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The 9 Most Critically Acclaimed Shows of Paris Fashion Week

Grunge! Chic beekeepers! New Looks! Damier dresses! If your head is still spinning from 9 days of nonstop fashion action the City of Light--ours are, for sure--we've got your handily reductive recap of each day's critics' pick for top show. Presenting the Paris Fashion Week spring 2013 Honor Roll.

Grunge! Chic beekeepers! New Looks! Damier dresses! If your head is still spinning from 9 days of nonstop fashion action the City of Light--ours are, for sure--we've got your handily reductive recap of each day's critics' pick for top show. Presenting the Paris Fashion Week spring 2013 Honor Roll.

Tuesday, September 25: Anthony Vaccarello Designer: Anthony Vaccarello

  • "In this uber-sexy, color-free summer offering, the models’ legs did the talking: Micro skirts with a tight, sweeped draping." {The Associated Press}
  • "Vaccarello is unabashed in his embrace of a rather dubious version of sex appeal, with draped, thigh-skimming skirts that came staggeringly close to revealing the private parts of the models as they walked down the runway. To be sure, fashion does not need to join feminist literature in a meditation on the vagina." {The Daily Beast/


  • "More skin, more sexily spliced and angular cuts, wrought in an almost-uniformly B&W palette. {Daily Front Row}
  • "The Belgian designer did not disappoint, delivering his hip-grazing split dresses, no doubt coming to a red carpet near you soon." {The Daily Telegraph}
  • "The designer responsible for sky-high thigh slits brought the heat with his sexy collection." {FabSugar}
  • "It was the cool girl at the beach, where we saw casual, loose silhouettes mixed with severe, dead-end cuts." {Grazia Daily Magazine}
  • "It was all too much. Or maybe we should make that too little." {}
  • "A slick, sexified take on the graphic-urban look that fashion is embracing." {}
  • "More hot looks for the hot-bodied. Anthony Vaccarello’s spring collection remained consistent on the fleshy level." {WWD}

Wednesday, September 26: Dries Van Noten Designer: Dries Van Noten

  • "Dries Van Noten, who drew a glitterati crowd as the first big name of the nine-day Paris fashion shows, returned to his favoured masculine-feminine hunting ground, but with a tartan twist." {AFP}
  • "A unique spin on the grunge theme, and at the same time, a casual (read: not overly precious) take on ruffled femininity." {All The Rage/

    Los Angeles Times

  • "Dries Van Noten once said: 'The more clashing it is, the more that I like it!' This statement should have been proven true by the Antwerp designer's patterned and flowery ode to spring--a commanding show that mixed up wildly divergent textures, styles, cuts and shapes." {The Associated Press}
  • "The delight was in the mix --Dries is a masterful stylist--but also in the fact that each piece was a beaut in and of itself. I would like to watch that show over and over again. And then I would like to wrap my whole self in all that flannel." {The Cut/New York Magazine}
  • "If you happened to get a surge of teen spirit this afternoon, thank Dries Van Noten." {Daily Front Row}
  • "Dries Van Noten--one of fashion's leading playmakers and trendsetters--found the one element that had arguably been missing from his stylish and elegant oeuvre--sex. " {Fashion Wire Daily}
  • "A gorgeous collection fitting for socialites strolling in the holiday." {Grazia Daily Magazine}
  • "I found the Dries Van Noten show curious but interesting: mostly for its inky colors and plaids, but curious for its runny silhouette. Dare I say grunge?" {On The Runway/The New York Times}
  • "As evidence of the designer's genius--the whole collection was very un-grungy, given the sheer abundance or the genre's tropes it utilized. Long and lean lines, delicate ties and bows, handfuls of sparkle, and clean, ethereal layers of organza, crepe, silk, and mousseline made this a collection more for the confidant woman than the angsty teen." {Refinery29}
  • "It was definitely Van Noten's most seductive investigation of the masculine/feminine dynamic that is at the heart of his aesthetic." {}
  • "At this moment, with everything from unease and uncertainty to full-blown horror eddying around us, Van Noten seemed to want to locate a sense of enveloping comfort in spring, rendered in weightless, floating, uplifting ways." {}
  • Check, mate. That was the position, or rather its sartorial equivalent, that we found ourselves in this afternoon as Dries Van Noten presented a spring/summer 2013 collection that was heavy on all things check, grid and plaid." { UK}
  • "In a dissertation on finding the magic in sartorial reality, and within one’s own distinctive vernacular, Van Noten took the young, gritty concepts of punk and grunge and transported them to a place grown-up, elegant and drop-dead gorgeous." {WWD}

