Paris Fashion Week: A Review | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Paris Fashion Week: A Review

Life& Style writer Tara Kergon handpicks the best moments from Paris Fashion Week from Dior to Givenchy

Paris fashion week, appearing at the end of fashion month, always carries the sensation and expectation of a grand finale. Carrying the weight, as well as the prestige of its reputation as the world’s style capital, there’s no room for mediocrity or repetition if it is to remain at the forefront of the fash-pack’s estimations. The biggest names show in Paris, and the most renowned journalists and fashionistas will always be in attendance, waiting to be wowed by the crème de la crème of haute couture. And personally, I’ve not been disappointed yet.


If I had to sum up Dior’s latest offering in one phrase, I would choose: my 2007 emo dreams meet high fashion. Ten years too late my teenage heart leapt as those classic red/black, pink/black stripes traipsed the catwalks layered over with net in a post punk, Avril Lavigne-esque manner, hurling me back to the days of MCR records and defiance. Couture, however, sweeps up this stomping emo and swathes her in upbeat 60s and 70s inspired outfits – leather, mesh, stripes, and denim galore give a glamorous twist to otherwise tired insouciance. De Saint Phalle, the French artist and sculptor who transformed her anger over childhood abuse into childlike monsters, was drawn from Dior’s archives to provide inspiration, resulting in reptilian prints scattered throughout. It seems London’s notably absent rebel girl has settled in Paris for the season, and, under the tutelage of Maria Grazia Chiuri, is ready to have some fun.


Structural, sheer and many-layered, Valentino’s SS18 collection found its inspiration in literature and set its sights on becoming the new moon child. It’s a slightly sideways take on futurism, but it is, during this fashion month at least, refreshing to not feel like everyone wants to leave the planet! It’s more about dressing out of this world, without the escapism of blasting into outer space. I’m in love with the lunar tones: muted beige, a grey-ish white, edges of colour always shot through or iridescent with a silver cast. And while bold, block colours feature later in the collection, they are all somewhat of the night (try deep red or top-to-toe black). Even the makeup was ethereal, as blush was carried up the cheeks and across the temples, giving a slightly alien pink flush. My biggest hit, however, is the liberal use of paillettes – beautiful across tops and dresses, but a game-changer when decorating clear rain coats.


Try as I might, I can never leave Chanel off the list of highlights. Whether it’s the sheer prestige of the brand or the fact that Lagerfeld has stepped up his game in recent years, I’m still always eagerly awaiting Chanel’s latest and then transfixed by the shows that come. This season the classic tweed, a staple heritage item for the brand, appears in pastel; watercolour tones mixed in with what I can only describe as haute couture rain wear. It seems that transparent is the new black (and not just at Chanel!), as I’m obsessed with the clear boots offset with white toes and heels, the small and chic shoulder-covering rain capes, and even their incarnation of the classic rain hat. Perhaps Lagerfeld will convince me to embrace practicality during the British summertime and finally buy a (couture) waterproof.

Classic English textiles found themselves patched together in Paris ... marched down the catwalk, finished by flouncing ruffles


A brand which has always held a special place in my heart, this collection proves it is finally recapturing some of the expressive innovation and deconstruction of its creator: Sarah Burton took inspiration from the healing properties of flowers, a side of nature often overlooked in fashion, and the result was stunning. Classic English textiles found themselves patched together in Paris – punk tweeds, mackintoshes, and floral fabrics all mixed up together in a very make-do-and-mend spirit marched down the catwalk, finished by flouncing ruffles. Avoiding what could easily have become precocious, hair was wet as if from being caught in the rain and studded or buckled ankle boots added a sensible, rebellious edge.


Perhaps I’ve seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s too many times, but I will always have a soft spot for the Givenchy LBD – and this season’s incarnation has really upped the ante. The look of the show, in my opinion, was a sheer black shirt and skirt combo printed over with black and gold lips – 2018’s LBD.  Following Tisci’s era, Claire Wright Keller’s designs seem to echo the effortlessly stylish couture of Hubert de Givenchy’s original designs. A fairly muted colour palette, interspersed with a few brights, occupied classically elegant silhouettes and classic shapes. Simple trousers, coats and dresses featured, without the need for over-the-top clashing or extraneous embellishment. This collection was one of my favourites, simply because it proves that while SS18’s vibe is far from minimalist, you don’t have to be over-adorned either.

Having tried to pin down my favourites to just five, I’ve once again found myself struggling as I always do when looking at PFW. I was also rather taken with Saint Laurent’s playful approach to shapes (and lashings of feathers) which, in my opinion, spoke to the art of fashion rather than the wearability – sometimes the creation of something unique yet un-wearable is more exciting than yet another pretty dress. Balmain continued the growing trend towards covering up, as hemlines were midi or maxi, however Rousteing didn’t keep it all to the imagination, with clear skirts and skintight leather – for the new sexy, always keep an eye on Balmain. Perhaps this overflow of stunning collections is exactly the reason why Paris remains at the forefront of style.


12th October 2017 at 9:00 am