Change is afoot at Paris Fashion Week. In a first, the official schedule this season will kick off on Monday night instead of Tuesday, with the Jacquemus show and after-party. New creative directors at four major houses - Chloé, Givenchy, Lanvin and Carven - will make their runway debuts. And the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode is introducing several international designers to its lineup, most notably Thom Browne and Joseph Altuzarra of New York. Read on to see our predictions of the week's highlights.
When it comes to big names, Paris packs a punch like no other. This season marks Maria Grazia Chiuri and Anthony Vacarello’s one-year anniversary at Dior and Saint Laurent, respectively. (A tribute will also be in order at Saint Laurent following the passing of co-founder Pierre Bergé earlier this month.) Elsewhere, expectations will be running high at Comme des Garçons, which has attracted a legion of new fans since this year’s solo exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And while Demna Gvasalia’s own label, Vetements, is not showing on the schedule, he will be presenting his radical brand of couture-influenced streetwear at Balenciaga. And not to be missed, of course, is Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, Phoebe Philo at Céline, Nicolas Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton and Jonathan Anderson at Loewe, who will continue to set the agenda - and dictate our shopping wishlists - for the season to come.
4 debuts to watch
British designer Clare Waight Keller, who finished her dreamy six-year-run at Chloé in March, has replaced Riccardo Tisci as Givenchy's artistic director. Although Spring/Summer 2018 marks her official debut, over the last few months Waight Keller has been dropping hints of what we might expect from her first collection via a series of black-and-white portraits and short films shot by Steven Meisel. It’s clear she’s ready to embrace a darker, sexier aesthetic that the airy, sun-kissed designs she deployed at Chloé. Count on sharp tailoring - Waight Keller cuts a killer pant.
Natacha Ramsay-Levi joined Chloé in April as a relatively unknown talent to the outside world. As creative director of womenswear under Nicolas Ghesquière for 15 years - first at Balenciaga and then Louis Vuitton - she's been esteemed within industry circles for some time. Her work to date has little in common with Chloé's soft, sensual and flou-loving woman. Chloé is ripe for new interpretation and Ramsay-Levi could be the timely appointment in this politically charged era of third-wave feminism.
Following the dramatic departure of longtime artistic director Alber Elbaz in 2015, it’s no exaggeration to say the future of Lanvin continues to look uncertain. His successor, haute couture designer Bouchra Jarrar, stayed on just 16 months before stepping down down in July. Her replacement, the fifty-nine-year-old French designer Olivier Lapidus, has arrived at Lanvin at a high-pressure time, with sales on the decline after Elbaz’s departure. Unlike Jarrar, Lapidus is not widely known in the industry: He worked at Balmain Homme for a year in the mid-’80s and then worked for his father, the designer Ted Lapidus, before setting up his own eponymous “e-couture” brand. As for the rest, we have to wait until Wednesday to see what's in store for France's longest operating couture house.
Carven is the fourth storied Parisian label to welcome a new creative director this season. Swiss designer Serge Ruffieux has joined the brand after a nearly 10-year stint at Dior, where he worked as co-artistic director in the period between Raf Simons’s departure in October 2015 and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s appointment in September 2016. Ruffieux kicked off his new vision with Resort 2018, introducing a new Carven muse who is as streetwise and quirky as she is ladylike. We look forward to seeing more of her on Thursday.
Americans in Paris
New York-based Joseph Altuzarra and Thom Browne have joined the womenswear calendar this season, proving the cross-Atlantic pull of showing in Paris shows no sign of waning. Following the footsteps of U.S. fashion houses like Proenza Schouler and Rodarte, who showed in Paris during couture in July, and Tommy Hilfiger’s recent shows in Las Vegas and London, their appearance adds fuel to the argument that static designer-city ties of old are gradually being replaced by something more fluid. Virgil Abloh's Off-White show also promises to be one of the hottest tickets of the week as the designer continues to clock successes with a recent Nike collaboration and store opening in New York.
New names to know
Paris is welcoming a wave of new talent this season. Marine Serre, whose skillful cutting and adroit mix of styles and references nabbed her this year’s LVMH Prize, will present her Spring/Summer 2018 collection by appointment. Glenn Martens of Y/Project, known for his expert blend of maximalist opulence with streetwear, is another one to watch following his ANDAM Award win, which has given him the support to explore innovative embroidery techniques that will make their debut this season. Atlein designer Antonin Tron, who worked with Raf Simons and Demna Gvasalia before launching his own line last year, is another not to be missed. Tron’s debut catwalk show in March showcased his innovative approach to draping, structuring and contouring jersey, to dazzling effect.