Masks may still be the crucial accessory, but Paris Fashion Week comes to life starting Monday with live shows after a long pandemic hiatus. Dior, Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton are among the biggest names hosting in-person shows at one of the biggest daily fashion events of the year, which runs through October 5.
“We are delighted with his return and the presence of the other big brands,” Pascal Morand, director of the French Haute Couture and Fashion Federation, told AFP.
“We have this appetite for the physical, for the show,” he added.
Live shows follow similar comebacks at London, Milan and New York fashion weeks this year, after much of the designer world moved online last year thanks to Covid.
But as a reminder that the pandemic is not over yet, covering your face will be mandatory at all shows this week in Paris.
And most of the 97 houses registered for Paris Fashion Week – roughly two-thirds – stick to online submissions for their spring-summer 2022 women’s collections.
Others were eager to get back on track.
Givenchy will make its first appearance on a royal catwalk by its new American artistic director Matthew Williams, who has brought an element of street style to the historic French brand.
Nigerian Kenneth Ize, one of supermodel Naomi Campbell’s favorites, will kick off Monday with a show at the Palais de Tokyo.
Among the other names to look out for is Balenciaga, who recently made a splash with her controversial head-to-toe all-black covering worn by Kim Kardashian at the Met Ball in New York.
Saint Laurent is also back with a live show, despite being the first major brand to leave the official Paris Fashion calendar when the pandemic hit. The historic French house was rebelling against the frenetic pace of the fashion calendar, which had led several big names to rethink their strategies even before the pandemic.
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Among those still absent is Celine, whose artistic director Hedi Slimane has argued that the traditional calendar was “outdated” in the age of social media.
Off-White, the brand of American star designer Virgil Abloh, has not appeared in several seasons.
And Stella McCartney, a major luxury brand within the French group LVMH, will also not appear this week, although he has not given a reason.
Paris Fashion Week will end with a tribute to Israeli-American designer Alber Elbaz, who died of Covid-related complications in April.
Last year’s shows were held primarily online, although some houses, including Dior and Chanel, went ahead with limited and distanced live shows during the autumnal truce of the pandemic.