Home Arts & Leisure Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Balmain designer’s anniversary, Hermes in a hangar, YSL goes to Eiffel Tower, Dior chooses color

PARIS —  French fashion house Balmain celebrated the 10th anniversary of creative director Olivier Rousteing’s tenure with a catwalk show featuring a host of celebrity models including Naomi Campbell, former French First Lady Carla Bruni, Milla Jovovich and Natalia Vodianova.

Models strutted down the stage of a packed music hall on the Seine River in deconstructed garments slit to show patches of bare skin, draped with chains and layered with bold-shouldered jackets or trench coats that swept the floor.

At the end of the show, the designer took his bow before the cheering crowd, flanked by over a dozen models wearing fanciful dresses coated in sequins.

The label hosted thousands of fans at the hall for a two-day festival that included performances from Jesse Jo Stark, Doja Cat and Franz Ferdinand.

The French capital is hosting the final stretch of a month of global industry events, which have marked the return of splashy launch parties and celebrity-packed runway shows to New York, London and Milan.

Most luxury houses put their in-person shows — mainstays of the annual fashion calendar — on pause during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With infection rates slowing and restrictions easing in Europe, dozens of labels have been holding in-person fashion shows throughout the fashion week, which runs through Oct. 5.

Showgoers at the Balmain festival could buy food and drinks as well as branded merchandise including sneakers priced at 850 euros ($986) and bags of hair cosmetics.

French luxury group Hermes International (HRMS.PA) shuttled the fashion press to an airport on the outskirts of Paris for its spring ready-to-wear catwalk show, sending fitted leather crop tops, silky dresses and relaxed trousers down a circular catwalk set up in a hangar.

Robot cameras whizzed around the runway and dropped from the ceiling, filming the models as they marched past the audience seated on a platform at the center of the space.

Hermes women’s ready-to-wear creative director Nadege Vanhee-Cybulki added modern touches to her feminine silhouettes, with paper-bag waists on long skirts and trousers.

In a nod to the house’s tradition as a saddlery maker, tops and jackets were embellished with discrete leather buckles and studs, while yellow jackets in leather brightened the muted palette of neutral colors.

For the finale, the bronze-hued panels serving as a backdrop rolled to the side, offering an open view on the runway of the Bourget airport, a hub for private jets.

The models lined up and were facing the audience when an airplane landed.

French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent returned to the runway for an in-person fashion show under the Eiffel Tower on Tuesday, sending models down a catwalk after dusk with the glittering monument as a backdrop.

For the first show of the Kering-owned label on its home turf in over a year and a half, Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello drew up a lineup of skin tight bodysuits and sharply tailored eveningwear, bringing extra glamor to Paris Fashion Week.

Bare-backed models with chunky, gold bracelets strode on spiky-heeled shoes in front of a wall of strobe lights, which erupted into a waterfall for the finale, whipping up spray and wind that sent guests in the front row ducking for protection.

At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic last year, the brand exited the official calendar of Paris fashion shows and set off on its own schedule, taking its audience to remote settings through the screen, filming models on steep sand dunes in one instance, and in a barren Arctic setting with looming icebergs for another.

Christian Dior showcased a burst of colorful 1960s- and 1970s-flavored mini dresses as crowds returned to its hometown show at the Paris fashion week.

Guests showing health passes on their mobile phones had their temperatures checked and were waved in by guards at the marquee sited in the Tuileries Gardens where onlookers gathered to watch the stream of arrivals, which included K-pop star Jisoo.

“During the pandemic crisis, we did a lot of film video. I think it’s not the same, I think it’s completely different because fashion is something that you do on a stage,” Maria Grazia Chiuri, womenswear designer for the LVMH-owned label, said in an interview.

The designer drew on the house’s collections under the creative leadership of Marc Bohan, who was known for modernizing styles by loosening silhouettes in the 1960s and 1970s. Ms. Chiuri swapped Dior’s signature cinched Bar jackets for short, boxy cuts, rounding the shoulders and pairing them with miniskirts and bermuda shorts. She wove in technical fabrics like scuba material, which added a sporty flair to the lineup of color-blocked looks matching tailored coats with dresses.

“I bring this reference in the silhouette, in the bold color and also it’s very graphic,” said Ms. Chiuri.

The designer retooled go-go boots and low-heeled Mary Janes from the era, offering them in hot pink and bright orange, with laces and white, rubber soles.

Patterns included neon leopard prints and pastel camouflage as well as animal images that were blown up and applied with embroidery techniques. Logos were stamped on the backs of silky boxing uniforms in emerald green and electric blue.

Models in bouncing pony-tails circled round a runway set resembling a board game, decorated with artwork from Rome-based artist Anna Paparatti that broadcast messages infused with irony, like “The game of nonsense.”

“The essence of fashion is also a game, people use clothes to perform in, to describe themselves, to be fun,” said Ms. Chiuri. — Reuters