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Paris Fashion Week – A Showcase of the World’s Finest Models

Heliot Emil

Paris Fashion Week kicked off with a bang this year. From Bella Hadid’s spray-on dress to Danish brand Heliot Emil’s “on flame” ensembles, it was a week of heads turning.

In addition to bringing together the world’s finest models, Paris Fashion Week also highlights the diversity of fashion itself. From braided Grecian belts to bright African patterns, designers showcased their global influence on the runway.

The significance of Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week (PFW) is one of the four major fashion weeks in the world, often referred to as the “Big 4.” Paris is where the crème de la crop shows up, with designers like Chanel, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent showing their latest collections.

Paris Fashion week was founded in 1973 and is considered to be the most important of the Big 4. PFW has a huge impact on the fashion industry, both for the designers who show there as well as the models who walk down the runways.

In addition to showcasing some of the world’s most talented models, PFW also has a reputation for pushing the boundaries of fashion. The event has been known to feature some of the most daring designs, including a spray-on dress by designer Christopher Coperni last year, and unisex garments by Danish brand Heliot Emil this season.

PFW has also been credited for starting many trends. For example, in 1984, Thierry Mugler sent Black-American model Pat Cleveland, who was six months pregnant at the time, down the runway dressed as the Virgin Mary. Jean Paul Gaultier, meanwhile, showcased his cone bra that Madonna later wore on the Blonde Ambition World Tour.

Fashion designers from all over the world come to Paris to present their collections. This includes established houses such as Elie Saab from Lebanon and Issey Miyake from Japan, as well as up-and-coming talents like Roisin Pierce and Parsons alum Caroline Hu. These designers take advantage of the Paris’ rich cultural diversity and frequently include elements from different cultures in their collections.

As a result, PFW is the most influential of the Big 4 and serves as a benchmark for all other fashion weeks around the globe. Having a show at PFW can help a new label establish itself in the industry and attract attention from potential buyers.

During the second world war, when fashion workers couldn’t travel to Paris due to Nazi occupation, uber-publicist Eleanor Lambert organized a press week in New York to showcase American designers that had been largely ignored by French editors of Vogue. The event was a resounding success and led to the increased coverage of American designers at Paris Fashion Week.

The models who grace its runways

Fashion week has been in full swing for a couple of weeks now and the industry is currently preparing to wrap up. The final stretch has seen Paris’ runways keep global fashion aficionados hooked with one headline-grabbing moment after another.

The iconic Grace Jones made a show-stopping appearance at the Tommy Hilfiger X Zendaya TommyNow show this weekend to close out the proceedings. The 70-year-old legend took to the stage to belt out her classic hit song “Pull Up To The Bumper” wearing a gold bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots. Her performance has had people going gaga over her timeless beauty and sexy moves onstage.

Another star to take to the runways was model-singer ROSE from K-pop band BLACKPINK. The singer was spotted at the Saint Laurent F/W 2023 presentation and kept it simple in a brown leather trench coat with a black cut-out mini dress and diamante-buckle heels. She also attended the Louis Vuitton show where she wore a striped silken gown with a cape that perfectly showcased her chiseled figure.

Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri continued her push for feminism with an empowering collection that championed women and paid tribute to French and Italian noblewoman Catherine de Medici. The label’s SS23 offering featured lace dresses and blouses embroidered with flowers and leaves framed in black trimming. The brand’s lingerie-style bra tops and bodysuits were a standout, along with its tweed suiting with matching pants.

As for the other collections, Valentino opted for logo-mania with structured gowns and capes featuring its trademark ‘V’ emblem. The house’s signature ruffles continued to be a mainstay, with various styles including sleeveless dresses with a high neckline and asymmetrical draped skirts.

Elsewhere, designer Rushemy Botter made a case for earthy hues and utilitarian designs that invoked a desert hike with their utilitarian denim and khaki styles. The brand’s footwear was another big draw with styles adorned in sand and dusty tones. The collection was a nod to the brand’s founder’s love of travel and the outdoors. Other designers that made waves included Rochas which went big on elevated and exaggerated ruffles with dainty pastel dresses parading the runway.

The impact of Paris Fashion Week on the world’s fashion industry

The fashion world’s attention has once again shifted to Paris, as the city hosts Paris Fashion Week. And with a slew of celebrities in attendance, it’s safe to say that this year’s event has been nothing short of spectacular.

From a new brand to a celebrity reunion, there have been plenty of headline-worthy moments so far. For starters, Victoria Beckham’s show was a major hit, and she was certainly dressed to impress. The Spice Girl-cum-fashion designer showcased her eponymous label’s latest collection to much fanfare, with David and Harper Beckham putting on a united front for the occasion. The latter was sporting a chic black suit while her brother opted for a classic pair of jeans and tan-toned boots.

Another big moment came courtesy of the Danish label Heliot Emil, which debuted during the fashion week with an exhibit featuring on-flame outfits. The label, founded by brothers Julius and Victor Juul in 2016, is best known for its unisex clothing. As such, the Paris exhibition was a bold statement on the semantic discussion of gender identity in the fashion industry.

Other brands have also taken a more experimental approach to their presentations, including French label Saint Laurent, which opened its runway show with models wearing a series of upside-down dresses. The look was inspired by the idea of surrealism and was a nod to the brand’s upcoming Fall/Winter 2023 collection. The collection features a wide range of styles, from flowing gowns to structured suits.

Among the other big moments of the week have been appearances by stars like Doja Cat and Noah Cyrus at Viktor & Rolf, who both wowed in daring looks. The former wore a quilt-style minidress that featured ruffled tulle that lined the sleeves and neckline, while the latter chose to go with a striped two-piece set.

Tennis champion Serena Williams was also seen at the Chloe show, deciding upon a monochrome colour palette for her look. The star paired a midi dress with a black and white hat and a cream cardigan, while carrying a Chloe purse featuring ebony piping.

The Paris Fashion Week schedule

Twice a year, fashion designers showcase their latest collections to the world during a week-long series of captivating runway shows. These events are a spectacle that transcends the mere display of clothing and aim to transport viewers into the designer’s universe through music, scenery, and lighting. Fashion weeks are held in the four major fashion capitals: New York, London, Milan, and Paris and are attended by industry professionals (buyers, editors, stylists, influencers, etc), celebrities, and the general public.

The Paris Fashion Week schedule for spring 2023 was released Friday, revealing a near-full slate of physical shows from Sept. 26 to Oct. 4. LVMH Prize semifinalist label Weinsanto is set to make its on-schedule debut with a 5 p.m. show, while Victoria Beckham’s inaugural Parisian outing takes place on Sept. 30, marking the debut of her new design team led by design director Lara Barrio.

In addition, Louise Trotter will make her Paris debut with a women’s show for Carven, while Stefano Gallici will unveil his vision for Ann Demeulemeester in a day-long presentation. Elsewhere, rapper Future will present his guest capsule for Lanvin in a runway show that falls on the same evening as former creative director Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s exit from the brand.

Japanese designers are also reviving their presence in Paris, with Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garcons, and Noir Kei Ninomiya all scheduled to hold shows at the event. This marks the first time that these brands have staged on-schedule shows in Paris since the pandemic.

While attending these shows in person is certainly not possible for many, fashion lovers can stay on top of all the action by following the many websites, channels, and individuals that cover the events in real-time. They can also check out the Vogue Runway app to get a front row seat at any of the shows.

Fashion icons like Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent helped to shape the world’s fashion trends through their iconic designs, and the next crop of designers is working hard to continue their legacy. These young creatives, along with the models that strut their stuff on the runway, are paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive fashion world.