You haven't lived until you've been to Paris in the winter -- during Fashion Week of course! It may be cold and rainy, but Paris is always beautiful, and buzzing with excitement at a myriad of fashion shows, expositions and parties that even us mere mortals of the public can attend. And, if you're lucky, you'll get to brush elbows with celebrities and fashion world icons who jet-set over from the prior Fashion Weeks in New York, London and Milan.
The Fall/Winter Paris Prêt-a-Porter Fashion Week is the most prominent trade event for the fashion industry, when Fall fashions are rolled-out as a season preview for the world's biggest retail buyers who're scrambling to place their orders for fashion, handbags, jewelry, shoes, hats and cosmetics. Unlike other large industry convention hall tradeshows, Fashion Week is orchestrated citywide at some of Paris' most prominent points of interest.
This year from February 25th to March 4th, top designers and fashion design students staged fashion extravaganzas ranging from the pinnacle of good taste to the surreal. Among the selected sites, were the Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Musée de l'Homme, le Champs-Elysee, le Tour Montparnasse, place du Trocadéro, Théâtre du Châtelet, and La Sorbonne.
Winter Paris Fashion Week 2007 took place February 26 through March 4, and featured everyone who's anyone in the designer world, including long-time Parisian favorites Chanel, Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix and Givenchy.
Ah, the drama! Aside from the expected eccentric styles and surreal shows, more than a few eyebrows raised when an animal rights protestor stormed the catwalk nude in response to this year's apparent return to use of fur as a luxury material.
London designer Stella McCartney (daughter of Beatle Paul McCartney), then made headlines for her "fur-free" show, showcasing warm alternatives to fur, with models clad in taffetas, satins, knitwear and cashmere.
Emanuel Ungaro's Peter Dundas got everyone ready to hit the discos with his collection designed to celebrate night clubbing. Decked-out in plenty of bling and leather, the models strutted and slinked down the runway.
The most controversial show of the week had to be that of Viktor & Rolf. Dutch design partners Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, are renowned for elaborate, wildly-imaginative shows. This year, they invented awkward contraptions that the models had to balance delicately, which were fitted with lighting and music as a kind of "personal fashion show." The designs were somewhat gothic, reminding one of the movie Van Helsing. The poor models were also required to were stylized wooden clogs, which clip-clopped loudly as they paraded carefully down the runway.
Expectedly, there were WWII and ancient war themes in many of the fashion collections this year, incorporating tall boots, leather, fur, fatigue green, body armor, medallions and epaulettes. Even Jean Paul Gaultier revealed models wearing Scottish tartans with stylized Mohawks, as if going into battle.
Also during Fashion Week, the exclusive Paris boutique Colette, celebrated its 10th anniversary by inviting 10 art curators to spotlight a talent gallery-style on one of it's walls. It was a fabulous way to show off it's ultra-trendy collection of music CDs, shoes, handbags, branded water and accessories. The boutique is also renown for glamorous parties, art exhibits and dance classes, and definitely worth a visit when you're in Paris.
Speaking of accessories, Nokia decided to unveil its Nokia 7373 Special Edition fashion phones by designer Giambattista Valli at Fashion Week, at the "Dress-your-Nokia-in-Giambattista Valli" Party. For the label-conscious, this is a must-have phone. Each one comes pre-loaded with a "behind the scenes" video for a glimpse into the life and inspiration of the designer, along with a selection of Valli graphics and the exclusive ring-tone, "Rhodium."