Thursday, September 27: Balenciaga Designer: Nicolas Ghesquière

  • "Balenciaga struck a high note at Paris Fashion Week Thursday, sending out a couture-inspired look part pure and part playful." {AFP}
  • "A game changer. Precise cuts and clean lines were Ghesquière's answer to fashion's current print and embellishment overload." {All The Rage/

    Los Angeles Times

  • "There was distinct tailoring and reality-based silhouettes. But in each piece there was also a bit of daring-do, a reminder that you don’t have to yell in order to be heard. Because a confident voice, with an original message, can whisper and still capture our attention." {The Daily Beast/Newsweek}
  • "Ruffles and ridges! Who else but Nicolas Ghesquière could make the girliest of motifs feel so architectural?" {Daily Front Row}
  • "It's not with every collection that sex appeal and extreme craftsmanship go hand in hand, but then again Nicolas Ghesquière isn't every designer." {fashionologie}
  • "Nicolas Ghesquière's talent lies in combining flounce with edge." {The Guardian}
  • "Mr. Ghesquière’s Balenciaga has been 15 years in the making. But he has never offered such a confident vision. He took the rigor of the founder; the steely geometry of his cut--swirling, Spanish shapes--and mixed all that with a 21st-century freedom of flesh." {International Herald Tribune}
  • "In one sense, the lean tailoring and white squared-off tops, with their Catholic overtones, brought his designs back to his roots at Balenciaga, when the clothes attracted a girl force. But in another way, this collection was confidently grown-up, as if Mr. Ghesquière knew he had nothing to prove." {The New York Times}
  • "All the talk this season is about the rivalry heating up between the new guys at Dior and YSL, Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane. But don't count Nicolas Ghesquière out. This is a man who, if he didn't invent the heritage brand reinvention, has certainly mastered the art. And his fantastic new Balenciaga collection was a case study in how he's done it season in and season out for the last decade, by putting an utterly modern gloss on intense study of the house's archives." {}
  • "[A] collection of exceptional, understated modern elegance." {}
  • "Ghesquière is nothing if not a fashion mathematician--his rules and style equations always setting the benchmark for what is to come." {}
  • "Adieu, clunky officewear! Bonjour, accessible high chic!" {WWD}

Friday, September 28: Dior Designer: Raf Simons

  • "Nipped waists, flared hips and delicate pleats: Dior's new designer Raf Simons on Friday offered up all the ingredients of the house's iconic silhouette, reworked for a 'sensual' 21st century woman." {AFP}
  • "Freedom was at the heart of Raf Simons’ outing for Dior--a confident show that twinned the essence of the 1950’s 'New Look,' with the liberated hemlines of the 1960s." {The Associated Press}
  • "These designs were a clear answer to those who wondered how much Simons would carry over his Jil Sander minimalist aesthetic to his new position. Yes, he kept a toehold in that camp ... But the majority of the collection would hardly qualify as minimal." {The Cut/

    New York Magazine

  • "Simons acquitted himself well with this collection; he left his audience wanting to see more." {The Daily Beast/Newsweek}
  • "It was fun and sensuous and also elegant and extremely desirable. A year ago everyone said that resurrecting Dior was an impossible task. Now it looks immenently feasible." {The Daily Telegraph}
  • "Raf knows how to excite, but it's not for show either; it's modern and wearable, giving Dior a contemporary edge that hasn't been there for a long time." {FabSugar}
  • "Get thee ready for the era of sensual minimalism courtesy of Christian Dior." {Fashion Wire Daily}
  • "Raf Simons has just sent out a debut ready-to-wear collection that proves his super-human ability to stay true to himself even with the pressure of extreme expectations." {Grazia Daily Magazine}
  • "Dior served first--and aced it, setting up a mouthwatering contest which won't be decided until late on Monday when the YSL show takes place." {The Guardian}
  • "From its brilliant reworking of statement dressing to the youthful vigour of contemporary daywear this was a collection that any woman worth her credentials will love to wear." {The Independent}
  • "It wasn’t enough to hear Robert De Niro drawl from behind his beard: 'I liked it.' Nor for the supermodel Natalia Vodianova to spread an enchanted red-lipstick smile at the end of the Christian Dior show on Friday. It was the roar that went up backstage behind the wafting pastel curtains, echoing the clapping in the graceful interlocking salons, that proved the designer Raf Simons had exceeded all expectations." {International Herald Tribune}
  • "Simons rewrote the codes of French design for a new generation with a collection that was all about color, movement, lightness and legs." {Los Angeles Times}
  • "Mr. Simons’s Dior show was a fantastic treat because he knew what he wanted to achieve and he did it with precision." {The New York Times}
  • "His debut at Dior on Friday was so exhaustingly spectacular that the faces of guests looked strained from taking it all in." {Speakeasy/The Wall Street Journal}
  • "The Schubert piece that was playing as invitees entered the huge, purpose-built salons where Raf Simons showed his first ready-to-wear collection for Dior today ... was the first sign that the designer was about to impress his personality on the massive edifice that is Dior. Where Galliano achieved the same thing by amping up the house till it matched his own delirious, romantic, saturatingly sensual historicism, Simons took a long, cool look at the heritage and found the strictness, the rigor, and a different kind of sensuality." {}
  • "He rose quietly and elegantly to the challenge of reinterpreting Dior’s bravura signatures, such as those dramatic seasonal changes of 'line,' the refinement and sophistication of technique (some of them Victorian revivals), and the lavish fabrications and embellishments--in a way that remains potent and enticing for a twenty-first-century woman." {}
  • "This collection--a resounding success--was full of what looked like little chapters, but ones with a clear vision at the end of them: namely that Simons was a very good choice for Dior." { UK}
  • "By 3:15 or so on Friday, Bernard Arnault and Sidney Toledano must have been feeling pretty good about themselves. They had just watched Simons thrust Dior into a place it hasn’t been in some time, a place where clothes count as more than foils around which to continue the global expansion of accessories and beauty businesses. These clothes were exquisite, with that Holy Grail-fusion of currency and cool." {WWD}

