The first fashion week of 2023 did not disappoint. The Paris couture fashion week shows were a feast for the eyes, with designers showcasing some mind-blowing and thought provoking collections. From classic Chanel to wild Schiaparelli, there was something for everyone this season. Let's take a closer look at some of the top trends and standout designs.
Chanel's show was a nod to Coco Chanel’s apartment, with large structures of the small animal figurines Coco had in her apartment. An elephant, a horse, a lion, a camel, a deer - of which the models emerged out of some of them. Of course the classic tweed suits were at the forefront but with a youthful yet retro twist. The classic tweed was adorned on coats and twin sets but summer dresses were intricately embroidered with metallic floral details. Box pleat skirts, trapeze coats all added to that somewhat 60s mod feeling. Creative director Virginie Viard made fashion goers feel like they were in Coco’s apartment as well as being in perhaps a circus with the models playing roles as ringmasters, adding playful details like bowties, and top hats.
Schiaparelli, as always, did not disappoint with their playful and whimsical designs and went forward to be the talk of Paris fashion week and the internet with its (to some) controversial fake taxidermy animal heads adorned on some of the dresses. The collection was Daniel Roseberry’s interpretation of Inferno of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The leopard, the wolf and the lion - heads of these characters were seen on three dresses from the collection. For sure these were the most talked about pieces however one must also consider the extraordinary craftsmanship seen throughout the rest of the collection. Finely silhouetted trouser suits, plunging tuxedos, and a pinstripe which had lines imitating menswear fabric. Stiff exaggerated bustiers and hourglass waisted silhouettes that echoed the Schiaparelli Shocking! Perfume bottle. “I just want it to be powerful in a different way every time.” Said Roseberry. That powerfulness was certainly achieved. Its also important to note the appearance of Kyle Jenner in ‘one of those dresses’ and Doja Cat covered in 30000 crystals - both sat front row.
While the world is going through a serious economical crisis and living the aftermath of the covid19 pandemic - fashion has always been an art form we turn to for relief. Escapism. A world away from our reality. That is exactly what Viktor and Rolf gave the world for their Paris fashion show during the couture week. Almost each look put a smile on our faces. Debutante-style dresses lopsided and upside down. The extravagance we know and love of Viktor and Rolf was articulated here in gleeful designs in cupcake and cotton candy colors. Dresses decorated with bows and crystals came down the runway askew - one almost above the models head - one to the side of her as if walking alongside each other hand in hand. Glamour, but make it fun and Instagram-able is what was on offer.
Haider Ackermann was the latest designer to have collaborated with Jean-Paul Gaultier - following from Olivier Rousteing, Glenn Martens and Chitose Abe. Ackermanns collection was a celebration of the houses long standing association with perfect tailoring. Ackermanns collection was a celebration of the houses long standing association with perfect tailoring. ‘People forget how immaculate his tailoring was. His work was magical. So I tried to go back to the pure lines, to find a calmness and moment of grace. Because I believe his work was magical.’ Ackermann excelled at his interpretation of the Jean-Paul Gaultier tailoring - the sharpness of the black trouser suits, with details of tailcoats and minimal outlines. The gowns were in a league of their own - the use of color and attention to detail highlighted that perhaps Haider Ackermann should have been doing couture before this short stint at Paris couture week.
Giambattista Valli's inspiration for his Paris couture fashion show started with images of Beverley Hills. Lots of sunshine was felt on the runway along with the yards of sugar pink, pastel blues and orange ice cream notes. A Valli show wouldn’t be a Valli show without trains, and ruffles and bows and that’s just what we were offered. A collection with something for everyone - Gen Z to the more mature woman - red carpet ready looks were served on a cupcake stand.
Valentino's collection was all about volume and drama, with models wearing oversized ruffles, billowing skirts, and chunky bows. The collection featured a mix of classic and modern styles, with some pieces nodding to the past from classic Valentino to nightclubs of the 80s while others were very much looks of our times. Valentinos use of color is also striking with the obvious use of the ‘Valentino red’ and ‘Valentino pink’ used throughout the collection predominately on the gowns. Fun pieces and ever so grown up pieces walked perfectly alongside each other to complete a breathtaking show.
Overall, the couture spring January 2023 shows in Paris were a celebration of creativity, innovation, and self-expression. With something for everyone; young or old.