Paris Ready-to-Wear Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Week

Paris Ready-to-Wear Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Week

Dior’s first female creative director, Chanel features robots & Rihanna debuts her Fenty line

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A photo posted by Dior Official (@dior) on


The iconic House of Dior’s show broke ground this season.

Its Spring/Summer 2017 Ready-to-Wear fashion show, on Friday, September 30, was the debut of the house’s new creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri. The groundbreaking part? She is the first-ever female creative director to helm the storied house.

Thus, it was no wonder that feminism and female empowerment were themes of the show.

Printed on white tee shirts worn by models on the Dior runway read: WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS. Other tee printings included: DIO(R)EVOLUTION.

The “We Should All Be Feminists” speech by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (an excerpt of which is featured in Beyoncé’s song “Flawless”) played – affirming the show’s theme – as models strutted down the runway.

Dior’s show, staged at Musée Rodin, was a marriage of iconic Dior and 2016 Dior. Tulle, Dior reds and blacks, and high ballet buns, were also in theme. In addition to the runway, stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Marion Cotillard, Kate Moss, and Rihanna (all proud Dior patrons) sported house looks curbside.

New York Magazine ran a headline which summed it up nicely: “Cool New Paris Fashion Trend: Feminism.” 

Chanel’s Tuesday, October 4 show was held in a nearly unrecognizable Grand Palais, which was transformed into a data storage center or perhaps a film set from the 1983 Matthew Broderick movie War Games. Bulky, awkward cables, wires, and black data boxes were abundant, in stark contrast to the lithe, graceful models sashaying down the runway.

Models marched out in trademark Chanel black and other hues, and in the iconic Chanel jacket. The futuristic theme was officially anointed when a model dressed as a robot opened the show. The robot looked like if Daft Punk and a Storm Trooper were to have a daughter and dress her up in Chanel.

Side pony tails, bright neon colors, and flat-billed baseball caps tilted to the side begs the question: are the 80s back again, again?

Taking a seat in the Chanel show front row were Lily-Rose Depp (daughter of Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp), Usher, Courtney Love, and Frances Bean Cobain.

Following the show, Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld told Reuters TV that he was inspired by technology, and that “We all depend on it… Imagine your life without the telephone and the next step will be artificial intelligence and robots.”

A photo posted by CHANEL (@chanelofficial) on

This fashion week was also an unusually dramatic one, with reality TV star Kim Kardashian being robbed at gunpoint. Following the incident, Kardashian is said to be rethinking social media presence, which was previously quite extensive. Lagerfeld came under fire for criticizing Kardashian in the wake of the incident, saying she shouldn’t be “surprised” it happened, given her flagrant display of wealth via social media platforms.

Back on the runways, there were gorgeous showings from a wide range of French and international houses:

Miu Miu (fun and irreverent), Moncler Gamme Rouge (“born in the mountains, lives in the city,” as the brand self-identifies), Louis Vuitton (stunning as ever, with low hem lines on trend), Kenzo (gold Lamé fabrics, and orange-pink eye shadow on point), Alexander McQueen (perfection as always, with perhaps inspiration from The Princess Bride and Game of Thrones?), Givency (bold, psychedelic prints on sleeveless dresses), Hermès (structured dresses, suits, and trousers in rose pink and safari tan), Stella McCartney (billowy pants and dresses in tans, greens, and blacks, with checkered and fuchsia pumps), Comme des Garçons (no words – see for yourself), Valentin Yudashkin (glamour goddess warrior garb), and many, many more.

Sonia Rykiel, who passed away this August, would likely be proud of the first show her house put on after her passing. The collection was beautiful, and in keeping with Rykiel’s ideology of creating clothes that women can wear in their everyday life, and feel comfortable in. Navys, whites, blues, and blacks ruled the Rykiel runway. Long dresses, billowy skirts, and relaxed wash-and-go hairstyles were present – all attainable looks for the busy everywoman.

Another “first”: Rihanna’s new fashion line, Fenty (in collaboration with Puma) debuted at Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild to a warm reception.

In typical Rihanna style, the line was bold, bright, and not easily forgettable. The pop star’s style is widely-admired, so it’s no wonder she took to the industry as a creative, not just a consumer. The inspiration for her Fenty show was Marie Antoinette “going to the gym,” said Rihanna, who wore a pink tracksuit-dress hybrid.

And that’s part of the beauty of fashion: merging the absurd, the glam, and the practical – into a single, functional garb.

No doubt we will see some of these absurd, glam, and practical looks from across the houses come spring and summer 2017.

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Anne McCarthy is a contributing writer to Teen Vogue, The Telegraph, France Today, Dance Magazine, and more. She regularly reports on Cannes Film Festival and Paris Fashion Week. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster, and is the author of the travel memoir Big Macs in Paris. Her London memoir, London Calling, is forthcoming.

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