Paris Shows and Show Offs

As the Spring/Summer 2020 fashion shows come to a close, the French capital seems increasingly divided between simple, yet edgy, young-designer presentations and blockbuster-worthy runway productions staged by famous fashion houses. 

 

The Eiffel Tower was ridiculously dim on Tuesday evening, as about 400 lights were instead illuminating the extravagant Saint Laurent fashion show. Set in the Trocadero gardens, immediately adjacent to the Parisian landmark, the brand served an over-the-top backdrop for its runway show.

 

In fact, this extravagant mise-en-scène left a lasting impression on the guests who attended the show. Its extraordinary light installation enhanced the glamour of Anthony Vaccarello’s womenswear designs, giving him an advantage over his lesser-known peers on a more economical budget, many of whom don’t have the money for fancy props. Case in point: Kevin Germanier unveiled an equally flashy and flamboyant collection the very next day…but in his case, the presentation was held without all the special effects, in a quiet apartment close to the Place Vendôme. 

 

This – and other examples – symbolize the hodgepodge of luxury designer brands that are invited to showcase their women’s Spring/Summer 2020 ready-to-wear collections during Paris Fashion Week. In fact, the nine-day calendar includes a hefty one hundred fashion houses, registered on the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode’s official roster. More than half of them are international brands. And all of these brands represent only the tip of the fashion industry iceberg. In addition to the official calendar, Paris is home to countless runway shows and presentations held off-schedule. The city also hosts a handful of trade shows – such as Tranoï, Première Classe, and Woman. All these events garner the attention of about 6,000 fashion professionals who flock to Paris for the fashion season. 

 

 

Paris Fashion Week’s prestige has, in fact, never been more prominent. The established maisons contribute significantly to this reputation, with their runway shows that feature spectacular set designs and show-stopping entertainment. However, one can’t help but wonder: is this race for power and grandeur eclipsing the authentic creative strength that Paris has been cultivating since the first ready-to-wear designer brands, or “créateurs” as the French say, began to emerge in the early 1970s? 

 

It is often the strength of the collections, whose creative directions are often boundary-pushing and off-the-beaten-track, that fortify fashion season’s relevance. Especially if one considers that New York, London, and Milan are usually promoting a more commercial take on fashion. “Paris will always be Paris, far ahead of the other fashion capitals,” stated Nathalie Ours, head of the PRConsulting Paris press office. “In Paris, we still have a melting-pot of cutting-edge fashion talents that are not found elsewhere.” As a matter of fact, independent designers who showcase in Paris are the ones who set trends and push boundaries from one season to another. However, their shows are often overshadowed by the spectacular rendezvous of the established maisons that are often taking place right before or after their presentation. Some independent designers are even trying to mimic this showmanship and intend to create anticipation amongst the invited guests by showcasing their collections in never-seen-before locations. One of them is Marine Serre, who staged her latest “outing” in the outskirts of Paris, at an abandoned site. Across town, Yolanda Zobel (creative director of Courrèges) showcased her last collection along the Canal Saint Martin, and Glenn Martens (Y/Project creative director) staged his runway show under the Alexandre III bridge. 

 

Dries Van Noten, who used to stage his runway shows in locations that echoed his collections’ seasonal ethos, now opts for neutral venues that allow invitees to focus on the garments, rather than merely the show itself. Olivier Theyskens, who had also made a name for himself by staging elaborate runway shows, no longer takes such financial risks, as the level of competition is particularly high. On Friday afternoon, he simply brought his presentation back home, in the salons of the Hôtel de Bourrienne, the brand’s headquarters. Others like Issey Miyake, a brand renowned for the memorable shows its founder staged throughout the 80s and 90s, re-embraced its old showmanship by collaborating with choreographer Daniel Ezralow for the second-consecutive season. “While the impact of last June’s Homme Plissé fashion show and performance has not changed the traditional press’ perception of the brand, the impact of this performance has been tremendous on social media,” explained Véronique Vasseur, the brand’s press relations director.

