Paris Fashion Week AW23: The best of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and more
Crème de la crème
After a month-long tour that included stops in New York, London, and Milan, Paris Fashion Week concluded the extravagant fashion affair at the French capital. Here are some of our favourite shows, including Chanel’s homage to the House’s timeless code and Saint Laurent’s ambiguous aesthetic.
Creative director: Virginie Viard
Venue: Grand Palais Éphémère
Highlights of the collection: A larger-than-life camellia flower took centre stage as Viard deftly reinterpreted the House’s timeless code in all 66 looks for the season. Knit shorts were embellished with the Chanel bloom in addition to the dresses and jumper that were paired with voluminous quilted trousers. Floral accents were arranged in polka dot patterns, adding much-needed contrast to the House’s signature tweed looks.
Key pieces from the line: While the roots of classic Chanel are laid by prints, lace, and embellishments on sequin jackets, asymmetrical coats and short suits in a monochromatic palette with a hint of dusky pink appeared across the collection. What also stood out were tufts of white pom poms that popped up on sweaters and models sporting white hair clips shaped like the Camellia while carrying a pale-pink purse decorated with the floral decal. For footwear, little dots painted the outline of a Camellia on black boots while being paired with Chanel’s iconic logo.
Creative director: Nicolas Ghesquière
Venue: Musée d’Orsay
Highlights of the collection: In a set that mimics a cobbled Parisian street, a softer side of the French House is revealed on the runway, with bulky, pleated blazers layered over tactile dresses and pinstripes on a pair of leather jeans. The black, grey, and white ensembles were accented with bursts of bright accessories and vivid patterns, while the Tricolore emerged on shoulder bags and leather gloves. On another note, models sauntered down the runway donning shimmering beaded dresses and wide bustier dresses that were nipped at the waist with thin belts.
Key pieces from the line: Wearable wardrobe staples like the two-tone boots, moto gloves in Tricolore and luminous, light-therapy sunglasses were the ones that grabbed our attention. Elsewhere, long scarves were pinned with oversized brooches and paired with knits or an earthy-hued double-breasted blazer. The handbag selections were equally impressive, particularly the extraordinary Grand Budapest Hotel-inspired piece, and of course, the quilted bag that completed the ensembles.
Creative director: Demna
Venue: The Louvre
Highlights of the collection: Amidst controversy, Balenciaga returned to the limelight and presented a collection that went back to its roots while illustrating Demna’s never-ending love affair with fashion. On the runway, tailoring is deconstructed with an inverted waist at the hem and pants draped over the legs to create flowy movement. Further, the essence of the House was embodied by evening wear—floor-length gowns were intricately sequinned, crystal-studded, layered with beaded fringe and tied at the waist with a satin bow.
Key pieces from the line: Not to be missed are the motorbike jacket and zip-up hoodie with inflatable forms sewn into the linings that alter the dimension of the body in a nod to extreme sports. The flowery print dresses are reinvented in leather with a lightweight textile, while small-fit sweatsuits in jersey or velour are rebuilt to accentuate the shoulder. Meanwhile, the Huge and Crush bags are unveiled in soft leather, along with the sporty Biker Boot and the Anatomic Boot, which replicates the contour of the foot and its toes.
Creative director: Maria Grazia Chiuri
Venue: Jardin des Tuileries
Highlights of the collection: Dior has always been inspired by empowered women, and this collection borrows heavily from three personalities who were all post-war clients of the House: Edith Piaf, Catherine Dior, and Juliette Greco. Centred on the French flair, Chiuri dipped into the House’s 1950s archives and gave the era’s feminine staples a contemporary twist. In a space filled with a gigantic installation by Portuguese artist Joanna Vasconcelos, it was an attempt to modernise without jeopardising heritage.
Key pieces from the line: Mottled fabrics and metallics thread came together on tartan coats, jackets and straight skirts to evoke vintage air into everyday wear. Voluminous jumpers and mid-length skirts in a gemstone colour scheme took centre stage. Elsewhere, the Maison revives floral motifs, embellishing skirts to create a tiny burst of light beneath a white shirt and tie.
Creative director: Anthony Vaccarello
Venue: Jardins du Trocadéro
Highlights of the collection: The use of archetypically masculine garments in the women’s wardrobe is a convincing extension of Saint Laurent’s menswear. Leather jackets with pocket squares and tops with deep V-necklines were spotted, in addition to shoulder-padded skirt suits—serving androgynous looks across the runway. While the colour palette of navy, grey, and deep merlot further accentuates the edgy vibes, the use of tartans, pinstripe and glen plaids soften the ensembles for timeless elegance.
Key pieces from the line: Clearly, the padded shoulders took the limelight, but they did so with glamorous accents such as blanket-like sweeping scarves and pussybow collars. Sensuality was also celebrated, as evidenced by the plunging tank tops, sheer hosiery and long cape-like silhouettes that grazed the floor as the models walked. In the accessories department, gorgeous suede and patent slingback pumps, as well as jewellery like wrist cuffs and hoop earrings, were seen on the models for added sophistication.
Creative director: Matthew M. Williams
Venue: École Militaire
Highlights of the collection: Deconstructed monochromatic pieces characterised by magnified volumes, such as the cinched coats with broad shoulders and double-breasted side pleats, kicked off the show. Along the runway, more avant-garde ensembles were unveiled, including the leather kilts with zippers layered over knits that mimic tweed, as well as a black bustier finished with fine layers of tulle. If anything, it appears that Williams has found a sweet spot between honouring the House’s legacy and expressing his skills in streetwear.
Key pieces from the line: Evening gowns in sheer fabrics, particularly those in hot pink, lime green, and lilac, are ones we simply couldn’t ignore. Additionally, models strutted down the catwalk in ruched dresses with trains and chainmail outfits embellished with floral and fish motifs. Aside from the refreshed Voyou shoulder bag made of satin-nylon and velvet with a chain handle, the stilettos emerge in amplified volumes with heightened toes in squared or rounded shapes are personal favourites.
Creative director: Jonathan Anderson
Venue: Château de Vincennes
Highlights of the collection: This season, Anderson continues to redefine minimalism in a white cube show space with confetti cubes by artist Lara Favaretto scattered around. Leather outfits are worn large on the runway, while off-the-shoulder satin dresses and glittering trench coats add a touch of glam to the collection. Other pieces that caught our attention were outfits made of goose feathers and velvet cocktail dresses with V-necklines.
Key pieces from the line: Printed dresses stole the show, whether they had a trench coat or a red dress inside them. In footwear, the round-toed boots, huge bows, or two-tone stilettos convey a more feminine air despite their utilitarian feel. The slouchy soft leather boots also echo the aesthetic of many of the oversized Puzzle totes and Paseo bags.
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