PARIS — Dior mania swept menswear at Paris Fashion Week on Friday as more than a thousand screaming fans flocked to the magnificent Place de la Concorde to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars, some almost risking their lives in snarled traffic.
The show’s VIP guest hosts, including David Beckham, Naomi Campbell and members of Korean band BTS, J-Hope and Jimin, steered the crowd like salmon swimming upstream.
Inside, Dior designer Kim Jones paid tribute to Yves Saint Laurent, who became the youngest designer in the world at the age of 21 in 1957 after the death of Christian Dior.
Here are a few highlights of the fall-winter 2023-2024 collections:
In 1958, Saint Laurent presented his first collection for Christian Dior. It was a global event where the designer attracted thousands and thousands of screaming fans on the avenues. Some things never change, even in 65 years.
Kim Jones used that women’s collection as inspiration for his men’s collection — reflecting its contrasts of masculine and feminine and British cut against fashion.
Jones also captured its fluidity to produce a gender-neutral look with softened shapes and loose waists. Unbuttoned suits that fall open give a lovely trapeze silhouette, as do smart white knit sweaters with sleeves cut off to flutter like ponchos.
Jones did his homework. In Saint Laurent’s debut, he famously abandoned Dior’s cinched waists and long fabrics in favor of more fluid shapes in which the body disappeared, effectively reinventing the trapeze silhouette.
Some of Jones’ styles, like the updated navy shirt, were taken directly from the 1958 archives.
But this sublime performance was much more than a mere homage. The 3D printed shoes accompanied contemporary multi-striped sheer organza bodices for an aggressive yet feminine look. The off-the-shoulder tailoring of one embellished pearl coat evoked both a relaxed rebel and an opening flower.
DIOR’S STARS, THESPIANS
The unique combination of celebrity, art, hysteria, beauty and fragrant perfume at the Dior fashion show simply overwhelmed the senses. It began with incredible recorded performances by actors Gwendoline Christie and Robert Pattinson reciting excerpts of poetry from TS. Elliot, interspersed with images of the Dior collection.
“I’m really so happy to be here at the Dior show,” Christie told the AP. “It’s no surprise that Kim Jones is one of our greatest living designers that we have. I’m also very happy because he’s a very old friend.”
But even the cool Christie, star of Dior’s show and “Game of Thrones,” looked devastated when she was dismissed by reporters a split second after the arrival of BTS’s Jimin, who was recently announced as Dior’s brand ambassador.
PAUL SMITH CHANGES THE CENTURY
Smith delved into the history books for a thoughtful depiction that seemed to merge 1970s London with the city of the 1870s.
A quilted coat with a plaid cape showed it perfectly. It flared out at the back looking like it was made in Baker Street and could have been worn by Sherlock Holmes if it came with a pipe.
Elsewhere, a high white collar had a noticeable 19th-century feel, while a dark velvet coat with a large collar had a wonderful texture.
Such old-fashioned thinking gave fall and winter a more austere style than usual, but it was a welcome change.
In the 1970s, Smith’s touchstone was also on display in abundance. Designs included puffy plaid coats, vibrant blue printed pants, and loose colored suits with broad, rounded shoulders.
The best looks were those that brought the two eras together, such as a relaxed blue coat with voluminous layers, paired with a striped blue silk pula.
BOTTER IS SUPERLATIVE
Flashes of bright colors and whimsical quirks pervade Rushemy Botter and Lisa Herrebrugh’s incredible fall joint offering.
If there was an overarching theme in Botter’s always creative and eccentric show, it was surely serendipity.
A blue bikini was wittily sewn onto a shimmering satin shirt-dress. The outer layer of the jacket peeled away to reveal an underlayer resembling snakeskin. The mermaid look featured a salmon print on a tight bodice that cascaded down to the “tail” of a pleated metallic satin skirt. A neon-pink knitted sweater placed on the front of another sweater was probably a nod to how cold the weather in Paris has been lately.