Fashion Features

Emerging Talents Eye Global Calendar at Shanghai Fashion Week

Emerging Talents Eye Global Calendar at Shanghai Fashion Week

SHANGHAI — The physical return of Shanghai Fashion Week after China reopened to the world saw team members from Harrods, Galeries Lafayette and Machine-A coming back to check out how local talents, who mostly focused on the Chinese market over the past three years, have evolved.
The atmosphere this season felt drastically different from how things were pre-pandemic, a time when local young talents were struggling with pricing, production and supply chains like the rest of the world.

Thanks to a fashion boutique boom during the pandemic, where buying internationally became almost impossible, local designers seized the opportunity and transformed their businesses to cater better to local demand.

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Brands such as Xiao Li, Xuzhi, Renli Su and 8on8, whose founders were trained at top fashion schools like Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art, now are able to sell to retailers at competitive price points that are around half of what their global peers are asking because of near-shore sourcing and manufacturing.

Now that the in-person communication between East and West has resumed, many of them express the desire to return to the international fashion calendar, only this time with much healthier businesses at home to fund the showcase.

The 8on8 brand, for example, which was founded by Gong Li and recently got financial backing from local fashion giant Peacebird, will present its spring 2024 collection as well as its collaboration with Asics in London this fall.

The Chongqing-based designer Louis Shengtao Chen, a semifinalist in this year’s LVMH Prize, is looking for a Paris-based public relations firm to work on his possible Paris showcase.

“I’m looking forward to being in a very culturally bumping environment where designs are presented in an aggressive way. I don’t mean aggressive negatively, but to be very sharp and sure of themselves, both visually and in the form of presentation,” Chen said.

Meanwhile, on their own turf here in Shanghai, a handful of brands proved that they are able to stage elevated shows with collections that are Milan or Paris-worthy.

Oude Waag fall 2023

Oude Waag, an avant-garde fashion brand founded in 2017 by Royal College of Art alum Jingwei Yin, had models wearing Dune-like creations walking around two giant oval installations hung on the ceiling. The collection showcased his precise proportions, and how fabric interacts with the body when moving.

Yin said the collection was inspired by colorful marble, a stone that serves as a metaphor for foreign conquest and a symbol of power and strength in the days of the Roman Empire.

“We combined its hard, cold elements with soft body parts to form a giant stone in organic form, which represents our understanding of the complexity of women today. We suspended it in the air of the show to create a futuristic and primitive atmosphere.

“We also developed these abstract marble prints on different textures to create soft armor that is both sexually charged and sculptural but also transformed into a second layer of soft skin that is the polar opposite, representing two distinctly feminine forces,” explained Yin post-show.

The designer added that he is eyeing presenting his next collection in Paris.

Fabric Qorn fall 2023


For Zhao Chenxi, founder of Fabric Qorn, a self-proclaimed “unapologetically Chinese” contemporary label that plays around with nostalgic kitsch, the showcase presented him with an opportunity to appreciate “the forgotten beauty in Chinese society and blur the lines between the grassroots and elite, high and low.”

Taking inspiration from the grassroots class in modern Chinese society. Zhao used a northern China red flower fabric as the lining of coats and jackets, and he deconstructed hotel towels from the ’80s to make shirts. He also used Chinese door handles on trenchcoats and gave the Mao suit a timely update for today’s wearers.

The show set was based on what a weekend farmer’s market looks like.

“We made installations like pick-up trucks, corn, coal piles, and all sorts of Chinese old items to match the theme. This sort of gathering gradually lost its meaning as the exchange of products and money goes online in this 5G era, but the market didn’t disappear. It’s still alive in rural parts of China because the market has a deeper meaning than just buying and selling. People who attend the farmer’s markets will talk for hours. This hustle and bustle of city life can’t be replaced by the internet,” he said.

Susan Fang fall 2023 finale during Shanghai Fashion Week


Susan Fang took her misting dress idea, first presented in London, to a new level in Shanghai with an off-schedule show at the rooftop of the water-facing Yicang Art Museum, a place where Fang had wanted to show since 2019.

“For many years, I always hoped to do a show outdoors, and also in an art museum; it felt more connected to nature with an open space and more creative and modern energy in a museum. Yicang has this stunning view of the Shanghai skyline that’s super unique,” she said.

Fang styled the collection very differently for the repeat show, with more surreal hair and makeup, and cute shoes from her collaboration with Ugg. She also installed eight color-changing craters to create a feeling of misting clouds floating in the sky to add to the fantastical element of the showcase.

Susan Fang fall 2023 finale


While the mist in London was blended with rose extract, the Shanghai edition was mixed with the new scent Lili Fantasy from Juliette Has a Gun, the French niche fragrance brand backed by the Cathay Capital private equity group.

“Our theme is Air-Topia, which it’s about a positive outlook for our future, inspired by this book for children called ‘Ami, Child of the Stars,’ where the law of the universe is love, and love should be the priority above technology, knowledge, everything. It was very inspiring and idealistic, and charming how it brings back our inner child and how we can embrace technology with positivity if we keep that imagination and love we are born with,” she said.

For the finale, to paint a picture of what that a love-embracing world would look like, a model walked out with all the children holding hands and wearing the designer’s debut kidswear line.

M Essential Noir fall 2023

Kenny Chen

M Essential Noir, a successful local brand that opened Labelhood two seasons in a row, continued to explore the opulent nature of traditional Chinese aesthetics. Muki Ma, creative director of the brand, took inspiration from the British fantasy opera “The Tales of Hoffmann,” creating a “Dream Ball” with models in strappy sandals and flower pedals dangling from their eyelashes. Traditional Chinese garments, including qipao and Chinese jackets, were combined with high-waisted ballgowns that had exposed crinoline or corsets, which Ma called “semi-eveningwear.”

“We wanted to explore the underlying influence of Western culture on Eastern aesthetics and how it plays on in womenswear throughout history,” Ma said. “The Noir collection is a more girly version of the M Essential main line. Thus we could more freely explore the melange between Western codes and traditional Chinese garments.”

At showrooms such as Not Showroom, Tube Showroom and Ontimeshow’s Roomroom, local talents displayed thoughtful concepts paired with commercially friendly pieces which, to some extent, painted a better picture of what Shanghai has to offer.

Sakura Chan fall 2023

Sakura Chan, a womenswear brand heavily inspired by the ’70s rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic, took a page from The Velvet Underground and Nick Cave this season.

“Rockers are all the same, they’re forever rebels, so I couldn’t help but see some similarities between the way Lou Reed and my boyfriend, the way they went about in the world,” said Chan of her partner Liu Ge, the lead singer of Beijing’s favorite underground band The Molds.

Chan designed a leather blazer akin to what Liu would wear at concerts but bleeding red silk throughout, to emulate how Liu would sometimes get into heated rows and hurt himself.

Sakura Chan fall 2023

A tormented musician calls for a strong-minded woman to tame the beast. More leather jackets with rivets punched throughout, silk blouses that cinched tightly at the waist and super high-waisted sheer bodices completed the portrait of a tormented rocker’s girlfriend while the models were made up to look like their faces were bruised. “The theme of this collection is Jesus’ Ball & Chain,’ love can hold you captive, but sometimes it hurts you, yet you can’t let go,” Chan said.

Qiuhao’s showroom at Ontimeshow’s Roomroom.

Qiuhao, the first Chinese winner of the prestigious Woolmark Prize 15 years ago, has been stationed at the Roomroom by the West Bund for the past few years. His brand occupied an airy white cube that showcased his modern and minimal designs favored by powerful women.

The black and white collection, with dashes of red, continued to explore wardrobe staples such as turtleneck wool bodysuits, stretchy leather biker jackets and cocooning wool jackets that formed a fierce silhouette.

“For me, design is working through the essential pieces and refining the details,” said the designer of his namesake brand.

