1. Chanel: There are fashion shows and then there’s a theatrical spectacle. Few houses mount those as well as Chanel. Today, the Grand Palais (built for the Paris Expo at the turn of the 20th century) was filled with giant white lacquered shells, coral, fish and flowing seaweed. Lagerfeld’s spring collection riffed on the theme with playful touches including waves of ruffles, seashell appliques and footwear heels shaped like mollusks or coral twigs. Quite simply, it was the most outstanding show of the season. He thought of everything – even placing Florence Welch in a shell (like Venus). Brilliant.
2. Showroom Visits: Every season, I pick a handful of showrooms to visit to take a closer look at the collection. This season, I’ve toured the CFDA (USA) and BFA (Britain) designer showcases plus those for Nicholas Kirkwood. A highlight today was visiting Yves Saint Laurent’s showroom to take in the couture-influenced silhouettes and those covetable gold-trimmed shoes. It’s a privilege to be able to inspect the pieces – I always turn them inside out – to appreciate the craftsmanship.
3. Balenciaga: Paris Fashion Week isn’t complete with a visit to rue Cassette to check out Nicolas Ghesquiere’s work for Balenciaga. He’s such an innovative thinker and that comes through in his fabric choices – double-faced silk shantung, bonded leathers and stretch knits. Today I had a closer look at his new handbag line – each one comes with two different straps for wearing options. Hits of the season? A linen denim jacket bonded with leather that was inspired by a vintage soccer ball, and the new high-waisted Balenciaga jean. I’m sure the knockoff manufacturers are already in overdrive.
4. Lace: What can I say? I’m a sucker for lace. And Valentino was packed with it today. Just about every frock and gown was cut from it. But what I really loved about the collection was that the majority of these pretty delicacies were worn with FLATS – slippers or strappy sandals. Could this finally mean that we may have options for evening wear that don’t involve a 5 inch heel? Here’s hoping this trend grows like wildfire.
5. Revivals: I’m always encouraged when a storied label prepares for a comeback. Trouble is, many have stumbled right out of the gates – Halston and Emanuel Ungaro come to mind. That wasn’t the case with Paco Rabanne and their new creative director, Manish Arora. His debut collection was a clever mix of classic Rabanne and Star Trek and a hit of Lady Gaga. She should be wearing this collection, not Mugler.