Best of Paris Fashion Week

Best of Paris Fashion Week


Tricia Smith and Jennifer Wheeler enter the stylish back bar at Daroco looking like they just came off the beach in Saint Tropez. Well, except that they're in ankle boots and turtlenecks, trench coats and long sleeves.

The attitude though; it's pure relaxed satisfaction. Contented fulfillment. It's a mood that isn't necessarily native to this part of Paris Fashion Week. We're on the tail end of the week and at this stage of the game, buyers and editors tend to be exhausted, a little cranky, and sort of overwhelmed by all the schedule-packed days they've just made it through.

First two images by Jessa Carter

But this time has been different. "It's just been such a consistently good season," says Tricia, our executive vice president of women's and designer apparel. And even more than that, she tells me that the entire industry seems to have banded together in a united front.

"It's like everyone really wants to hold each other up," agrees Jennifer, vice president of women's designer apparel.

From more white bandanas to all kinds of great color, this is how it went down and these are the moments that mattered most.

Saint Laurent's Opening Intensity All remaining photos by Indigital Images

To hear our buyers tell it, Anthony Vaccarello's second Saint Laurent show was loud, passionate, and very, very strong. "I always relate YSL to parties, to evening," he told But from their point of view it was the kind of party that made the next morning seem like a good time, too.

Tricia and Jennifer can't wait to get into the showroom to see, up close, Vaccarello's rich, cozy-looking day pieces- brown leather jackets and and soft white knits, and relate them back to all that gorgeous evening wear.

Givenchy's Red-on-Red All Stars

When a house is between creative directors, as Givenchy is after Riccardo Tisci's recent departure, you just never know what the runway show will bring. Or, as it turns out, if the season will bring a show or not.

Givenchy opted out of a live presentation this March; instead showing it's novel approach to a select few insiders-our buyers included. As Tricia explained, the brand's designers went through the brand's archives and revisited favorite looks but remade them in red, or mostly red. And lucky for them, she and Jennifer managed to get there when the hall was almost empty of other visitors.

"Walking through these looks when no one else was there- it was pretty incredible," Tricia said.

Congratulating Dries

There's never been any real limit to our adoration of Dries Van Noten around here, but the designer's 100th show was a new high. In casting an all-ages team of models from throughout his career, he celebrated by showing a fall collection of deep sky tones, intricate patterning, and vibrant prints from past collections on women who seem to truly represent our world.

Stella McCartney's Dance Party

"Oh, what about Stella's dance party?," exclaims Jennifer, happily remembering the George Michael boogie that broke out as the real finale of the British designer's strong, menswear-leaning collection.

Singing loud and passionately along, the models reminded fashion that "You've gotta have faith." The collection mirrored that attitude, providing a wardrobe of modern suiting and fits with one of Jennifer and Tricia's larger take-aways: women are getting more and more-and more-comfortable wearing the pants. Gentlemanly trousers, especially in loose, '40s-cut shapes, aren't just having a moment. They've truly arrived.

Dior spreading positive vibes

Maria Grazia Chiuri is one of feminist fashion's leading voices right now. Her sentiment, "We should all be feminists" rang so true within the industry, and outside, too. And she continues to march to that beat.

She told the press that her fall collection was about and for the future of the women's movement-a sort of uniform for revolution-and Tricia and Jennifer said that the mood at the show was positively positive. Not just for women, but for the industry and the community. Like at Raf Simon's Calvin Klein debut in New York, the house handed out white bandanas in a show of solidarity.

One of the best things about hitting the Fashion Week circuit multiple times a year is the friends you make along the way. Fashion Friends we call it, and yeah, it works as a hashtag, too.

One of Tricia's #FashionFriends is Tibi designer Amy Smilovic. Amy showed her collection back in New York, but like so many other Americans she's here in Paris showing it less formally in the showroom setting.

Tricia said Amy's just brainy and magical when it comes to trends and how-to-wear innovation; in fact, she credits her with popularizing the contemporary off-the-shoulder trend. So, when she and Tricia got together earlier this week, they did more than go through the modular-like, mix-and-match collection; they broke into a spontaneous brainstorm about how to share the styling lessons of the runway with our in-store sales people.

What's next cold shoulder? Amy says corsets are the thing, but hers are banded; knit and stretchy-and, as a result of this recent hang-out, a number of them are going to be exclusive to us.

Balenciaga Goes Beyond

The Givenchy team and Dries Van Noten aren't the only designers who went into the archives this season; Demna Gvasalia did it at Balenciaga too, in honor of the house's 100th anniversary.

First came the regular collection, although of course it's anything but regular in his hands. Tricia noted how gifted the designer is at taking really directional ideas and making them feminine and elegant. She was excited by the mix of menswear fabrics and silks, and the way the hard lines around the shoulders gave way to flowing, fluttering asymmetry. The real trick and treat will be when she gets into the showroom she says; she can't wait to see how the looks can be taken apart and viewed as individual elements of an overall wardrobe.

Bonus points if that wardrobe calls for evening wear. Demna's backwards glance produced nine stunningly opulent couture dresses, remade in allegiance with Cristóbal Balenciaga's originals. Quite a statement, coming from a guy some see as fashion's leading change agent.

Chanel's Blast Off

Everybody's talking about heading for other life-supporting planets these days, and Karl Lagerfeld is ready to dress them. And get them some great handbags. Among her top moments this season, Jennifer counts the blast-off of spaceship Chanel inside the Grand Palais.

The song playing behind the rumble? "Rocket Man," by Elton John.

Alexander McQueen's History Lesson

But as some designers step into the future, others go backwards-deep into their own cultural history. Namely, Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton. Digging into the area of the United Kingdom called Cornwall (Burton, like Alexander "Lee" McQueen is British of course, but she shows in Paris), the designer mined a world of imposing stone churches and the good witches of paganism.

Her cut-out lace dresses and serious suiting were colored by woven and laced elements, fringe, and symbols. Jennifer says there was a real reverence for McQueen's historical, powerful runway, and the fashion press loves that Burton went back to the earth-back to nature, back to a primal sense of power and strength.

Maybe, after all, that's the way forward.

EXPLORE: current-season designer collections

Go where we go, see what we see. Stay up to date with all our Fashion Week coverage and shop curated collections of our favorite designers at Nordstrom's Fashion Week Central.

-Laura Cassidy

Zum Kommentieren anmelden

Follow us on