Qiuhao fall 2023

A fragrance collection crafted with the Chinese perfumer Yili Li and Qiu Hao’s partner, the perfume influencer Jun Huang, was also being presented at the brand’s showroom, adding a touch of romance to Qiu Hao’s expansive universe.

Qiuhao’s “Wind Blows” perfume

Untitlab, a footwear and accessories brand founded by Sans Peng, Tian Cai and Justin Zen, continued to play with a diverse range of materials and color stories in its latest collection.

Inspired by surfer shoes, flat sneakers with bold embossment allow the wearer to “feel the ground under your feet,” Peng said. “I like to walk around a lot in the city now that I live in London, so I designed a shoe that has a very thin sole. It’s also a slip-on, which is even more freeing.”

Untitlab fall 2023

The brand’s bestselling derbies, cowboy boots, hitch boots and shoulder bags are all updated with a natural dyeing technique found in Yunnan province, which offers the wearer the freedom to oscillate between formal attires or “sporty vibes.”

Untitlab fall 2023

‘Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto’ at London’s V&A Will Span Coco Chanel’s Life and Career

‘Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto’ at London’s V&A Will Span Coco Chanel’s Life and Career

LONDON — The work and life of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel will be on display at the Victoria & Albert museum on Sept. 16, at the museum’s Sainsbury Gallery.
“Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto” will be the first U.K. exhibition dedicated to the French fashion designer, charting six decades of her career, from the opening of her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910 to her final show in 1971.

The showcase will be divided into 10 sections, starting with “Towards A New Elegance,” which will trace Chanel’s beginning in millinery and quick expansion into clothing.

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“The Emergence of a Style” will focus on her minimal design aesthetic, which transcended onto theater stage and silver screen; “The Invisible Accessory” looks at the debut of the house’s famous perfume No5 and the launch of makeup in 1924 and skin care in 1927; “Luxury and Line” introduces the house’s eveningwear and Bijoux de Diamants, Chanel’s first and only collection of fine jewelry commissioned by the International Diamond Corporation of London in 1932; “Closing House” details how the war affected her business and personal life, as well as her return to the fashion scene in 1954 and the relaunch of her couture line; “The Suit” highlights how the Chanel suit became synonymous with uniform dressing; “Chanel Codes” examines how the 2.55 handbag and two-tone slingback shoes have endured; “Into the Evening” spotlights Chanel’s couture garments and cocktail suits; “Costume Jewellery” touches on Chanel’s playfulness with jewelry and rejecting conventions of fine jewelry; and “A Timeless Allure” will visit Chanel’s final collection of spring 1971.

Lydia Sokolova, Anton Dolin, Bronislava Nijinska and Leon Woizikowsky after the first performance of “Le Train Bleu” in Britain, at the Coliseum Theatre London, 1924.

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Based upon an exhibition of the same name organized by the Palais Galliera in Paris in 2020, the exhibition will be reimagined for the V&A. It will feature rarely seen pieces from the London museum’s collection alongside looks from Palais Galliera and the Patrimoine de Chanel, the heritage collections of the fashion house in Paris.

“This is just really the precursor to the king’s state visits to Paris this weekend,” joked Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A at the exhibition’s further unveiling.

“This exhibition will analyze her contribution to fashion and her radical vision of a style that created modernity and reflected the aspirations of women and the evolution of their place in society,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel SAS and president of Chanel Fashion.

The V&A in London is set to stage a major Chanel exhibition in 2023.

Peter Kelleher

The exhibition features more than 200 looks — some seen for the first time, including costumes designed for the Ballets Russes production of “Le Train Bleu” in 1924; outfits created for Hollywood stars Lauren Bacall and Marlene Dietrich, and early examples of Chanel’s seminal take on evening trousers.

For the V&A, the Chanel exhibit follows major success of the “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” exhibition.

Tickets to “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams,” which took place in 2019, sold out less than three weeks after opening, and welcomed nearly 600,000 visitors. The show’s run was extended from July until September of that year and was one of the most successful in the museum’s history.

“We knew that ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’ would be popular, but we have been overwhelmed by the phenomenal visitor response to date,” Hunt said in 2019.

The largest and most comprehensive British show on the House of Dior, it was a grand sweep of sparkle, rippling wool, sculpted jackets and floral prints and motifs. It threw light on the designer’s fascination with Britain, his “lines” and defining looks, and his international outlook and inspirations from history.

Top-tier Luxury Spending Forecast Still Looks Rosy

Top-tier Luxury Spending Forecast Still Looks Rosy

“It’s probably not worth their while to be the richest person in the graveyard.”
That revelation is why top-tier consumers are fueling luxury sales in the sector, according to Luca Solca, who summed up the global luxury market Thursday night at a French American Chamber of Commerce event in New York. Just how long that mindset will last remains a matter of debate, the Bernstein senior analyst said. High-end demand in Europe and the U.S. is still very healthy after two strong years of sales. Inevitably though, this post-pandemic euphoria will normalize, Solca added.

The freewheeling spending is being driven mostly by “how people feel, what they want to do and what they want to spend money on,” Solca said. Even if some consumers’ see their stock market portfolios decreasing, they “don’t care and want to have a good time” after experiencing two terrible years due to the pandemic, Solca said. As many are eager to be out and about again, the demand for new dresses, shoes and handbags is outweighing jewelry purchases, which spiked due to gifting during the pandemic and continue to show strong results, he added.

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Before the pandemic, Chinese shoppers accounted for 30 to 33 percent of luxury consumers; American consumers comprised 22 percent, and European ones accounted for 18 percent. More recently, the surge by American and European shoppers in the past two years has taken some of the overall market share from Chinese consumers, however, with the lifting of lockdowns in China in the past few months, the expectation for 2023 “is a very strong rebound for Chinese luxury spending,” Solca said, adding that estimates that that market could grow at 7 percent seem “very low,” based on feedback from companies in China that have indicated the potential to double or triple sales in their own stores there. The rebound sparked by Chinese consumers is expected to extend into next year, which would be conducive to sustaining “above-average demand for the industry,” as in double-digit percentage gains on average this year and next, he said.

To highlight “how thin the penetration of Chinese demand is, Solca noted how Louis Vuitton indicated in 2018 that it had 5 million Chinese consumers globally, representing .03 percent of the population in China.

Noting how that may bode well for the stock market, Solca said he has never been so busy speaking with investors in the last 20 years.

Referring to Global Blue data, Solca said that between 2019 and 2022 the top spenders globally have grown between 2.6 and 2.7 times and the bottom spenders have grown by about 30 percent. With the return of shoppers from China, who can now travel more freely, luxury stores, including some that already have waiting lists and require appointments, could potentially get very crowded, he said. “This could cause the service levels of our industry to get worse. They are already poor, frankly with the queuing [that is sometimes] required in front of the stores, and waiting forever to get what you want.”

“The industry is building on a paradox, by selling the perception and illusion of exclusivity while growing exponentially,” Solca said. Modern luxury brands have reconciled that by never discounting “to maintain that perception of exclusivity while selling as much as they possibly can,” he said.

Not anticipating a slowdown in American or European luxury spending anytime soon, Solca noted how the luxury industry in Europe is considered as strong as the technology sector there. “LVMH has the largest market cap in Europe today,” he said.

The greatest risks to the luxury market are geopolitical developments — namely if the relationship between the U.S. and China continues to deteriorate, and international trade suffered, with sanctions applied to China. “This would be a very good day to buy luxury goods stocks, because they would fall a lot,” he said.

Another challenge for retailers is how social media and online information and interest are deterring some from in-store visits. That means stores need to be more exciting and engaging — hence the influx of pop-ups and limited-edition designs — and the added fixed costs of such endeavors. That is also leading to greater consolidation and the “big companies get bigger and smaller brands struggling to stay in the game, because they don’t have the ability to spend more and human resources to dedicate towards all of these new fronts that have been emerging,” Solca said.

