Since the 16th century, Paris has reigned as the fashion capital of the world. A city of haute couture, renowned ateliers and the home to legendary designers like Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Dior—is there any wonder why Paris Fashion Week is a global spectacle? The biannual affair has yielded unforgettable moments, and despite a spike in coronavirus cases and murmurs of cancelled events, the final leg of the fashion tour will still be taking place from the 28th September to 6th October.
The upcoming event will entail a mix of live and physical events, and after already hosting two digital-only fashion weeks in July, Paris is a seasoned pro at the new hybrid format. Although many brands have opted for physical showcases, some have chosen to embrace the foray into the digital. The Fédération de la Haute Couture, the organisational body behind the event, has reinforced their digital platform to host videos and a wide range of editorial content, which will act as a support for brands. In light of ongoing restrictions and travel bans, international press and buyers will also be relying on digital tools, which may entail scheduled zoom appointments and virtual showrooms, arranged in accordance with designers.
One of the most legendary Parisian fashion houses, Louis Vuitton has announced plans to host two live shows to accommodate 400 people on the closing day of PFW. Nicolas Ghesquiere has reigned as womenswear creative director since 2013, and with good reason too. The French designer is renowned for his innovative and futuristic vision, which lends a breath of fresh air to the heritage brand. Ghesquiere is responsible for some ambitious collaborations, including one with World of Warcraft, in tune with the growing amalgamation of fashion and gaming. He has also staged some of the most memorable shows in the last few years, like Louis Vuitton’s Cruise collection in Brazil, which featured a bright red twisting pathway around the Oscar Niemeyer-designed Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Niterói.
Another LVMH-owned fashion powerhouse, Givenchy is also set to present a digital showcase. Following Clare Waight Keller’s departure, Matthew M. Williams’ appointment has been met with much anticipation, considering it is his first time leading a major luxury fashion house. The young designer will be making his debut for the French fashion brand through our screens, with plans to stage his first physical show next season. William’s appointment suggests a dramatic new direction for the LVMH-owned brand, and following the global success of his independent label Alyx—we can’t wait to see the direction Givenchy will be going in.
Last but not least, Chanel is also planning to host a physical show, and we must admit—we’re delighted. Chanel’s PFW backdrops have consistently delivered, from replica train stations to supermarkets, airports to merry-go-rounds. Plenty of these ambitious settings were delivered by the late Karl Lagerfeld, during his tenure at Chanel. And his successor, Virginie Viard, is no stranger to iconic show sets either, having transformed the Grand Palais into Coco Chanel's iconic mirrored Parisian apartment, an expansive library, a Beaux-Arts style train station, and a Parisian rooftop. Although admittedly more understated than some of Lagerfeld's elaborate designs, the artistic director has the fashion world wrapped around her finger as she continues to develop her vision for Chanel and carve her own legacy.
Once again, fashion designers have proved to us that their creativity does not only lend to their impeccable designs but can also adapt to unprecedented times and unforeseen circumstances. As the last stop on the fashion tour, Paris is the home to big names in the industry and lucky for us, the large majority have opted to go ahead with showcases and delight us with their newest collections. Whether it will be physical or digital, we’re ready to be inspired and plan our summer wishlist.