Stars dazzle in Paris Fashion Show

The annual show brings high fashion to the streets of the French capital


Courtesy of Vogue

A photographer snaps a photo of a model during Paris Fashion Week.

Virginia Noone, Photography Editor

Bundled in blue and oversized scarves, the high fashion community stormed the streets of Paris last week for the annual Paris Fashion Week where top designers showcased their newest work. While last week focused on men’s lines, this week’s focus is on haute couture — which is a fanciful way of referring to high fashion.

As with New York, Milan and London, fashion week consists of two distinct parts. The first is the runway shows, which are typically over the top and emphasize the ways in which fashion is truly another art form. These are where celebrities on magazine covers are dressed similarly to characters who live in the Capital from “The Hunger Games” — see Doja Cat in 30,000 red crystals for reference.

The second and more nuanced side of fashion week is the street style. These are tastefully, and often personally, curated outfits worn by models, celebrities and designers that are then photographed by paparazzi. These outfits are arguably much more relevant to the common folk who are aiming for an effortless look to wear to class rather than a bedazzled bodysuit.

It was 35 degrees in the city during Paris Fashion Week, so there was, fortunately, an influx of inspiration for the cold winter days and, somehow, even colder days of early spring that lay ahead. Last year, there was a winter wonderland of cold weather attire with creams and whites breaking the antiquated “no white after Labor Day” rule. This year, designers returned back to black and left monochrome in 2022.

Pops of vibrant — but not neon — colors accented every winter streetwear outfit. Whether it be a bright green beanie or an oversized red scarf, the rainbow was on the rise this year. This trend is highly sustainable for anyone on a college budget as it requires investing in classic, neutral-colored pieces and then alternating in a stand-out splash of color to accent the outfit.

The winners of the color wheel this year have to be the bright blues. Blue and black, historically a faux pas, were seen on a number of top models. Even layering blues on blues seemed to be trending this winter. I dare say the return of the Canadian Tuxedo may be on the horizon, although my personal feelings toward it remain undetermined at the moment.

One thing we’re not seeing — likely due to the frigid weather — is the presence of pant-less styles. Not seen on the cold streets of Paris, but rather on the Internet — the absence of pants in favor of boxers or tights paired with boots and an oversized top is one of the latest trends. Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber and now Anne Hathaway have all committed to breaking one of the most fundamental rules of fashion — wearing clothes.

Now to address the elephant — or rather the Doja Cat — in the room. The Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring-Summer show was left speechless when Doja Cat appeared in 30,000 Swarovski crystals that were applied by hand over a five-hour time span by makeup artist Pat McGrath. This was a nod to Dante’s “Inferno,” which was the theme of the collection. McGrath said on Instagram, “The final product was a magical, mesmerizing masterpiece and a tribute to Doja Cat’s hard work and dedication.”

Kylie Jenner and Naomi Campbell also leaned into Dante’s “Inferno” and are now receiving a lot of heat for it. Jenner wore a classic black, strapless gown with an enormous faux lion’s head draped over her shoulder. Similarly, Campbell wore a black wolf’s head that was attached to a faux fur coat. Both were criticized for “glorifying animal hunting” by Instagram commenters, among other accusations of the outfit simply being in poor taste.

Coming to the celebrities’ defense are haute couture purists who believe that pushing the envelope through dress-making is an essential part of preserving an art form that was born in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century.

A haute couture house must be made-to-order, have a workshop in Paris with at least 15 staff members along with 20 full-time technical people in the atelier and be able to present at least 50 original designs to the public every fashion week.

My point in explaining this is to demonstrate that none of this is accidental. Each piece and concept are as finely detailed and complex as your favorite Vincent Van Gogh painting or independent film — high fashion is art.

The designers and teams are artists to the highest degree, and their work deserves to be respected and viewed as dialogue. The media and public focus far too much on which celebrity is wearing the piece, which is senseless and distracting to the work. Celebrities and models are merely canvases when it comes to fashion shows. It would be absurd to look at the “Mona Lisa” and only comment on the quality of the canvas.

As the fashion community says “au revoir” to Paris, they prepare to yell, “Ay, I’m walking here” to New York City. New York Fashion Week begins Feb. 9 as American designers gear up to display their work. Then comes London and Milan, before coming back to Paris to finish off with the women’s collections the first week of March.

To keep up with past fashion weeks and fashion weeks to come, check out “Vogue,” “Harper’s Bazaar” and “Who, What, Wear.” And remember the quote by Yves Saint Laurent, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.”