Relaxviews: Isabelle Lefort "Paris is THE fashion capital, always and forever"
The first three cities’ fashion weeks hosted an average of two to three shows from key brands per day. In Paris that figure jumped to six per day!
Paris still possesses that magical je ne sais quoi that can kickstart trends. While prints, graphic designs, color and white dominated the six weeks of fashion shows, it’s in Paris that black made its comeback under the initiative of Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent. All it took was one show to signal authoritatively that women in black would sweep the fashion world come spring with a range of looks. Like Raf Simons’s take on the Bar suit for Dior.
Chanel, as always, continued to dazzle everyone with the grandeur of its shows. This time giant wind turbines set up in the Grand Palais were featured in newscasts across the world without overshadowing the collection itself.
But other labels with more modest means also managed to make their mark on the fashion world in Paris, including Lanvin, Céline, Dries Van Noten, Balenciaga, Haider Ackermann and Alexander McQueen. Year after year, a host of brands showing in Paris have been deepening their influence like Balmain, Carven, Cédric Charlier and Roland Mouret. Other independent labels continue to hone and refine their signature styles including Véronique Leroy, Hussein Chalayan and Anne Valérie Hash. Young talents such as Julien David, Anthony Vacarello are putting their names on the map, and more commercial brands like Agnès B, Barbara Bui, Isabel Marant, Vanessa Bruno, Paul & Joe held their own on the catwalks next to the established luxury houses.
As for non-French based houses, Italy was represented (Miu Miu, Valentino, Giambattista Valli), as was Belgium (Ann Demeulemeester, Veronique Branquinho) and Japan (Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake), whose labels have long-reaching ties with the City of Light. And for any fashion buyer worthy or that title, no matter their provenance, a trip to Paris is de rigueur.
The city’s fashion scene has long offered a unique mix of nationalities, harking back to 1845 when Englishman Charles Worth set up shop at 7 rue de la Paix. Paris has since been synonymous with fashion excellence, thanks to the high-quality output of the thousands of petites mains making fashion behind the scenes in the workshops. This season, Paris still managed to raise the bar another notch. Impervious to the recession, Paris put its historical legitimacy when it comes to fashion and luxury on display everywhere this season. Never before have so many historically themed events been timed to coincide wtih Paris Fashion Week.
There was the 160th anniversary of the department store Le Bon Marché, the Impressionism and Fashion exhibit at the Musée d’Orsay, the 60-year anniversary party thrown for Chloé, a performance by Tilda Swinton at the Palais de Tokyo, orchestrated by fashion historian Olivier Saillard (the art director of the Galliera museum) and featuring fashion relics such as Napoleon’s ceremonial jacket and an ermine evening collar that used to belong to Sarah Bernhardt, and the Van Cleef retrospective at the Musée des Arts décoratifs… Even the parties reflected the city’s rich history, with organizers playing the retro card rather than opting for the usual lineup of trendy venues: Maxim’s for the Tranoï party, Paradis Latin for Anna dello Russo, editor for Vogue Japan. And there’s more to come, with the Bal du Siècle, organized by Galeries Lafayette and Louis Vuitton, ahead of Noël du Siècle (Christimas of the century), two centenary commemorations of the dome’s erection. Paris sera toujours Paris, as the saying goes.
Isabelle Lefort has worked as chief editor for publications including Jalouse, BIBA, La Tribune & Moi, and Air France Madame. She currently works with several outlets, notably Buybuy, BFM Business and We Demain.