Trouble-eyed VIPs rode tons of white sand through the Etrier de Paris equestrian center in the leafy suburbs of Paris on Tuesday morning, past lines of spinning wheels and inflatable capsules as nature, fashion and art mingled.
The dreamscape had been specially designed for fall-winter by artist Xavier Veilhan, who had adorned Chanel’s indoor merry-go-round with a gargantuan silver mobile. There were guests – including Marion Cotillard and Keira Knightley – gaping.
Haute couture is the centuries-old Parisian tradition of producing bespoke clothing at exorbitant prices for the world’s wealthiest women.
Here are some highlights of today’s fall-winter 2022 collections:
The sweetness of Chanel
With a somewhat incongruous drum rendition via video recording, Chanel ambassador Pharrell Williams excitedly kicked off the proceedings before the “real” show – to soft music and even softer form.
Soft colours, lines and shapes, punctuated by moments of dazzling buttons, fluttering feathers and large hats, was Virginie Viard’s simple formula. The French designer was in a sweet mood for couture this season, hinting at subtle twists.
A loose pastel green skirt suit opened up, lined with intricately sparkling crystal buttons crafted by the devotee’s world-renowned atelier. It gave rise to embroideries and punctilious jacquards on loose coats in speckled mint and sand with often oversized or rolled-up collars, loaded with an 80s air. A-line coats with heavy swag, low waists and trendy pockets , meanwhile, introduced subtle tensions – alongside hems and fringes in contrasting patterns.
Still, the best looks were the ones that kept it to a minimum. An olive green ribbed dress with a clean strap over the flared bust at the bottom – in an artful take on a mermaid dress. It towed a perfect line between sport and chic.
Still, there’s a feeling Viard has been playing it safe since replacing Karl Lagerfeld, who died in 2019.
It must be couture week when, to the honking of annoyed motorists in the tangled traffic, the paparazzi skid through the sand for a wink at the celebrity call.
Keira Knightley, 37, arrived at the distant Chanel show amid the greatest commotion. The actress, who has been an ambassador for the house for 21 years, arrived in a velvet and lace halterneck LBD by Chanel, accessorized with sunglasses and her husband, British musician James Righton.
Oscar-winning French actress Marion Cotillard rocked a more casual ensemble, consisting of a striped Chanel shirt and black micro mini, declining the interviews. Actresses Sigourney Weaver, Clemence Poesy and Maggie Gyllenhaal also joined – cheering vigorously as the designer walked out during the finale.
Alexis Mabille Blooms
French designer Alexis Mabille was in top form for a timeless couture collection that never forgot its whimsy.
Draped dresses in lush pastel silks caressed the body, quivering slightly as they were presented on the catwalk of dazzling indigo fabric.
Flowers were never far from the world of Mabille design – literally and figuratively.
A pastel gray silk dress had a curved center slit at the knee so the hemline cascaded in pleats like an opening flower. Her upper bib was made of intricate white lace like the veins of a petal under a microscope.
Then came flashes of whimsical fashion design – like a huge silk flower headdress made of countless shimmering petals.
Men’s fashion reigns in Paris
Fashion insiders in the front row comment on how Paris Menswear Week – held June 21-26 – was as lively as this week’s VIP-filled couture. And exceptionally so. Couture traditionally surpasses menswear in terms of attention and celebrity presence. But could that be a thing of the past?
From Justin Timberlake to K-pop sensations BTS, the presence of celebrities alone in the Spring Summer 2023 menswear season was enough to rival this week’s couture. And that signals higher than normal levels of attention in the glossy press and online.
This gear shift – or fashion leveling off – comes as the men’s luxury brand portfolio has overtaken womenswear in terms of growth more generally with more and more eyeballs on the men’s runway.
Of particular note is the proliferation of American menswear brands, which now choose to show across the Atlantic in Paris to capitalize on the attention. After the ill-fated New York Men’s Fashion Week – launched in 2016 and then canceled due to dwindling attendance – reports have noted how myriad US houses such as Thom Browne, Amiri, Greg Lauren, KidSuper and Rhude have chosen to present their drawings in the City of Light.
Armani launches into art deco
A cross-pollinated geometric runway show with soft geometry for Giorgio Armani. This couture season, the Italian fashion legend wanted to “give new space to sparkle and frivolity” by drawing inspiration from the world of Polish Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka.
On the catwalk, the peak of the Art Deco graphic movement, the 1930s, is evoked through silhouette graphics. Art Deco is a movement created in reaction to Art
replacing the undulating forms of the latter with geometry.
A gray silk jacket had the oriental feel fashionable at that time with a silver linear trim. Elsewhere, swirls adorned the busts of dark fitted column dresses, while earrings and necklaces were chunky and graphic.
As always, Armani showcased his signature shoulders, shimmering organzas and satins, and shimmering sparkles in the longest-seen collection of the entire season. There were a total of 92 looks.