Paris Couture Week: eight houses to stage shows in July, as Paris reopens further
Paris Couture Week will feature eight live runway shows in its next season in July, the largest number seen at an important fashion week since the pandemic led to the global lockdown last spring.
The season, scheduled from Monday July 5 to Thursday July 8, will feature 34 fall/winter 2021-2022 collections from 33 houses. Of these, Christian Dior, Azzaro Couture, Chanel (with two shows), Giorgio Armani Privé, Balenciaga, Jean Paul Gaultier, Zuhair Murad and Vaishali S – chronologically - will all stage catwalks events before invited guests, according to the official calendar released by the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, French fashion’s governing body, which controls the schedule for all six annual runway seasons in Paris.
With the exception of Valentino, which will show in Venice, all the traditional couture power houses and vital independents will be present, including Iris Van Herpen, Giambattista Valli, Stéphane Rolland, Alexandre Vauthier, Viktor & Rolf, Rahul Mishra, Julie de Libran, Fendi Couture and Maison Margiela. These and a further 16 houses will unveil digital collection videos available on their own websites, social media and the federation’s platform. Most of them will also hold physical presentations by appointment, with the collections worn by in-house models.
The four-day season climaxes on Thursday evening at 8 p.m. CET with Pyer Moss Couture, by the brilliant New York designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, marking the first time a Black American couturier has shown on the official schedule of Paris couture, the most sophisticated level of fashion and its greatest expression of artisanal skill and savoir-faire.
After a second lockdown, France began reopening boutiques and restaurants terraces on May 19. On Wednesday June 9, patrons will be able to enter the interior of cafés and restaurants, while the current curfew will be widened from the current 9 p.m. to 11 p.m, in a careful national exit from confinement.
Attention will also be intense on the eve of the season, the evening of Sunday, July 4, when the long-time right-hand man of Raf Simons, Pieter Mulier, stages his debut collection for the house of Azzedine Alaïa.
However, probably the most anticipated show of the season will be Balenciaga, marking the first return to couture catwalks in over half a century by the legendary brand, ever since the founder Cristobal Balenciaga shuttered the house in the wake of the mass student protests in 1968, which closed down central Paris for several months. The house’s current acclaimed creative director Demna Gvasalia plans to unveil his debut couture ideas inside the house’s historic home at 10 Avenue George V on July 7.
The season will also witness the delayed debut of a keenly anticipated one-off collection for Jean Paul Gaultier by the Japanese designer Chitose Abe of Sacai – the first of a series of guest designers who will create one-time collections for the house, in a novel direction for the brand in aftermath of Gaultier’s retirement in January 2020.
Eyes will also be focused on two relative newcomers, the young French wunderkind Charles de Vilmorin, who was recently appointed designer of Rochas, and Vaishali S, the happening new Indian couturier.
One house will stage two shows, as Chanel plans a double-header inside the Palais Galliera, the fashion museum that is currently staging a much-admired retrospective exhibition on its founder Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.
Testifying to the continued international power of attraction of Paris couture, the majority of the houses are non-French. All told, 12 of the houses were founded by French people born in France; a further six are Paris-based houses launched by non-French couturiers; while the remaining 15 are by couturiers based outside of France, led by Italy.
And particularly by Giorgio Armani. After becoming the first designer to call off a live show in Milan due to covid concerns in February last year, the 86-year-old Armani is leading the return to the catwalks. He will stage two menswear shows at Milano Moda Uomo in June, and then a couture gala show on July 6 inside the Italian Embassy on rue de Varenne.
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