Paris Fashion Week 2023: Recap

This year’s Paris Fashion Week was one of the firsts, with the word change rearing its head as the theme of the week, manifesting a new era to come. With the event starting on February 27 and ending on March 7, every day brought something new, traditional, and trend-setting, from runway memorials and garment-shaped odes to unexpected returns and meaningful props in runways. Paris outdid itself for this year’s fashion week.

One collection that cannot be overlooked is Nicolas di Felice’s for Courrèges. They did not put on a fashion show so much as a social commentary. Accompanied by the repeating words “Is the sky blue?” as a soundtrack, this show began with the first model coming out into a room full of darkness. A room and a face mostly lit by a phone screen; the model’s phone screen. Her face was not facing forward, but looking down at the phone as she walked the runway in oversized clothing. Leather, dark, oversized, and metal is what compiled most of this collection, setting a mood resembling that of a slouched, technology-obsessed young generation. Towards the end of the show, the words surrounding the room changed to “Do you see me? I see you”. A daring claim directed to the seemingly inattentive faces walking the runway.

However, Courrèges’ attendance this week is not the only one that should be noted. Balenciaga unexpectedly returned after their scandalous campaign ad caused unwanted backlash and controversy last year when upon releasing an ad that showed children with BDSM-accessorised teddy bears in their hands, society responded with the trending hashtag #cancelBalenciaga. After an apologetic statement, not much was seen or heard from the fashion label until now, this year’s Paris Fashion Week 2023. Muted accessories and garments were seen on the runway at their show, which was announced just the night before. Demna, Balenciaga’s creative director, played it safe and steered away from provocative and leaned into minimalistic. Suggesting an attempt to change their narrative and claiming to want to go back to the basics.

During the famous week alluded to fashion, there was also a show dedicated to late fashion icons Vivienne Westwood and Paco Rabanne, both of whom passed away recently. With poems and nostalgic fashion statements, the first show since their founders’ death started on a somber note yet spoke of both fashion icons in an amazingly accurate way. Westwood’s pirate-like essence was witnessed through iconic boots and corsets, while Rabanne’s infatuation with the unwearable and improbable shown in his 1966 dress collection was referenced with gold and silver dresses whose appearances looked from beyond this world.

Paris Fashion Week 2023 touched on every era. Not only did it instill nostalgia, but it managed to do so while also evoking a look into the future. With new, modern takes on garments from the 1960s, fashion inspirations like Dior, Givenchy, and Saint Laurent also give a new meaning to the word change.

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