In Paris, Balenciaga, Valentino and Givenchy soldier on despite the rain

Not even the pouring rain could dampen the mood of a seismic day at fashion week

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The day got off to a bleak and intense start at Balenciaga's Paris Fashion Week presentation, as models stomped through mud, splashing those sitting in the front row in the process.

The show was trademark Demna, the creative director of the house (who now prefers to be known only by his first name), in that it was emotional, even troubling, as models walked with faces covered in bruises, cuts and dirt. One model even had a fake baby under his jacket in a sling.

Yet despite the turmoil, the oversized clothes showed again why Demna is one of the defining designers of the era. Although his favourite colour is black, there were pops of colour, but in unexpected ways, such as a snake-like scarf that coiled to the ground, or a neon green dress in fluffy, faux fur.

A model carries a baby in a baby sling on the Balenciaga spring summer 2023 runway. Photo: Balenciaga

Elsewhere, elements of pure elegance arrived as a red, pleated gown with squared shoulders, or a moment of street-smart energy as a cropped puffer jacket. Enlarged jackets, meanwhile, echoed the bulbous cocoon shapes that made the house famous under founder Cristobal. While Demna may have largely moved away from the codes of the original Balenciaga, in its stead he has created a whole new line-up that sets the tone of today.

Unpredictable, exciting and very thought-provoking, the dark emotions triggered by the Balenciaga show are uncomfortable and necessary, as, once again, he forces us to stop and take notice of what the youth is trying to say.

Valentino's dressy elegance

A model walks the runway during the Valentino womenswear spring/summer 2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on October 2. Getty Images

After the mud of Balenciaga, all eyes shifted to the very different pace of Valentino. Known for its opulent glamour, the crowd at this show was equally dressy, in capes, feathered eyelashes and various ensembles in the present winter collection of bright pink.

The show started with the soundtrack of a man's voice, declaring that we all needed to just be kinder to one another. Against show notes that mentioned unboxing of bodies, tailoring and heritage, the presentation opened with a waif-likewoman dressed in head-to-toe monogram, including her face.

What followed was a beautiful parade of men and women's clothes as loosely tailored tops, wide-leg trousers and duster coats all trimmed with ostrich feathers; men's shirts elongated into long dresses, or hoisted up into short ones, and plenty of sharp men's tailoring, worn dressed down with pop socks and long shorts.

For women, there were dresses and gowns with artfully cut away backs, showing the skill of the Valentino atelier, and surfaces densely packed with toffee or burnt chocolate-coloured beads.

There were plenty of beiges, caramels and citrusy yellows, as well as burnt ombre, black and pleated metallics in lilac, purple, teal and emerald. As ever, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli found the right tone between dressy elegance and youthful promise.

Celebrities flood to Givenchy

Models walk the runway during the Givenchy womenswear spring/summer 2023 show. Getty Images

At Givenchy, the picturesque open-air setting of the Jardin des Plantes was dampened slightly by the deluge of rain ahead of the show.

With the star-studded audience, including Ye (Kanye West), Georgia May Jagger, Karlie Kloss and Carine Roitfeld, all huddled under umbrellas on soggy cork seats, the clothes rather fittingly arrived in a moody palette of sass.

Bella and Gigi Hadid, Mona Tougaard and Nora Attal all featured on the runway, while the clothes shifted from square-shouldered ruched tops in barbie pink and lime green. There was over-sized stone-washed denim and hooded tops, worn both as cropped with cargo pants, or under a gold embellished jacket with shorts.

Black leather was cut into asymmetric truncated dresses, and crop tops reduced to straps in a showing that felt young, arrogant and just a bit fabulous.

Scroll through the gallery below to see celebrities on day six of Paris Fashion Week

Updated: October 03, 2022, 2:36 PM
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