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The Rebirth of Paris Fashion Week

Fashion News
A look from designer Maria Grazia Chiuri's debut collection for Christian Dior.

By Jessica Michault

It was to be the fashion week to end all fashion weeks. In Paris, a perfect sartorial storm saw four of the leading fashion houses in the industry unveiling for the first time the work of a new designer. Maria Grazia Chiuri (Dior), Anthony Vaccarello (YSL), Pierpaolo Piccioli (Valentino) and Bouchra Jarrar (Lanvin) presented their new vision for the houses they now called home. Each one had a clear and unique point of view, their one common thread being a desire to create clothing that would make women feel empowered.


At Dior, Chiuri embraced the whole issue of her being the first female designer in the history of the house. Creating a collection inspired by fencing and ballet, two activities that take determination and skill, she offered up a collection that was both feminine and fierce. One of her outfits featured a message t-shirt that said “We Should All Be Feminists;” it quickly went viral. Also electrifying were the fantastic accessories created from a woman’s perspective: sexy low heels, and practical yet cool new logo bags.


Over at Valentino, Chiuri’s former design partner Piccioli also proved himself to be in fine form. His collection was inspired by medieval art and he took a real shine to Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” True to form, the designer twisted the beauty of that piece by having British designer Zandra Rhodes create a contemporary print based on the famous artwork. The result held true the romantic style that Piccioli had honed over the years at Valentino, but with a fresh attitude.


The great thing about Anthony Vaccarello’s appointment as the creative director of Saint Laurent is how much the Belgian designer has in common, aesthetically speaking, with the founder. They both love the color black, and have a passion for both tuxedo tailoring and chiffon. For his first show, Vaccarello revisited the style of the 80s with all its big shouldered tops, sexy short dresses and shimmering eveningwear. It looks as if the legacy of the brand is in good hands with Vaccarello.


Besides these major fashion debuts there were other standout moments on quite a few other runways. Stella McCartney delighted her guests with a surprise dance performance by her models. Giorgio Armani celebrated the reopening of his flagship store in the city by showing his Emporio collection in Paris.


Never to be outdone, Chanel drilled into the idea of data mining and the linear beauty of what connects the world to the digital space. This meant striped (the biggest trend of the season) tweed suits, and lots of digital inspired accessories like perforated/ pixilated footwear, grid design handbags and colorful “hacker” baseball hats.


Besides stripes, one of the major take away trends of Paris was an oversized exaggerated shoulder silhouette. It’s a style that designer Demna Gvasalia relaunched last season with his debut collection at Balenciaga and he continued to develop the idea this season. But he was not alone. At Celine, roomy suit jackets played a big role in the show, as it did on the catwalks of McCartney, Vaccarello and Louis Vuitton.


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