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Adventure abounds at Paris Fashion Week 2024, from Balenciaga to Loewe

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The show, named Amour 愛, was a blend of East and West and meant to deliver “a powerful message of unity and mutual respect”.

Here, in chronological order, are more highlights from Paris Fashion Week so far.

Loewe

A beaded dress decorated with a painting of Albert York at Loewe autumn/winter 2024 during Paris Fashion Week. Photo: EPA-EFE

If I were to name all the artists that I have discovered over the last decade thanks to Jonathan Anderson, Loewe’s creative director, I could fill a museum.

And this is precisely what the designer did for the Spanish label’s autumn/winter 2024 show, except that he displayed the work of only one artist: American painter Albert York.

The show venue was a series of museum galleries painted in three shades of green – all the better to display York’s idyllic landscapes and botanical paintings hanging on the walls.

A beaded tracksuit decorated with a painting of Albert York at Loewe autumn/winter 2024 at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: EPA-EFE

Art and nature, two of Anderson’s passions, came together in a beautifully executed collection that featured some stunning looks, such as a tracksuit and an A-line dress, the former beaded with a puppy and the latter with a bird on a tree.

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The designer’s obsession with texture was also evident in details such as knitted pom-pom tops and in the lapels of jackets and coats, embellished with shiny silver appliqué detailing.

A belt cinching the waist of a dress at Loewe autumn/winter 2024 at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: EPA-EFE
Anderson is not one to show much skin, which doesn’t mean, however, that he can’t do sexy. He just does it subtly. The opening looks – long dresses gathered at the waist with maxi belts – revealed hints of flesh in the front and at the back and will certainly be red-carpet favourites. We can easily picture actress Greta Lee in one of them at the Oscars.

Accessories ranged from sensible biker boots in faux crocodile leather or covered in beads in a floral motif to leather bags, also decorated with similar patterns.

A beaded pair of boots and a Squeeze bag featuring motifs from Albert York’s paintings at Loewe autumn/winter 2024 at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: EPA-EFE

As Anderson marks 10 years at Loewe, this show cemented his position as one of the industry’s most thoughtful and influential creators. Let’s see what he has in store for an upcoming exhibition taking place in Shanghai later this month, aptly titled “Crafted World”. Stay tuned for more on that.

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham takes to the catwalk on crutches after presenting her autumn/winter 2024 collection as part of Paris Fashion Week. Photo: AFP
Day five of Paris Fashion Week 2024 started with a preview of Victoria Beckham’s autumn/winter 2024 collection at her showroom. The designer greeted a bunch of editors on crutches after a gym accident fractured her foot and forced her into a cast, explaining that she wasn’t inspired by a specific film or theme. Rather, she wanted to expand on what she’s been doing since she started showing in Paris in 2022. Her goal is to make garments that complete a woman’s wardrobe.
A jacket with a funnel collar at Victoria Beckham autumn/winter 2024 at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: AFP

“Silhouette” was a word that kept popping up as Beckham described various outfits to be unveiled later that day, while clad in a pair of low-waist, flowing palazzo pants that she pointed out elongated her legs and were similar to some shown on the runway.

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The evening show, attended by her husband David and their children, featured ski-inspired zippered tops paired with flared trousers and practical jackets with funnel (non-lapelled) necklines. Asymmetrical knits with V – for Victoria – cut-outs that expose the back and accessories, such as clothes hanger-like brooches pinned to dresses, completed the line-up.
A dress with a pin inspired by a clothes hanger at Victoria Beckham’s autumn/winter 2024 show at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: AFP

After a few tumultuous years, the Victoria Beckham brand reported in 2023 that it has finally started to turn a profit, also thanks to its successful beauty line. This show – her third in Paris – was another evolution in this new exciting chapter in the history of the label.

Alexander McQueen

A leather raincoat paired with a leather fedora at Alexander McQueen autumn/winter 2024 at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: Alexander McQueen

Since its founding in 1992, British label Alexander McQueen has only been helmed by two designers: the late founder Alexander McQueen, who died tragically in 2010, and after that, his recently departed studio head Sarah Burton, who was pretty much an extension of him.

It’s a new era at McQueen. For the first time in its history, the brand’s creative director is now an outsider: Irish Seán McGirr, a Central Saint Martins graduate and alumnus of labels including Dries Van Noten and JW Anderson.

Expectations were high for his debut, which took place on a chilly night at an abandoned train depot on the outskirts of Paris.

A leopard-print draped silk dress at Alexander McQueen autumn/winter 2024 at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: Alexander McQueen

Both the location and the set were throwbacks to McQueen’s early days as a young, struggling designer in London, where his first shows would take place in dingy venues and were put together with very few resources.

McGirr’s take on McQueen was quite a departure from what we’ve come to associate with the brand: a seamless blend of romanticism and darkness that Burton also championed.

