PARIS — Emotions ran high at the fall shows in the French capital ahead of Chanel’s snowy farewell to Karl Lagerfeld.
The designer’s last lineup for the historic French house contributed to a strong wave of tailoring that swept through the collections, delighting buyers eager for a sure-fire selling point.
Outerwear held ground, ever varied, ever necessary, from trenches to puffers, while sportswear and sneakers continued their retreat. A new favorite emerged: The suit, which designers tackled in earnest, churning out new proposals that included fresh takes on the power suit.
Color palettes touched both extremes, with muted, monochrome looks on one side of the spectrum while a broad range of neon added intensity.
Chanel and Valentino topped the list of favorites, with Celine and Loewe getting strong mentions. Last season’s breakout, Paco Rabanne, kept up the momentum, leading the third wave of favorites, along with Balenciaga.
“We could feel the excitement in the air all week leading up to the most anticipated show of the fall season at Chanel,” said Roopal Patel, fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue. “The collection was a beautiful tribute and graceful dance only fitting for a legend.”
“It was an emotional show,” concurred Denise Magid, Bloomingdale’s executive vice president and general merchandise manager for ready-to-wear, bloomingdales.com and concessions, who lauded the collection’s mix of houndstooth and oversize checks, as well as the tailoring of long coats and wide-leg pants.
“The Chanel winter wonderland. I mean, oh my god what a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful show.…It was really quite magical,” enthused Jeffrey Kalinsky, designer fashion director at Nordstrom.
Tailoring, he predicted, is going to set off a buying frenzy. “It’s been absent for long enough that the customer is really just going to eat it up.”
Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman, observed that the Paris collections felt particularly relevant to the times, reflecting both strength and beauty, a new, empowered feminism and narrowing the line between traditionally feminine and masculine dress codes.
Here, a roundup of the Paris highlights from retailers:
Jeffrey Kalinsky, founder of Jeffrey New York, and designer fashion director of Nordstrom:
Favorite Collections: I absolutely was beyond over the moon for Celine. In the season of tailoring, I loved the tailoring, I loved the skirts, I loved the blazers, I loved the skirts below the knee, I was mad for the gaucho pants, I love the shearlings. The most perfect about Celine? As perfect as they were, they’re going to sell even better. If I can see the cash register ringing while I’m sitting at a show, that’s the best feeling.
I thought Valentino was just dreamy, poetic, beautiful, everything a fashion show should be, I loved the colors, I loved the different propositions, I adored the hats.
[At Chanel] I loved all of the white clothing. I loved the puffers; again, I loved the shots of color.
Balenciaga was the epitome of what the brand should be. It was uber modern — there were so many new propositions and propositions on things as simple as tailoring. They made tailoring completely nouveau. If a woman wants to say I am a modern woman and I’m looking toward the future, Balenciaga’s the perfect brand for her. And again the color excited me.
I also thought that Saint Laurent was an extraordinarily beautiful show. I thought what a way to start Paris Fashion Week. From the glow in the dark, short dresses at the end to the big long coats at the beginning, it was just so exciting.
Top Trends: The overall message out of Paris is tailoring. Tailoring is back, I think there are a million options for our customers, but it’s such a great thing as a retailer for tailoring to make such a huge impact again because I feel like it’s been absent for long enough that the customer is really just going to eat it up. Color is also going to really give our customers a reason to buy because it’s so emotional. Clothes today have to be emotional. If they’re not, then it’s easy to just wear what you have. We bought a lot of velvet, too, because velvet’s so emotional.
Must-have Item: A gaucho pant.
Best Venue: I just like it easy; I loved the venue for Valentino. In the daytime, being in a glass house. Because venues should really add to the clothes, not detract. And venues should be, in my opinion, easy to get to.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: I think in Paris, the budgets are always up, in the sense that if you’re going to spend money on designer fashion, what better place to do it than in Paris.
Talent Scouting: The new shoe line, Nodaleto.
Nathalie Lucas Verdier, general merchandise manager women’s apparel, Printemps:
Favorite Collections: Balenciaga, Loewe, Lanvin, Jacquemus.
