Paris Fashion Week to return – this time with public shows

After the Fashion Weeks in New York, London and Milan, it is now the turn of Paris. The French capital will host around 30 ‘physical’ fashion parades next week marking a departure from the largely virtual shows held during lockdown.

“All the big fashions houses will be there, with a few exceptions. There will be new brands. We can feel the appetite for physical [in-person] shows,” said Pascal Morand, president of the Haute Couture and Fashion Federation.

Out of 97 shows organised on the official calendar, around one third will invite the public. Attendants must carry a health pass.

Saint Laurent was the first major fashion house to drop out of international fashion weeks during the Covid crisis. Next week, it will be among the most notable returnees.

Saint Laurent is back (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

Dior, Chanel, Hermès and Louis Vuitton have all organised physical shows.

Givenchy have also organised a catwalk. Its artistic director, Matthew Williams, promises to bring a touch of ‘street style’ to the traditionally aristocratic French brand by adorning outfits in chains and padlocks.

The Balenciaga house, which dressed Kim Kardashian in a full black outfit for the Met Gala in New York has also organised a physical show.

Virtual shows still à la mode

French designer Marine Serre is organising a virtual catwalk, as is the Dries Van Noten. During the lockdown, both designers launched a manifesto, supported by hundreds of small fashion houses, in support of ‘ecological fashion’.

“We will keep this duality of physical and virtual shows forever. The digital aspect is not just a passing phase. It enriches fashion week,” said Pascal Morand.

Many fashion houses are tapping into the digital sphere. Balenciaga has recently announced a partnership with the video game Fortnite. Within the game itself, players can buy ‘virtual’ outfits and a limited range of real goods.

A tribute to Alber Elbaz

There are a number of notable absentees: Celine, whose lead designer Hedi Slimane has described Fashion Weeks as “obsolete”; Stella McCartney; and the luxury giant LVMH.

“They are very few in number. It corresponds to their very particular wishes,” said Pascal Morand.

A catwalk in trinute to the Israeli-American designer Alber Elbaz who was the artistic director of Lanvin has also organised as the closing show of Fashion Week.  Elbaz died from Covid in April.

More than 40 fashion houses have collaborated with the AZ Factory design studio (Elbaz’s final project), to create looks inspired by his work.

Museum to host events

From September 30th, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD) will host an exhibition dedicated to the creative genius of Thierry Mugler – pioneer of the catwalk.

According the the MAD director, the return of physical shows gives the exhibition a heightened significance.

Fashion Week
Fashion Week is back with in-person shows (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

“We all love listening to music on the radio, watching a film on a computer, or seeing fashion online. But the true emotion comes when we have direct contact with creativity,” he said.

Jean Paul Gaultier, who hung up his scissors in 2020, has organised an exhibition at the Cimémathèque Française, where he will display outfits from films that have shaped the world of fashion. It opens on October 6th.

The Palais Galliera, a museum of Parisian fashion, is organising a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Vogue Paris, from October 2nd.

You can find a full Fashion Week calendar here.

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