The uptick in top-tier luxury spending has lead to dedicated VIP rooms, and soon by-appointment VIP stores, Solca said. Increasingly, luxury brands are reducing wholesale accounts to avoid competing with them, building their own direct-to-consumer and maintaining full-price shopping. Gucci, Prada and Burberry, for example, have halved their wholesale presence, Solca said.

Gucci Valigeria, Paris Saint-Honoré. The brand was cited by NewStore as a omnichannel leader.

Dominique Maître for Gucci

Afterward, he spoke with WWD about how luxury brands need to be integrating and upstreaming manufacturing so that they produce goods directly to secure capacity and to claim that ESG criteria. “The time of greenwashing is over. Companies need to be true to what they say. That is the best insurance policy. That is the best guarantee — that you are respecting the environment and the workers as well.

Luca Solca

Photo Courtesy

He also spoke about how luxury brands are seeing robust sales from their top-shelf spenders, while also using their advertising and social media to cast a wider and more diverse net. “They use different categories for different customers. All of the luxury brands are getting into beauty because that is the luxury of the poor so you give that to the masses,” he said, noting how couture, the most expensive products, uphold a brand’s highest standard. “[Luxury] brands are going into beauty and couture to be different things to different people,“ Solca said.

There’s a battle for attention that is going on, too. “Why do these collaborations like the one with all the polka dots [that Louis Vuitton] with Yayoi Kusama? To attract attention,” Solca said.

“Who you are and how important you are in the world is probably more important than the technical skills that you bring to the job of designing whatever line you are responsible for because you have very strong teams behind you any way,” he said.

Buyers’ Paris Faves: Loewe, Saint Laurent, Dries

Buyers’ Paris Faves: Loewe, Saint Laurent, Dries

PARIS — The buzz is back in Paris, and buyers were feeling it this season.
Retailers cited the energy and excitement of having a packed calendar with shows and parties galore, the thrill of finding new talent, as well as designers focusing more on clothes and less on gimmicks. Paris Fashion Week — like those in New York, London and Milan — is in the midst of a vibe shift, moving from slouchy street style into a more tailored and refined moment.

“The aura is elegance, and the undercurrent is wearability — but nothing is boring about the more commercial spirit of the Paris collections,” said Rickie De Sole, women’s designer fashion and editorial director at Nordstrom.

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Linda Fargo, Bergdorf Goodman’s senior vice president of fashion, framed it as a sartorial response to these uncertain times. “Getting dressed, actually very well dressed, has become the antidote to it all,” she said.

Few buyers would say if their budgets were up or down, but indicated that the excitement this season would carry over into increased orders, while others will better edit their offerings.

“We will concentrate our capacity to invest in collections that are both good in design and quality and drop brands that lack character,” said Eric Young, founder of Le Monde de SHC.

Monochrome and tone-on-tone dressing in muted colors was a major trend, with black, beige, camel and gray being key base colors, and pops of red as the “It” accent of the season as seen at Balmain, The Row and Valentino.

The skirt was a key piece in all its incarnations, from the slim pencil at Saint Laurent to the fuller shapes at Dior. Gone are the days of the “hemline index”: minis, midis and maxis were all cited as standouts for various buyers.

Retailers are also focused on outerwear, especially eco furs and extra-long coats, and accessories for special occasions.

Loewe was the hands-down favorite collection of the season. Victoria Dartigues, Samaritaine Paris Pont-Neuf’s merchandising director fashion and accessories, called it a “demonstration of pure beauty.” Many cited Jonathan Anderson’s inventive use of confetti cubes inside the Château de Vincennes as one of the best show sets of the week and the brand’s new tote was ticked off as a “must have” on many lists.

Daniel Roseberry’s first ready-to-wear runway show for Schiaparelli was also a smash, with many buyers citing it as a favorite collection, while The Row’s quiet luxury was widely hailed. Olivier Rousteing’s new silhouette at Balmain, which recalled the brand’s archives, also drew plaudits, as did his shift away from stadium-style productions to an intimate affair that focused on the clothes.

As Balenciaga recovers from controversy, Demna expressed the sentiment that fashion “can no longer be seen as entertainment” in his show notes. Few buyers cited Balenciaga as a favorite collection, but those who did felt his pared-back, celeb-less front row hit the right note.

Chitose Abe’s always inventive Sacai was another favorite, praised for her play with proportions, while Nicolas Di Felice’s Courrèges circles were a key collection for many, as well as being cited for its smoke and mirrors set. Sarah Burton’s return for Alexander McQueen was acclaimed for her masterful tailoring.

“Elegance is the word of the season,” said Beth Buccini, owner and founder of Kirna Zabete. “There was much less hoopla this week than usual and just beautiful clothes. It has been a refreshing shift. The designers want women to go back to the office in suiting and pencil skirts looking like a million bucks.” 

Here, a roundup of buyers’ reactions.

Brigitte Chartrand, vice president of womenswear buying, Ssense

Favorite collection: The Row

Best show formats: Dries Van Noten left quite the impression. The percussive performance and the layered set together were incredible; it drew you right in. It was an ideal backdrop for a collection that delivered on a color palette, and perfectly tailored skirts and jackets, that I absolutely loved. Stella McCartney was also quite the production. The collection featured a neutral palette peppered with cruelty-free horse prints on two-piece suits, midi skirts and double-breasted jackets that bring us back to classic Stella. 

Top trends: Tailoring, layering, transparency, trompe l’oeil, leather, long coats and the color red. 

Must-have item(s): The patchwork at Dries Van Noten and the oversize coat at The Row.  

New talent: Duran Lantink. I went into fashion week looking forward to seeing this collection and it did not disappoint. 

Impressions of the week: “To elevate” is definitely the talk of the town as major brands focus on offering the best luxury products. The atmosphere was toned down and refinement took a big presence. Tailoring, simplicity and lifetime investment pieces are at the forefront. 

Seville Chow, senior vice president, fashion, Lane Crawford 

Favorite collections: Loewe and Dries Van Noten

Best show format: Balmain — Olivier Rousteing brought guests to an intimate and cozy “salon ambiance” to experience his new French style of luxury and quality. At Dries Van Noten, an angled giant mirror was set up on the stage to reflect the entire show. The models walked out from the audience aisles down toward the stage accompanied by a single drummer/percussionist. It was theater. 

Top trends: Multifaceted interpretations of modern tailoring, as seen at The Row, Dries Van Noten, Sacai and Valentino. Shearling. Forget the classic full-length coats and biker jacket linings — shearling panels featured with nylon and knits in hybrid patchworks, some reversible, all with a twist of design. 

Must-have item(s): Dries Van Noten gold threaded tailored blazer; Loewe geometric giant foldable tote; Rick Owens recycled cashmere dress; The Row oversize cashmere coat. 

Laura Darmon, buyer director and business development, ENG

Favorite Collections: Ann Demeulemeester without any hesitation. Rick Owens, Saint Laurent and Didu. 

Best show formats: Ann Demeulemeester was simple, clean and very elegant. Simple lights on the models walking the runway; the focus was the clothing. Courrèges also had set up this very impressive smoking white box frame. It was working while the models were walking the show. 

Top trends: It feels like all the brands came back to sleeker and elegant designs and silhouettes, true to their DNA and what they are good at doing the most. 

Budgets up or down: Up. Collections felt very new and more expressive in a perfect balance of creative and commercial pieces. 

New talent: A lot of great talents are among the LVMH Prize semifinalists. My personal favorite is the genius photographer and designer Gi Seok, who started his own namesake label Kusikohc a few seasons ago and which is gaining so much traction worldwide. Juntae Kim mixes historical patterns such as corsets with a modern twist in the fabric choices. This mix creates a new gender-fluid language, very elegant and unique. Charlie Constantinou has a very futuristic/technical aesthetic and does heavy innovation work on the fabric. The color palette and the texture play gives an organic feeling which is unusual for these types of brands. 

Impressions of the week: A lot of boldness and creativity. The energy was there. Great parties too.

