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Why Paris Is Still the Most Magical Fashion Week

It's got it all.
Aymeline Valade outside of the Dior show in Paris. Photo: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/Getty

Aymeline Valade outside of the Dior show in Paris. Photo: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/Getty

Fashion Month’s bookends, New York and Paris, are each a slog. New York, because it’s crammed with too many shows and too many labels that would be better off not investing thousands of dollars into a presentation that no one has any time to see. Paris, because it’s the end of the road, and everyone is tired, cranky and eager to complain about the disorganized system in which we work.

But Paris is also the most magical of fashion weeks. If New York is (mostly) about the commercial, London about experimentation, and Milan about craftsmanship, Paris is about all of those things and more. It’s where everything ends, but also where everything begins. The industry expects a lot from Paris, but did it deliver this season? Well, let’s consider:

There was Fashion with a capital F. Nicolas Ghesquière delighted at Louis Vuitton, while Phoebe Philo equally attracted and repulsed at Céline. Miuccia Prada brought magic back to Miu Miu and Jonathan Anderson dazzled at Loewe. By the week’s end, it was easy to feel inspired.

There was showmanship. Karl Lagerfeld’s Brasserie Chanel was charming, but Valentino’s Zoolander-cast stunt won the week in terms of using something other than clothes to garner attention.

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There was celebrity. Kanye and Kim may have dominated, but even without them, the star quotient was high this week. A celebrity at a fashion show only thrills when she’s very special or unexpected, like Michelle Williams at Louis Vuitton or Miranda July at Miu Miu. Great gets.

There was desire. Lemaire’s cone-heel mules, Hermès's mink sweatshirts, Loewe’s wide-leg trousers, Céline’s coat with half-unbuttoned sleeves. These are the things people are going to want.

There was raw emotion. From John Galliano’s vulnerable first ready-to-wear collection for Maison Margiela to Rei Kawabuko’s thought-provoking, tear-inducing Comme des Garçons show, there was something real on the runway this time around.

Drawing from all of that, here's what I think: It’s easy to complain about fashion, but it’s also easy to believe in it. Because we’ll always have Paris.

Front page photo: Imaxtree