits. We’re sending a very strong message for the fall season with statement outerwear, leather and patent. Silver, fringe: the whole Western inspiration. The cowboy boot is a must.
Must-have item: Balenciaga coats and sculpted jackets.
Best venue: Chanel’s enchanted forest was a beautiful experience. Karl Lagerfeld transported us.
Say bye-bye to: Casual dressing. It’s all about getting dressed up for fall.
New talents: The LVMH Prize had a lot of fantastic talents to scout. Standouts were Rokh and Magda Butrym.
Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at Matchesfashion.com:
Favorite collections: Balenciaga, Junya Watanabe and Alexander McQueen.
Top trends: Blanket details and scarves.
Must-have item: Scarf everything at Marine Serre.
Best venue: Saint Laurent overlooking the Eiffel Tower.
Budgets: Always up.
New talents: Marine Serre.
Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman:
Favorite collections: Dior, YSL, Sacai, Alexander McQueen and Loewe.
Top trends: Masculine/feminine interplays; Eighties vibes; back to black; protective; animalia.
Must-have item: Boyfriend jackets; razor shades; pointy-toe shoes and trainers, patent or plaid, and leopard coats.
Best venue: The club ambient light show at YSL; the fashion revolution collage decor at Dior and the transporting music, casting and spirit at Jacquemus.
Budgets: We never limit ourselves when we love it. Paris will be up this season!
Say bye-bye to: Disorganized, difficult or extra distant venues.
Talent scouting: We found at least 10 new brands here, often niche or heritage or recently emerged. We would have/could have signed up for more of them if we could stretch the days.
Beth Buccini, owner, Kirna Zabête:
Favorite collections: Saint Laurent, Sacai, Dior, Balenciaga and Valentino.
Top trends: Layering; leopard; PVC/silver/shine; fluorescent neon color.
Must-have item: Layered coats from Balenciaga; Saint Laurent sparkly mini-dresses; shearlings; trenchcoats.
Best venue: Saint Laurent, because who doesn’t love the Eiffel Tower, and Balenciaga, because the graffiti mountain was amazing.
Say bye-bye to: Cheap fabrications at luxury prices; everyone on the sneaker bandwagon. Not all luxury designers should try to be street.
Emmanuel de Bayser, co-owner, The Corner:
Favorite collections: Dior, Dries Van Noten, Loewe and Balenciaga.
Must-have item: Short, sexy cocktail dresses; long coats; fake fur; cowboy boot hybrids.
Best venue: More than the venue, the settings, music and styling that created a special atmosphere were lights at Saint Laurent, fabric draping at Givenchy, music at Loewe and styling at Sacai.
Say bye-bye to: The Eighties, even revisited, is not flattering. Even though stylists may like it, it does not really sell — especially if [it’s] expensive. Sneakers and hoodies: we still sell tons of them, but it is not easy. We need new day shoes and more sophisticated ready-to-wear pieces. Customers won’t spend thousands on sportswear looks anymore.
Budgets: Up for the top brands and newcomers. We don’t any longer buy non-performing brands.
Charlotte Tasset, general merchandise manager of women’s apparel, beauty, lingerie and children’s, Printemps:
Top trends: Leather, shearling and fake fur. We are feeling a real woman in the shows with fashion that is skewing more sophisticated and less street.
Must-have item: The fake fur at Givenchy.
Best venue: The very nice, muted setup at the Palais de Justice for Givenchy, with a very beautiful nocturnal atmosphere. Koché at the Casino de Paris.
Budget: Always up.
Say bye-bye to: Less streetwear.
Talent scouting: The revival of Poiret.
Tomomi Asako and Shoko Omura, women’s buyers, United Arrows:
Top trends: Excessive oversizing and big-volume proportions (big shoulder, big collar, big sleeves). The casual sportswear trend continues, but there was also a shift to classic chic.
Must-have item: Plaid jacket and pants.
Best venue: Many brands seemed to use the same locations as before.
Say bye-bye to: Minimalism.
Talent scouting: We were interested in Rokh (shortlisted for the LVMH Prize).
Eda Kuloglu, chief merchandising officer, Al Tayer Retail:
Favorite collections: Valentino, Johanna Ortiz, Off-White, Balenciaga, Chloé.
Top trends: Checks; glitz and glamour, like sequins, Lurex and fringing everywhere; trenchcoats and shearling.
Best venue: Balenciaga for sure, for creating the first graffiti snow mountain I have ever seen.
Budgets: Flat, because fabrics were very heavy, colors very muted, prices were quite high. However, under all the layers, there were a lot of beautiful pieces perfect for our market, but it’s because in winter, we always keep the budgets flat for Dubai.
Say bye-bye too: Cold shoulders. We’ll say bye-bye soon to velvet.
Talent scouting: Paris Fashion Week this time was more about the big fashion houses than new talent.
Alix Morabito, fashion editor, Galeries Lafayette:
Top trends: The great outdoors with parkas, down jackets, thick knits and rain boots in a colorful palette with accents of yellow, harsh blue, red and pink. This trend contrasts with a more elegant femininity; a fluid, long-line silhouette; monochromatic looks; scarf dresses; pleated details; a lot of silk and touches of silver. Cowboy boots are still everywhere.
Must-have item: A big sweater with a fluid skirt and rubber boots.
Say bye-bye to: Nothing! You mix it!
