Paris Fashion Week kicked off on Monday, Feb. 27, continuing its long haul of runway shows, presentations and events until Tuesday, March 7.
Christian Dior debuted its fall winter ’23 collection on Tuesday, March 28 as the first major brand runway show of the week, with thick crowds of spectators surrounding the Place de la Concorde entrance to the Tuileries Garden. Inside, a dreamlike set showcased a très-français collection of 1950s-inspired looks.
Later on in the week, Balenciaga will present its first runway show since the controversy unfolded surrounding two of its 2022 ad campaigns.
Below, a rundown of all the runway and footwear moments from Paris Fashion Week’s fall winter ’23 season.
Stella McCartney brings out the horses
The designer wanted to pay homage to love, more specifically that of mothers, daughters and sisters. She did so by holding her fall winter ’23 runway show at the historic Manège de l’École Militaire, France’s oldest riding school. There, McCartney brought real, live ponies provided by renowned horse whisperer and rescuer Jean-Francois Pignon. It was a nod to her mother Linda, who was a frequent rider (“I would travel only by horse, if I had the choice,” was a quote from the late photographer listed by daughter in the show notes).
Amidst the ponies, models wore over-the-knee riding boots accented with brand’s well known Falabella chain detailing, paired with the hit bags. They were worn with double-breasted, fully lined coats, scarves and cape sweaters in a hairy yarn feature a jacquard inspired by the earthy tones of Stella’s first horse, Harmony.
The collection was not without its notes on sustainability, of course. Overall, the collection was made from 89% responsible materials, making it McCartney’s most conscious winter collection ever. New handbags were made with Mirum – a plant-based, plastic-free and circular alternative to animal leather, while S-Wave and Frayme bags were rendered in crocodile-effect AppleSkin, made using apple waste from the food industry, alongside the inaugural Frayme Mylo mycelium-based bag in white.
Valentino redefines black tie
The legacy of Valentino Garavani and his namesake label is evening wear — the kind of fantastical, breathtaking garments that exude the height of glamour and luxury. For the brand’s fall winter ’23 collection, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli looked at the masculine version of evening wear — the black tie tuxedo — to invert those codes of glamour and femininity. Literal black ties were paired with everything from mini skirts to feather coats, giving evening wear a more casual and even gritty touch. Gowns were accented with monochrome versions and leather helped to give a bit of daytime to the collection.
On foot, feather heels balanced the masculine looks while black leather combat boots tempered the minis. The Rockstud also made an appearance, particularly in a black-and-white checked pump.
NMG honors Brunello Cucinelli, Jonathan Anderson and Amina Muaddi
With the glittering Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, Neiman Marcus Group honored three of fashion’s star designers — Brunello Cucinelli, Jonathan Anderson and Amina Muaddi — on Sunday evening at La Suite Giraffe. The event, hosted by Neiman Marcus Group CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck, brought together past and current award recipients as well as guests like Ashley Park, Lori Harvey, Rick Owens, Sabrina Elba and more. Cucinelli was honored for distinguished service in the field of fashion, while Anderson, creative director of Loewe, was feted with the award for creative impact — and Muaddi, FN’s 2022 designer of the year, was recognized for innovation.
Alexander McQueen returns to Paris Fashion Week with sharp, masculine tailoring and moto boots
After three years and a handful of seasons either virtual or traveling, Alexander McQueen made its return to Paris Fashion Week, with a collection of ultra-sharp tailoring that made the rest of the season’s stoic uniforms seem a little more dull. Creative director Sarah Burton explored cross-gender moments, creating corsets out of masculine moto and denim materials and details (another was also styled over a menswear white tailored shirt and black tie), putting both men and women in the same sharp-shoulder, double-breasted suiting and exploring other shoulder shapes in all-gender garments (leather and khaki trenches), overcoats and full-skirted anoraks.
Evening wear went dramatic in volume, using the same angular corset to a higher neck —nearly covering the face — on a strapless gown with a high-low bubble hem, while embellished
On foot, moto boots with buckles and thick silver zippers were left unzipped in the middle for an undone look.
