PARIS — Showgoers, fasten your seat belts. The Paris Fashion Week juggernaut kicks off today with an ever-dynamic calendar lineup and constellation of events, ranging from a Champs-Élysées fashion show by L’Oréal Paris on Sunday to a number of highly anticipated debuts at houses including Givenchy, Chloé and Carven.
The Eiffel Tower will turn pink tonight timed with the Saint Laurent show at the Trocadéro Fountain, according to a source, in homage to Pierre Bergé, the former partner of the house’s namesake founder and a key figure in French culture and politics, who died in late September after a long illness. He was also a patron of young designers as the founder of ANDAM, which on Wednesday will also host a dinner in his honor while celebrating the 2017 prize winners.
Among the week’s major show-slot shifts, Christian Dior, which traditionally shows on Friday, figures among today’s opening acts with a show scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
As further evidence of Paris’ robust pulling power, meanwhile, the latest U.S.-based designers decamping to Paris include Thom Browne and Joseph Altuzarra. (Browne, who already presents his men’s shows in Paris, is to be among the closing acts on Oct. 3; Altuzarra is due to show on Saturday.) Lacoste on Wednesday will also be bidding adieu to New York to present in its home base for the first time to mark its 85th anniversary.
“It’s an acknowledgement of what Paris is; there is a point where people have realized, the place to be is Paris. And when somebody leads, everyone else follows,” said Ralph Toledano, president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.
“Paris has always been the center of fashion for the past 25 years; it’s just that, finally, people are finding out that under this umbrella word that is ‘fashion’ you have different kinds of designers and brands,” he added. “There are brands that are timeless and casual that make up for their lack of creativity through entertainment, which is fine, and then you have the creative brands and for that, Paris has always been the place to be.”
Around 23 nationalities are represented on the calendar, a figure that has remained stable, according to Toledano, who cited among Paris’ strengths its consistency of vision when it comes to the rigorous selection process, and loyalty to “the rules we established.” These are based on “creativity and craftsmanship, and showing garments to experts in the best conditions.”
“This has been our policy for decades, and maybe it’s paying off all of a sudden, but it’s the result of a permanent, continual, persistent policy,” he said.
Among the week’s hot-ticket shows is Chloé for the first effort under the house’s new creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi, which will present two consecutive shows on Thursday morning.
Other major debuts include Givenchy, which is returning to the calendar for its first show under Clare Waight Keller, scheduled for Sunday.
Yang Li, Ungaro and Carven figure among other houses returning to the runway, the latter two presenting the first main collections under their respective new creative directors Marco Colagrossi and Serge Ruffieux. Lanvin will also present its first show under its new creative director, Olivier Lapidus, at noon on Wednesday.
Brands that have switched to the presentation format include Paule Ka, Wanda Nylon, and Rabih Kayrouz. Wendy Jim and Victoria/Tomas, meanwhile, will be making their catwalk debuts.
Kenzo will present a short play and a show for the second edition of its La Collection Memento line since opting for a coed show timed with the men’s collections in January and June. The house on Saturday will also host a cocktail at its new Marais store.
Nehera, which in June parted ways with its creative director Samuel Drira, on Wednesday will present an in-house designed show under the creative direction of rising Slovakian photographer Michal Pudelka, who has shot campaigns for brands including Valentino and Moncler.
Pallas cofounders Véronique and Daniel Pallas on Friday will host an intimate dinner at their home for the presentation of their spring 2018 collection.
As reported, moving in on the action, The Wall Group will open its fourth office here in the midst of the city’s fashion week. Founded by Brooke Wall in New York in 2000, the agency, which represents hairstylists, makeup artists and fashion stylists, has a roster that includes Elizabeth Saltzman, Charlotte Stockdale, Hung Vanngo, Frank B, Alice Lane, Kate Young, Karla Welch and Elizabeth Stewart. Among its Paris-based artists are veteran colorist Christophe Robin, “It” girl stylist Camille Seydoux and Marion Cotillard’s go-to makeup artist Christophe Danchaud.
Among periphery events, André Walker on Oct. 2 will present Non Existent Patterns, which is being billed as a reinterpretation of his garments created from 1982 to 1986; Alexa Chung on Saturday will host a cocktail presentation of her fall 2017 collection, Prom Gone Wrong; and Miroslava Duma and Stella McCartney on Oct. 2 will cohost a Fashion Tech Lab event at the Google Institute.
Designer sneakers are the way to go for Sunday, which will be the city’s third car-free day under Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. Between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. no vehicles will be allowed to circulate in the city except for emergency services, taxis, buses and chauffeurs equipped with passes. Among the day’s far-flung events are the Balenciaga show in La Plaine Saint-Denis on the city’s outskirts.
Citing “multiple high profile events in Paris,” a Nike spokesperson confirmed that a 10k race planned for the day has been moved to Oct. 15, with the run’s planned route said to have been playing havoc with houses trying to organize the delivery of collections to their show venues, including Céline and Valentino.
Meanwhile, after-dark action (or, more accurately, after-show action) will include a Purple magazine cocktail at the Ralph Lauren flagship in Saint-Germain flagship on Friday, cohosted by personalities including Paul Sevigny and André Saraiva, as part of the title’s ongoing 25th anniversary celebrations.
The reopening of the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation as a permanent museum on Thursday is likely to be an emotional event in view of Bergé’s death so close to the date. The foundation and the house of Yves Saint Laurent are said to be planning an intimate dinner in his honor.
“It is such a great pity that he is not here to see it…. He had prepared very methodically his departure,” said Toledano, saluting Bergé’s legacy as “an aesthete, an entrepreneur, a man of conviction and a philanthropist.”
“For us, people of fashion, his name cannot be disassociated from Saint Laurent; everybody knows that he was the kingpin. But most of all he was very close to him, he was protective, he did everything possible to make him happy and successful and in fashion language now we have this expression, ‘They have to find their Pierre Bergé.’ It’s the example,” added Toledano, who also cited Bergé’s contribution to various fashion initiatives including Mode et Création, an initiative he spearheaded in the early Seventies that led to the launch in 1973 of the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, French fashion’s governing body, which Bergé presided over for two decades. He also steered the creation of the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM), an institute of higher education, in 1986.
“He achieved a great thing by creating the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode because he realized at the time that the Montanas, the Gaultiers, the Muglers [of the world] were bringing as much as, if not more than, the couturiers. He was also an excellent lobbyist for defending fashion,” said Toledano. “At events like Sidaction, it was really moving to hear him talking about fashion people as if they were family.”