 

And it is indeed the power of social media and its impact on the performance of the collection that is the reason for this growing interest in ever-decadent runway shows. “It’s difficult to compete with the big brands when you’re a young designer,” observed Kevin Germanier. “But, at the same time, I can create a sense of anticipation, on my own level,” he added.  

 

Thus, a few hours before his collection’s presentation started, the young Swiss designer shared a preview on Instagram and was able to catch the attention of buyers and the press. “Paris is the place to be, and it is the most competitive one,” stated Yannick Aellen, co-founder of the multi-brand showroom Dach, which brings together German, Austrian, and Swiss fashion brands. However, experience shows that even without the use of social media or the staging of gargantuan shows, a designer can be successful. As long as his approach to fashion is sincere and his collections are of high quality, the word-of-mouth technique still works. This is precisely the case of one of Dach’s young designers, Julia Heuer, who was able to develop her network of professional contacts in a traditional way. The Korean designer Han Kyung-Ae and founder of the brand Re;Code was equally successful with this more conventional approach of nurturing business contacts. She presented her collection in a showroom in Paris for the very first time, and also staged a smaller presentation in Paris’ reputed L’Éclaireur boutique. Re;Code’s success, in fact, is based on a sincere approach to up-cycling. The designer uses deadstock fabrics from the textile group Kolon Industries FnC, of which she is vice-president. Re;Code embodies a design process that is entirely in-line with the quest for sustainability that many luxury brands are currently advocating. The brand has actually been working on sustainability since 2012 and, today, doesn’t feel the need to build an over-the-top set design to enthrall the fashion crowd for a mere few minutes.