NYC brand Larroudé makes major debut at Galleries Lafayette
One of the most-talked-about brands at Paris Fashion Week? New York-based Larroudé. During a challenging time for independent shoe designers, the label — founded by former Barneys Fashion Director Marina Larroudé and her husband Riccardo — continues to stand out, thanks to its high-fashion design sensibility and accessible price point. Now Larroudé is making a major expansion into the Paris market through its new partnership with Galleries Lafayette. The pair celebrated with a stylist PFW dinner over the weekend, bringing together model Brooks Nader, influencer Charlotte Groeneveld, designer Jonathan Cohen and more big names. Larroudé said being stocked at Galleries Lafayette is a “dream come true.”
Andreas Kronthaler pays homage to Vivienne Westwood in the brand’s first collection since the designer’s death
Husband, longtime collaborator and creative director of both Vivienne Westwood the label and the person, Andreas Kronthaler’s fall winter ’23 collection for the brand was a fitting tribute to his late wife. The Saturday show at Paris Fashion Week was the first since Westwood’s death in late December, and plenty of the designer’s fans showed up to honor her, including Halsey, Jared Leto, Julia Fox and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Another round of platforms kept the designer’s punk spirit alive, especially with cropped jackets, petticoat skirts and floral quilt robe coats, with fabric that came from the couples’ own textile collection. There was also a collaboration with Ugg on a series of sheepskin shoes.
Harris Reed makes a splashy Nina Ricci debut
After much anticipation, newly minted Nina Ricci creative director Harris Reed made his Paris Fashion Week debut with the brand’s fall winter ’23, living up to the hype with a colorful collection that pulled in some of the elements Reed has put forth on the red carpet recently (Shania Twain, anyone?), using a black-and-white-striped motif on faux fur coats and sequined gowns with tulle skirts and panniers. Elsewhere, a series of colorful suiting showcased a retro ’70s silhouette with wide lapels and bell bottoms — now a recognizable Reed signature.
While other designers may be looking to stilettos and pointy toes, Reed stayed with that platform trend, giving them even more height and gigantic bows for one of the more memorable shoes of the week.
A show of force from seven brave Ukrainian designers
It was difficult for Alina Kachorovska to leave Kyiv and embark on the 30-hour journey to Paris last week. For the past year, she, her husband and three children have navigated the deep impact of Russia’s war with Ukraine, retreating to bomb shelters at least once a week. But through it all, she has been determined to keep her family’s shoe business going. And so the designer joined six other Ukrainian talents to showcase their fall ’23 collections at Paris Fashion Week. The designers are in Paris with the support of USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine — the effort is being led by former Zappos and Vivienne Westwood executive Jennifer Sidary. Kachorovska said she continues to focus on the combination of fashion and comfort in her collection, which included Western-inspired pointed-toe boots, ballet flats and Mary Janes.
Roger Vivier’s Gherardo Felloni unveils Oscar-worthy accessories
Five years into his stint as Roger Vivier’s creative director, Gherardo Felloni is ready to outfit women in accessories from head to toe. The designer introduced several categories at the brand’s Paris Fashion Week Presentation, including hats, gloves and belts to round out the shoes, bags and jewelries the house is known for.
“I tried to make a real silhouette just with accessories,” said Felloni, who looked back at the couture presentations of the 1950s to guide his vision this season. He also was inspired by Mr. Vivier’s game-changing designs during the New Look and Belle du Jour eras. “Roger Vivier changed the silhouettes of women at least two times with accessories, and it’s a homage to that kind of feeling and heritage,” Felloni told FN.
Christian Louboutin fetes 30 years of the famed red sole
The designer’s Paris Fashion Week presentations are typically over-the-top affairs, but this season was extra special for one big reason: The iconic red sole turned 30. To celebrate, Louboutin staged a dance show at Opéra Comique, one of the oldest, and best known, musical theaters in France.