Top Trends: Between Milan and Paris, we moved between very somber shows, with heavy soundtracks, brutalist settings, blinding strobe light, a kind of preview to a post-apocalyptic world where the trend is grunge and even cyber punk, with neo-Matrix leather, chunky shoes and combat boots, also utilitarian clothing (parkas, cargo pants, camouflage); and then resolutely optimistic or bourgeois. The minimalist, neo-bourgeois look was channeled with tailoring, at times worked in a more relaxed manner (Jacquemus, Balenciaga), and also with trousers — chic and easy; the statement coat with collars or in shearling; the trenchcoat was also prevalent. To complete the neo-bourgeois attitude, there were monochrome looks and Seventies-style checks.
Must-have Item: Wide-leg trousers with attitude. Last season’s focus was on pleated skirts; coats dominated winter, covered with a loose, oversize overcoat. And the culottes, propelled to stardom at Celine.
Best Venue: Lanvin and its runway at the Musée de Cluny, with the medieval splendor of Paris.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Up, especially on all new brands.
Say Bye-bye To: Real fur and sneakers.
Talent Scouting: Lovely debuts at Lanvin and Lacoste. Peter Do, Petar Petrov, Common Leisure and Khaite. Our crush: Kevin Germanier, who delivered a very good collection as well.
Kelly Wong, director of fashion, Lane Crawford:
Favorite Collections: Loewe, Lemaire, Sacai, Valentino.
Top Trends: Python, feathers, mint color, sparkles.
Must-have Item: Something python, shoes, bag, top, skirt, dress.
Talent Scouting: LVMH finalist Duran Lantink
Mario Grauso, president, Holt Renfrew:
Favorite Collections: Chanel was a winter wonderland of snow and an incredible assortment of everything we love about the brand. Hedi Slimane showed us the softer side of his Celine woman, more influenced by the history of the house. A perfect way to continue his definition of the house. Our customers will be very happy with so many of the items.
Top Trends: The military trend continues to be an important theme for the season — from deconstructed and reconstructed jackets and utility pants to functional outerwear pieces, worn with thick-soled combat boots. The varsity trend was most prevalent in Paris, from school-boy jackets in Prince of Wales checks, to oversize plaid coats. There was a strong influence from English tailoring and men’s wear fabrics [translated to] feminine silhouettes like midi skirts and fitted jumpers paired with beautiful silk blouses. The suit was a big key item from the season and the notion of power dressing, with an emphasis on a stronger shoulder and boxier silhouettes. Collections with a primarily neutral color palette of navy, grays and blacks all had bright pops of colors, from pastels like lilac to reds and yellows, sometimes including a floral print as well.
Must-have Items: The Balenciaga teal parka with oversize puffed sleeves. A Saint Laurent strong-shouldered tuxedo jacket with neon pumps. Tweed culottes from Celine. The red Chanel ski sweater with the double-C intarsia. The Constance belt bag from Hermès. A floral anorak from Miu Miu. The Buffalo check duffle coat at Dior. The black lace jumpsuit from Valentino. One of the finale gowns from Rick Owens. The UCLA mixed-media hoodie from Junya Watanabe. The puzzle piece clutch from Louis Vuitton.
Best Venue: The Chanel chalet with ski lodges and snow at the Grand Palais.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Budgets are up.
Say Bye-bye To: Traveling to venues that are in the basements of buildings.
Shoko Omura, women’s buyer, United Arrows:
Favorite Collections: Maison Margiela, Nina Ricci.
Top Trends: Tailoring with an elegant mood. Seeing more brands are considering sustainable and upcycling materials.
Must-have Item: A suit.
Best Venue: Auralee’s venue at the Atelier Brancusi in the Pompidou Center.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Flat.
Say Bye-bye To: Street, which continues to shrink.
Talent Scouting: I am interested in Hed Mayner and Eftychia, but for now I’m keeping an eye on their development.
Alix Morabito, fashion director, Galeries Lafayette:
Favorite Collections: The new old Celine; the return of Chloé attitude; the singularity and poetry at Nina Ricci; expanded territory for women at Jacquemus; the Extra couture of Y project; the structure of Balenciaga; the smart approach of Kwaidan Editions.
