Paris Haute Couture Week Spring/Summer 2018 is over and Veronika has all the exclusive insights from Valentino, Chanel and much more
Maybe it’s all in my head, but I find it quite amusing that in times like these – when it’s all about diversity and togetherness – even the most regal of fashion weeks seemed to take part: couture. The bi-annual couture week used to be a busy four days aimed at a small group of affluent customers, collectors, and a handful of specialized press representatives who would gaze at (and buy !!!) the most exquisite results of craftsmanship in terms of daywear, gowns, and diamonds.
This time, however, I got to see three ready-to-wear FW18 shows, one pre-fall 18 show (and a few presentations), and one men’s show on top of the couture shows. Yes, it was all a little confusing, but – on the upside – I feel like I got to experience a 360° crash course on fashion in 2018. See my favorites in each discipline below:
Favorite Couture Collection: Valentino
After missing last season’s couture show, I was more than excited to witness the outstanding beauty of Pierpaolo Piccoli’s creations at Valentino. There was hardly a second to take a breath – that’s how smooth this unstoppable parade of almost operatic beauty was. The hats by Stephen Jones, which were generously armed with the lightest of feathers, were especially heavenly. But the composition of colors was what did it for me. Even the first bit with “daywear” felt highly theatrical. Opera coats were balanced with the chicest slim sandals (some adorned with feathers) and meters of tulle seemed to be held together only by a silken bow in a contrasting color. Thanks to minimal hair or make-up (as usual) and almost no jewelry, this overly opulent collection of old world Roman beauty felt very up-to-date, even easy to wear. In one word: modern!
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Favorite Couture Show: Chanel
Whereas Chanel ready-to-wear shows are always somewhat bombastic – think the waterfalls in October or the rocket in March – it’s always a bit more intimate at couture. More personal, calmer, and above all, back to the Parisian roots. Nevertheless, I was immediately taken in by the beauty of what looked like a gorgeous rose garden upon entering the Grand Palais, a symmetrically laid-out trellis tunnel crowned by a large fountain. The guests were seated on either classic concrete or garden benches depending on their location. It was no surprise the creations were as lighthearted and color coordinated with their sunlight-filled surroundings of ivy, jasmine, and climbing roses. What amazed me the most was the youthful feel of the pastel tweed and intensely beaded dresses in strong shapes such as wide shoulders, dropped waists, and “hoody pockets.” And of course, there was the never disappointing army of Chanel woman with their very own style.
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Favorite FW18 Show: Acne Studios
It’s no secret I am a big Acne Studios lover, but this show certainly got to me! I loved the pastels and light summery feel (yes, those are the same words I used for Chanel ;-)) coming along in a grungy, almost witchy mood. The model’s long, freshly brushed manes are exactly the look I am aiming for – it seems so easy and cool (except the long, long, long waiting time to get there…). The 90s hats with one-sided crystal earrings combined with a cool bob were also awesome. I loved the layers, the checks, the outerwear – of course…it’s Acne Studios! But most of all – and here comes another “of course” because I am always and forever a sneaker fan – the thick woolen socks with those cool retro sneakers that the models seemed to have slipped on the lazy way (stepping down the back part).
Oh, I forgot to mention: The collection looks perfect for a Scandi summer, but is actually a winter collection. Makes no sense? Well yes, it does if you consider those pieces will arrive in stores at the beginning of August when nobody sane wants to buy actual winter clothes.
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More favorites: Ellery, Proenza Schouler
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Favorite Pre-fall 18 Look: Miu Miu
Another all-time favorite of mine totally surprised me with longer silhouettes – which, being very tall, I certainly love. A fresh and 100% Miu Miu take on how Cher from Clueless would have interpreted the 80s, including tartan knit jumpers with crystals and voluminous mini skirts combined with what, I felt, seemed like an Austrian coffeehouse situation. Black ribbons, pristine white shirts, fishnet, and long dark coats.
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More favorites: Chloé, Louis Vuitton, Céline, Chanel, Hermès
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Only men’s presentation: SSS World Corp
I am aware: It isn’t exactly politically correct to call the one and only men’s show I saw this season my favorite one. Especially when you’re kinda close to the brand… But like it or not, I think the first ever show held in the infamous Caviar Kaspia restaurant deserves a little mention here. I don’t want to say too much about the collection after reading Luke Leitch’s Vogue Runway Review and Dan Thawley’s smart words on BOF. But I want to congratulate Justin O’Shea for gathering awesome people around him so successfully, including artist Wes Lang, who did the prints for the Black Gold collection, and Reino Lehtonen-Riley, owner and creative director of London’s The Great Frog, who did the jewelry, adding the world’s most luxurious pearls from Paspaley. And also Nikita Sereda for styling the show, taking pictures behind the scenes, walking the show with his brother Taras, and doing sales in the showroom afterwards with champion Marie Laurence Basque (aka MLB) from 032c, who also walked the show and basically held everything together (aka she’s called the CEO on the quiet ;-)). Also Sara Luvi for repeatedly doing amazing street casting, superstars Etienne Russo producing the show, and lovely Karla Otto for doing guest relations. And last but not least, the most important man: Benny Robinson (aka Justin’s partner and art director) for being simply awesome!
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My Home Away From Home: Park Hyatt Paris
A big thanks to Park Hyatt Paris for hosting me – and so generously and comfortably.
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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!