PARIS — Paris Fashion Week kicked off on a strong note with Saint Laurent’s outdoor show against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, which sparkled as much as Anthony Vaccarello’s spring collection — and the momentum continued throughout the week.
Bold colors, check prints, embellishment and couture influences were among the standout trends of the season in the French capital, while must-have items ranged from the quilted bags at Maison Margiela to the sneakers at Louis Vuitton.
“Overall, I’ve found this to be a really inspiring season. In almost every city, we saw a real nod to past legacies of established brands and also poignant moments in fashion history,” said Candice Fragis, buying and merchandising director at Farfetch.
“It is both emotional and exciting to see a new interpretation of a brand’s heritage as well as a huge influx of newer designers really making their mark,” she added.
Buyers singled out strong shows by Céline, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten and Thom Browne. Here, a roundup of the Paris highlights from the mouths of retailers:
Cleo Davis-Urman, contemporary fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue:
TOP TRENDS: Plaid and eclectic embellishments.
BEST VENUES: Saint Laurent: it was only fitting that the iconic Parisian brand showcased its dramatic spring collection underneath the shadow of the Eiffel Tower — which when it started to sparkle, almost on cue, resembled the brand’s must-have crystal boot from fall. And only Dries Van Noten’s ornamented collection could compete with the masterpiece of Renaissance architecture that is the Hôtel de Ville.
TALENT SCOUTING: Borgo de Nor and Carolina Santo Domingo handbags.
MUST-HAVE ITEMS: A statement trenchcoat, transparent shoe or handbag and a waist-cinching belt.
Helen David, chief merchant at Harrods:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Balmain, Saint Laurent, Valentino and Alessandra Rich.
TOP TRENDS: Pastels (in particular lilac and pink), huge emphasis on eveningwear and embellishment, paillettes, shorts, checks, trenchcoats, denim and polka dots.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Suede shorts from Saint Laurent.
BEST VENUE: Saint Laurent at the Trocadero.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Minimalism.
TALENT SCOUTING: Alexandre Vauthier.
Jeffrey Kalinsky, vice president and designer fashion director at Nordstrom:
FAVORITE SHOWS: Dries Van Noten, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Céline.
TOP TRENDS: Riotous color, embellishment and prints will drive sales.
BEST VENUE: Hands down, Saint Laurent.
OPEN-TO-BUY: Our designer business is great and Paris was filled to the brim with excitement, so of course we will be spending more.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Difficult out-of-the-way venues.
TALENT SCOUTING: Jacquemus is hardly new but turned out one of the best shows this season and is hands-down one of the most talented designers in the world. Marine Serre is our new favorite young designer to watch.
Mario Grauso, president at Holt Renfrew:
BEST COLLECTIONS: Louis Vuitton, Comme des Garçons and Balenciaga.
TOP TRENDS: Transparent layers, sneakers, spring coats and embellishment.
MUST-HAVE ITEMS: Saint Laurent feather boots, Louis Vuitton jacket and sneakers, Céline trench, Balenciaga raincoat handbag and Comme des Garçons’ anime print.
BEST VENUE: Saint Laurent and Rick Owens because it was outside and not 100 degrees!
TALENT SCOUTING: Noir Kei Ninomiya.
OPEN-TO-BUY: Up for Paris.
Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Loewe, Chanel, Saint Laurent and Off-White.
TOP TRENDS: I’m loving all this punked-up, New Wave spirit brewing in the ether. There’s far more edge to collections and the newness is coming from clothes having a tougher sensibility with a strong shoulder or exaggerated sleeve. The girl has an edgy spirit to her, from the shoes at Balenciaga that had enormous spikes to the kitten heels with all sorts of details. Yellow leads the color parade, followed by pink and a lot of black — I’m anticipating a lot of head-to-toe black.
BEST VENUE: The most epic set of the season was certainly Saint Laurent showing under the iconic Eiffel Tower followed by Rick Owens’ watery fountain at Palais de Tokyo. Certainly nothing says Parisienne like the Eiffel Tower. I’m finding in this digital world it’s all about creating an Instagram moment and I’m hoping that the clothes aren’t becoming secondary, because it feels like there’s so much grandiosity, the clothes have felt far-sighted or near-sighted. Either the clothes are so far away I can’t see details. Or they’re so close to me, I’m losing the end of my nose and textiles are brushing against my face.
Jennifer Cuvillier, style director at Le Bon Marché:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Thom Browne, Céline, Dries Van Noten, Dior, Off-White, Koché, Carven and Isabel Marant.
TREND SPOTTING: The designer feminine sporty-couture attitude with Koché, Isabel Marant, Off-White, Sacai, Valentino and Miu Miu.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: The elevated nylon parka or K-Way.
BEST VENUE: Givenchy at the Palais de Justice.