Top Trends: The new bourgeois: camel and browns. Back to the elegance. Focus on a feminine wearable ready-to-wear. Colorful winter fluo and bold colors. The glitter and party girl: gold and pastel-ish.
Must-have Items: The high-waisted pant; the colored suit; the below-the-knee skirt, in wool; fluid skirts and knitwear; a satin duchess dress; the cloche hat; the high, classic boots.
Best Venue: The decor at Jaquemus, the rave caves at Marine Serre.
Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman:
“The Paris collections felt exceptionally relevant in reacting to the times, reflecting both strength and beauty, presenting a new empowered feminism perhaps, and the expanding hybrid dimensions of being a woman now. The narrowing line between traditionally feminine and masculine dress codes was top of mind. We loved the collections that danced between them. We’re all in on deconstructing/reconstructing silhouettes, as if traditions themselves were being undone and pulling apart. Collections that moved between aggression and beauty were really speaking to us. Clashing and unusual mixes and pops of normally summer colors has us excited and buying into. Coats were an exceptional category. The maxi is a new reason to buy, along with capes, cocooning shapes and puffy cozy comforters.”
Must-have Item: The new extreme jacket, everything convertible, intense footwear, the maxi coat and big outer utility belt pockets.
Favorite Collections: Standout shows were numerous: Chanel, Valentino, Givenchy, Loewe, Dior, McQueen, Dries Van Noten, Sacai, Junya and Jacquemus. Successful and important resets at Celine and Nina Ricci.
Talent Scouting: Coperni and Rokh
Best Venue: Most memorable venues at Chanel, Vivier and Saint Laurent.
Say Bye-bye to: Excessive exits. The passing of Karl Lagerfeld just before Paris opened was felt deeply and at least united the fashion world in a collective loss and reflection. Chanel’s handling was as elegant as the man and his work.
Denise Magid, Bloomingdale’s executive vice president and general merchandise manager for ready-to-wear, bloomingdales.com and concessions:
Favorite Collections: Chanel, Sacai, Altuzarra, Celine.
Top Trends: Monochromatic dressing; leather, including sportswear in a beautiful range of colors; outerwear, especially in shearling; men’s wear-inspired fabrications like checks and houndstooth; animal prints.
Must-have Items: A leather dress or trenchcoat; a tailored pant suit, and teddy or shearling outerwear, from a moto jacket to full-length.
Best Venue: The Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya show at the Champs Élysées Theater for their celebration of women and diversity, and watching such amazing women as Grace Jones, Beverly Johnson and Pat Cleveland. Best soundtrack of the week.
Roopal Patel, fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue:
Favorite Collections: Chanel, Saint Laurent, Balmain, Isabel Marant, Givenchy, Valentino, Celine, Chloé, Alexander McQueen, Jacquemus, Thom Browne, Dries Van Noten, Johanna Ortiz and Altuzarra. We’re really seeing a new guard of rising talent bring a fresh spirit to the iconic heritage houses in Paris.
Top Trends: Precision-cut tailoring; the blazer; utility; plaids and houndstooth; monochromatic dressing/uniformity; Eighties; Seventies glamour; capes; statement outerwear; scarf prints; gold; leather; trench dressing; wallpaper florals; statement knits; scarf-tie blouses; punk; animal prints; ruffles; evening cocktail; feathers; neon.
Best Venue: Simon Porte re-created the charm and warmth of a village in the south of France at Jacquemus. We could have moved right in.
Must-have Items: One of this season’s precision-cut suits, or a glamorous one-shoulder sparkle dress.
Say Bye-bye To: Casual dressing…it is all about getting dressed up for fall.
Tiffany Hsu, fashion buying director, Mytheresa:
Favorite Collections: Paco Rabanne, Loewe, Saint Laurent.
Top Trends: Black; dramatic oversize shoulders; chainmail; midi boots.
Must-have Items: The shearling jacket from Isabel Marant; the oversize exaggerated shoulder-pad coat from Saint Laurent; the tailored fuchsia coat from Jacquemus with matching mini bag — the difference in proportions is the ultimate look for fall. For accessories, the diamanté earring and choker sets from Alessandra Rich and chainmail bag from Paco Rabanne.
