Liz Cabral's Diary - Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week - Fall 2006 Collections. Flare's Fashion Director, Elizabeth Cabral, reports live from Paris

Paris Fashion Week – Fall 2006 Collections
Flare’s Fashion Director, Elizabeth Cabral, reports live from Paris

Sunday, March 5th

Last day of Paris Fashion Week! It’s gone by relatively quickly but I’m pooped. The buzz is that Miu Miu has moved its show from Milan to Paris this season and it’s the hardest ticket to come by. Unfortunately, none of the Canadian press get in. How sad! Oh well, I still have Lanvin and Louis Vuitton to look forward to.

The Lanvin show was held at the Opera Comique, a stunning and oh-so-French location. We were seating in gilded balconies over looking the runway. Alber Elbaz, the fashion darling, showed a lineup of beautifully simple dress, sharp le smoking inspired suits and again, bows – worn around the neck as chokers. While other designers picked up on the hyper sexed look that Elbaz first showed last season, this season, the designer himself choose to revert to a simple and sweet approach. Lovely.

The American in Paris, Marc Jacobs who is at the helm of Louis Vuitton, is always full of surprises. An innovator and never afraid of sticking to his vision, Jacobs did not disappoint. He brought out what I’m calling Luxury Grunge. I loved this show. It felt so new and fresh, and completely different than anything anyone else is doing right now. Oversized parka hoods, floppy fur hats and luxe cashmere long johns were paired with ladylike and romantic pieces, creating the new chic grunge look that I think will explode in the next season or two. Jacobs was famous for getting axed at Perry Ellis years ago when he showed his infamous grunge collection, but this time around it’s more sophisticated, rich and chic. There were ghetto-fabulous touches too, like oversized metallic bags that had Pharrell Williams drooling. He was seated beside Catherine Deneuve – that must have made for interesting conversation!

Ah, Paris Fashion Week. I’m already having croissant withdrawal.

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Mar 5 • Mar 4 Mar 3 Mar 2 Mar 1 Feb 28

Saturday, March 4th

The McQueen show kept me on a creative high all evening last night. I was so inspired, ideas where rushing through my head.

Today is the Chloe show. I’m curious to see what I will look like without Phoebe Philo in charge.

I think it’s safe to say that the fashion world misses Phoebe. The Chloe show was nice but the energy and personal style that Philo brought to the line was missing. The team-designed line featured extremely baggy pants, oversized smock-like dresses and a muted colour palette of greys.

Next is Hermès, designed by none other than Jean Paul Gaultier. A lovely show; true to the Hermès brand. JPG referenced the brands equestrian ties sending models out with tight pants tucked into riding boots and riding crops as props. Sharply tailored jackets and coats in luxury fabrics were the highlight for me.

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Mar 5 • Mar 4 • Mar 3 Mar 2 Mar 1 Feb 28

Friday, March 3rd

I’m off to Chanel this morning and it’s raining. Rain in Paris means one thing – TRAFFIC. The crowd of fashion folk had to wait their turn in the rain to get into this always anticipated show. Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley doesn’t let the rain get his style down he was shielded by the biggest Chanel umbrella ever seen.

Thankfully the show was worth the wet wait. Karl brought out a rally of models wearing looks that had a Victorian meets punk feel. Bows are big at this show too, decorating blouses and worn simply as neck pieces – even on the guys!

After getting completely drenched, I zoomed into the metro and headed over to Sonia Rykiel. Sonia is French to the core and her clothes reflect that. Models smiled down the runway wearing big floppy hats over even bigger hair and a collection of charming and feminine knits. Everything from jumpers to rosette adorned dresses. I, along with the rest of the English speaking audience, missed out on the biggest giggle of the day. On the loudspeaker, apparently was a naughty little French song that had Carine Roitfeld of French Vogue blushing and laughing her fashionista butt off. It wasn’t revolutionary but it certainly was a feel good show.

Tonight’s Alexander McQueen show was THE highlight of the entire week, if not the highlight of my fashion career. The clothes were obviously inspired by McQueen’s Scottish roots – he used that same inspiration to launch his career years ago. Breathtaking dresses and skirt suits were covered in Victorian ruffles and lace, while feather headdresses and gowns brought a fantastical country side to life.