Talent scouting: Marine Serre, Y/Project, Aalto and Paco Rabanne.
Elizabeth and Dominick Lepore, owners and buyers, Jimmy’s Brooklyn & the Hamptons:
Favorite collections: Thom Browne, Elie Saab, Ralph & Russo and Ronald van der Kemp.
Top trends: Paris this season paid homage to the powerful designers of the Eighties: black velvet with fuchsia for Emanuel Ungaro, modern folklore at Yves Saint Laurent, corsetry and bras reminiscent of the Jean Paul Gaultier days, the strong, powerful shoulder paying tribute to Thierry Mugler, and couture denim dressing like the beloved master Azzedine Alaïa.
Must-have item: Sequins and fringe for everyday clothing in the four B’s: bras, blazers, bustiers and bell-bottoms.
Best venue: Thom Bowne captured the essence of artistry, design and the power of a woman at Hôtel de Ville for his fall presentation.
Say bye-bye to: “The norm” — sequins by day when expected to wear by night; bras and corsets for the beach or the bedroom accepted to wear in the day.
Talent scouting: New emerging markets in countries unknown for fashion are on the rise and we’re watching.
Heather Shimokawa, vice president, rtw fashion direction, Bloomingdale’s:
Favorite collections: Dior, Valentino, Givenchy, Chanel, Chloé, Sacai, Haider Ackermann.
Top trends: Western influences were notable in addition to rich color and men’s wear fabrics such as checks, plaids and tartans. Metallics, Lurex and shine were well represented plus statement coats including shearling, faux-fur, puffers and quilting.
Best venue: Chanel’s grand forest within the Grand Palais was an unbelievably beautiful venue.
Talent scouting: We have seen many great new designers and contemporary brands to be excited about in Paris.
Mario Grauso, president, Holt Renfrew:
Favorite collections: Saint Laurent continues to deliver the sexiest clothing for the coolest girls to go out at night in. Sacai had a very beautiful, feminine take on advanced sportswear. Alexander McQueen had some of the best eveningwear — both tailored and ornamented.
Top trends: Faux fur, extreme novelty outerwear, oversized, mini bags, mixed media and men’s wear.
Best venue: Louis Vuitton at the Louvre.
Budgets: The season did not deliver against what was budgeted.
Say bye-bye to: Reasonable pricing.
Helen David, chief merchant, Harrods:
Favorite collections: Balmain and Alessandra Rich.
Trend-spotting: Statement cardigans were everywhere. Power shoulders are making a comeback, particularly at Balenciaga and Balmain. Statement outerwear continued to be the overriding trend of the season, with all our favorite brands sending out colorful coats, capes, jackets, shearlings and every other possible variation. The check continues to be the print of the season, done particularly well at Off-White, Loewe, Givenchy and Balenciaga. In terms of color, burgundy was everywhere.
Must-have item: A colorful, oversized statement cardigan. The longer, the better.
Best venue: Balmain’s Hôtel de Ville show boasted a seriously impressive frescoed ceiling which paired with the Eighties tunes. It made for a powerful yet fun show.
Talent scouting: Alanui. Love it. We have ordered the entire collection.
Hazel Catterall, head of women’s wear buying, Harvey Nichols:
Favorite collections: Loewe and Chloé.
Top trends: Color — reds, greens, oranges and blues have stood out the most. There was a feeling of protection coming through in the use of plastics and foils in many collections. The Western influence introduced by Calvin Klein for a couple of seasons had filtered through to many collections. Faux fur is king: there were so many great fakes this season that had us all peering at the models trying to work out if they are real or not, they’re that good now.
Must-have item: It’s a great season to buy a coat. Best for me were the Loewe shearlings or a faux version from Stella McCartney. Logos continue to be strong, with Off-White and Balenciaga continuing to produce the most coveted, although the Chloé logo socks were my personal favorite.
Budgets: As we are launching two new women’s wear designer floors for fall, we have increased our budgets for women’s wear and are excited to be bringing in many new brands this season.
Best venue: Balenciaga’s graffiti mountain.
Sebla Devidas, women’s buying director, Beymen, Turkey:
Favorite collections: Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Balmain.
Top trends: Western, party glam, tailoring and layering.
Must-have item: Balenciaga neon outerwear, Valentino silk tunic shirts over pants in pastel colors, party dress with fringe.
Best venues: Saint Laurent and Altuzarra.
Budgets: Budgets will be up after Paris.
Say bye-bye to: No specific brand to drop, however our focus will be on established maisons.
Talent scouting: Johanna Ortiz will definitely grow stronger this season.
Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director, Net-A-Porter:
Favorite collections: Chloé, Isabel Marant, Loewe, Sacai, Unravel and Alessandra Rich.
Top trends: There was a continuation of menswear plaids and tweeds but done in super interesting and creative ways like the way the tweed is molded to neoprene to create the most beautiful sculpted jackets and coats at Balenciaga to the amazing half and half tailored jackets at Sacai. We also saw some western influences come through as well as Eighties and high shine- patent and vinyl.
Must-have item: The white zip boot at Givenchy. The tweed and leather Gate bag from Loewe. One of the satin crystal button dresses from Alessandra Rich.
Best venues: Altazzura showed at La Coupole which is such an iconic Parisian restaurant.
Talwnt Scouting: Rokh; The new Mugler from Casey Cadwallader; A-Plan; It’s not new, but Paco Rabanne looked particularly strong.