Best Venue: Givenchy at the Jardin des Plantes: It was magnificent. The “Winter of Eden” theme was quite mesmerizing and calm against the strong, feminine looks presented by Clare Waight Keller.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Up, as always. We’re continually growing, yet still maintaining a refined, curated edit for our customers globally.
Say Bye-bye to: Over-the-top, statement sneakers. Minimalist and understated styles are returning; however, this category remains stronger than ever within footwear.
Talent Scouting: Kwaidan Editions for their sophisticated tailoring.
Eda Kuloglu, chief merchandising officer, Al Tayer department stores, home, jewelry and e-commerce:
Favorite Collections: Isabel Marant, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, Valentino, Alexander McQueen. Marant was the epitome of cool girl and definitely a favorite from Paris Fashion Week. [There was] no shortage of romance, Eighties references and plenty of drama.
Top Trends: Leather everywhere. Puffer jackets from Off-White and Dries Van Noten. Strong shoulders from Balenciaga, Givenchy, Isabel Marant, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. There was also a big shift away from casual dressing with designers incorporating sequins, crystals and embellishments, which we saw from Isabel Marant, Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent, Givenchy and Off-White accessories. Knitwear was key across most collections and strongest from Stella McCartney, Off-White, Sacai, Isabel Marant and Dries Van Noten. For color trends, yellow, green and pink were consistent throughout Paris Fashion Week.
Must-have Item: Anything in vegan leather. We saw strong pieces from We11Done, Nanushka, Johanna Ortiz and Stella McCartney.
Best Venue: Overall, I felt this season was more about bringing the focus back to the clothes and less about the background, though I did love Off-White’s checkerboard venue.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Slightly down. Fall 2019 is about being focused and offering customers the strongest edit.
Say Bye-bye To: Casual dressing.
Talent Scouting: I am loving some of the emerging brands out of Georgia, such as Nanushka and Matériel. In the Mood for Love, based in Istanbul, is another brand to watch.
Tyler Franch, fashion director, Hudson’s Bay and The Room:
Favorite Collections: Louis Vuitton, Giambattista Valli, Comme des Garçons, Haider Ackermann, Loewe, Y/Project, Paco Rabanne, Lemaire, Dries Van Noten and Marine Serre.
Top Trends: A sharply defined waist with an exaggerated shoulder; all forms of tailoring; tartans and plaids; minimalism; the Seventies; all shades of browns and camel; monochromatic dressing; the headpiece and hair accessories, and the contemporary handbag leaves us wanting a new “It” bag every day.
Must-have Items: A camera bag from Lemaire; a convertible jacket or dress from Junya; a cocktail dress in gold from Altuzarra; a horse bite belt and checked culotte from Celine, and a glow in the dark moment from Marine Serre.
Best Venue: A heavenly like, snow-covered runway and perfectly picturesque Chanel-chalet for Karl Lagerfeld’s last collection for the forever relevant French house.
Say Bye-bye To: Streetwear for the designer customer continues to decline while the market explodes with tailoring and retro silhouettes.
Maria Milano, head of women’s wear, Harrods:
Favorite Collections: Saint Laurent for the coats; Paco Rabanne for the modern femininity; Loewe — all of it; Alessandra Rich for its unabashed glamour; Balenciaga for the tailoring; Valentino for the romantic gowns, and Chanel for its textural tweeds [in] homage to Karl.
Top Trends: Leather everything, from coats to separates; tailoring and interesting trouser shapes; knitwear and layering in general; feathers; the return of elegant dressing, whether it’s dressed-to-the-nines for cocktails or brunching in a pearl-encrusted top and jeans, fancy has made a comeback. And following Hedi’s homage to the Seventies at Celine, the culotte is back in a big way. It’s also a boots and box bag season. Burgundy, rust, tan and chocolate shades prevail.
Talent Scouting: We’re so excited to be launching Paco Rabanne on the eve of its 50th anniversary, the show was electric. We’ve also picked up Petar Petrov and a few other smaller brands we’re loving — watch this space.
Best Venue: Chanel’s Grand Palais that was transformed into a winter wonderland for Karl’s last collection for the house.