TALENT SCOUTING: Victoria/Tomas.
Alix Morabito, fashion editor at Galeries Lafayette:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Balenciaga, Céline, Loewe, Y/Project and Isabel Marant.
TREND SPOTTING: It was a fluid and colorful season, full of femininity and sensuality. The body and skin are unveiled. So glitter, flowers, sporty attitudes and silhouettes with leggings, nylon touches and sneakers.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Skirts or dresses split right up the thigh.
BEST VENUE: Jacquemus at the Picasso museum.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Trousers! It’s time to show off your legs.
TALENT SCOUTING: There weren’t any new discoveries this season, but young French brands are doing well. Y/Project, Koché and Aalto are staying on the radar.
Andreas Murkudis, founder of Andreas Murkudis in Berlin:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Comme des Garçons, Dries Van Noten, Lutz Huelle, Issey Miyake, Céline.
TOP TRENDS: I generally don’t believe in trends per se. When a client buys an item from one of my stores, all I want is for them to be happy with it and, ideally, that they keep it forever. For me, the all-time trend is good quality and craft that lasts.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: A red knitted sweater by Spencer Vladimir.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Designs and collections that are purely based on an idea or concept — I believe the product itself is going to be more in focus.
TALENT SCOUTING: Definitely Ader Error from Korea.
OPEN-TO-BUY: We are always open to seeing new things and discovering brands. To me it is about having a very good mix between known brands and unknown ones, and especially to give the new brands time to develop.
Kelly Wong, director of fashion at Lane Crawford:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Balenciaga, Valentino, Céline, Thom Browne and Isabel Marant.
TOP TRENDS: Pastels, plaids, nostalgia, wrap details and updated tailoring.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Tailored jacket worn as a backpack and styled with tied sleeves at Sacai.
BEST VENUE: Céline’s tent at the Tennis Club de Paris.
SAY BYE BYE TO: Anything ordinary that doesn’t stand out.
TALENT SCOUTING: Rokh and Leal Daccarett
Anita Barr, group fashion director at Harvey Nichols:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Dries Van Noten, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Chloé and Haider Ackermann.
TOP TRENDS: In Paris it has been about bold colors. There are still lots of floral prints on many of the catwalks as well as print on print. The oversized trend, which we have been seeing so much over the last few seasons, continues to grow with oversized bags, coats and knits.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Cowboy boots.
BEST VENUE: Saint Laurent at the Trocadero fountains.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Stripes.
Charlotte Tasset, general merchandise manager of women’s apparel, beauty, lingerie and children at Printemps:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Saint Laurent, Céline, Acne Studios and Maison Margiela.
TOP TRENDS: A Paris Fashion Week marked by a strong homage to a couture and sophisticated woman (Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Givenchy) and lots of promising debuts (Natacha Ramsay-Levi at Chloé, Serge Ruffieux at Carven). A change in the usual Paris fashion vision: shifting from a black-and-white structured attitude to a more visual attitude: Lots of colors and mix-and-match of prints at Balenciaga, Acne, Carven and Stella McCartney.
MUST-HAVE ITEMS: Shirts and shirtdresses reworked: wrapped, unbuttoned, attached, inside-out effects. Bags and leather goods omnipresent on the catwalk (special crush on the padded bag at Margiela). Lots of embellished shoes with rhinestones and still the big single earring.
BEST VENUE: Saint Laurent.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: The denim that was everywhere is being replaced by a more chic version in a cotton twill.
Elizabeth Lepore, owner of Jimmy’s in Brooklyn and The Hamptons:
TOP TRENDS: Soft pleated skirts, metallics and sequins, plaid and bouclé, a feminine take on men’s suiting with structured blazers and couture elevated denim — all of which bring a couture influence to the ready-to-wear collections seen in Paris.
MUST-HAVE ITEMS: Oversized straw hats, anything with fringe and la petite robe noire.
BEST VENUE: The Grand Palais always impresses each time we enter for a show, as it is quintessentially French.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Floral head-to-toe and bohemian dresses in the stereotypical pastel palette for spring-summer, trading it in for bold colors – wear our favorite colors, black, white and red.
TALENT SCOUTING: Alessandra Rich.
Beth Buccini, owner of Kirna Zabête:
FAVORITE SHOWS: Sacai, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Dior.
TOP TRENDS: Yellow, sequins for day, feathers, colored shoes, oversized jackets, short hem lines, pleating, Eighties.
MUST-HAVE ITEMS: Saint Laurent ostrich feather boot and Balenciaga denim cargo pants.
BEST VENUE: Céline. It felt like being inside a cloud. It was an optimistic dream, plus we were so close to the clothes.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Hoodies!
TALENT SCOUTING: Alchimia di Ballin.
Leah Kim, executive vice president, general merchandising manager, women’s at Barneys New York:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Chloé, Dries Van Noten, Saint Laurent and Céline.
