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YouTube sent me to Paris Fashion Week!

YouTube’s Fashion and Beauty team partnered with creator Bliss Foster, an independent fashion critic who explores the nuances, references, and artfulness of designer fashion, for the ultimate Paris Fashion Week experience. Check out their diary below!

Day 1

We’re finally here in Paris and ready for day one. The rest of the press and buyers are making their way over from Milan and need some time to get settled so we went to three events, Benjamin Benmoyal’s showroom, and the Maitrepierre and Vaquera runway shows. I arrived in Paris with enough time to beat jet lag.

Day 2

A full schedule today, starting with a brand I’ve covered extensively, Botter. More on them next. Mame Kurogouchi was a huge surprise. Her clothes this season are based on Japanese basket weaving. Lecourt Mansion held a cocktail party at 3 pm, giving a lot of fashion press a moment to sit down for the first time that day. Anrealage gave us an audio experience along with their show that reconsidered the grammar of patchwork, and as an audiophile, I was a fan of this runway experience. Koché’s Google collaboration asked us “Do Hoodies Dream?” a reference to the Philip K Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? We ended our day with Alice Vaillant’s runway show - I interviewed her in a showroom six months ago, and now she’s hosting her first runway show in Paris, a huge step forward.

Botter is a Caribbean-inspired brand, using the inspiration of the sea and sea life to tell beautiful and nuanced stories through clothing. Six months ago, they gave me access to film backstage for their Fall 2022 collection and I was incredibly impressed with their work. This season, when I went backstage, I was greeted with more of Botter’s creativity and saw their latest brilliant idea. In an attempt to bring water to the runway, Botter created water orbs that were suspended at the models’ hands. The orbs were made using enlarged condoms, a chemical-free colorant, and tape to create this great visual effect. Among other great ideas this season like water shoes made of resin and bags made of ice, it really was the condom hands that created a huge buzz.

Day 3

We started the day by hurrying to the Saint Denis area of Paris to a production studio space where Courrèges was presenting their collection. This runway set was the most impressive of the week, showcasing a cascade of sand that fractured open in the middle. Undercover presented in a church, and in a moment that meant a lot to me personally, I got to ask designer Jun Takahashi a question backstage. We almost didn’t make it to their presentation but I’m so glad that we did: Ruohan is a brand worth watching out for. Rochas opened their show with new fashion darling Ella Emhoff, and Day 3 ended with a showroom presentation for Meryll Rogge, the designer who I’ve interviewed most on my channel.

Day 4

After the first show, I got to speak to the creative director of Gauchere, Marie-Christine Statz, about how her use of the cutout motif affects the structure of her clothing. My fashion week highlight is always Rick Owens. This season, he continued his exploration of Egypt in a larger discussion about permanence and time. Paula Canovas Del Vas was another impressive brand, her presentation conveyed the tenderness she seeks to express in her clothing.

Day 5

I was touched with the presentation at Issey Miyake, the first runway after Issey’s passing earlier this year. The innovation that has historically been a part of the Issey Miyake brand was very present in the new shapes and new pleating design.

Attending Issey Miyake’s runway presentation this season, I felt as though we were about to witness a noteworthy presentation from the house, even though Miyake had not been actively involved with the work produced by the brand he founded for many years. He had stepped back and allowed his pupil, Satoshi Kondo, to guide the brand while tapering his input out over the years. It strikes me as a huge and terrifying responsibility to be the first person in charge of a brand’s vision after the passing of their founder - like Yves Saint Laurent at Dior in the past or Casey Cadwallader at Mugler more recently. Where we, as well as seemingly everyone else in attendance, thought that this would likely be a tribute show, Spring 2023 lacked any overt tribute to Mr. Miyake in the clothing. Briefly, a photo of Issey was projected onto the wall prior to the start of the presentation. It was the only indication of his passing. I felt very fortunate to interview Kondo backstage, where he stated that this show was not within itself a tribute, but pointed to his whole career as a tribute to the mentorship and guidance of Miyake. The choreographed dancing that ended the show made me cry, despite any indication that it was meant to honor the man whose work advanced the discipline of fashion. As always, the movement associated with the work produced at Issey Miyake inspired emotion from many.

Day 6

By far the busiest day, we were scheduled for nine back-to-back events. Junya Watanabe guided us through an 80s rock lens for his runway, the team at Ester Manas continued to evolve their signature body-positive aesthetic, and that was just the morning shows. Noir Kei Ninomiya is always the most aetherial of the Paris shows, this time largely inspired by underwater creatures. The Loewe show is always very exclusive so we went to the showroom and saw new shapes and innovations from Jonathan Anderson. Rui led us into a basement with a bondage collection and some very tasty teas. Heliot Emil had a highly conceptual show exploring the places where humans and machines can meet and make something beautiful, and Ann Demeulemeester presented a collection by the anonymous design team that was entirely in monochrome.

Day 7

Barely able to recover from the crazy day prior, we ventured back out for more shows! Ottolinger and Florentina Leitner both carried the morning with shows that brought a surreal and almost horror-twinged touch to the week. GMBH delivered a collection inspired by Arabic poetry and some of the most accessible clothes of the week. We ended the day at Olivier Theyskins who has reimagined patchwork technique to stunning effect. Olivier was one designer I knew very little about before the week started. I’ll be keeping a close eye on him moving forward.

Day 8

Our penultimate day in Paris began with the Japanese brand, Sacai. A former student of Rei Kawakubo, Sacai brought more innovative shapes through masterful pattern cutting. Next up was a fantastical one-act play from Thom Browne with all the campiness and extravagance we’ve come to expect from the American designer. Rokh was one of the huge surprises of the week with a collection of clothes that made frequent reference to classics like Margiela. Kevin Germanier brought a purposefully chaotic collection as he continues to develop his business’ sustainability, both financially and ecologically. Finally, AZ Factory hosted its newest artist in residence, Huelle Lutz.

Day 9

Our final day at Paris Fashion Week ended with some incredible shows. A.W.A.K.E. Mode presented my single favorite piece of fashion week: a beautifully translucent, floor-length dress. Miu Miu put us on a rocket ship through the cosmos with a collection that brings the human touch to cold machinery. Ujoh delivered some innovative products through kick-flips of pattern cutting. And finally, the entire week of shows ended with the 30th anniversary show of Xuly Bët. It was the only runway show of the week that was open to the public and also free. A refreshingly democratic way to end the week. I cannot believe we were able to cover so much of fashion week, in total, we covered nearly half of all the presentations. I cannot wait to come to Paris for more.