Must-have Item: A suit.
Say Bye-bye To: Print on print.
Elizabeth and Dominick Lepore, owners and buyers, Jimmy’s Brooklyn and the Hamptons:
Favorite Collections: Kwaidan Editions, Talbot Runhof, Cucculelli Shaheen, Rasario.
Top Trends: The chainmail influence as seen on the NYFW runways was seen in the everyday styling of this season’s PFW attendees. For fall 2019, trends that transcend the test of time — if you have style — included an Eighties attitude, revamping of black leather, oversize jackets and men’s wear influenced coats, and the “entrance making” short party dress with a dramatic effect such as big shoulders or bows.
Must-have Item: Something with feathers that brings you back to the days of disco.
Best Venue: The anti-show of Sonia Rykiel taking to the streets of Paris to show the collection in the real world.
Talent Scouting: Coming to Paris means finding new emerging designers that are not oversaturating the market with their brand: a bag line from Beirut or a shoe collection whose designer is from Romania; whatever is new, fabulous and different.
Jennifer Cuvillier, style director, Le Bon Marché:
Favorite Collections: Christian Dior, Celine, Balenciaga, Thom Browne, Valentino, Chanel, Loewe .
Top Trends: Business couture celebration with highlights on tailoring and chic Parisian inspiration for ready-to-wear and sophisticated leather accessories with logo vintage inspiration details at Celine, Thom Browne, Dries Van Noten, Dior, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton.
Must-have Item: Tailored jacket, plaid and checks, shearling, animal skins and prints for both rtw and accessories, trekking inspiration sneakers and boots.
Best Venue: Jacquemus, Chanel, Lanvin.
Say Bye-bye To: Flower prints.
Talent Scouting: We scout the world to find new talents, in terms of designers we found talents from Los Angeles with Lost and Daze; from Milan with Colville; from Antwerp with Bernadette, and some more from London and Paris. Each of them with a very strong DNA and very different, and very fresh and talented.
Ida Petersson, buying director for women’s wear and men’s wear, Browns Fashion:
“We are focusing on runway looks rather than commercial pieces this season alongside pieces that our customers can have fun with.”
Favorite Collections: Marine Serre, Paco Rabanne, Loewe, Chloé, Jacquemus.
Top Trends: Sharp tailoring; checks in some form or another, be it houndstooth, tartan or Prince of Wales; tulle and crystals; hats in all their glory, from bucket hats to gaucho styles; Seventies color palette with camels, Army green and browns; florals, and chunky sole shoes.
Must-have Items: The pink coat at Jacquemus, military tailoring at Paco Rabanne, reflective leggings at Marine Serre, Loewe crystal drop earrings, the new Abylock bag from Chloé, and the brown over-the-knee boots from Celine.
Best Venue: I loved the Jacquemus village. The set was elegant and modern, which let the clothes and colors stand out.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Up. The collections are looking great.
Say Bye-bye To: Logo hoodies and Ts. This trend has been so popular for so many seasons it’s nice to see brands moving away from this.
Talent Scouting: Quite a few new interesting brands. But I’ll keep them close to my chest for now.
Lydia King, director of women’s wear buying and merchandising, Selfridges:
“It has been a real strong season, and Paris did not disappoint. We are focused on quite simply the most beautiful product, as well as exciting new-to-market brands.”
Favorite Collections: Noir Kei Ninomiya, Maison Margiela, Valentino, Haider Ackermann, Paco Rabanne and Chanel.
Top Trends: A focus on accentuated silhouettes, a nod to couture-like techniques and a real return to opulence, with feather, brocade and animal prints being the key story for the season.
Best Venue: The Givenchy venue was fabulous, with a super long runway and a glass roof. It gave a real nod to the runways of the Nineties. Saint Laurent had an incredible light display, as usual beneath the Eiffel Tower, which is always such a treat. Issey Miyake and Alexander McQueen transformed the same venue in such drastic ways, you almost forgot you were in the same place.
Say Bye-bye To: I’m ready to say goodbye to ugly trainers.
Talent Scouting: We are excited to launch several new brands next season. Watch this space.
