Review: Paris Fashion Week Spring / Summer 2017

©Collage / Oriane Baud

Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2017 is over – Veronika Heilbrunner sums up its best moments

Always reliable in respect to a brilliant end, the mood in Paris was calmer this time – but in a relaxed kind of way. Especially the megabrands known for giant productions (like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Dior, and Valentino) traded in their locations for smaller, more intimate venues – which the exception of Chanel, which of course stayed in the Grand Palais, but still appeared scaled-down. Maybe that had to do with an absence of show effects and that no social media stars were walking for Karl? I also didn’t see Monsieur Lagerfeld do his usual lap of honor. Maybe even because this season saw so many designers and creative directors pass through expected (and unexpected) changes of position, the approach was more discreet, less oriented on effects, but nonetheless keeping the most important element in mind – namely, the fashion itself – just simply chic!

Favorite Show: Loewe

The moment you come out of a show and think to yourself, “Yup, actually I can go home now.” That is and certainly remains my absolute fashion highlight. Then, when you also get confirmation in the form of a nearly word-for-word WhatsApp message sent by JK from HQ back in Berlin, there’s hardly anything else to add.

The show’s set was, like always, in an über-chic UNESCO building – this time with screen towers that showed other guests as they drifted in and looked for seats, but then switched during the show to an obscure video of a swimmer that had to do with blue barrels in the sea (I couldn’t identify more because I was starring, hypnotized, at the looks). Even the soundtrack of the clip, which was disturbing at first, didn’t distract me for a second. J.W.Anderson showed wonderful dresses made of linen, cord, and leather. I especially liked the black group with the trumpet sleeves. Carpet bags in different shapes and sizes and an absolute highlight: the bat necklace on the grass-green ensemble.

Snapshot: Dries van Noten!

heywomancom: those boquets frozen in huge ice blocks have arrived this morning to the showspace. hard to believe they still existed despite the sauna temperatures in the space. thank you #driesvannoten for this beautiful start of #pfwbyheilbrunner ❄️🌼 ps: the all black embroidered finale was insane and not to forget the satin flipflops #obsessedanswantitallrightnow (vh)

Arriving at the last minute in an overheated warehouse in the usual spot on Rue de Saint-Pétersbourg, I only noticed after this fabulous show (especially the final, completely black looks with puff sleeves, flowing hems, and officer embroidery on the jackets) that the floral bouquets, which gleamed even more intensely in the dark, were frozen into large blocks of ice. The streams of water that formed around them explained the steam bath kind of heat. “To beautifully melt away,” in the truest sense.

Look of love: Louis Vuitton

heywomancom: those i-phone cases though 🕹☎️👛 at yesterday's #louisvuitton re-see #pfwbyheilbrunner #heywomanloves (vh)

First of all, I couldn’t have been more elated (and all the others as well!) when I took out my invitation and saw that the show would be at Place Vendôme instead of the fantastic but quite-far-away Fondation Louis Vuitton, which always requires a stressed one-hour drive through rush hour traffic. Something that absolutely doesn’t have to happen at the end of a one-month-long Fashion Week. So instead, a splendid and short walk through the 1st Arrondissement of a, by now, autumnal but gloriously beautiful Paris.

The show’s location was the stripped-down shell of the corner house that lies between Rue Saint-Honoré and the original splendor of the side of the re-opened Ritz just opposite. Because exactly this is being restored now, renewed in the smallest fine details to shine in its full beauty: the former hôtel particulier had been renovated to death over the years, and this multi-story corner house directly next to Repossi will be the future Maison Louis Vuitton.

Nicolas Ghesquière showed his probably most feminine collection to date here. Especially the first five looks and the last five transparent dresses (attention: Hollywood red carpet alarm!) left me dumbstruck. Looks 1, 2, and 3 were swinging jersey dresses, very simple from the front, but slit high on the sides and affixed with crystal.

A look that immediately sprouted in me a wish to adapt “le French sexy”. The frog-green suit with matching slim-pants piped with golden crystals – classic Ghesquière pieces – predestined for countless editorials, only advisable for Jennifer Connelly (LOVE her!) in “real” life, were my absolute favorites and introduced the incredible soundtrack for the techno sequence. Hello Berghain.

Set of my dreams: Acne Studios!