TOP TRENDS: White, yellow, asymmetric hems, romantic, feathers, sequins, logos, thigh-high boots, fun evening bags.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Platform crocs from Balenciaga, Céline garden boots and jeweled shoes.
BEST VENUE: Saint Laurent.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: The cold shoulder.
TALENT SCOUTING: Antolina and Gaviria jewelry.
Coco Chan, head of women’s wear at Stylebop.com:
FAVORITE SHOWS: Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Chloé, Céline and Y/Project.
TOP TRENDS: Feathers, Eighties and arts and crafts, which might be the dominant force for spring.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: An elevated anorak, from Balenciaga’s clever multitaskers to Valentino’s Space-Age plastics. A large and soft folded bag is a close second.
BEST VENUE: How can you beat the drama of a nighttime, open-air venue with the Eiffel Tower as the backdrop? Saint Laurent takes the prize.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Summer black (and hello to power pastels and sandy neutrals.)
TALENT SCOUTING: Y/Project is a serious one to watch now with Glenn Martens putting himself firmly on the fashion map.
OPEN-TO-BUY: We’re expanding our Paris offerings for next season, adding further exciting names like Jacquemus to the lineup.
Nicole Fischelis, group vice president and fashion director at Macy’s:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Jacquemus, Koché, Lemaire, Pascal Millet, Manish Arora and Thom Browne.
TOP TRENDS: Fusion and confusion, going from high-tech to artisanal, street art to contemporary art. What I find very interesting is the importance of arts and crafts coming into fashion.
BEST VENUE: Thom Browne at Hôtel de Ville and Lacoste in the Tuileries. Otherwise, it’s not really about liking the venue, it’s about how practical it is to get from one venue to another.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: You don’t want to say bye-bye to anything, if it’s done differently. It’s all about reinvention.
TALENT SCOUTING: There is really a lot of talent, especially the new generation at Designers Apartment, Americans in Paris and the London Show Rooms. We should seriously look at them carefully and support them.
Riccardo Tortato, fashion director ecommerce, men’s fashion director at Tsum:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Valentino, Thom Browne, Saint Laurent and Nina Ricci.
TOP TRENDS: There were boots everywhere and superlight string sandals.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Saint Laurent’s black velvet bomber with the Eiffel Tower embroidery.
OPEN-TO-BUY: We keep growing our budgets every season and we’re up 30 to 40 percent. Online is growing for us, too, and has become a destination. We buy the most showpieces of anyone now. Our customers are world travelers, very social and need important pieces.
SAY BYE BYE TO: Combat boots. I didn’t see them this season.
Candice Fragis, buying and merchandising director at Farfetch:
FAVORITE SHOWS: Loewe, Rick Owens, Yang Li, Rochas, Isabel Marant, Balenciaga and Lemaire.
TOP TRENDS: Color-blocking, check prints, combinations of silk and lace.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: The check print is the focus this season; it features heavily from coats and quilts to shoes. The cowboy boot trend is still very prevalent and has evolved into a heeled mule, which I loved at Maison Margiela and Each x Other. Another key item this season is the trench with a twist as seen at [brands like] Loewe.
BEST VENUE: The Rick Owens show in the courtyard of the Palais de Tokyo. Everyone was provided with a plastic poncho to wear. As the show began, a series of fountains slowly started spouting water, which, towards the end, really came alive blasting 30 feet into the air. It was magnificent and very exciting.
SAY BYE BYE TO: The cold shoulder!
TALENT SCOUTING: Marine Serre.
Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director at Net-A-Porter:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Chloé, Loewe, Balenciaga, Altuzarra, Jacquemus.
TRENDS: Princess Diana was definitely an inspiration in Paris on the heels of the 20th anniversary of her passing; there was an interpretation of Eighties elegance with an edge present. She was the inspiration behind Off-White, which was a fantastic show. We also saw her influence in quite a few other collections. On the alternate side of the spectrum, there was a Nineties cool girl vibe running through quite a few shows.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: A Chloé boot, multiplaid pants, a yellow dress from Balenciaga, anything and everything from Loewe, and a great tailored coat or trench.
BEST VENUE: The outdoor setting under the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower at Saint Laurent was magnificent. The Jacquemus show at the Musée Picasso was also very special.
Tomomi Asako and Shoko Omura, women’s buyers at United Arrows:
FAVORITE SHOWS: Sacai, Dries Van Noten and Valentino.
TOP TRENDS: Combining prints and different materials, like a collage. The overall trend is for femininity and elegance.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Print dresses and short pants.
BEST VENUE: The Expiatoire chapel for Atlein’s show.
SAY BYE BYE TO: Excessive sporty mixes.
OPEN-TO-BUY: The spend for Europe in general is down.