Paris Fashion Week this year delivered all the headlines with mega-celebrities, stars and designers.
For nine days, France’s capital – the global headquarters for the fashion elite – hosted a massive 64 shows and 42 presentations.
There were definitely peaks and troughs this year and a storm, too.
“Paris was a tidal wave,” said Julie Gilhart, chief development officer at UK creative agency, Tomorrow London.
“We’ll have to process all that happened,” she told Vogue in a post-fashion-week wrap.
There were few Chinese buyers floating around, and fashion became entertainment with US model Bella Hadid’s head-turning, spray-on white Coperni dress.
US rapper Ye West, formerly known as Kanye, weathered controversy – and a social media backlash – with his ‘White Lives Matter’ slogan on his T-shirt in a surprise off-schedule show.
Ye took to social media to simply say: “My one T-shirt took alllllll the attention.”
Not really. Fans applauded Coperni’s fast-fashion closing-show stunt, claiming it was “fashion history”, “iconic” and “pure art”.
Plenty of material for critics
The lack of fashion created with environmental sustainability in mind – British designer Stella McCartney being the exception – also engaged the critics.
And there was a diversity reality check, with some in the crowds noticing very few models of different sizes and shapes, and one casting director describing his Paris runway shows as “disappointing”.
“This season in Paris, I was disappointed,” said Belgium-born William Lhoest who has worked with French fashion designer Marine Serre for the past five years.
“Most of the brands use one or two curvy models, and some even didn’t use any. If you look at the models on this season’s circuit, they are very thin.
“If you look at body size, height and age on the runway, there’s still a lot of work to be done. The young designers are aware of it, so we’ll go in the right direction, but it will take time.”
Ms Gilhart told Vogue that the big moments during fashion week often translate into a net positive for sales.
“A big noticeable change this season is the importance of a show having elements of surprise and entertainment,” she said.
“One could feel that the runway is now entertainment. It is what drives engagement online and hence creates brand awareness, which can turn into product sales.”
Vogue reported Coperni’s Instagram account went from 315,000 followers to 552,000 following the spray-on dress show, and it garnered $26.3 million in media-impact value.
“That’s level with the recent Beyoncé album, Renaissance,” wrote Vogue.
Marie Claire was also in Paris, impressed by Dutch menswear brand Botter, who were inspired by pandemic dressing.
“Given that COVID-19 saw the increase in protective garments like gloves and our hands thrust to the spotlight to combat the spread of the virus, Botter is re-contextualising what a latex glove looks like by wrapping models hands in an aquatic inspired miniature tank,” the publication reported.
“Not practical in the slightest, but that’s Paris fashion for you.”