Recapping this season's looks from the catwalks of the fashion capital.
Et voilà! As we say goodbye to another hectic fashion month, stylish crowds pack away their best for another season (see you again in September!). The final stop to fashion month's global tour, Paris’ packed roster of runway shows and presentations always serves as the fashionable finale. What shows at Paris Fashion Week, well, with catwalks and collections from high-fashion houses, including Chanel, Dior and Valentino, PFW is always a monumental affair. Of course, this season was no exception.
We're recapping some of the key trends from the Parisian fashion capital. From exaggerated shoulders to full-on feathers—prepare to take notes!
Paris Fashion Week Key Themes
Masculine and Feminine
After blowing us away with several seasons of Barbicore, for autumn-winter23, Valentino turned the epitome of luxury. The Italian fashion house delivered a mash of masculine and feminine designs serving black tie couture through a somewhat punky lens. The Valentino show reimagined what black tie could be: for the daytime, the nighttime, the masculine and the feminine.
Paris Fashion Week Key Shapes
The Tailored Trench: Fix up Look Sharp
For years, the trench has been associated with chic, Parisian style, and for good reason. Several designers tried to reinvent a classic this season, from Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior to Givenchy and Hermés. But it was Balenciaga's comeback show that took centre stage. Stepping away from the performative nature of fashion, Balenciaga's celebrity-filled front rows and extremely over-the-top show settings were a thing of the past, instead making way for sharp, tailored trench coats for women (and not a logo in sight!).
Strong Shoulders: The Bolder, the Better
Fashion trends are cyclical and often go in and out of style. Once-popular styles eventually reappear—and sometimes when we least expect it. Whilst New York and London looked to the noughties for inspiration, Paris called to the 80s. From Saint Laurent to Vivienne Westoodwood, luxury fashion houses served an exaggerated silhouette, with blazers and trench coats accentuating nipped waists and strong shoulders. At Balmain, Olivier Rousteing played with multiple strong shoulder looks, incorporating them on everything from high-shine turquoise tops to form-fitting jackets. Avoiding a gimmick, PFW designers aimed for timelessness, not time travel, with these 80s-inspired looks tastefully reinvented to reflect modern needs.
Oversized Silhouettes: Go Big or Go Home
Similarly to the strong shoulder trend, oversized silhouettes took many forms in the City of Lights. Stella McCartney and Lowe tapped into the exaggerated silhouette through ankle-sweeping fur coats. Valentino sent models down the runway in OTT workwear with shirts and ties layered with tailored trench coats.
Paris Fashion Week Key Trims
Feathers: Up Up and Away
While NY often turns to literal trends, Paris Fashion Week took a more subtle approach to the feather fantasy, adding the textured trim to collars, sleeves and skirts. At Lowe, goose plumes were densely layered to create long-sleeved tops, shorts and pants. Victoria Beckham presented looks with large ostrich feathers rippling from under trench coats and pantsuits and tucked into the plunging neckline of a floor-skimming evening dress. But it was Coperini ruffled feathers with a soft head-to-toe textured mini. This trend certainly took off!
Paris Fashion Week Key Fabrics
Mad for Metallic
Following the recent passing of Paco Rabanne, the Creative director Julien Dossena paid tribute with the house’s latest collection. With Rabanne known distinctly for his space-age sequin chainmail dresses, the AW23 collection saw several iterations of the infamous dress transformed into a shiny new colour palette with gold and silver complemented by pops of metallic pastels. Some designers took the glamour up an extra notch with metallic elements; Schiaparelli incorporated crushed glass pieces, and Balenciaga created a bustier dress made with around 10,000 Swarovski crystals
Paris Fashion Week Key Colours
Black and White: Cruella Who?
While many other fashion weeks saw red, does anything feel more fashionably français than wearing high-contrast black and white? The runways were rife with the timeless colour combination. Just look to Chanel, Balmain, Louis Vuitton and Nina Ricci for 'noir et blanc' inspiration. Try the nouveau noir trend—it looks fantastic with a bold red lip.
Sweet Sorbet Shades
Paris preferred a pastel palette, unlike the fiery reds or more gothic darker looks we've seen on other catwalks. Whether you're a mint, strawberry or lemon, sorbet shades took centre stage. Designers like Victoria Beckham, Maitrepierre, and Valentino used playful colours in slip dresses and layered sets. Sometimes ruffled, sometimes sleek—this Parisian trend is super sweet.
The runways showed an abundance of pastels, from sweet lavender to icy blues. This dose of dopamine dressing is perfect for breathing new life into your wardrobe when skies are grey.
What PFW trends will you try?
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