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A recent article in the New Yorker, “Angst about Paris at New York Fashion Week”, chronicled an interesting new trend: some designers opted out of New York’s fashion week festivities in September, in order to focus all their creative energies, instead, on Paris’ fashion week later in the month. “…Their defections were not well received here…” the article goes on to say.
Among the fashion houses that forwent Paris shows (Thom Browne, Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, and Altuzarra), the reasons they gave included a recurring theme of wanting “to seek new markets and benefit from the elegance and sophistication of Paris, the most glamorous and competitive of the world’s fashion capitals.”
And so it goes: Paris remains unrivaled when it comes to fashion (and, arguably, food, wine, and brooding facial expressions). The city, says the article, “produces the conceptual looks that magazine editors dream of…”
New York is different. New York is, undeniably, unrivaled in countless ways. Among them are: its energy, its pizza slices, its theater, its concrete jungle skyscrapers, and its high percentage of residents who are simply “too busy.” But New York is where things happen. (I once had a ballet dancer tell me: “when I was living in Paris, I told my neighbor I was trying to be a professional dancer. She told me, ‘Then you need to go to New York City. Things happen in New York.’”)
Yet, when it comes to fashion, no city does things quite like Paris.
Spring/Summer 2018 Ready-to-Wear Fashion Week kicked off in Paris this week, and many of the major French houses – as well as major international houses – have showed their collections early in the week, with more to come late this week, and early into next.
Strong showings from evergreen French fashion houses like Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Lacoste, Lanvin, and Kenzo, intermixed with up-and-coming and international houses alike.
At Dior, the runway was awash with new and classic looks: faded denim, trendy tops baring feminist messages in bold lettering, choker necklaces, wide-legged jeans, classic Dior handbags, lace-up high heels with pantyhose-esque meshing, hats of varying fabrics and brim widths, A-line dresses, balletomane black tulle skirts, long parisienne trenches, and gold glittering evening gowns.
Kenzo was all about dark and bold lips, bright fabrics, choker necklaces, stripes and geometric shapes, socks paired with (quelle horreur!) sandals, hairstyles in various shades of the rainbow, splashy flower patterns (evoking at 70s vibe), and flouncy dresses in soft pastels.
Lacoste, a label many associate with sporty tennis outfits, was all elegance with ivory trousers, black sweetheart-neckline dresses, crisp white tops (with that famous alligator emblem, bien sur), off-the-shoulder dresses, mauve blazers, sporty dresses, and of course, chic athletic wear.
Yves Saint Laurent aimed to “…tell the story of Saint Laurent, of Paris—nothing more deeply than that,” creative director Anthony Vaccarello told Vogue at the open-air show on Tuesday night. The classic parisienne hue of black was everywhere at the collection, along with flower prints, high black boots, dangly statement earrings, and – refreshingly – understated, casual hairstyles of natural hair and pulled-pack pony tail looks (‘dos that likely took hours to style to give the appearance of an “unstyled” look). Shorts, rompers, and black leather jackets added to a rock n’ roll vibe that is befitting of Saint Laurent’s effortlessly edgy reputation.
As Spring/Summer 2018 fashion week presses on in Paris, more classic and nouveau looks are sure to emerge. And fashion’s favorite city will be waiting for them.
Lead photo credit : official Dior Facebook photo of Fashion Week