So far, labels like Officine Generale, Marine Serre, Dior, Louis Vuitton have sprinkled their magic over the French capital.
Officine Generale brings to life the French dream
Contemporary French label Officine Generale took to a grand, column-lined courtyard in the historic Marais district of Paris for its latest collection of classic tailored designs for men and women, sending crisp poplin shirts and relaxed, pleated trousers with matching blazers down a cobblestone runway. Models marched in a straight line as a breeze tugged at the looser styles, blowing the tails of silk scarves into the air and adding drama to the evening show.
“I think when you put on a pair of white jeans with a black sweater and pair of sandals, you might perhaps be closer to the French dream than some of the extravagance we see,” designer Pierre Maheo told Reuters, describing his approach to fashion. “You can’t just have things that are all over the place on the podium.”
Founded by Maheo a decade ago, the label has been quietly building up a loyal following and has recently joined a wave of French brands opening stores in the United States, including Ami, which held a show at the foot of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica earlier this week.
In contrast with the celebrity-packed shows from blockbuster labels like Louis Vuitton — which flew in a marching band from Florida to perform at the Louvre – Officine Generale is one of the regulars on the Paris Fashion Week calendar known for more intimate crowds.
Marine Serre stretches style
Unlike Officine Generale, French label Marine Serre sent athletes and artists to stroll a track field runway on Saturday evening, showcasing a sport-inspired wardrobe infused with artistic references in an all-ages, open-to-the-public fashion show. Like Olympic opening ceremonies, delegations succeeded one another.
First up was a squad of male and female models in recycled fiber swimwear that melded to the body, framing the curves. Then came a collection of upcycled denim silhouettes with crisp patchwork. Adding color, was a series in pink, including a Chanel-like twinset—but made with towel material.
Lourdes Leon, 25, Madonna’s oldest child, sashayed down the athletic field in a crescent-moon print catsuit, piled with gilded jewellery. Ex-Liverpool striker Djibril Cissé, 40, soccer ball in hand, wore a floral shirt and short set, while French actor Joey Starr, 54, strutted along in leather pants paired with a jewel print zip-up jacket.
In addition to the usual fashion-industry guests – clients, journalists and influencers – 900 tickets were handed out online, reservations granted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets sold out in seconds.
“It is crucially important for Marine Serre to be truly inclusive, guaranteeing that our designs and experiences are accessible to all”, the label said in show notes handed to the media. “What a crazy opportunity — a beautiful gift — she has offered us,” said plastic arts student, Carolina Bourassi, 20. “It would be nice if other brands did the same. It is not like on YouTube or Instagram,” she added.
Following the show, guests were offered drinks to celebrate the label’s sixth anniversary and take part in an open-air party.
Dior sends male models down bucolic garden
Dior transported its audience to a seaside garden between Normandy and Sussex on Friday for its latest menswear collection, aristo-chic with a utilitarian flair. A-lister celebrities including supermodel Naomi Campbell, Hollywood couple Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, ex-soccer star David Beckham, and rival designers Olivier Rousteing of Balmain and Matthew Williams from Givenchy, sat on real grass, along with the rest of the guests, surrounded by wildflowers.
Dior menswear artistic director Kim Jones set up the runway in a makeshift space in central Paris for the show during Men’s Fashion Week. The catwalk was transformed into a lawn of purple, orange, and pink flowers, with a blue-sky painted panorama and a life-size reproduction of Christian Dior’s pink house in Normandy. It was faced by a reproduction of a country house once frequented by the Bloomsbury Group, a British collective of writers, intellectuals and artists in the early 20th century that are often cited by Jones as an influence.
The first model kicked off the show in a monochromatic look that married a beige suit with very sporty backpack — illustrating Jones’ style of blending sharp tailoring with streetwear. Others followed in pale blue destructured gardening clothes, as well as double-breasted jackets paired with pleated Bermuda shorts or wide-leg pants. The artwork of Bloomsbury painter Duncan Grant was reproduced on knitted sweaters and technical fabrics.
More for style than sun protection, some models paraded with cannage hats, an openwork grid pattern favoured by Christian Dior that was also found on padded long coats in blue and khaki green.
Louis Vuitton brings Florida to France
Louis Vuitton cranked up the volume at Paris Fashion Week Thursday, spiriting Florida’s famous Marching 100 band into the heart of the Louvre to kick off a show for its latest lineup of colourful menswear styles — in honor of the label’s popular, late designer Virgil Abloh. “Virgil, long live Virgil,” rapper Kendrick Lamar intoned, seated next to model Naomi Campbell on a bright yellow runway — a blown-up toy racetrack that wound around a cobblestoned courtyard with a fountain running in the center.
Performers from the Florida A&M University band twirled flags to the fanfare of the brass instruments, breaking out into dance moves before marching off the runway in formation, clearing the way for the models. For the spring-summer collection, the fashion house’s men’s studio drew on Abloh’s signature tailoring, sending out elongated suits in pastels, jackets covered with wildflower prints or embellishments like paper airplane shapes and dangling patches in the form of scissors. There were twisted, psychedelic biker jackets, fringed jean jackets, knit hats and shirts with jagged edges worn with loose, Bermuda shorts.
At the end of the show, models carried out a lightweight strip of pastel rainbow fabric, recalling Abloh’s first Paris show for the label in 2018 which he held on a rainbow runway, symbolizing his approach to diversity. Abloh, fashion’s highest-profile Black designer, died last year at age 41 after a battle with cancer.
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