The designer, who’s always been deeply inspired by the arts and dance in particular, tapped choreographer Sadeck Berrabah to put on a synchronized dance show. There were 50 featured dancers, clad in black and white, to perform a series of intricate dance moves with their bodies and hands. The reflective stage created an optical illusion of intricate red soles, a fitting way to mark the milestone.
Afterwards, guests like “Emily in Paris” star Ashley Park and star stylist Law Roach congratulated the designer and mingled in the opulent space.
Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson keeps everyone on their toes
After a surrealist floral-filled spring ’23 collection, Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson once again pivoted to new ideas with a pared-down collection for fall winter ’23 that continued to explore new shapes — especially in footwear and accessories — and redefine minimalism in this fashion era.
There were no egg heels or nail polish sandals this time around, but there was one novelty heel in crystal and something resembling horse hair — almost like a makeup brush on a block heel. There was also a series of loafers with fuzzy texture had a curved heel that made the staple shoe look completely new and a bit more feminine, despite the utilitarian feel of them. Super-slouchy soft leather boots were one of the collection’s more buzzy social media moments. Other shoes (lace-ups, loafers, boots) had a slightly rounded heel, cartoonish but otherwise serious in the color palette and traditional leather construction.
Schiaparelli expands on its sculpted toe boots in first ready-to-wear runway show
For all of the buzz it has created in the last few years, it’s hard to believe that Thursday marked Schiaparelli’s first ready-to-wear runway show since creative director Daniel Roseberry helped to revive the avant-garde label.
Roseberry kept the surrealist house codes clear but added a new color palette that included shades of brown and cream, the latter of which was added to toe-sculpted boots that offered another point of view on the popular golden toes and anatomy details of the brand.
He also added new accessories, building upon the successes of items such as the classic Face Bag. This season, there is also the Schiap, a trapunto baguette that refers to the label’s 1937 fragrance, Shocking.
For jewelry, there were gilded lilies and oyster shells, plus oversized keyhold door knocker earrings and hammered-gold cuffs done with inlaid shearling and enamel padlocks. The anatomy pieces were also still there, matching the golden toes.
“So often in this town (and in this industry), the product becomes less creative the higher you go. But Elsa gives us permission—and a road map—to imagine what it means to be fearlessly chic, to trust our instincts,” Roseberry said in the show notes.
Chloé introduces new Raina rainboot; continues to update line for positive social impact and lowering environmental impact
Creative director Gabriela Hearst may have had antiquities on the brain when it came to artistic inspiration (the designer was inspired by Renaissance architecture, the works of Italian baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi (known as one of the most progressive painters of her generation in the early 17th century) and the Old Testament Book of Esther.
But it was a long list in the show’s notes, of updates on environmental and social impact, that show Hearst’s vision is firmly rooted in the future.
There were a multitude of fair trade programs highlighted for ready-to-wear, handbags and accessories, plus updates on the brand’s environmental impact goals, which include ensuring that 90% of the shoe SKUs are lower-impact (95% of the shoe leather offer is sourced from LWG-certified tanneries). The collection introduced the new Raina rain boot, for which Chloé partnered with ACBC, a producut development firm specializing in sustainabilty to create the footwear that is made from Bio-based TPU, which reduces greenhouse gas emission, water usage and overall weight of the product.
Off-White goes to the moon and back
When Ibrahim Kamara was studying at Central Saint Martins, he worked on a project entitled “2026,” which explored what black masculinity could look like 10 years in the future. It was exhibited at Somerset House as part of the show “Utopian Voices Here and Now.”
The British stylist’s past interests and focus can be clearly viewed in his fall winter ’23 collection for Off-White, his sophomore women’s collection since assuming the role of art and image director of the brand after the death of Virgil Abloh.