Dries Van Noten RTW Fall 2023

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Beth Buccini, owner and founder of Kirna Zabete 

Favorite collections: Saint Laurent, Loewe, Dries Van Noten, Sacai, The Row and Miu Miu. 

Best show format: The Stella McCartney show at École Militaire with the horses performing while the models walked was just amazing. I’ve seen a lot of fashion shows in my lifetime, but never anything like this spectacle. It was absolutely beautiful, and the clothes looked great too.  

Top trends: Tailoring/suiting, pinstripes, neutrals, simplicity, metallics — gold and silver, red, pencil skirts, kitten heels and corduroy.

Must-have item(s): Kitten heels from Miu Miu, pencil skirt from Saint Laurent, pinstripe jacket from Dries Van Noten and brush heels from Loewe. 

Budgets up or down: Budgets are up, as we are in growth mode opening more stores.  

New talent: We saw less new designers this season than I would have liked. It feels harder and harder for new designers to break into this economic climate of uncertainty.   

Impressions of the week: A new formality has emerged, and we are loving it.  

Victoria Dartigues, merchandising director fashion and accessories, Samaritaine Paris Pont-Neuf 

Favorite collections: Loewe, Saint Laurent, Courrèges, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Peter Dundas and Isabel Marant.

Best show formats: Dries Van Noten had incredible staging as the entire show reflected in a huge mirror behind the stage. Very immersive and dreamy. Acne’s fantasy forest was also a standout setup. Then Stella McCartney‘s horse show Monday morning almost distracted from the catwalk.

Top trends: The streetwear trend is definitely fading from the Parisian catwalks. We go back to a chic, elegant and luxury silhouette: very powerful, femme fatale. The new day-to-day combo is the pencil skirt and oversize blazer. Dries Van Noten, Saint Laurent or Victoria Beckham demonstrated the strongest silhouettes in this mood. Also, the pop of red is here. 

Must-have item(s): Pencil skirts, oversize blazed with bold shoulder, tailored elongated overcoat in gray or white, oversize fake fur coat (almost every single show had its own twist).

New talent: Pressiat’s collection and his bourgeoise from the 16th arrondissement who ends her night in Pigalle. For her first show in Paris, Ukrainian designer Lili Litkovska showed a very strong and commercial collection. Burc Akyol, one of the LVMH Prize semifinalists, is super promising. 

Impressions of the week: Paris Fashion Week ended on a super positive note, the daily wardrobe totally reenergized by a new tailoring proposition, a strong desire to dress up again after three years of pandemic. A working girl in a suit and stilettos or rebel in oversize fake fur flou coat — she is not afraid of anything. 

Rickie De Sole, women’s designer fashion and editorial director, Nordstrom 

Favorite collections: Courrèges, The Row, Dior, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Dries Van Noten and Alexander McQueen.  

Best show format: Christian Louboutin’s 30-year celebration of the red sole at The Opéra Comique felt like being transported into a magical, plush, festive red jewel box. The performance choreographed by Sadeck Berrabah featuring the Neodance Academy was a spectacular, imaginative way to highlight the brand’s essence.  

Top trends: Strong shoulders; pinstripe suiting; waist-framing silhouettes; faux fur and shearling outerwear; cozy comfort found in sweater dresses, cocooning shapes, layering and luxe knits; touches of grunge; monochromatic colors and lots of black on black; furry footwear; pointed pumps; red continues as an important pop color.   

Must-have item: Chanel’s camellia accessories. 

New talent: Off the runway, the Sarabande Foundation continues to bring new compelling designers like Pariser to the forefront.   

Impressions of the week: The sentiment was that there is a definitive mood shift. We feel energized by strong, hushed trends and key pieces like polished monochromatic styling, the greatness one feels in a luxurious coat, the composed sway of a longline skirt or jacket. Good clothes are an encouraging portent of the season ahead and the positivity our customers will feel slipping into the fall 2023 collections.  

Linda Fargo, director of women’s fashion, Bergdorf Goodman 

Favorite collections: Schiaparelli, Alexander McQueen, Sacai, Loewe, Dior, Miu Miu, The Row, Dries Van Noten, Courrèges, Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Valentino and Off-White. 

Top trends: Strong, stated tailoring leads the conversation. Wide and wider shoulders were undeniable. New ideas on skirt suiting were of interest and fresh. Reimagined and reconstructed tailoring felt best. Transformable and convertible clothing hit the tastebuds for more sustainability via versatility. “Daytime couture” or day dressing with elevated detailing and inherent drama served to differentiate collections from ho-hum. Black is the ground zero of fashion for fall 2023. Arresting, red punctuated numerous collections. Couture like sculptural silhouettes. Longer and leaner shapes. Fluid gender interplay. 

New talent: A special shout out and gratitude to the LVMH Prize initiative for curating such an elevated and promising group of new talent. 

Must-have item(s): The black strong jacket — pants and tie optional. Pinstriped tailoring. Dressed up accessories — top handle bags, sunglasses, gloves, headwear and hats, the red lip and hosiery. The embellished pointy toe kitten heel. Motos, blouson and bomber jackets. Oversize bow details. 

Best show format: It was a welcome relief to attend shows [that] put the clothing at the center. Schiaparelli’s salon-style show simply playing a Sade soundtrack provided a perfect set to intimately appreciate the exquisite clothes. Balenciaga wisely struck the right tone, returning to the historical Carrousel du Louvre in a cleansing muslin-covered white space, without celebs, etc. The numerous elevated runways always are an oldie but goodie format — because they work at putting the collections right in the eye. On the other end, Dior’s “Avatar”-like world under the incredible organic sculpture by Joana Vasconcelos was amazing.  

Impressions of the week: There was an impression of balance between reason and beauty, risk and safety. A pulling in and back to simply good clothing and design as the raison d’être of it all. The remarkable abundance of black as the predominant non-color choice allowed the clothes to speak in the basic language of line, silhouette and volume, while lending empowerment, simplicity and chicness.   

Courrèges RTW Fall 2023

Courtesy of Courrèges

Tiffany Hsu, vice president womenswear, Mytheresa 

Favorite collections: Saint Laurent, The Row and Rick Owens. 

Best show format: Saint Laurent as always put on a highly luxurious show. The massive chandeliers perfectly echoed the minimalistic yet uber-luxurious collection. The Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood show at Hotel de la Marine where Queen Marie Antoinette was sentenced was pure opulence. The collection itself was a wonderful tribute to the late Dame Vivienne Westwood — it was an emotional and beautiful display. I also loved the Courrèges show with the reflecting mirror and the fog coming out on the stage. It was very powerful visually. 

Top trends: We saw a lot of tartan as well as capes and long sashes. Saint Laurent, Rick Owens and Givenchy all showed beautiful maxi silhouettes. There also was a strong emphasis on tailoring featuring statement shoulders and hourglass silhouettes as seen at Balmain. And Ann Demeulemeester, Victoria Beckham and Loewe presented sheer elements that created a perfect contrast to the tailoring such as silk slipdresses, shearling and chiffon elements. 

Must-have item(s): Loewe’s slouch boot and The Row’s oversize cape coat. 

Jodi Kahn, vice president of luxury fashion, Neiman Marcus 

Favorite collections: Loewe, Schiaparelli, The Row and Saint Laurent. 

Best show format: As Saint Laurent explored a more classic look, recreating the Intercontinental Hotel ballroom (down to the exquisite chandeliers) where the house’s shows were held in the ’70s was very special. Similarly, I like the more intimate salon settings at The Row and Schiaparelli, where the clothes brush right by you, as opposed to stadium-style productions. There was also an interesting contrast at both Loewe and Givenchy, who erected stark white show spaces in grand, historically rich locations. 

Top trends: A crafted elegance certainly anchored the week, with refined classics eclipsing more “viral” Instagram looks. In sifting through their own archives, there were some nods to a ’50s silhouette with full skirts, elbow-length gloves, high vamp pumps and trim pencil skirts. Red continued to energize as a key color (in otherwise neutral palettes), with the burst of color particularly impactful at The Row, Balmain and Valentino. And we loved to see skirts take shape as a key item — full, midi, pencil — all worked. 

