After endless ready-to-buy discussions and the likewise somewhat monotonous replacement theories for the still empty seats of creative directors, in Paris there was – other than the displeasure about the pouring sleet (after snow and ice cold temperatures in New York, rain and London and Milan … but don’t worry about the weather, I’m going to leave that out) – a surprising turn of events at the fashion circus. Already on day one with the “Front Row Only” invitation from Chanel it was clear: exciting things are happening here. I’m also awarding full marks for the masterful handling of seating politics. Because obviously traditional rules are no longer 100% valid.
Céline was a surprising example of the relaxation the maxim “Only CEOs in the Front Row” and ranked super blogger Chiara Ferragni worthy of one, while this time fashion bosses in row 7 were left guessing whether the model’s hair was parted on the right or left. The Parisian venue was changed at Saint Laurent for the first time under Hedi’s direction (maybe as a contrast to his massive show at the Palladium), namely, it was in the couture room on the Rue de L’Université. The lack of space caused an extreme reduction in the number of guests. That’s why place holders in brass were screwed into the chairs (actually it was a extra issue in terms of elegant sustainability). Miu Miu wanted to make all the guests happy and had a democratic approach to handling the front row – they sat all invitees on a big velvet block, next to, but not behind, each other! And for similar reasons at Givenchy Riccardo Tisci had a labyrinthian arrangement, wonderfully referencing Egyptian mythology, the theme of his collection.
Best collection: Valentino! Need I say more than: ballet tutus over thick turtleneck pullovers to heavily laced boots? And there was a wonderfully beautiful ballerina shoe in the bargain of a seemingly endless string of fine, light, almost floating dream dresses studded with shimmering threads and iridescent stones.
Best Show: Chanel! After the many rumors about Karl Lagerfeld’s successor this fantastic show was an almost perfect counterattack. Actually, he already had me with the invitation (see introduction), which said “Front Row Only” – the perfect ego booster for all guests. Chanel also had something of a diversion, the 94 models walked the 750-meter long catwalk in two different directions through the many many FRO’s. Between the rows were mirrored columns multiplying the effect! Wonderful Coco tweed looks, made contemporary by adding great riding boots with string details at the ankle. One or another cool down bomber jackets were on everyone’s must-have lists in the seasonally new trends. The last nine looks of the show were my absolute highlight! I’ll only say this: “White lace ruffles, black ribbons and laces with glittering buttons!”
Best Development: Loewe! J.W. Anderson definitely achieved a huge step forward. Earlier collections were strong with accessories and the so-called “editorial pieces” that guaranteed him a place in publications. This time there were alternatives for women that don’t want to be immediately outed as “fashion victims,” rather, in contrast, seek elegance and coolness – and have now found it!
Personal Highlight: Haider Ackermann! My absolute favorites were his signature shapes and combinations in a variety of velvet variants. Starting with the fantastic pointed boots, over two-face lederhosen all the way to the high cut long sleeve robe.
Best Soundtrack: Chloé! I had to hold myself back from dancing in my seat to New Position and Take me with U by Prince.
Best Show Set: Acne Studios! In keeping with the show’s theme “The Cramps” the creative Swede transformed dream location Hôtel Potocki (and showed their collection here for the second time) into an 80s disco. Instead of spotlights the sun shown through half-covered windows.
Best Party: Valentino at the beautiful Hotel Salomon de Rothschild in variously themed rooms. The places to be were especially by the stuffed polar bear, the shooting fire and the central, lit-from-underneath, dance floor. I would have happily stayed the whole night, but dutifully headed to the back door at midnight to prepare for the traffic chaos at Vuitton.
Favorite Presentation: Hillier Bartley! Luella and Katie are simply cool and have been favorite “role models” for JK and I for a long time! Additionally, their wonderful collection now includes to-die-for beautifully embroidered kimonos, which were perfectly paired with checked pants and rabbit clutches for an impeccable look with morning croissants.
Re-See Moments: My visit to the newly completed “Couture Maison” from Saint Laurent on the Rue de l’Université to re-see the collection more closely was a celebration. The embroidered all-over with stones and studs of the 80s inspired dead chic party dresses appeared in the tasteful “house husband” space where alien-like sculptures and the unbelievable fur fabric were (couture) pop art (especially the mink heart). Unfortunately, as usual, no photos allowed.
An absolute contrast was our visit to Vetements, deep in the perhaps not so quaint area around the Boulevard de Strasbourg. Upon entering we weren’t sure if we were in a warehouse for Chinese imports. In the entrance a teenager was photographing a lookbook and before we could even say hello, the employees of the show informed us that we could try on everything in the “showroom.” Quickly, Julia and I had the impression that we could have been at a charity shop at Alexanderplatz in Berlin. That said, the buying team of Selfridges wouldn’t be placing an order there (maximum ten pairs of jeans per shop could be ordered = confirmation of the rule of artificial shortage for highly sought after luxury goods). And just between us: I will definitely invest in one of the Tramp Stamp pieces (either in denim or the sweater dress) and, of course, the Justin4Ever hoodie dress. If only for the irony and the talent with which Demna Gvasalia turned the fashion circus on its head. I think it’s admirable, not only because of the meticulously perfect timing.
Best Model Line-Up: Miu Miu! Katie Grand replaces Olivier Rizzo for the styling and brought a breath of fresh air into the booking. Emily Ratajkowski, Lara Stone, Adriana Lima, Hailey Baldwin and a blonde Grace Hartzel made up the surprising last exit.
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Born and raised in Munich/Germany, Veronika’s professional career has developed from being a model to a fashion editor, to online luxury retailing and most recently style editor of Harpers Bazaar Germany. She currently lives in Berlin where in the beginning of 2015 she started a company with Julia Knolle, the ex-editor at large of Vogue Digital.
Oh, and she loves pugs!