Once again, Paris Fashion Week has come and gone, marking the end of another fashion month. The latest string of shows in the city of lights signalled a relative return to normalcy, with a sizable number of live-in person events.
This season, we saw fashion houses like Balenciaga push the boundaries between fashion, entertainment and digital media, while Loewe’s show brought experimental shapes and forms to the forefront. Chanel and Dior turned up the dial on nostalgia, looking to the glamour of the 60s and 80s for inspiration. Finally, AZ Factory ended the week alongside forty five designers in a joyful yet heartfelt memorial show dedicated to Alber Elbaz.
Keep reading to catch up on some of the highlights from Paris Fashion Week:
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Seeking to redefine the parameters of traditional fashion week shows, Balenciaga showcased its collection through a 10 minute-episode of The Simpsons. Before entering a screening theatre for the animated short, industry names, models and celebrities like Cardi B and Elliot Page walked a real-life red carpet dressed in pieces from Spring/Summer 2022 collection. Following this, the video presentation showed the entire town of Springfield swept off its feet by a cartoon Demna Gvasalia, who flew its residents into Paris Fashion Week to model the brand’s best looks. From the collection, all black ensembles took the spotlight, featuring oversized suits and elaborate ball gowns, along with baggy hoodies and leather jackets.
In lieu of the traditional runway, the circular platform for Dior’s Spring/Summer 2022 show was designed in collaboration with Anna Paparatti, known for her board game inspired, colourful pop art. The rotating stage channeled the bright aesthetics of the 60s, and paid homage to The Piper Club, a Roman disco that became a cultural mainstay of the era. As Maria Grazia Chiuri’s tribute to former creative director Marc Bohan, the collection featured an updated twist to his famous ‘slim look’ from 1961, with bold colour blocking that matched the kaleidoscopic backdrop. Models donned zesty colours of neon yellow, green and orange in mini A-line dresses, boxy coats and sporty vests.
Capturing the glamour and magic of fashion shows in the 80s, Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2022 Ready-to-Wear show brought back the raised runway from decades past, lining it with photographers frantically snapping shots of the models. Along with a focus on fashion photography, Virginie Viard paid tribute to Karl Lagerfeld’s time at Chanel with black and white swimsuits, shimmery black tweed and pearls. Nostalgic elements from the 80s and 90s continued from there with butterfly prints on flowy chiffon dresses and classic cardigan suits in pastel.
With an emphasis on experimentation, the Loewe’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection showcased Jonathan Anderson’s exploration of unconventional draping and sculpting. Emerging from an underground staircase at the centre of the floor, models wore metal chest plates and dresses featuring 3D protrusions that created unexpected geometric forms. Pink and blue pastel colours featured in ensembles with wing-like capes while denim jackets were worn backwards. However, it was the accessories, particularly the footwear, that stood out with unusual embellishments such as cracked eggs, nail polish bottles and bars of soap as heels.
Taking over the Louvre, Nicolas Ghesquière’s latest show celebrated the brand’s 200th year by bringing us back to the 19th century. Decorating the space with chandeliers, the presentation explored the concept of time by melding the past, present and future together in the form of ornate pannier dresses that were juxtaposed by modern accessories such as boxy jackets, lace up sandals, glossy trousers. Art Nouveau accessories such as head pieces and sunglasses were complemented by bulky bags and polka dot capes.
Celebrating inclusivity with a diverse cast of models, Balmain’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection commemorates Olivier Rousteing’s ten year anniversary as creative director. With no shortage of star power, the show included a pre-recorded message from Beyoncé who offered congratulations and heaped praise onto Rousteing, while fashion veterans Naomi Campbell and Carla Bruni took their turns walking the runway. Opening the show were neutral toned cutout looks, accessorised with chunky gold jewellery, which eventually gave way to glittery and grandiose dresses in gold. In this hybrid live music concert and fashion show, the massive audience of 6,000 spectators also witnessed performances by Doja Cat and Franz Ferdinand.
Closing off the season on an emotional note, AZ Factory presented a tribute show to founder and creative director, Alber Elbaz, titled ‘Love Brings Love’. Forty-five fashion houses came together to honor the late designer, who died of Covid-19 this year, each creating one look dedicated to him. Saint Laurent’s look paid tribute to the former Lanvin creative director’s signature style with a black suit, fuchsia bow tie and spectacles, while Dries Van Noten featured one of Elbaz’s self-portraits on a crimson coat. Elbaz’s team then followed with twenty five AZ Factory looks that continue his legacy, reiterating his love of ruffles, candy colours and voluminous puffy silhouettes.
Feature photo: AZ Factory