Prêt-à-Porter Comes to Paris

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After New York, London and Milan, all eyes and camera lens are focused on Paris for twice-yearly prêt-à-porter event. This is the Spring-Summer event and it’s kicking off today for a nine-day feast of haute couture, where all the trends for next season will be set.

The fashion shows will be taking place at venues all across Paris – currently basking in an Indian summer (temperatures are not expected to go below 23° until Sunday at the earliest) and will be kicked off by designers Anthony Vaccarello and Julien David.

So what can people expect to see on the catwalks these coming days? A lot of colour, certainly (fluorescent yellows, prairie greens, fuchsias, mauves), as well as soft pastel shades, ultra-short shorts, lace, laces, ribbons, romantic chignon hair styles, chic party dresses…

Make way for the colours: Bright and/or fluorescent colours, along with super-short shorts are just some of the elements expected in the 100 catwalk exhibitions in Paris

Make way for the colours: Bright and/or fluorescent colours, along with super-short shorts are just some of the elements expected in the 100 catwalk exhibitions in Paris

In a word, opulence is expected to be the flavour of this year’s shows in Paris. One hundred fashions shows are on the packed programme – a record number for this high-colour event. It’s proof once more that the French capital still bigs it up in the fashion world. It’s still the home of some of the most prestigious labels in the world and it still attracts all the big names from around the globe (designers representing 20 different nationalities will be there).

It’s also a showcase for young talent who are given the chance to bloom at the event. People such as Julien Dossena at Paco Rabanne, for example, who is presenting his first ready-to-wear show. It’s also going to be a fashion début for the Zadig et Voltaire label (who will be closing the showcase) and for the highly innovative Dutchwoman Iris van Herpen, who has already been noticed in the world of haute coutoure.

Amongst the other hotly-anticipated fashions shows are those of Balenciaga on Thursday. Their young prodigy Alexander Wang had already cut quite a presence in New York in February, where he received rapturous applause. Another young designer who’s setting tongues wagging is the Belgian Jean-Paul Lespagnard. Some of you might recall his motorcycle helmet covered in precious stones – a theme revisited in a hand-bag, causing a sensation in March.

And what of Hedi Slimane? There’s been quite a brouhaha surrounding his return to Yves Saint Laurent. There’s plenty of noise also surrounding his winter collection which was of strange taste that wasn’t in keeping with the style one normally associates with this great fashion name, although the grunge vestiaire was appreciated by a few. All will be revealed on Monday, when Hedi Slimane (formerly of Dior and currently creative director at YSL) is due to turn up. Since July, he supervises all of the strategic projects of Yves Saint Laurent. In the meantime, take time out to savour these moments of grace, humour and creativity. Fashion is a big stage!

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