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Saturday, September 29: Jean Paul Gaultier Designer: Jean Paul Gaultier

  • "From Madonna to Michael Jackson, Grace Jones to Sade: Jean-Paul Gaultier feted the pop and style icons of the 1980s on Saturday with a rebelliously joyful collection." {AFP}
  • "'This show is based on facts. Any similarity with real events or characters is purely non-coincidental.’ Expectations ran high, given he created Madonna’s most iconic look at the height of her powers. So, once the Kiss tribute band had been settled on the front row, the Jean Paul Gaultier cabaret-cum-pop-quizz began." {}
  • "A good time was had by all--especially the designer." {

    International Herald Tribune}

  • "Jean Paul Gaultier’s show tonight was an absolute hoot." {On The Runway/The New York Times}
  • "Did he disappoint? Um, the show was a fabulous cabaret; the clothes were, in many cases, an impressively accurate redaction of the style of the original performers. But the relevance for now?" {}
  • "'Be the pop star you want to be,' might have been Gaultier’s mantra as he romped through a platinum disc–worthy greatest hits collection." {}
  • "This was less a fashion show and more a concert--fashion press up and out of their seats to sing and dance along to favourite sartorial soundtracks." { UK}
  • "Gaultier’s riff on pop music, featuring groupings dedicated to the Eighties’ biggest names and a terrific soundtrack to match, made for an entertaining musical revue." {WWD}

Sunday, September 30: Céline Designer: Phoebe Philo

  • "The British designer Phoebe Philo had some fun with her footwear, sending out models in flip flops with fluffy fur-lined soles, like a cheeky footnote to the look. Frayed hems, on skirts or dresses, added to the relaxed feel of the sharp-tailored collection." {AFP}
  • "Phoebe Philo--at the top of her game--produced an effortlessly chic display." {The Associated Press}
  • "There were new silhouettes, new bags, and some outrageous new shoes; mink high heels and mink-lined pool sandals that were near-instantly christened 'furkenstocks'. In fact, so jam-packed with juicy innovation was today's Céline collection that a full jostle of fashion editors descended backstage to pump--extremely politely--its designer Phoebe Philo for information." {

