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Best of Paris Fashion Week

Fashion News
A look from Chanel's fall/winter 2016 collection.

By Jessica Michault

Paris Fashion Week was filled with memorable moments. From the recreated couture salon at Chanel and Hedi Slimane’s surprise couture show to the debut of a new designer at Balenciaga, the fashion capital was buzzing with beautiful creations.

At Chanel, designer Karl Lagerfeld transformed the Grand Palais into a larger version of what the interior of his real Chanel haute couture salon looks like. The staggering 93 looks—which everyone enjoyed from a front row perch—took shape in a collection designed for versatility and variety. From the boots that split in two at the ankles, the colorful tweed skirts that zippered down the sides, to the glossy shirts covered in Chanel imagery (think Choupette and double-c’s) to the quilted coats with shawl collars and stiff bowler hats worn low. The collection was a celebration of Chanel’s craftsmanship and it made for a tour de force show.


A trip to Africa sparked Akris designer Albert Kriemler to create a collection that got its start in the red earth of that continent. Using all the shades of red in his crayon box, Kriemler printed, embossed, embellished and appliquéd a collection drawing on wild animals to flesh out the collection. A silk tunic printed with Zebra stripes, a red wool cape pressed to mimic the pattern of a Grand Turtle and a stunning sheath dress covered in leather “scales” were among the highlights.


At Chloé, designer Clare Waight Keller was inspired by the French author Anne-France Dautheville, who in the 1970s jumped on a motorbike to travel the world in search for adventure. Look forward to leather biker gear themed pieces that act like a great counterpoint to the collection’s more ethereal Chloé fare. The collection was a perfect mix of boho and biker and it made for a line up filled with pieces a woman is going to always want with her, wherever she goes.

Massimiliano Giornetti’s most recent Salvatore Ferragamo show was filled with invigorating, vivacious designs. His sharp yet riotous collection was as exacting in its execution as it was joyful in its use of color. The way Giornetti manipulated his fabrics was also impressive to behold. He gave a new dimensionality to a skirt’s car wash fringe hemline by rounding the fabric back on itself to create a looping effect. Or a pleated dress became so much more by his decision to create different sections of pleats down the garment and vary their spacing in each segment. The show proved that Giornetti most definitely has his finger on the pulse of fashion.


In a direct trickle down from their most recent Haute Couture show, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli presented a Valentino collection inspired by the world of ballet. To the melodic notes of a baby grand piano being played live, the duo sent out a collection that followed a day in the life of a prima ballerina. A few favorite moments: a leather jacket worn over a black tulle dress, combat boots to complement an embellished dress worn with a long navy coat and snuggly sweaters worn under shimmering sleeveless dresses. This collection danced pirouettes around most of the other shows in Paris.


Stella McCartney got the cool and comfortable mix just right on her catwalk. The designer came up with a collection filled with clothing made to make women look good and feel good, too. This included some delightful maxi sweater dresses with a cute ruffle bib detail, roomy harem pants with big cuffs at the ankle, outsized luxe velvet puffer coats and some seriously charming swan printed jacquard garments. Other wining designs included some tie dyed denim pieces and updated 90s slip dresses.


Balenciaga began a new chapter in its life this season with the debut collection of designer Demna Gvasalia. In his hands, the codes of the house were instantly updated. The famous cocooning style of the founder was translated into puffer jackets worn off the shoulder, or sculptural dresses that stood slightly away from the body, and the elegance of a portrait collar was played up by Gvasalia’s in a number of pieces, including one stunning trench coat. This was a much more commercially viable collection that still has a creative soul.


In a surprise move, designer Hedi Slimane decided to use his ready to wear slot on the official French fashion calendar to present the recently launched couture line he has create for Saint Laurent. Slimane revisited the 80s with a collection of Dynasty proportions. Out came frothy-collared silk blouses, single-shoulder dresses, a sequined pink catsuit, a number of “le pouf” skirts as well as some seriously high-shouldered chubby fur coats. 


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