Must-have item(s): The giant geometric totes at Loewe — in different leathers and fabrications, I cannot wait to wear this supremely chic carry-all. 

New talent: Ib Kamara’s space-bound Off-White was very strong; we were excited to see his unique POV take shape at such a special brand. Kudos also to Ludovic de Saint Sernin for starting a new chapter at Ann Demeulemeester: his signature gender-neutrality blends quite seamlessly with Ann’s dark romance. 

Impressions of the week: There was undeniable energy in sunny Paris this week. Crowds have been enormous and shows have been packed. When it came to the collections, there seems to be a collective reset among Paris houses: a desire for more quiet elegance, refinement and understatement. In lieu of a “look” or specific trends, we saw the building blocks of quiet luxury: lots of black, sleek tailoring, luxe layers. Among some of the younger brands, there was an interesting exploration of fashion’s relationship with tech: models illuminated by their phone screens at Courrèges, and the unsettling dance between human and robot at Coperni. 

Dries Van Noten RTW Fall 2023

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Laura Larbalestier, fashion director, Harvey Nichols

Favorite collections: Loewe, Courrèges and Dries Van Noten. 

Best show format: Loewe

Top trends: Without a doubt, the key item was a statement coat, preferably super-long or very cropped. Red has to be the predominant color of the season and was seen in nearly every collection. Leather is the prevailing investment fabric and was used from pants to jackets. The new silhouette is the long straight skirt.   

Must-have item(s): Dries Van Noten long gray coat; Courrèges red dress; Loewe leather coat. 

New talent: Swedish bag designer Venczel.  

Impressions of the week: Overall, it feels like a very wearable season with a real return to wardrobing and a definite focus on investment pieces, which was a coherent theme across all the collections. 

Elizabeth and Dominick Lepore, owners, Jimmy’s, New York 

Favorite collections: Alexander McQueen, Comme des Garçons, Coperni, Georges Hobeika, Raisa & Vanessa, Saint Laurent and Victoria Beckham. 

Best show format: The incorporation of family for the evolution of a brand from Georges Hobeika to Vivienne Westwood to Victoria Beckham made us proud as a third-generation family business. The future of fashion from robots sharing the catwalk, iPhones as an accessory or to displays of a lunar delivery, Paris transformed the predictable to many new and exciting things.

Top trends: Big shoulders, off the shoulder, padded shoulders…without an emphasis on the shoulder there isn’t an “It” top or jacket to almost any designer’s fall season. Sheer modernism of suiting. Must-have item(s): Bell bottoms, skirts with interest, whether short and long or pleated on one side, opera-length gloves, strong shoulders, denim for evening, a white shirt and flower appliqués.

Impressions of the week: Coperni followed up on its painted dress viral moment with robots on the runway dancing along with the fashion house’s minimalistic designs. Intercepting fashion with technology and future, the Paris week displayed an ode to its history with an evolution of what tomorrow’s girl should be wearing. From outstanding oversize and voluminous outerwear to crystal and designed denim for evening, from day to night. 

Simon Longland, director of buying — fashion, Harrods 

Favorite collections: Saint Laurent, Schiaparelli, The Row, Loewe, Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen.  

Best show format: Schiaparelli’s intimate salon presentation set the perfect scene for such a special collection. With such an intimate setting we were so close you could see the detail, workmanship and beauty of the collection, whereas Louis Vuitton’s hyper-modern staging in the historic grandeur of the Musée d’Orsay’s ballroom set the stage perfectly for the modern French wardrobe to unfold. 

Top trends: From many of the shows this season we saw a complete wardrobing being showcased, delivering an outfit for every occasion for true devotees. They ranged from sharp and tailored for day to gowns and embellishments for evening. Black is back and dominated a huge portion of the runways this season, with a noticeable thread of pink and red, with pops of color and texture. 

Tailoring also played a huge role in many collections this season, most visibly in sharp, and sometimes boxy, silhouettes. Other trends included floor-sweeping overcoats with hemlines that have been extended dramatically from luxurious robe silhouettes to sharp, tailored pieces. I expect ankle-scraping, long line coats to be everywhere come autumn. 

Must-have item(s): Tailoring is a must for next season, specifically the modern power suit, sharp and fitted and paired with a neatly fitted trouser or pencil skirts — à la Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Valentino. The floor-sweeping coats we saw in Milan continued here in Paris, and will be on many wish-lists and waiting lists next season. Soft, fluid leather trousers were one of the most versatile pieces to come from the season, so easy to dress up or down and incredibly versatile for a well-rounded wardrobe. 

Schiaparelli RTW Fall 2023

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Alix Morabito, general buying and merchandising director for womenswear and special projects director, Galeries Lafayette 

Favorite collections: Saint Laurent, Vivienne Westwood, Ann Demeulemeester and Schiaparelli.

Top trends: As Demna put it in his note for Balenciaga, “fashion can no longer be seen as entertainment, but rather as an art of making clothes.” This statement seems shared by most luxury brands that are looking into their heritage with a strong attention to product and savoir-faire. We’ve seen on podiums a very sophisticated and elevated silhouette with strong modern tailoring, very impactful outerwear and beautiful eveningwear. Among the most impressive evolutions are the homage of Olivier Rousteing for Balmain and the new Givenchy proposition by Matthew Williams. 

Must-have item(s): Jackets were everywhere, and there were also many strong pieces like leather coats, bold shoulders, long menswear coats, cabans and big fluffy outerwear. There is a return to “classic” colors like burgundy, navy, gray and brown that contribute to the more sophisticated and almost bourgeois look. Red is without a doubt this season’s staple, whether it be in bright flashes or total looks. We also saw a lot of green, yellow, gold and bronze parts of the palette.  

New talent: We were very touched by the work of Marie Adam-Leenaerdt, whose first collection shows a lot of promise. Finally, a few talents from the LVMH Prize caught our eye, such as Magliano, Burc Akyol or Anne Isabella, for example. At the Sphere trade show, we really appreciated the innovative concept and the easy good vibes of Alphonse Maitrepierre. 

Impressions of the week: It has been a beautiful season that reminds us why we love fashion and PFW so much. After so many trend-driven fashion weeks, especially in September, it was important and so appreciated that brands take a step back and showcase beautiful craft and fashion. 

Federica Montelli, head of fashion, Rinascente 

Favorite collections: Loewe, Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Miu Miu, Paco Rabanne, Chloé, Courrèges, Ann Demeulemeester, Off-White and Vivienne Westwood.

Best show format: Stella McCartney’s horse whisperer performance by Jean-François Pignon was both a beautiful moment of entertainment and a reflection of our relationship with nature and animals, especially after seeing so much leather and fur on the runways. 

Top trends: The strong trend on eco fur carried on from Milan, as well as black and red as the two top colors. The main focus was on eveningwear with a look that is rich, seductive, but classic and essential in the choice of colors, fabrics and shapes. Tall boots and sleek stiletto pumps were the shoes of choice, with maxi bags making an important statement and pushing away the mini-bags trend that has lasted for many seasons now. 

Must-have item(s): Any black long dress with a slim silhouette and open back; pantsuits with fitted blazers and flared pants; floor-length coats. The two most unexpected items were Miu Miu’s beaded culottes and the long siren silk skirt at Ann Demeulemeester. My top picks for bags are the new “squeeze” hobo bag by Loewe and Miu Miu’s soft napa satchel. 

New talent: In a season that speaks of evening and simplicity, we found the perfect draped jersey dresses at Atlein. Dentro’s inside-out bags were my favorite new accessories brand.  

Impressions of the week: It was a very successful week, with many collections exceeding expectations and a busy calendar with a good rhythm of shows and presentations. The classy-chic vibe that pervaded Paris really gave the opportunity to shine to many designers that perhaps were more focused on finding a viral moment rather than concentrating on creating beautiful clothes. This is what matters to women in the end. 