Federica Montelli, head of fashion, La Rinascente:
“This season we are focusing on buying several new brands, mostly in a clean sartorial direction, to bring about a more couture feel to the customer.”
Favorite Collections: Chanel, Valentino, Paco Rabanne, Loewe, Celine, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Lanvin
Top Trends: The return of the structured frame bag and of the tall boot, tube and slightly slouchy, or fitted, often with plateau and a chunky heel; feathers; fluo — also lighting in the dark, as seen at Saint Laurent, Off-White and Balenciaga; animal prints, like zebra; dramatic volumes in dresses; voluminous sleeves in evening tops; fitted coats, with a sharp “shirt” collar; leather coats, often in glossy shiny black, and belted coats and trenches.
Must-have Items: Something reflective or fluo/glowing in the dark, from Saint Laurent, Off-White or Balenciaga; the new frame bag by Loewe, vintage inspired with a mirror and light inside; the furry pump by Off-White, and Balenciaga’s chunky chain necklace.
Best Venue: Chanel’s winter wonderland and Jacquemus’ colorful town square.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Definitely up.
Talent Scouting: Kwaidan Editions and Coperni are two new names we discovered. Mugler’s second season by designer Casey Cadwallader was interesting, and is a brand to watch for the next seasons. We already carry Rokh, which had its first show at Paris Fashion Week last Monday.
Beth Buccini, owner and founder, Kirna Zabête:
“We are focused on buying chic, wearable clothes plus super unique pieces we think you can’t live without.”
Favorite Collections: Celine — hands down that was the best collection of the week. We loved the return to chic, wearable clothes with a slight Seventies edge. Haider Ackermann and Dior.
Top Trends: The midi length is everywhere, the culotte is back, faux snakeskin details continue and fake fur is ubiquitous.
Must-have Items: The Dior saddle belt and bucket hat; Celine over-the-knee boot; shearling jackets, and Fair Isle knitwear from Celine, Sacai, Chloe and Altuzarra.
Best Venue: We didn’t really go to any new venues this season, but did like how the light box descended at Celine, and we always love starting our Monday mornings at L’Opéra with Stella.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Our budgets are up for the vendors that have historically performed well but are also giving us newness and down for those who haven’t moved on. We have to keep it tight with these runway deliveries because the merchandise arrives far too late in relation to the aggressive markdowns department stores and e-commerce sites take.
Say Bye-bye To: It is time to move on from the short, trashy look — those club clothes that have been overly knocked off too many times.
Ikram Goldman, owner, Chicago boutique Ikram:
“[When it comes to buying, the focus is on] the things that move me. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a pant, a sock, a hat, a dress, a coat. It’s just the things that I have a connection to, that I think are very important, because if I have a connection to them other people are going to, [too].”
Favorite Collections: Valentino, Loewe and Chanel
Top Trends: Overcoats — beautiful coats and capes; sweaters; embellishment, like pearl-encrusted pieces; fringe, and dresses.
Best Venue: Chanel. I loved the enormity of it — how you can transport…the mountains to the Grand Palais. It’s incredible.
Talent Scouting: I saw Marco Zanini’s collection in Paris because I wasn’t in Milan. It was really and truly the highlight of Paris Fashion Week for me. Perfect tailoring.
Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director, Matchesfashion.com:
Favorite Collection: Paco Rabanne —few shows will rival Julien’s fall 2019 runway, which offered us new ways of styling, pieces we never knew we needed and can’t live without and above all a collection that will make women feel powerful.
Top Trends: Tonal — one of the biggest trends of the season both on the runways and in the streets is dressing head to toe in one tone. This was seen across many designer collections including Burberry, Isabel Marant and Max Mara and our favorite iteration of this is the sophisticated hues of olive green in mixed media like leather with cashmere.
Must-have Items: Luxe leather ready-to-wear such as a trenchcoat or midi skirt, tough boots to wear with dresses, swing coats, romantic volume.
Talent Scouting: One of the favorite takeaways of the season is the rise in seeing women of all ages on the runways, in look books and throughout collection inspiration. Giving customers inspiration both with embodiment and offering an icon to look up to is really moving.