    The Daily Telegraph}

  • "Philo's collection delves into new territory, most notably with her accessories, but also with other twists--quite literally: the twisted fabric looped over a shoulder and fastened across the chests and waists of her tops, creating a new architectural storyline in the midst of her simplified, more menswear-informed silhouettes." {FabSugar}
  • "The freshest take on modern dressing seen so far this season in any of fashion's great four cities--a poetically evocative affair." {Fashion Wire Daily}
  • "Black, white, and navy dominated; on silky tops, wide-leg trousers, cropped leather tees, boxy blazer vests, and mesh-paneled dresses, they looked striking and allowed for Phoebe Philo's new twisted fabric motifs to really shine." {fashionologie}
  • "The headline act of this Paris fashion week has been billed as a duel but it should more accurately be seen as a battle royale, with three contestants rather than two." {The Guardian}
  • "Philo's latest offering was a hugely confident move forward and one that told a warmer story." {The Independent}
  • "Her return on Sunday was a powerful statement--but not about the graphic edge she had given to her 30-something, work-hard sisters. Céline had gone soft, from satin wrapped round the bust or hips, as nonchalantly as the sleeves of a cardigan, to the fluffy sandals that were both witty and adorable as a link to hearth and home." {International Herald Tribune}
  • "Ignoring the tumult about the new designers at Dior and Saint Laurent, about the new minimalism and the return of the tuxedo--or perhaps not in the mood to play along--Ms. Philo on Sunday sent out a remarkably different silhouette, lean and full of slouch." {The New York Times}
  • "The Céline woman who emerged at that Avenue Foch venue today was somewhat different: stylish, yet slovenly even, elegant in a dishabille way. Yes, you could imagine her sitting down; in fact, you could imagine her sprawled out on a couch. And the Céline woman was all the better for it." {}
  • "What she’s advancing here is a picture of what it’s like to be a woman now. As a designer, her mission is empathy and practicality. The litmus test is not the 'look' or the 'theme,' but whether her droves of customers will see how this collection can be picked apart to fit all the angles and lights in which they have to be seen in their own life. The answer: yes. Add nonfurry heels, and it would still work." {}
  • "It was the wrapping that was the main story here--was Philo telling us she had it all wrapped up? Quite likely." { UK}
  • "In a tight lineup she proposed several ideas, some strong and others that felt labored and uncomfortable, as if the next step may not be an obvious reveal. It made for interesting viewing." {WWD}

Monday, October 1: Stella McCartney Designer: Stella McCartney

  • "Masculine-meets-feminine sportswear. Down to earth but special. ... McCartney has a knack for adding her own kind of edge to everyday pieces." {All The Rage/

    Los Angeles Times

  • "Fresh, optimistic and relaxed." {The Associated Press}
  • "For women yearning for even more of an alternative to the perfume cloud of Saint Laurent sensuality, the truest one may be sporty chic. Stella McCartney offered oversized and relaxed windbreakers and sweatshirt-style pullovers in a combination of white and orange as well as in sage green." {The Daily Beast/Newsweek}
  • "A gold medal-winning front row looked on as Stella McCartney delivered another hit collection." {The Daily Telegraph}
  • "When sporty goes sexy! Leave it to Stella to merge military shapes, athletic elements, and even eyelet to such winning effect." {Daily Front Row}
  • "That magic mix of editorial-worthy Fashion and real clothes." {}
  • "A classic Stella boy meets girl story." {Grazia Daily Magazine}
  • "The clothes had an ease and a freedom of movement which suggested an unwillingness to return from a summer of sport to the painstakingly constructed and narrowly defined aesthetic of catwalk beauty." {The Guardian}
  • "Old friend, Kate Moss, took her place next to M.IA. Add to the mix actresses Diane Keaton and Salma Hayek and model Natalia Vodianova… Suffice it to say, the paparazzi had a field day. And what of the clothes? McCartney is on a roll and that looks set to continue. The simple, sporty designs she chose to focus on this time around would suit all of the aforementioned women down to the ground and whatever the difference in their age or body shape." {The Independent}
  • "The show’s strengths were in the perforated fabrics, which gave an airy effect, right down to the uppers of thick, transparent platform shoes. The collection felt polished and hyper-modern." {International Herald Tribune}
  • "In one way or another, Ms. McCartney was exposing a female obsession with this collection: how much of one’s self to show?" {The New York Times}
  • "McCartney is a hitmaker. ... Among this season's plissé organza numbers with graphic splashes of bright color, the winner was a racerback style worn by Anja Rubik, its royal blue mille-feuille organza embroideries bisected by a transparent panel at the midriff." {}
  • "Think of it as a kind of fashion pentathlon: the dress class, the shirt class, the work-suiting class, the shoe class, the event-dressing event. McCartney performed well in all areas." {}
  • "It only seems right that Stella take a moment to breathe and it was this attitude we could see working its way through the collection--all loose, easy, slouchy, low slung, nothing was hard to wear." { UK}
  • "Made an ironclad argument that allure and optimism are not mutually exclusive." {WWD}