Amélie Nantois, womenswear buyer, Le Bon Marché 

Favorite collections: Sacai, Dries Van Noten, Chloé and Paco Rabanne. 

Best show format: The Dries Van Noten show in the concert room. With the artist on stage, models walking among us and all the mirrors, we could really see the collection and at the same time it was truly magical and poetic.  

Top trends: Faux fuzzy fur coats, the color brown and tailoring. 

Budgets up or down: They are definitely up. 

Must-have item(s): Suits, a lot of outerwear and, of course, party dresses. 

New talent: The outerwear brand Futura, from the talented duo behind Giuliva Heritage. Loved it. 

Impressions of the week: We were finally back to pre-COVID-19 fashion week — a very busy schedule, everyone was here and it felt good. 

Libby Page, market director, Net-a-porter 

Favorite collection: The Row

Best show format: Whilst they were up against their own viral moment from last season, the robots in the Coperni show were a true indicator that this brand wants to be known as a truly innovative fashion brand.

Top trends: Nineties minimalism has been the mood of the season. From the refined tailoring at Valentino and The Row, to the slightly grungier take on the ’90s through Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s Ann Demeulemeester debut, this is a much-needed palate cleanser from recent seasons’ contrasts. I’ve also loved how red has been this season’s hue to love (quite literally): it’s strong, high-impact and will really pop for us online.  

Must-haves: The Loewe Puzzle tote. This will be the must-have bag of next season.

Impressions of the week: Runway fashion has some great wearability to it this season. 


Saint Laurent RTW Fall 2023

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Roopal Patel, senior vice president, fashion director, Saks 

Favorite collections: Saint Laurent, Loewe, Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten, Dior, Chanel, Courrèges, Stella McCartney, Off-White and Sacai. 

Best show format: From Maria Grazia Chiuri’s magical and surreal set of abstract floral sculptures created by artist Joana Vasconcelos at Dior, to the grand procession of models zigzagging reflected back to us in a mirrored auditorium at Dries Van Noten. Ibrahim Kamara’s “Lunar Delivery” show for Off-White transported us to the moon with a giant orb in the center grounding us. Loewe’s delicate and vivid confetti cubes that lined the runway were hard to resist touching. Mirrors were a big trend on the runways, creating optical illusions seen at Dries Van Noten, Off-White and Issey Miyake. 

Top trends: Designers are always thinking ahead to see what the future holds. A sense of uniformity and iconic essentials was trending this week, from precision tailoring to power dressing, strong shoulder blazers and monochromatic suiting. There is a return to skirts in silhouettes spanning from minis and short hems to slim pencil and full styles. Red is the pop color of the season in a sea of black and gray. Additional key trends include silver metallic and shine, statement outerwear from toppers to shearling, textures, layering and feathers. Trends in footwear include statement pumps and an incredible lineup of boots. 

Must-have item(s): A sexy power suit from Saint Laurent, and a trompe l’oeil dress and oversize tote from Loewe. 

New talent: There was a stellar lineup of rising stars from the 2023 LVMH Prize semifinalists, including Luar, Diotima, Botter and Burc Akyol. 

Impressions of the week: The buzz, energy and volume of the last eight days has been at an all-time high. There is a shift taking place from over-the-top designs to a more wearable and approachable lineup of fashion on the runways, with elegant, sophisticated and polished looks that will inspire our customers to get dressed up.

Maud Pupato, divisional merchandise manager womenswear luxury and designers, Printemps 

Favorite collection: Courrèges

Best show format: Loewe’s confetti artwork installation in the castle. 

Top trends: Red, roses, leather, denim and transparency. 

Must-haves: A silk skirt, a leather oversize biker jacket, anything red, a rose brooch and maybe a new belly-button piercing.

Budgets up or down: Budgets are up. 

New talent: We can’t really say that Ludovic de Saint Sernin is a new talent, but his debut at Ann Demeulemeester is definitely one to highlight. 

Impressions of the week: Paris is at its most glamorous and it feels good.

Arielle Siboni, fashion director rtw, Bloomingdale’s

Favorite collections: Saint Laurent, Loewe, The Row, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Valentino and Louis Vuitton. 

Best show format: We loved Stella McCartney, who presented an equestrian-inspired collection in a barn with live horses.

Top trends: It was a season full of tailoring: maxiskirts, cropped jackets and blazers with strong shoulders. Pinstripes was the pattern of choice, and we saw moto details on everything from maxiskirts to dresses. There was also an abundance of texture: shearling, velvet, lace, denim sportswear and boucle. The color red, maxi lengths and sheerness continue. Oversize handbags, namely clutches and totes. Pearls, crystals and studs in accessories.

Must-have item(s): Saint Laurent’s strong-shouldered blazers; Acne’s distressed moto jackets; The Row’s signature car coats; Courrèges maxiskirts; Alexander McQueen’s tailored eveningwear; Stella McCartney’s cropped jackets and lace dresses. 

New talent: Rokh was simply impeccable — very excited to see what’s next. 

Impressions of the week: A welcome return to refinement, wearability and longevity in clothing. Less Y2K and of-the-moment dressing. Strong tailoring and outerwear continue to fuel this era of minimalism while touches of lingerie dressing and grunge/moto was the perfect take on femininity and toughness. 

Sacai RTW Fall 2023

Dominique Maitre/WWD

Joseph Tang, fashion director, Holt Renfrew 

Favorite collections: Courrèges, Loewe, Sacai and Miu Miu.

Best show format: The stripped down elegance of Balenciaga that allowed the details in the collection to truly come through. The dystopian futuristic vision of Off-White shown through Ib Kamara’s second collection for the brand brought us to the moon and back. 

Top trends: There was a dressed up sophistication throughout the collections with chic tailoring, structured outerwear and modern dresses at the forefront. The Row, Chloé and Dries Van Noten all exhibited this sense of elevated minimalism. Luxe leathers worn head-to-toe were seen best from Alexander McQueen, Givenchy and Akris. A special mention goes to Stella McCartney who continues to use recycled fabrics and new innovations in sustainable materials. 

There was a sense of dystopian fantasy in the collections, where designers took a more cerebral approach to their collections with an outlook of the future. Off-White, Rick Owens, Noir Kei Ninomiya and Acne Studios all showcased a vision of self-expression in the best way possible. 

Must-have item(s): Leather maxiskirt from Chloé; Loewe oversize puzzle tote; The Row deconstructed Margaux bag; Miu Miu New Balance sneaker; Valentino chunky boots; Givenchy Voyou satchel; a gray tailored coat from Dries Van Noten. 

New talent: It’s always inspiring meeting the LVMH Prize contestants — a special mention goes to Botter for their upcycled creations. 

Impressions of the week: There was a thoughtful undertone in Paris this season, with designers showcasing their collections in more intimate ways. We are inspired by the creative energy coming out of Paris with designers empowering the zeitgeist of today’s youth culture. This fall season was all about layered separates with stealth sophistication as the undertone for the entire season. 

Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear, Matchesfashion

Favorite collections: Loewe, Sacai, Givenchy, Rick Owens, Junya Watanabe, Schiaparelli and Ann Demeulemeester. 

Best show formats: Loewe and the amazing installation of the beautiful, slightly saturated color-blocked cubes made of paper and leather confetti. 

Top trends: Return to refined dressing without being too occasion-focused. Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Victoria Beckham all showed incredible chiffon, silk, semi-sheer blouses perfect for layering under blazers or paired with a great leather skirt. Overall we saw lots of monochrome and uniform colorways — camel, black, beige, gray and a return to no-fuss dressing but with a redefined elegance. Instead of the super slouchy, relaxed silhouette we saw a new redefined modern elegance that was not overtly sexy or flashy.

I personally love the strong outerwear we are seeing across the shows.