A tyre-inspired sculptural knit top at Alexander McQueen autumn/winter 2024 at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: Alexander McQueen

Choreographed like a performance, with models walking at a fast pace on a train track against a soundtrack of songs from musicians such as Enya, the show had plenty of energy and a menacing vibe. The men, some of them wearing leather raincoats paired with matching leather fedoras that covered their faces, looked like modern-day pimps. The Savile Row-inflected tailoring of the old McQueen was gone, replaced by skinny pants paired with sparkly T-shirts, oversized tees and sleazy, 70s-inspired suits.

A “car dress in acid yellow steel” at Alexander McQueen autumn/winter 2024. Photo: Alexander McQueen

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The last three looks – literally made of steel and destined for awards season and fashion shoots – were inspired by McGirr’s history with cars. His father is a mechanic, and the colours of two of those outfits – “Lamborghini yellow” and “Aston Martin blue” – were references to those memories, as were two outstanding knitwear tops reminiscent of car tyres.

A “car dress in blue steel” at Alexander McQueen autumn/winter 2024 at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: Alexander McQueen

McGirr’s McQueen is more youth-driven than that of his predecessors – some looks recalled the now-defunct younger McQ line. Now, McGirr’s challenge is to build a strong accessory business at a label that has always excelled at making beautiful but slightly unattainable ready-to-wear and is still aiming to become a significant player in the competitive and lucrative bag and shoe category.

Balenciaga

The breathtaking set of the Balenciaga winter 2024 show in Paris. Photo: Balenciaga

The Balenciaga winter 2024 show was overwhelming, but in the best way possible. Whoever created those videos playing on wall-to-wall screens and depicting random urban and natural scenes meant to reflect the overflow of information of our daily lives deserves an award.

A dress featuring padded hips at the Balenciaga winter 2024 show at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: Balenciaga

Dystopian and exhilarating in equal measure, the show followed a few low-key collections that, while perfectly fine, had felt a bit repetitive and lacked the wow factor.

For the brand’s winter 2024 collection, creative director Demna played to his strengths and provided a much-needed jolt of energy on a chilly Sunday morning. The stunts he’s become known for were totally forgivable this time around – and actually kind of fun.
Kim Kardashian poses as she arrives at the Balenciaga autumn/winter 2024 show in Paris. Photo: AFP
Many outfits, including a dress worn by guest Kim Kardashian, had price tags left hanging – something that, perhaps unbeknown to Demna, many first-time luxury shoppers in developing countries have been know to do to show off their new purchases. A dress was made with a Balenciaga dust bag while a top and a skirt contained upcycled elements of a Balenciaga backpack.

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A backpack upcycled into part of an outfit at Balenciaga’s winter 2024 show at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: Balenciaga

Among the best pieces were those reinterpreting creations from house founder Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre, like the opening look featuring shoulder pads sewn at the waist. One of the most beautiful outfits, worn by model Liu Wen, was an asymmetrical body-con black chiffon dress that gently clung to her body. Meanwhile, the down jackets and the enveloping faux fur coats treated to look aged were some of the best outerwear we’ve seen this season.

Model Liu Wen in an asymmetrical draped dress at the Balenciaga winter 2024 show at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: Balenciaga
With its mix of streetwear, including tops emblazoned with the eBay logo (Demna loves hunting for random objects on the auction site); headline-making outfits (the gown made of pieces of lingerie will certainly create buzz); and plenty of elevated couture-inspired looks, this show distilled the essence of Demna’s Balenciaga while also providing food for thought for those who paid attention to the bombardment of images on the screens.
A gown made of pieces of lingerie at Balenciaga winter 2024 at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: Balenciaga

Valentino

The Valentino autumn/winter 2024 show featured an all-black lineups of outfits at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: AP

Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli is a master colourist. His shows often feature some of the most stunning colour combinations, and few designers are as skilled at playing with eye-catching jewel tones as he is.

This season, however, the designer who ignited the pink craze pre-Barbie with an all-pink show in 2022 set himself a challenge.
Designer Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino accepts applause after the Valentino autumn/winter 2024 ready-to-wear collection presented on March 3, in Paris. Photo: AP

As the name suggests, Le Noir, the brand’s autumn/winter 2024 collection, was entirely in black – 62 looks and counting.

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As someone who pretty much only wears black in his personal life, Piccioli considers black a uniform that allows him to focus on his surroundings, he said in the notes.

Textured surfaces played a key role in the all-black Valentino autumn/winter 2024 show at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: AP

Given the limitations of the palette, Piccioli highlighted textures and surfaces – from diaphanous sheer fabrics to swirling cut-outs, shiny velvets and plenty of pleats. The looks showed how, in the hands of a talented designer like Piccioli, a basic hue like black, also associated with mourning in western cultures, can be anything but basic.

A black look featuring cut-outs at the Valentino autumn/winter 2024 show during Paris Fashion Week. Photo: AP

Piccioli also cited the multitudes of blacks from different artists such as Mark Rothko, Pierre Soulages and Constantin Brâncuși, but the aim of this beautiful collection was to use the power of an everyday colour like black to “recontextualise” Valentino tropes such as rosettes, lace, embroidery and ruffles, and give them a new dimension.

Always attuned to social issues and what’s happening in the world, Piccioli also quoted French author Charles Baudelaire, who famously said, “Black is the uniform of democracy.”

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