The finishing touch though was the finale. Through a glass pyramid a puff of smoke morphed into a highly technical and awesome hologram of none other than Kate Moss. In a video are directed by McQueen himself, Moss floated in a billowing ruffled gown, eventually dissolving into nothing more than a brilliant white dot. McQueen came out to a standing ovation. That show was the talk of Fashion Week. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!

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Mar 5 Mar 4 • Mar 3 • Mar 2 Mar 1 Feb 28

Thursday, March 2nd

Stella McCartney was the first show today. She mixed it up this season with a new venue showing at the historic Grand Hotel, where they held haute couture shows “back in the day”. While the location was beautiful, the collection was a disappointment. Conservative and boring, Stella seems to have lost her groove this season. What happened to the fun, girl-about-town look she invented?

The highlight of the day was YSL. I felt like I was stepping into a pink dream. From the walls to the runway to the chairs everything was the perfect shade of pink. Just the right contrast to what turned out to be a slick and powerful collection. Evolving from the ruffles and overly feminine looks that have made YSL a fashion favourite, creative director Stefano Pilati showed clothes that had strength and graphic shapes reminiscent of the power look of the eighties. But of course he through in cheeky touches like oversized fur bows at the neck. Brilliant.

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Mar 5 Mar 4 Mar 3 • Mar 2 • Mar 1 Feb 28

Wednesday, March 1st

Well, Jean Paul Gaultier did not disappoint yesterday. With an eerie “Sleepy Hollow” vibe, models showed beautifully voluminous coats and lush velvet dresses synonymous with JPG. The spotlight however, went to the dogs. Literally! Models had the challenge of strutting their stuff with some furry friends in tow. From poodles in corsets to a mysterious white owl.

Running across town I just barely made it to Issey Miyake – Paris rush hour can be quite a ride. After that it was off to Costume National at the Musee de L’Homme. The show was nice – nobody does a fitted silhouette like Enio at CN – but what took my breath away was the view of the Eiffel tower from that building. Just before the flashy light show came on and just when the sky was the perfect shade of indigo blue – a colour I’m now feeling inspired to wear this winter instead of black. A sight to be seen.

This first day of March I jetted off to Paco Rabanne. Now at the helm of industry darling Patrick Robinson. It was a fabulous show. On only his third season, he’s really come into his own at the legendry label. His wife Virginia, Market Director at fashion bible Vogue, was in the audience along with the rest of the Vogue masthead. I wonder what it’s like for her to watch her husband’s show along with her colleagues, who happen to be the most critical audience in fashion? What if they don’t like it?

I just had tea and chocolate soufflé with Dries Van Noten! Well, not really with him, but rather at his show, where they served the delicious treats. A personal favourite of mine, I always look forward to the Dries Van Noten show. A large velvet curtain was lifted to reveal a runway of gold; literally, the result was a stunning backdrop to beautiful clothes – great coats with bow details, loosely constructed pant suits and a few signature Dries Van Noten prints.

After that I rushed to the Rochas show at the Espace Ephemère Tuileries. Olivier Thyskens presented an impeccable collection of refined pant suits and dresses. His inspiration was chimney sweeps, which was obvious in the grey and black sooty colour palette.

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Mar 5 Mar 4 Mar 3 Mar 2 • Mar 1 • Feb 28

Tuesday, February 28th

It’s hard to believe that I’m back in Paris already for the fall/winter ’06 shows. Sure gets your head spinning – it’s winter ’05 outside, we just finished photographing our May ’05 issue and now I’m looking at fall ’06.

I’ve been here two days and it has been fairly quiet. Yohji Yamamoto was my first show. I was still jet-lagged but I could instantly tell he had returned to his roots with unstructured, oversized menswear style pieces in heavy flannel like fabrics. A melancholy soundtrack suited the dark colour palette.

It’s cold and rainy here but still enchanting. I’ve been to Paris many times but each visit I find a breathtaking street or view I’d never noticed before. Being here is instantly inspiring.

Just waiting at Jean Paul Gaultier – finally a seat this season. I won’t have to elbow my way through the standing crowd. This is always one of my favourite shows – I’m sure Jean Paul won’t disappoint.

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Mar 5 Mar 4 Mar 3 Mar 2 Mar 1 • Feb 28
Check out…
> Lisa Tant’s New York Fashion Week Diary
> Tammy Palmer’s Milan Fashion Week Diary