Bonjour Paris!! Fashion Month culminates in arguably the fashion capital of the world, since it's here that some of the oldest and most prestigious fashion houses, as well as young and modern designers, show thier collections. I had to break Paris up into 3 sections instead of just 2, since there are so many shows, but without further adieu here is the first round of parisian shows!
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Founded in 1961 by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent is considered one of the world's most prominent fashion houses, known for its modern and iconic pieces, such as Le Smoking Suit, structured satchels, and contemporary womenswear. Before stepping down, Yves gave his famous quote, "Chanel freed women, and I empowered them." Today, Saint Laurent is under the direction of Anthony Vaccarello.
Brute Romanticism would be the best way to describe Vaccarello's second collection for the legendary Saint Laurent house. He draped leather into dresses, and created jackets from mink and shearling. The looks were tough and powerful, while still being sensual and elegant. After the regular collection left the runway, Vaccarello sent down the same models all in black velvet and rhinestone encrusted evening looks, which nodded to Yves love and affinity for eveningwear. One notable event was Pierre Bergé quietly speaking to Vaccarello post-show, and thier expressions clearly showed Bergé's approval of Vaccarello's direction for the house.
After studying under Cristóbal Balenciaga, André Courrèges opened his own fashion house in 1961. He became known for simple, geometric, often futuristic designs, including the "little white dress". He paired his deigns with a small low-heeled white ankle-boot, which eventually evolved into the go-go boot, and is also credited with inventing the mini skirt. The company was sold in 2011, and after a hiatus from Paris Fashion Week, the house reappeared in 2015 under the design direction of Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant.
Directors Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant have a somewhat slightly different approach to the "fashion show". They have created a category concept, focusing on four essentials: jackets, minis, knits, and architectural dresses. The duo enlisted stylists, consultants, models, and friends to take thier pieces and pair them with things in thier own wardrobe. The two understand the new world in fashion of mixing high and low, old and new, into a modern wardrobe.
Jeanne Lavin began making dresses for her daughter, which caught the attention of wealthy French women, and she soon began dressing the European aristocracy. Lanvin's house was founded in 1889, and by the 1920's and 30's, she was one of the most influential designers in the world. Her use of intricate trimmings, virtuoso embroideries and beaded decorations in clear, light, floral colors became a Lanvin trademark until her death in 1946. Currently, the design house is under the direction of Bouchra Jarrar.
In Jarrar's second collection for Lanvin, she continued to showcase her masterful cutting of a classic suit and pants, keeping the quintessentially French masculine-feminine aesthetic alive in her designs, though there were a few extraordinarily feminine designs in her collection, namely the frills-on-frills pink ballerina dress that was paired with a punkish flat shoe.
Kenzo was founded in 1970 by Japanese designer Kenzo Takada. Kenzo moved from Japan to Paris in 1964, and uses Japanese inspirations with European tailoring and technique. His iconic 'Jungle Jap' boutique, located in Paris, launched his brand and carried his aesthetic until his resignation in 2000, followed by the appointment of Humberto Leon and Carol Lim (founders of Opening Ceremony) as creative directors and head designers at Kenzo.
Humberto Leon and Carol Lim drew the foundation of thier inspiration from Kenzo Takada's archives, as well as the infamous 1983 campaign, shot by Hans Feurer and starring East Arican supermodel, Iman. Photos from the campaign adorned the walls, and guests sat and ate a meal prepared by Syrian-born Parisian Chef Mohammad El Khaldy. Their designs were far from retro, taking Kenzo's prints and transposing them onto modern silhouettes such as the puffer jacket, crewnecks, cropped trousers, and those quilted jackets that have popped up on a myriad runways since New York.
The French fashion house was founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion. Aghion was born in 1921 in Alexandria, Egypt, and moved to Paris in 1945 with the vision of offering women's luxury prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) which was a drastic change for a time when haute-couture still reigned. Aghion died in Paris in 2014, and her legacy of the free-spirited and effortless Chloé house is carried on by British designer Clare Waight Keller.
After six years at the helm, Fall 2017 marks the final show for Clare Waight Keller at Chloé. She effortlessly captured the sun-chasing bohemian festival girl while sprinkling in her own classic tailoring. A few oversized men's jackets were thrown in there, and follows a trend we've been seeing over the past few weeks, culminating to her final bow with a standing-ovation for Keller's outstanding tenure at the French fashion house.
Pierre Balmain was born in 1914 in France, and studied architecture at Le École des Beaux-Arts for one year before leaving to design dresses for Edward Molyneux. After Balmain's death in 1982, there have been a number of successors, most notably Oscar de la Renta, who led the house between 1993 and 2002. in 2011, Balmain announced that the house would be led by the young and talented Olivier Rousteing, who has made Balmain a modern fashion powerhouse.
Rousteing made his name in tight, short, corseted, and sexy womenswear, but for Fall 2017, the constricted silhouettes have fallen away for looser, but not lighter, designs. Instead of is usually highly structured garments, Rousteing offered highly embellished ones. Mohair, suede, metal grommets, sequins, printed velvet, leather boot-leggings, and a wolf emblazoned across the front, all in a single look. Rousteing never ceases to surprise, and has so far always made it a great one.
The House of Dior was founded in 1946 by Christian Dior. Dior was born in Normandy, France, and began working for designer Robert Piguet in 1937 alongside Pierre Balmain. On February 12th, 1947, Dior launched is iconic New Look collection, which cinched waists, brought full, petticoated skirts, and a new voluptuous female form for the post-war era. Dior died in 1957, and as of 2016 his house is under the creative direction of Maria Grazia Chiuri.
Another sophomore collection walked the runways of Paris, as Maria Grazia Chiuri's second show for Dior graced the Fall 2017 lineup. The collection was almost entirely tones of blue, taking inspiration directly from Christian Dior himself when he said, "Among all colors, navy blue is the only one which can ever compete with black, it has all the same qualities”. Chiuri showed varying shades of denim, navy's, faded blues, and complimented each look with a leather beret that's sure to be en vogue come Fall.
Andrew Gn was born in Singapore, and after studying at the world-renowned Central Saint Martins in London and Domus Academy in Milan, opened his eponymous fashion house in Paris in 1996. Gn straddles the line between Asian influences and European technique, with a strong love of history, that shows in his designs.
For Fall 2017, Gn themed his collection around the concept of Global Tribal. It was different than other "tribal" concepts in that he blended numerous cultures and influences into each garment, and no one piece could be specifically pegged to one origin or ethnicity. Influences from Central America, Scandanavia, Egypt, and even the Ottoman Empire weaved thier way through Gn's lineup. Overall, it was a beautifully blended and curated collection, whose design elements will definitely find it's way into the closets of many.