Fashion month has officially wrapped up, and what a season it’s been. While the return of fully physical fashion shows signalled better days to come as we emerge from the pandemic, the war raging in Ukraine cast an unsettling cloud over Paris Fashion Week.
A sombre note tinged the week’s events, starting with Off-White’s emotional, star-studded tribute to late founder Virgil Abloh for his final collection. In reaction to the crisis in Eastern Europe, Balenciaga’s Demna dedicated his show, staged in a harsh stormy snowscape, to the strength and courage of the Ukranians.
From Valentino’s all-pink outing to Chanel’s runway ode to tweed, we look back at the most memorable moments from Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2022.
Balenciaga pays tribute Ukraine
Creative director of Balenciaga, Demna, considered cancelling his Paris Fashion Week show in light of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The Georgian-born designer said that the crisis had triggered past trauma from his experience as a refugee, but ultimately decided that the show had to go on. “I realized that cancelling this show would mean giving in, surrendering to the evil that has already hurt me so much for almost 30 years. I decided that I can no longer sacrifice parts of me to that senseless, heartless war of ego,” he said in a statement.
Staged in a snow-covered dome, the show was a dedication to “fearlessness, to resistance, and to the victory of love and peace”, where models braved the wintery elements while showcasing a relatively muted collection of turtleneck dresses, oversized jackets and loose hoodies in shades of black, greys and brown. Occasional interludes of colour came in the form of floral prints, a jumpsuit made of bright yellow packing tape, and the closing ensemble of a blue gown with a flowing train.
Off-White’s star-studded send-off for Virgil Abloh
Kicking off Paris Fashion Week on an emotional note, Off-White honoured its late founder, Virgil Abloh, by showcasing his final collection in a presentation titled ‘Spaceship Earth: an Imaginary Experience’. The Fall Winter 2022/2023 show drew a cast of big names to the runway, including Serena Williams, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Kaia Gerber, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, the Hadid sisters. The first half of the show consisted of ready-to-wear ensembles, with pieces ranging from puffer jackets and hoodies to cut-out heavy sweaters and shimmering minidresses. What followed was a parade of haute couture looks irreverently paired with graphic T-shirts, varsity jackets and baseball caps, each one representing a female archetype such as The Bride, The Businesswoman, The Diva, and The Stripper.
Valentino’s all-pink affair
Pierpaolo Piccioli brought a single-hued soiree to Paris Fashion Week for Valentino’s latest show, staring a one-of-a-kind shade of pink that the brand created in collaboration with Pantone Color Institute. The bright pink was unabating, colouring the walls, pillars and floor, as well as a majority of the pieces in the collection. Thanks to the monochrome palette, geometric shapes, details, and textures became more pronounced in the collection of sheer blouses, oversized suits, and clavicle-baring gowns. Breaking up the parade of fuchsia was an interlude of all black ensembles that included minidresses, overcoats and bomber jackets, before the pink reclaimed the runway in a series of gowns for the finale.
Chanel gets high on tweed
Presented at the Grand Palais Éphémère, Chanel’s Fall-Winter 2022/23 Ready-to-Wear collection was entirely devoted to one of its most recognisable signatures: tweed. Creative director Virginie Viard took inspiration from the landscape along the River Tweed where Gabrielle Chanel had often taken walks, resulting in creations like pink coats dotted with blue and purple, and burgundy sets sprinkled with a layer of shimmering gold. England in the sixties offered another point of inspiration, bringing a nod to youthful mod fashion of the era such as psychedelic colours, slightly masculine jackets, tight skirts and pointed leather pumps with mini stiletto heels.
Loewe gets surreal
Following last season’s metal breastplates and protruding geometric silhouettes, Jonathan Anderson continues his exploration of the extreme and the uncanny with balloons as bras, giant lips as chestplates, and hems shaped as cars. Utilising an array of materials like leather, felt, latex, tweed, knit, 3D printed fibre, silk and resin, the collection offered up trompe-l’oeil printed dresses, moulded skirts that seem frozen mid-movement, and puffed up turtleneck collars that resemble doughnuts. Meant to evoke a sense of crude primitiveness, the eccentric pieces resonated with the set’s giant pumpkin replicas props, which are described in the show’s notes as “objects ripe with surrealist potential and humour, but also replete with beauty”.
Dior eyes the future of feminism
For Dior’s Autumn-Winter 2022-2023 show, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s latest collection was showcased against a backdrop of large-scale portraits of women from the 16th to 19th century, their eyes duplicated and stacked on their faces, as if questioning the confines and judgements women have been subjected to throughout history as well as the present. It is through this lens that Chiuri reimagines the performative relationship between the body and the garment, through the fusing of aesthetics and futuristic technology that link past, present and future. Opening with a bodysuit wired with fluorescent light, the show then showcased an upgraded Bar jacket, its inner padding now prominently placed on the outside. Elsewhere, the theme of protective accoutrements continued with sporty shoulder pads, racing gloves and biker jackets.
Louis Vuitton’s celebrates youthful freedom
With a venue like the historic Musée d’Orsay, Nicolas Ghesquière felt little need to add or enhance the setting for Louis Vuitton’s Fall-Winter 2022 show. Instead, his latest collection was unveiled amongst the museum’s various works of art, with models sauntering past stone sculptures while sunlight streamed through the arched glass roof. Breakout star of Squid Game and Louis Vuitton ambassador Hoyeon Jung opened the show with a loose-fitting ensemble of a brown leather jacket, striped suit trousers, and a floral tie. The ensuing looks from the collection were similarly characterised by layers of workwear and outerwear in relaxed silhouettes, which gradually gave way to a youthful, optimistic tone featuring colourful oversized rugby shirts worn over flowing printed dresses.