Must-have item(s): Brilliant gray sweaters from Givenchy, Victoria Beckham and Sacai’s deconstructed gray skirt and sweater. Loewe’s large origami tote bag and soft deconstructed boot. Brilliant coats from Givenchy, Isabel Marant, Junya Watanabe and Loewe. Rick Owens’ sportier swing jackets, Issey Miyake showed some great color block textured coats, Lanvin’s fitted riding coat, Ludovic at Ann Demeulemeester cut very sophisticated sharp coats, The Row’s outerwear was elegant and effortless and Alexander McQueen’s fitted silhouettes. 

New talent: LVMH Prize semifinalist Johanna Parv. 

Impressions of the week: Overall, the mood and the shows were more pared back than we have seen in recent seasons but designers are celebrating real clothes. 

Eric Young, founder, Le Monde de SHC 

Favorite collections: Shang Xia and Balenciaga.

Best show format: Dries Van Noten. I was impressed by the quality of the show and the talent behind it, and I can’t imagine what would happen if the big luxury conglomerates didn’t spend a lot of money on production or choose legendary landmarks, but Dries has always had his own way, and I was very impressed by the theatricality of the show. Courrèges. I haven’t been to Paris for three years, but this show made me embrace the real charm of the fashion capital again. It was so chic.  

Top trends: Super long silhouettes. Although Saint Laurent has already introduced these shapes for several seasons, it is obvious that more brands are joining the bandwagon this time. Natural luxury materials. The concept of “buy less but buy better” is very relevant nowadays due to the economic environment or environmental concerns.  

Must-have item(s): Jackets that reach the ground and have a strong sense of weight. Sneakers with technological innovations. Beautifully crafted but traditionally shaped handbags, such as those new styles at Hermès. 

Budgets up or down: While everyone thinks the Chinese luxury market will rebound strongly, I think it’s going to take a little time. Budget-wise we are inclined to start with a flatline approach this time. We will concentrate our capacity to invest in collections that are both good in design and quality and drop brands that lack character. 

New talent: Niccolo Pasqualetti. If this year’s LVMH Prize shortlist is a little watered down, take a look at Niccolo on last year’s list. He is a great find for me. I love the cosmopolitan feel of this brand that mixes a certain high-latitude countryside vibe with big-city life energy. Vaquera: Interesting and talented New York designers are a rare and endangered species. It’s a good thing I saw the Vaquera collection in person this time, otherwise, it would have been hard to believe I would have liked it so much just based on pictures of celebrities wearing the brand online. 

Impressions of the week: It’s great to have everyone back at Paris Fashion Week. Not only the Chinese industry should come out as much as it can, but I also had the opportunity to have more exchanges here that were not possible in the last three years. Coming out of the pandemic we need a new brand mix, and a whole new perspective, and it is so necessary to be in Paris. There is no substitute for Paris to inspire and clarify the direction of fashion. 

— Rhonda Richford, with contributions from Samantha Conti, Joelle Diderich, Lily Templeton, Jennifer Weil, Alex Wynne and Tianwei Zhang.

Chinese Stars Return to Fashion Calendar En Masse

Chinese Stars Return to Fashion Calendar En Masse

PARIS – With China reopened from Jan. 8, Chinese stars, influencers, buyers, and the press returned to the fashion calendar en masse this season.
While New York and London fashion weeks didn’t see many appearances, their presence was certainly felt in Milan and Paris. It’s estimated that over 30 editors from China came to Paris, and almost all the top-tier influencers were present, such as Thomas Ye, professionally known as Gogoboi; Mr. Bags Tao Liang; Anny Fan, and Yuyu Zhangzou.

Francois Pinault, Salma Hayek, Chris Lee and Xiao Zhan attend the Gucci fall 2023 show

Getty Images for Gucci

The Chinese stars came out in full force too. At Gucci, brand ambassador and singer Chris Lee sat next to François-Henri Pinault, Kering group chairman and chief executive officer, and his wife Salma Hayek, while Chinese actor Xiao Zhan, who’s known for having an army of dedicated fans in China, was chatting with Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri, who sat next to him at the show.

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“I am most impressed with the set of the show. It felt contemporary, like an art space. The music and lighting are super cool as well,” Lee said post-show.

Xiao also made a huge entrance at Tod’s, where he is also a brand ambassador. He issued two capsule collections with the Italian label during the pandemic to generate buzz in China. Members from his fan club came to support and cheer for him outside the show. In one Instagram post, one editor can be heard saying: “This is crazy. I have never seen anything like this.”

The Chinese actor said he visited Duomo di Milano and walked around the neighborhood between shows. He also had some pizza, and he is a fan of cheese.

Cai Xukun is seen arriving at the Prada fall 2023 fashion show.

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Prada brought its secret weapon — Chinese singer Cai Xukun — to bump up the discussion around its fall 2023 show. Fans of Cai put out banners and balloons that spelled KUN outside Fondazione Prada to show their support.

In Paris, Chinese celebrities at all levels could be seen at shows big and small.

Fan Bingbing, the high-profile actress who was famously fined $130 million in 2018, plotted her comeback this Paris Fashion Week with an appearance at the Yun Yun Sun x LusiaViaRoma jewelry launch dinner, as well as by attending three fashion shows: Schiaparelli, Giambattista Valli, and Yohji Yamamoto.

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing arrives before the Schiaparelli fall 2023 show during Paris Fashion Week.

AFP via Getty Images

She arrived moments before the show started at Schiaparelli. Her fans were shouting “Welcome to Paris Bingbing,” as she posed in front of the paparazzi while entering the show venue at Place Vendôme.

She then wore a feathered and sequined couture look to the Giambattista Valli fall 2023 show. She sat next to Anne Wintour, and Pinault. At Yohji Yamamoto, she experimented with avant-garde fashion and shared a hug with the Japanese designer post-show.

Song Jia attends the Balenciaga fall 2023 show.


Following a slew of controversies last year, celebrities from Asia were the only ones who came to the Balenciaga fall 2023 show. Chinese actress Song Jia was dressed in a cyber couture ensemble and sat in the same row as Wintour and Pinault as well, alongside Taiwanese singer Rainie Yang and Thai star Chayanit Chansangave.

With around 13 million followers on Weibo, Song is considered a surprising choice for the brand to bring to Paris, but so far positive comments have outnumbered negative ones on social media.

The show also did something unusual — it accommodated a large number of Chinese editors and influencers and put them right opposite the celebrities and the American press. It’s probably not a coincidence that in every video shared on Chinese social media Song and Wintour were in the same frame.

Liu Yuxin attends Dior fall 2023 show in Paris.

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Fashion houses in the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton camp, meanwhile, invited some of the buzziest Chinese stars to endorse its brands.

Christian Dior flew in its brand ambassador, Chinese singer Liu Yuxin, who attracted die-hard fans cheering for her outside of the show space at the Tuileries, as well as famed actress Zhang Ziyi, who sat next to Gal Gadot at the show.

Speaking to WWD, Zhang said she enjoyed the show and the magical set design by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos.

“It felt like Alice in Wonderland, and I feel like I could wear all the pieces. Maria Grazia’s designs are so contemporary and so appropriate for the way we live. Relaxed yet elegant,” she said of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection.

Zhang Ziyi attends the Dior fall 2023 show.

Getty Images for Christian Dior

She was also very happy that she could finally come back to Paris, a place that’s “simply amazing.”

“Each and every street is unique. There’s always something to capture your attention. I just feel that there never is enough time to see it all. Not to mention the exhibitions and installations everywhere,” she added.

Yifei Liu, Zhou Dongyu, and Eillen Gu at Louis Vuitton fall 2023 show.


While the surprise appearance of Zandaya at Louis Vuitton show was the hottest topic in the West, the brand had a trio of influencer powerhouses in hand to maximize its reach in China.

Brand ambassadors “Mulan” star Yifei Liu and award-winning actress Zhou Dongyu showed up at the show at Musée d’Orsay, alongside Eillen Gu, who won three medals for China in the Beijing Winter Olympics last year. On China’s popular social commerce platform Xiaohongshu, users were actively debating who looked better at the event, which helped drive engagement around the show.