Tuesday, October 2: Alexander McQueen Designer: Sarah Burton

  • "Honeycomb dresses, insect-like visors and caramel corsets cinching their waists, designer Sarah Burton sent a procession of queen bees buzzing into Paris." {AFP}
  • "Fashion is body armor. At least it is for Sarah Burton, who tapped her fantastical imagination for Alexander McQueen to conjure up fashion week's most original show: Mixing insect-like armory with on-trend stiff bar jackets of the New Look, as well as 19th century crinoline." {The Associated Press}
  • "Holy honeycomb! ... Burton's perforated perspective lent a masterfully light touch to even the darkest and subversive-hewing of looks." {Daily Front Row}
  • "Sarah Burton's Spring '13 collection for Alexander McQueen was quite literally buzzing with excitement." {FabSugar}
  • "A number of garments--dresses, shirts, and jackets included--demonstrated a clever use of the wasp waist. When could it be more appropriate to revive this McQueen trope than in a collection inspired by bees? Yes, the inspiration here came across literally, but the clothing certainly didn't suffer for it." {fashionologie}
  • "The queen bee and her hive were the starting points for a collection which was, as is right and proper at McQueen, tempting as honey but with a deadly sting." {

    The Guardian}

  • "Sarah Burton created a sharp, magical bit of fantasy on Tuesday night for McQueen. ... As always, the McQueen workmanship was impressive, but Ms. Burton captivated her audience with the textures and humming society of the queen’s world." {On The Runway/The New York Times}
  • "Forget the obvious--she has, after all, proved herself the McQueen Bee with a spectacular string of buzzy fashion coups. Instead, think about a honey-based color palette, plus the patterning possibilities of comb, plus the frisson of the bee sting, plus the salient fact that Burton is an expectant mother. All of which equals a collection as conceptual and precise as anything from Lee McQueen's heyday, but with an added--and odd--intimacy." {}
  • "The pretty, exaggerated prom dresses, studded with flowers (after all, bees need pollen) at the end expressed that lightness best. McQueen has a large list of personal clients who queue for dresses made to measure. They’ll be swarming all over these." {}
  • "This really was a perfect collection--taking honey in all its forms and working it up into the most beautiful clothes." { UK}
  • "Less than a day from the close of a grueling, seemingly endless fashion season, it seemed fitting (if perversely so) to celebrate those bastions of hard work and distinctive, functional design--bees." {WWD}

Wednesday, October 3 Louis Vuitton Designer: Marc Jacobs

  • "A look fed by conceptual art and the house's 125-year-old damier motif ... was a clean break with the French house's recent lyrical outings that have featured a life-sized train or a twirling carousel." {AFP}
  • "Visual splendor in motion." {All The Rage/

    Los Angeles Times

  • "What do you get if you mix up the world's most famous checks and Paris' most famous stripes? The answer: Louis Vuitton." {The Associated Press}
  • "It was a magical and embracing reminder that fashion at this level is ultimately not about fabric and embellishment, but about how it makes us feel." {The Daily Beast/Newsweek}
  • "It's a mod, mod world! Marc Jacobs ended PFW succinctly and brilliantly with a check-heavy, stripe-ridden collection that was as concise as it was imaginative." {Daily Front Row}
  • "A prim but cool show." {Fashion Wire Daily}
  • "Checkmate." {fashionologie}
  • "The ultimate manifestation of symmetry." {Grazia Daily Magazine}
  • "How to follow last season's epic Louis Vuitton show, a lavish 15-minute theatre piece in which a real steam train, in bespoke Louis Vuitton livery for the occasion, carried a phalanx of models to a catwalk in the shadow of the Louvre? Jacobs's answer was to wipe the slate clean." {The Guardian}
  • "Marc Jacobs took his audience to a futuristic fashion paradise on the closing day of the Paris collections--or to the world's most heavenly departure lounge at least." {The Independent}
  • "The Louis Vuitton show hit its graphic target on Wednesday, marking a sparky and spectacular moment on the last day of the monthlong international season." {International Herald Tribune}
  • "Although some of the linear ’60s shapes resembled his collection in New York, with more strictness and color, the idea of duplication was fascinating." {The New York Times}
  • "If it seems repetitive, it was--but only in the most genius way possible." {Refinery29}
  • "Fresh, mod, confident." {Speakeasy/The Wall Street Journal}
  • "Pop! Paris fashion week finished this morning with a six-minute Louis Vuitton show as energizing as it was brief." {}
  • "Simplistic as the fashion was—for ultimately, there’s not much for a designer to do with a graphic minidress or two-piece skirt suit—the sheer overwhelming scale of the spectacle, its extravagance and sweet cheerfulness ended the spring-summer show cycle on an up note." {}
  • "It was all simple, no fuss, elegant and Sixties sleek." { UK}
  • "Dear France, such intricacy doesn’t come cheap. Yet it has such great power to please, not only the over-it fashion crowd but rich ladies around the world, too. Therefore, please don’t take all of Mr. Arnault’s money away. Respectfully, WWD." {WWD}