Once again at Hôtel Potocki, which actually hosts shows like Balmain and Versace Couture from time to time. Just seeing this fabulous location being used in a completely different way was terrific. This time it wasn’t clear what Look 1 was, as the models came out in two groups from different sides at the same time. Narrow paths through staircase-like, stacked rows brought out wonderful, flowing looks in natural tones. You could hardly differentiate one from the other. There were all wide, layered looks wafting in movement. Even while watching, I was getting excited about the Re-See so I could find out how the XL overalls, kimono jackets, and knitted dresses feel to the touch.

In any case, Acne Studios wins the category of Badass Finale! Stands placed in the magnificent garden were used to let all of the models accumulate at the same time, showing the collection in its entirety and releasing the absolutely most beautiful social media #pfw storm!

Dinner: neck-and-neck race between Caviar Kaspia and the Ritz

Unfairly, it stands at 4:1 for Caviar Kaspia, but the freshly re-opened Ritz is really holding its own. Alongside Bianca Brandolini d’Adda and Laetitia Crahay, System Magazine’s Alexia Niedzielski hosted a Room Service Dinner for the fantastic bag label Edie Parker by Brett Heyman. That sooner or later everyone who took part was draped across a king-size bed was as wonderful as it was predictable. Due to a pressing need for space, the “after party” was moved over to Bar Hemingway around midnight. My highlights at Caviar Kaspia were definitely the small but fine dinner for Erdem, hosted by Tsum, and the MEGA-dinner for Galeries Lafayettes that encompassed the entire restaurant and at which I had the incredible luck to be allowed to sit between the fantastically likeable designer Adam Selman and photo-legend Mario Sorrenti.

Make-up Moment: Valentino Re-See

The Valentino Re-See was an absolute eye-opener (and at the same time, Pier Paolo’s wonderful first collection as a brilliant “one-man-show” without Maria Grazia Chiuri). I was especially curious about the small, jewelry-like enamel bags and, surprise!, they were make-up mirrors including a lipstick. Namely the Rosso Nr.1. The date for the world debut of this exciting new product hasn’t been set – but don’t worry, we’ll keep you up to date. 

Cocktail-Off: Various

Why just one, when you can also accommodate two – that’s probably how the Ritz thought of it. On the night in question, I had already romped about at the Australian Fashion Cocktail to support my friend Pip Edwards and her sportswear label P.E.Nation. Afterwards, we went to the Ritz and already a big confusion met us at the entrance: where is Mira Duma’s Russian Buro 24/7, and where is the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Cocktail hosted by Anna Wintour? Whatever, it wasn’t just me that had problems, even the named Grande Dame of Fashion herself was inconveniently led to the wrong cocktail party.

If that’s the reason that everyone (including Kim and Kanye) was frolicking around Mira Duma, or that the concierge who was supposed to guide the guests wanted to add something to the topic of cultural exchange, no one will ever understand. Be that as it may, I immediately struck out to the last pit stop of the evening: Aquazzura’s “Spanish Party” in honor of its capsule collection with Naty Abascal, of course naturally at Place Vendôme (finally the building sites have given way to fashion folk).

Re-See Favorites: Miu Miu

Miuccia Prada’s attempt to create a completely beautiful collection came off 200%. Of course what beautiful means to the design legend is not everyone’s concept of beautiful: Portofino’s 60’s charm in the classic beach vacation colors of green, blue, red, or – what I liked even more – orange, brown, pink. Terry cloth coats reminiscent of beach towels and cover-ups. High-waisted bikinis and, of course, “pretty weird” beach slippers and matching plastic swimming caps. Basically everything I need for my next vacation!

I was just as excited by the tarot card clutches by Dior and the take-on of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s old/new initial logo on bags and also in the form of bees on clothing pieces. I’m already really looking forward to her next collection for the couture house, especially with a tidy lead time (instead of the barely six weeks this time, actually humanly impossible!).

Personal Wish-List: Vintage powder and cigarette boxes by Hermès

heywomancom: omg those #hermes minis 🙏🏼 are jewels (apparently the chain is made of gold)! inspired by an antique cigarette box, powder pouch and so on... 💄

Last, but not least – and at the top of my personal wish list – are the mini purses by Hermès, inspired by vintage powder and cigarette boxes and made of ray and crocodile with real gold chain straps. I had already fallen in love with these “petits fours” at Pierre Hardy’s accessory presentation for the house – at the show, all of the models either wore them as a chain around their necks or dangled two or three from their hands.

More Impressions:

Photos: Instagram @veronikaheilbrunner, @heywomancom, @maisonvalentino, @aquazurra, @edie_parker, @carolinedemaigret, @caviarkaspia


translation: Melissa Frost

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!