The award for the glitziest, most controversial and provocative fashion week undoubtedly went to Paris this season as global celebrities, KOLs, and influencers came out in full force. With the pandemic seeming like a world away, it was pretty much business as usual for all the major luxury houses.
The top trends spotted by Tiffany Hsu, vice president of womenswear and kidswear fashion buying at luxury retailer Mytheresa, included “a lot of crop tops, cargo pants, and rave influences as a strong continuation of the Y2K look. Aside from that, there was also “beautiful surrealistic, over-the-top craft on display.”
But was there any substance behind all the noise? And how does China feel about traveling back in time to the year 2000? Here is Jing Daily’s guide to which Paris Fashion Week brands were hot with local audiences.
It’s hardly surprising that the French luxury house is on this list given its gargantuan efforts in China this year, including an exhibition in Qingdao in May and a spin-off runway staged in Aranya last month. Louis Vuitton continues to connect with the country this Spring 2023 by livestreaming to over 100 millions viewers: the house disclosed these were spread over Kuaishou (47 million), Douyin (28 million), Weibo (27.2 million), and WeChat video (39,000). Influencer platform Lefty found that Liu Yifei was its top influencer, generating $1.43 million (10.3 million RMB) in Earned Media Value (EMV) via one Weibo post. Overall, the show created $11.6 million (82.5 million RBM) in EMV.
Guests at the shows (such as sportstar Eileen Gu, singer Elva Hsiao, and KOL Yuyu Zhangzou) were treated to a collection staged in the Cour Carrée, designed by Philippe Parreno. Nicolas Ghesquière responded to the majestic set by playing with the scale of detail (large zippers, oversized straps, exaggerated necklines) seen on leather suits and babydoll dresses. “It was my favorite show this season and everything was gigantic, big logos, big bags. We saw many new models and Chinese customers will love them, especially with the new monograms,” says Yuyu Zhangzou, who had traveled from Milan Fashion Week to Paris.
Despite the downpour, a faithful audience stood with umbrellas and waited for Matthew M. WiIliams’ outdoor (and very quick) show to start. The accessories were key here, especially the laced shoes that accompanied trench coats, oversized denim hipsters and combat shorts, and pearl mesh cocktail dresses. Hsu confirms that "Chinese clients love the sporty influence that Givenchy has and the fold-over shafts on the brand’s footwear are iconic."
Givenchy invited brand ambassador Ouyang Nana and actress Esther Yu to promote the show on Weibo, while musician Amber Liu attended in person; accordingly, the livestream generated 11.1 million views on Weibo. Aespa, K-pop's first meta-universe group, achieved the highest engagement rate on Weibo at 25.6 percent. In total, Lefty found that the sophisticated collection netted $8.87 million (63 million RMB) in EMV on Weibo. KOL Mia Kong said although it was “less exciting than previous outings, the clothing has potential in China due to its commercial wearability.”
The pink card played last season is working surprisingly well for Valentino. China’s beachfront Aranya Community Hall was doused in the iconic Pink PP shade co-created by the brand and Pantone Color Institute (which can be seen until October 31), and in Paris, many guests at the show donned full pink looks. Pierpaolo Piccioli steered clear of the shade this time but there was plenty of color (purplea, royal blue, rich browns) and logos (graphic Vs) seen across suiting and all types of dresses imaginable.
Zhangzou continues, “For me, this brand is like a girl's dream come true. It’s princess-style and always does beautiful dresses. I was really taken with the tight sheer, nude body tops mixed with sequin skirts. I feel like this lets us be proud of our shape.” The show was livestreamed in China through Valentino’s official channel and the brand declined to disclose viewing figures, trailers of the show received an average of 20,000 views. The short video with Zendaya hit nearly 40,000.
Miuccia Prada’s second line tasked Shuang Li with evoking the mood for Spring 2023's setting. The Chinese artist's exploration of the ocean floor supporting role in the so-called wireless cloud which formed the backdrop for Miu Miu’s trending micro minis, satin slipper heels, and stonewashed denim suits. In China, brand ambassadors Lexie Liu and Qiu Tian posted on Weibo as well as Amber Kuo and Zhang Yifan, all encouraging fans to tune into the livestream co-presented with Li.
