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Paris Fashion Week: 80s throwbacks and masculine styling in the spotlight

New York's homage to sensuality and London's fantasy-filled imaginings were followed by sophistication and elegance in Paris, which nevertheless also hosted several elements found in the other fashion capitals

Published: Mar 9, 2023 01:28:44 PM IST
Updated: Mar 9, 2023 02:36:02 PM IST

Paris Fashion Week: 80s throwbacks and masculine styling in the spotlightCoats, oversized and highlighted shoulders, and a black & white colorway, are among the key trends of the Paris fall-winter 2023 season shows. Image: Emmanuel Dunand/ Julien De Rosa/ AFP©

The French capital closed the month of fashion weeks with a plethora of shows and a host of new trends for fall/winter 2023. While most fashion capitals saw reinterpretations of some 1990s and 2000s styles, Paris looked to the decade of the 1980s for the most part, with exaggerated shoulders and pieces borrowed from the men's wardrobes, blurring the line between genders.

New York's homage to sensuality and London's fantasy-filled imaginings were followed by sophistication and elegance in Paris, which nevertheless also hosted a number of elements found in the other fashion capitals. Tights, without dresses or skirts, were decidedly part of the mix, as well as some frills, feathers everywhere, and flowing dresses that created long silhouettes while also symbolizing a combo that has become unavoidable—a blend of chic and comfortable. But outerwear, in particular long coats and trenches, as well as ties, wide or sculpted shoulders, and dark colors, got top billing during this last week of fashion shows.

A standout piece: the coat

In Paris, outerwear seems to have taken precedence over everything else. And this time around, it's no longer the sportswear-inspired down jackets, but rather the long coats and trenches that stood out. Perfectly tailored or in XXL versions, often inspired by menswear with details like sharp collars, with or without sleeves, but often with broad shoulders, coats were simply everywhere, providing that sophisticated touch that characterizes Paris. Louis Vuitton, Issey Miyake, Dries Van Noten, Givenchy, Vaillant Studio, Loewe, Balmain, and Valentino, are among the labels that have transformed trench coats and coats into full-fledged fashion pieces—or at least into must-have items of the season. A trend also spotted on the Milanese catwalks.

Material of choice: (fake) fur

While leather was the main textile attraction in New York, London and Milan, it was also present in the French capital but it didn't manage to upstage fur, or rather fake fur. In Paris, being cold next winter won't be an option, but the issue of animal welfare won't be neglected either. And apart from a few classic styles, faux fur is getting more fanciful than ever with stripes, animal prints, and punchy colors, your choice. A trend observed on the catwalks of Nina Ricci, Vaillant Studio, and, to a lesser extent, Stella McCartney and Loewe.

Also read: From Balenciaga to Vivienne Westwood and Paco Rabanne, Paris Fashion Week coloured by scandal and grief

Top colorway: black & white

As in other fashion capitals, vibrant colors such as red and yellow stood out in Paris, but the French capital also—and above all—gave pride of place to that most elegant combination of black & white. Dresses, skirts, pants, suits, and coats so many pieces of women's wardrobes were executed in the iconic duo in the form of stripes, checks, and other prints, or more simply through details highlighting contrasts -- pockets, buttons, collars and so on. French house Chanel stood out for its styles using this combination, while it was also seen at Valentino, Stella McCartney, Nina Ricci, and Schiaparelli.

Key prints: checks and stripes

Prints didn't particularly stand out in Paris, unlike in London, which gave pride of place to florals, but if we had to pick one—or two—print trends, it would undoubtedly be checks and stripes. The first was spotted at Chanel (which also paid tribute throughout the collection to the camellia flower, the house's signature), as well as at Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood, and Dior, which also sent out some silhouettes featuring stripes, as did Nina Ricci and Valentino, which used them in an oversized version.

Also read: Rahul Mishra evokes mysteries of the 'Cosmos' in Paris for Haute Couture Week

A favored accessory: the tie

A standout star of the Valentino fashion show, the tie made headlines in Paris as the must-have accessory of the fall-winter 2023 season... for women. Abandoned by gentlemen, it now adorns the necks of fashionable ladies, who in turn imbue it with a dose of elegance, fantasy, and sophistication. But in addition to that, it is also a question of drawing on a symbol of masculinity, and appropriating it for women in a silhouette that is both sexy and powerful. That's what was on show at Valentino, of course, as well as at Dior and Alexander McQueen. Also note, the common theme of these shows—the 1980s, were invoked by oversized shoulders.