Paris Fashion Week diaries: battle of the celebrities and exquisite collections

As Paris comes alive for fashion's biggest week, there is plenty of buzz both on and off the runway

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Balmain had Cher. Schiaparelli had Kylie Jenner. Off-White had Naomi Campbell, Winnie Harlow and Mos Def. As housesunveil their latest spring/summer 2023 collections at Paris Fashion Week, a not-so-silent war of celebrity one-upmanship is being waged, with labels vying to outdo one another with the calibre of stars they can summon.

On day one, Saint Laurent had Kate Moss and the wife of an ex-French President (Carla Bruni), while over at Dior, it was Natalie Portman and Jisoo. On day two, Cher closed Balmain's show, joining designer Olivier Rousteing on the runway.

On day three, Place Vendome was buzzing with rumours that Kylie Jenner was staying at the Ritz Hotel, so when she arrived at the Schiaparelli presentation happening next door wearing a royal blue velvet gown that plunged to almost scandalous depths, she brought the house down.

Celebrity wars aside, there has also been some exquisite fashion around town, starting with Dries van Noten. Returning to Paris after a long absence, the house presented a show that bubbled with optimism. Beginning with all black looks — more elegant that severe — garments slowly gave way to pastels, which in turn were supplanted by colourful florals, mixed and combined in ways that were joyful and uplifting.

Joyful florals at the Dries Van Noten spring-summer 2023 fashion show. AFP

Over at Balmain, before hobnobbing with his surprise guest, Rousteing presented a huge, co-ed show that featured more than 100 looks. Many arrived seemingly licked by flames, and the men's looks were particularity strong. However, the most spectacular outfits were haute couture, draped in mesh and raffia and woven into sculptural space age shapes to encase and exaggerate the body within.

Such visual trickery continued at Dior. While the actual Dior show took place on day one, day three offered a chance for visitors to see the same pieces up close, which proved to be a treat as the couture elements of the collection were revealed. One dress, for example, thought to be made of lace, was in fact intricately woven raffia, while a crinoline dress was constructed from metallic fabric, covered in golden lace. Elsewhere, over the elbow gloves initially considered to be woven, were in fact laser cut from leather.

On the Christian Dior spring/summer 2023 runway, a look created entirely from woven raffia. Getty

Elsewhere, Belgian brand Delvaux displayed its latest bags, including an envelope clutch inspired by a piece from its own archive. Having applied for its first patent in 1828 — essentially inventing the modern handbag as we now know it — Delvaux's archive is extensive, yet somehow this particular design from the 1970s had been forgotten, until a member of staff walked in carrying a clutch inherited from her grandmother. As everyone was excited to see the rediscovered design, it has now been updated and re-released for spring/summer 2023.

Updated: October 02, 2022, 5:53 AM
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