Li says if you had told her 10 years ago this would be happening, she would have never believed you: “It’s surreal, seeing it activated by models like FKA twigs and Bella Hadid. For me it’s really emotional to see artist Miranda July walking out from the screen, she’s one of the biggest influences and inspiration for my practice.” Stylist Audrey Hu, who was also at the show, adds, “It’s really major for a Chinese artist to be in charge of the whole show's music, curation, artwork, and all the screens that they had, so I think it's very meaningful.”
At a time when many brands are still only talking about sustainability, Stella McCartney’s is living it — and has been since its inception. Opting to show outside Center Pompidou as opposed to inside, this collection was the most responsible to date, made with 87 conscious materials. This alone deserves note. It featured deconstructed denim, relaxed tailoring, crinkle knit dresses and bias cut hems shown with vegan heels, and S-Wave party bags crafted from a grape-based alternative to animal leather.
“It has more of a presence in Europe and North America but in China it needs to establish a bit more with its audience,” Hu suggests. “I feel like the collection will have an echo though.” Indeed, Lefty found that the show achieved a substantial $1.19 million (8.47 million RMB) in EMV on Weibo, proving appetite is there. Hsu was also sure the "bright colors, great suiting, and outerwear" would make it a "go-to name" for local shoppers.
What better setting for the American eccentric to showcase his eclectic Spring 2023 collection than the Place de L’opéra? The crowd, in his signature grays, watched a madcap and very long opera-matinee mashup of Cinderella meets Americana with a touch of punk unfurl before their eyes. Sadly missing from the lineup was supermodel Ju Xiaowen, the house's Chinese muse who was stuck in China. The baroque show was livestreamed on WeChat video and generated $1.2 million (8.54 million RMB) in EMV on Weibo according to Lefty.
“I think the showmanship will bring some attention. It always makes really well made commercial collections and showpieces that are quite exceptional,” Hu notes on the bricolage looks that included satin candy-colored frock coats with football numbers on the back, pastel polkadot suiting set off by taffeta Mary Jane flats, and pompom fascinators. The event climaxed with models carrying a surreal pink tulle cadillac which made its way flamboyantly around the showspace. “Thom Browne always makes its CNY campaign quite interesting, very consistent, and is always really caring about the China market,” Hu points out.
While Dame Westwood stayed in London to support the strikers, her other half, Andreas Kronthaler, went at it alone at La Gaîté Lyrique — an apt venue for the performance-style presentation. In sky-high platforms that toppled one brave wearer, models became characters, and clothes became states of mind. “No matter what is going on in the fashion world, VW never follows the trend or forgets its brand DNA,” Kong says of the 58 looks.
The collection was livestreamed on Weibo to an audience of 55,000 in China who saw model Bella Hadid as a flashy boxer, Issa Lish in an opulent brocade skirt, and plenty of bums. "The pink element, the playfulness, and the vibrant colors should really appeal to Chinese customers together with the brand's heritage," Mytheresa's Hsu tells Jing Daily.
This marked Nicky Zimmermann’s debut show in Paris and followed on the heels of the label’s first China store (two years in the making) at Shanghai’s Taikoo Li Qiantan mall in September. This feminine collection featured flattering, easy dresses in candy stripes and postcard prints, as well as intricate embellishments and asymmetric frills on the fabric that resembled sea foam.
Fashion and beauty contributor at Forbes, Angela Lei points out that the highly saturated purple and yellow combined with “wonderland-inspired prints and motifs” will be “well-received by the Chinese audience, who has long considered the two colors as majestic and royal.” She also highlighted another advantage: “The high level of details means fewer counterfeits — always a plus for sophisticated consumers in China.” The show’s livestream was promoted on Weibo by the brand’s highly active account.
Celebrating 100 years, Albert Kriemler’s timeless collection took inspiration from his archives and was set to the backdrop of a rainbow work of art from Ugo Rondinone. In homage to his father, the show opened with the reprise of a cashmere double-face coat from 1978. The Swiss family house, known for superior fabrics and muted brown tones, sent out lace dresses, suits, and peacoats which ended with a run of bold, colorful dresses all in sumptuous materials.
It has 22,000 followers on Weibo, but the account has been inactive since 2020. "Akris as a luxury fashion label is still relatively unknown in the Chinese market, but the clean, almost a tad conservative Swiss aesthetics will resonate with those in white collar industries," Lei summarizes.