SHARE
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
SIMILAR ARTICLES
How to Lose Followers
By Aarushi Saxena
Disingenuous endorsements is the number one reason why individuals unfollow influencers,...
By Aarushi Saxena
By Aarushi Saxena
Disingenuous endorsements is the number one reason why individuals unfollow influencers, according to Instagram creative firm Takumi and a study released last week by Marketing Charts, a hub for data, graphics, and research analysis. Based on a survey of 2,251 representatives in the UK, the US,...
Disingenuous endorsements is the number one reason why individuals unfollow influencers, according to Instagram creative firm Takumi and a study released last week by Marketing Charts, a hub for data, graphics, and research analysis. Based on a survey of 2,251 representatives in the UK, the US, and Germany, a significant crowd of 16- to 24-year-old consumers credit influencers for their “trendy...
The Kimono Reinvented
By Elisabeta Tudor
The kimono has always been an object of fascination. Even in Japan, where it is considered an...
By Elisabeta Tudor
By Elisabeta Tudor
The kimono has always been an object of fascination. Even in Japan, where it is considered an intangible cultural treasure, designers can’t help but put their hands on it to reinvent it and challenge traditional perception.Yoshiki Hayashi, an influential composer and musician-turned-designer, did...
The kimono has always been an object of fascination. Even in Japan, where it is considered an intangible cultural treasure, designers can’t help but put their hands on it to reinvent it and challenge traditional perception.Yoshiki Hayashi, an influential composer and musician-turned-designer, did just that during the latest week of runway shows in Tokyo. As of today, the best-selling artist –...
The Forgotten Side of Fashion
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
In our current times that are defined by social media and selfies, it is not uncommon for fashion...
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
In our current times that are defined by social media and selfies, it is not uncommon for fashion designers to solely focus on the front sides of the garments they design. Is this a reflection of our current digitally-obsessed era, or does this tendency reveal a decline of true craftsmanship?The...
In our current times that are defined by social media and selfies, it is not uncommon for fashion designers to solely focus on the front sides of the garments they design. Is this a reflection of our current digitally-obsessed era, or does this tendency reveal a decline of true craftsmanship?The contrast was striking. On September 25th, Anrealage’s Creative Director Kunihiko Morinaga chose to...
Chloé and UNICEF to Empower Young Women
By NOWFASHION
The French luxury Maison under the creative direction of Natacha Ramsay-Levi and UNICEF just...
By NOWFASHION
The French luxury Maison under the creative direction of Natacha Ramsay-Levi and UNICEF just announced a new 3-year global partnership to advance gender equality through innovative tech solutions developed with and for adolescent girls.The partnership will include support to flagship UNICEF...
The French luxury Maison under the creative direction of Natacha Ramsay-Levi and UNICEF just announced a new 3-year global partnership to advance gender equality through innovative tech solutions developed with and for adolescent girls.The partnership will include support to flagship UNICEF programming models that equip adolescent girls and young women from Bolivia, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal,...
The Show Goes on in São Paulo
By Jorge Grimberg
“Brazilian creatives have gone through a whirlwind following the dramatic political scandals of...
By Jorge Grimberg
By Jorge Grimberg
“Brazilian creatives have gone through a whirlwind following the dramatic political scandals of the past few years and throughout this scenario, SPFW has become a tool to keep the system alive,” said Paulo Borges, the CEO and founder of São Paulo Fashion Week, which will close its 48th edition on...
“Brazilian creatives have gone through a whirlwind following the dramatic political scandals of the past few years and throughout this scenario, SPFW has become a tool to keep the system alive,” said Paulo Borges, the CEO and founder of São Paulo Fashion Week, which will close its 48th edition on Friday. A visionary ahead of his time, Borges started São Paulo Fashion Week 24 years ago. The...
Shanghai: Tech and Tribal Culture
By Jing Zhang
In a swish of Balenciaga jumpers, Gucci tees, and doll-like Chinese KOLs live streaming to their...
By Jing Zhang
In a swish of Balenciaga jumpers, Gucci tees, and doll-like Chinese KOLs live streaming to their fans on their phones, Shanghai Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 is coming to a close. It was a week of sunshine, rainstorms, and blustering winds, as buyers, media, and fashionistas traversed between...
In a swish of Balenciaga jumpers, Gucci tees, and doll-like Chinese KOLs live streaming to their fans on their phones, Shanghai Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 is coming to a close. It was a week of sunshine, rainstorms, and blustering winds, as buyers, media, and fashionistas traversed between Xintiandi (home to shows on the main official schedule) and the Labelhood runway platform – this time...
How Shanghai Could Change Fashion
By Gianluca Cantaro
When you are in Shanghai, the only thing you need to worry about is always keeping your phone...
By Gianluca Cantaro
By Gianluca Cantaro
When you are in Shanghai, the only thing you need to worry about is always keeping your phone charged and connected – as everything passes through these devices, and without it you are lost. Cash no longer circulates; the QR code pays everything. This, of course, offers more control on...
When you are in Shanghai, the only thing you need to worry about is always keeping your phone charged and connected – as everything passes through these devices, and without it you are lost. Cash no longer circulates; the QR code pays everything. This, of course, offers more control on transactions and, I guess, fewer tax evasion problems (at least for shopping). This is one aspect of the...
Lindbergh Film to Premiere in Milan
By Sofia Celeste
Milan’s Fashion Film Festival will unveil “Peter Lindbergh: Women’s Stories” at Milan’s Anteo...
By Sofia Celeste
Milan’s Fashion Film Festival will unveil “Peter Lindbergh: Women’s Stories” at Milan’s Anteo Cinema on November 10th.“Engaging and intimate, this film depicts the German photographer and features Naomi Campbell, [his wife] Astrid Lindbergh, and Helga Polzin,” organizers said Tuesday.The...
Milan’s Fashion Film Festival will unveil “Peter Lindbergh: Women’s Stories” at Milan’s Anteo Cinema on November 10th.“Engaging and intimate, this film depicts the German photographer and features Naomi Campbell, [his wife] Astrid Lindbergh, and Helga Polzin,” organizers said Tuesday.The Lindbergh documentary was directed by Jean-Michel Vecchiet, who also depicted the life of Jean-Michel...