Titled “Lunar Delivery,” Kamara created a collection that was inspired by creating new worlds, and looks balanced current trends with futuristic, galactic looks. Graduated silver grommet details on coats, dresses, skirts and kilts were polished with opaque hosiery and a variety of footwear, from explorer-ready sneakers and hiking boots to a series of boots and mules decked out with maps. Other boots and heels had either strong square toes (some accented at the tip with metallic detailing), others had a pointed platform toe.
Dries Van Noten keeps the platform in a materials-focused collection
Belgian designer Dries Van Noten is known for his exploration and integration of different materials and a variety of prints and motifs (they don’t call him the mix master for nothing). But for fall winter ’23, the designer explored a quieter version of this, focusing on the relationship between wearer and materials, with a mix of strong tailoring (including outerwear) and delicate embellished layers focused on mesh.
Van Noten furthered balanced this mix by anchoring the looks in chunky platform boots and sling back flatforms — styles he has used many times over the years — and patent leather and brocade.
Balmain looks to the past for avant-garde shapes and a new direction
No one does a Paris Fashion Week spectacle like Olivier Rousteing. The Balmain creative director has explored the idea of a consumer-directed fashion festival format for the past few seasons, offering the public tickets to shows that go above and beyond the average industry-focused defilé. But for the fall winter ’23 collection, the designer toned it way down, not just in going with a smaller audience and venue, but in the collection itself.
Retro shapes and colors dominated the collection, from asymmetrical wide-lapel tuxedo jackets to pussy bow tops and off-the-shoulder wrap tops, all with a vaguely late ’70s, early ’80s couture influence. Rousteing’s flair for embellishment was still there, especially in pearls, but on the retro shapes it had a different feel. Footwear was simple but also elegantly retro; many pumps in velvet with simple strass detailing or patent pumps with high vamps.
“We’re aiming to steer clear of any fashion-week hyperbole and, instead, we’re shining the spotlight directly upon the enduring power and singular sustainability of timeless designs created by Paris’ finest artisans,” Rousteing said in the collection’s show notes.
Paco Rabanne pays homage to its revolutionary founder
In the first runway show since the February death of Spanish-French designer Paco Rabanne, the label’s creative director Julien Dossena put forth a collection that paid homage to its founder in all sorts of ways. There were the expected metal mesh and chainmail mini dresses, skirts, tops and bags, but Dossena also explored the material in a swingy, feather-like shape of the metal. One series of gowns featured art work by Salvador Dalí (in partnership with the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí), including “The Shades of Night Descending” (1931) and “Sun-Table” (1935), while another grouping of citrus and lavender ruched gowns in metallic jersey came with jeweled hardware elements on the breastplate.
Second skin leather boots had reflective wedges on them and the swingy long skirts were paired with bejeweled thong sandals, while a series of silver pointy-toed flats harkened back to Rabanne’s swinging sixties start. A new retro sneaker was paired with fuzzy trousers and cropped sweaters and overcoats and even a tinsel-like gown.
Christian Dior pays homage to Miss Dior
The French luxury house had its usual gauntlet of crowds outside its show at the Tuileries Garden, where they paid homage to Catherine Dior, Christian Dior’s sister and a French resistance fighter during World War II who was captured by the Gestapo, tortured and held at a military prison until 1945. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honour — and then spent the rest of her life as a florist, also working in perfumes as a flower farmer in Provence (the brand’s Miss Dior fragrance is said to be named after her). Creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri put forth plenty of New Look silhouettes and vintage accessories: leather opera gloves, jaunty hats and delicate socks with inverted heel and ankle strap embossed pumps — plus a few flower crowns, naturally.
Saint Laurent goes shoulder to shoulder, stiletto to stiletto
The brand transformed its usual Jardins du Trocadero venue into a replica of the ballroom at the Intercontinental Hotel, where Yves Saint Laurent presented all of its haute couture collections between 1975 and 2001. There were bronze chandeliers in a black box setting, where models strutted a ’70s-style green carpeted runway in jackets with oversized shoulders. On foot, stiletto sling backs abounded — no surprise, given creative director Anthony Vaccarello’s preference for the heel, and the style’s impending comeback elsewhere.