Paris is famous as the epicentre of fashion: a city which celebrates the finest ateliers worldwide. As fashion historian Valerie Steele observes in her book ‘Paris: Capital of Fashion’: “The history of Paris fashion blurs inextricably into myth and legend.” Paris Fashion Week SS23 commanded the attention of fashion editors, retailers and connoisseurs at the end of a hectic fashion schedule. From iconic luxury fashion brands Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel, Saint Laurent and Hermès to a new wave of designers like Ester Manas, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Ottolinger and many others, it left us wanting more. Let’s take a look at some of the high-wattage showings of the ongoing fashion week.
Dior made a statement at Paris Fashion Week with a stunning collection enhanced by a performance by Dutch choreographers Imre and Marne van Opstal and their troupe. Also, the alliance with Tassinari and Chatel by Lelièvre Paris, which resulted in the most elegant silk embroideries. Maria Grazia Chiuri looked to Catherine De Medici for inspiration and made the era’ds hoop skirts and corsets racy and relevant to the younger generation, today. Per Vogue, “Look 1 put the Dior atelier’s fine craftsmanship on display, its hoop cage overlaid with yards of black raffia lace… That historical skirt was paired with a bra top of the sort Chiuri’s daughter Rachele, a trusted adviser, might wear to a party. A dress with the fit-and-flare shape that is a house signature was made with drawstrings… Also getting a rethink were New Look skirts in floral-embroidered cotton, patchworks of broderie anglaise… The Bar Jacket was only notable for its absence, and de Medici’s corset was utterly freed of its restrictive connotations.”
Yves Saint Laurent showcased a stunning SS23 collection enhanced with a performance by Graham and Vaccarello staged in a Parisian stage of a grandiose garden with a cascading fountain. The hooded pieces designed by Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello took inspiration from the House history, particularly the ‘capuche’ dresses of the Eighties. From silk jersey knits to floor-length dresses and outerwear, there was an elegant ease balanced with a boldness. We loved the wool coats with structured shoulders, leather bombers and floor-length trenches layered over sleek, sexy silhouettes. Set against the backdrop of the majestic Eiffel Tower, it was a star-truffled show. “Long, lean, and loaded with attitude,” per Vogue. “A slew of beautifully rendered dresses cut from jersey in two different weights: one heavier and opaque, giving a more constructed look; the other lighter and gauzier, gently—and barely—veiling the body underneath. Some of these dresses were slipped under sweeping great coats and trenches—which fell in narrow columnar proportions from big shoulders in leather, tweed, or wool…”
Founded in post-war Paris, late Pierre Balmain’s eponymous fashion house was central to revolutionising French style with maximalist glamour. For Spring Summer 2023, Balmain showcased its collection at the Stade Jean-Bouin stadium. What made it a cut above? The audience, made up of an estimated 8,000 people, i.e. members of creative director Olivier Rousteing’s “Balmain Army”, bought tickets by donating to Red. And, the luxury fashion brand referred to the presentation as a festival rather than a showing… and provided snacks! A move to democratise fashion weeks where strictly by-invitation, champagne buckets and front row seats are the norm. Olivier Rousteing sent out over a hundred ready-to-wear looks including dresses woven from straw and raffia, bustiers handcrafted from sustainably-harvested chestnut bark, blazers emblazoned with Renaissance imagery, and, a tightly edited couture line. We loved the raw silk coats and capes, wide pants, suit jackets and long crochet dresses, biker jackets and babydoll dresses. Pop star and face of Balmain’s new handbag was the showstopper in a stunning a silver spandex bodysuit and black boots.
To be continued as Paris Fashion Week is ongoing…
I worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor and launched Vogue India’s portal. Four years later, I turned entrepreneur and launched my luxury portal www.explosivefashion.in. Perhaps it’s my vision and exclusive content that’s placed Explosive Fashion at the forefront of luxury: reporting from fashion weeks, collaborating with luxury brands, presenting royal families’ vision, championing talent, reviewing hotels and restaurants, writing on travel, heritage. My editorial is of a storyteller, the story of the person behind the brand.