Givenchy got a trio of stars from China as well: Macau’s gambling empire heiress Laurinda Ho, who is dating Chinese actor Dou Xiao; actress Lulu Xu, and TV star Crystal Zhang. Their hashtags have a combined number of over 68 million views on Xiaohongshu, where fashion content dominates the conversation.

Michelle Yeoh and designer Wang Chen Tsai-Hsia of Shiatzy Chen, right, at the brand’s fall 2023 show.


Later in the week, Zhang also attended Alexander McQueen and Shiatzy Chen, where this year’s Oscar nominee Michelle Yeoh came to support her old friend’s first physical return to Paris after the pandemic.

Sun Qian at Loewe fall 2023 show in Paris.

WWD via Getty Images

Loewe invited the emerging Chinese actress Sun Qian to its fall 2023 show at Chateau de Vincennes. People may not be familiar with her name as much as they do with K-pop star Taeyong or members of the girl group NMIXX, but Sun appeared to be one of the most discussed stars this season. She wore a simple red leather dress with a decoration in the shape of an anthurium for the occasion.

Guan Xiaotong, Simona Caggia, and Florence Pugh at the Valentino fall 2023 show in Paris.

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At Valentino, actress and brand ambassador Guan Xiaotong, who has over 1.6 billion impressions on Xiahongshu, and around 35 million on Weibo, got the Zendaya treatment at the brand’s fall 2023 show at Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild.

She was greeted by the senior members of the management, waving and saying hello to her fans in China via live stream, and then sat next to Simona Caggia, wife of designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, at the show. She wore a casual shirt dress, showing her slim long legs for the occasion.

Liu Wen and Jing Boran the Chanel fall 2023 show


Chanel’s plan to win social media attention in China was to make the show a place where supermodel Liu Wen made her global couple debut with actor boyfriend Jing Boran. Liu made a strong runway comeback in Milan and Paris. She closed both Prada and Bottega Veneta and walked for Givenchy, Loewe, Miu Miu, Isabel Marant, Schiaparelli, and Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s Ann Demeulemeester debut.

The two wore matching black and white tweed jackets to the star-studded showcase. While other press were chasing after Jennie from Black Pink and Korean actor Seojoon Park, Chinese editors ran collectively towards them to take footage of the couple right after the show ended, and Liu adjusting Jin’s necklace at the show became the top trending topic on Weibo on the same day.

Lexie Liu attends the Miu Miu fall 2023 show

Getty Images for Miu Miu

Finishing the Chinese celebrity craze this fashion month, Miu Miu brought the uber-cool and buzzy singer Lexie Liu from China to its fall 2023 show at Palais d’Iéna.

Other major Chinese stars making waves this season included actress Liu Tao at Chloé. She had a lovely exchange with Emma Roberts and posed with Hong Kong singer Charlene Choi before the show began.

The influx of Chinese this season was well handled by most brands. Brands needed Chinese editors and influencers with the know-how to talk about the collections and the celebrities.

The general sentiment is that they got better seats than before, except for a few brands that have little presence in China, where Chinese editors still got the wall-facing seats with a few seconds to see the clothes.

Honey Dijon, Zazie Beetz, Liu Tao, Emma Roberts, and Trisha Shetty attend the Chloé fall 2023 show.

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Buyers from China also found new inspiration during their first trip to Paris in three years.

Eric Young, founder of the Shanghai-based fashion boutique Le Monde de SHC, said resuming in-person communication with the West was key to absorbing new ideas in the post-pandemic world.

“It’s great to have everyone back at Paris Fashion Week, and I think the Chinese fashion industry should come out as much as it can. There is no substitute for Paris to inspire and clarify the direction of fashion,” he concluded.

Investigation Into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ Met Gala Attendance Continues

Investigation Into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ Met Gala Attendance Continues

Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez remains under investigation for her 2021 Mat Gala appearance, where she made headlines for her white “Tax The Rich” Brother Vellies gown.
Thursday, the Office of Congressional Ethics determined “there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accepted impermissible gifts” tied to her Met Gala attendance.

Ethics committee members voted unanimously to extend the investigation.

In an 18-page detailed report of the initial findings, they noted that the congresswoman was provided with a Brother Vellies couture dress, handbag, shoes and jewelry, as well as hair, makeup, styling services, transportation and a two-day room rental at the Carlyle Hotel, tallying thousands of dollars. Brother Vellies also provided Riley Roberts, Ocasio-Cortez’s partner, with a pair of shoes and a bowtie, according to the report.

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Ocasio-Cortez was among the public officials invited to attend the Condé Nast-sponsored Met Gala in the fall of 2021. Her gown was designed by Brother Vellies founder Aurora James, who posed on the red carpet with the Bronx-born legislator, who represents New York’s 14th district. Along with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and select other officials, Ocasio-Cortez was among the officials whose estimated $35,000 tickets were comped by the museum. That practice has been in place for years and as of December, when the OCE’s investigation was announced, the museum planned to continue to do so, a spokesman said.  

A media requests to Ocasio-Cortez’ office was not immediately acknowledged Thursday.

Her attorney, David Mitrani of Sandler, Reiff, Lamb, Rosenstein & Birkenstock LLC, issued an email to the Committee on Ethics’ staff director and chief counsel Tom Rust that read, “Though no Ethics violation has been found, the Office of Congressional Ethics did identify that there were delays in paying vendors for costs associated with the Congresswoman’s attendance at the Met Gala. The Congresswoman finds these delays unacceptable, and she has taken several steps to ensure nothing of this nature will ever happen again.”

The statement continued, “However, while regrettable, this matter definitively does not rise to the level of a violation of House Rules or of federal law. Even after OCE’s exhaustive review of the Congresswoman’s personal communications, there is no evidence that she ever intended to avoid these expenses. To the contrary, the record clearly shows that the Congresswoman always understood that she had to pay for these expenses personally — and she even worked with the undersigned counsel prior to the event to ensure that she complied with all applicable ethics rules. We are confident the Committee on Ethics will dismiss this matter.”

As part of the just-released report, the board recommended that the Committee on Ethics issue subpoenas to Aurora James, Brother Vellies, and publicist Janna Pea.

The group’s findings highlighted how a campaign staffer for Ocasio-Cortez was slow to pay a few invoices related to her Met Gala appearance.

For example, between Jan. 13, 2022, and Feb. 24, 2022, The Wall Group’s collections team made “repeated attempts to secure payment” for a $344 bill and noted on multiple occasions that the invoice was “EXTREMELY overdue.” The staffer initially attempted to pay the outstanding bill on Feb. 24, 2022, two days after the OCE first contacted Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s staff, but the payment was rejected. The staffer “finally made payment for the service on March 16, 2022,” but did not explain to the committee why there was such a delay, according to the report.

Representatives for James, Pea and Brother Vellies did not respond immediately to requests for comment Thursday.

The report said that Ocasio-Cortez recalled following up with campaign staffers several times after the Met Gala about the need to pay for the services she was provided and was told that they were in a “holding pattern,” since Brother Vellies needed to provide them with an updated invoice. An initial bill of for $2,283.93 came from Brother Vellies for the gown and handbag rental, and the purchase of a pair of shoes was later revised to $990.76.

Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged she was not privy to the details about how payment was supposed to be structured and/or when demands for payment were sent, and she relied on the campaign staffer to address these matters. She told the OCE that she only “learned about the extent of the nonpayment” on May 11, 2022, the day before her interview with the OCE,” the report stated. Ocasio-Cortez told the OCE that it was decided with her team and legal counsel in advance of The Met Gala that she would personally pay for the attire and services she received in connection with the Met Gala, as opposed to paying with campaign or official funds.

Streeters, which handled Ocasio-Cortez’ hairstyling for the red-carpet event, also had to come knocking more than once to get its $477 bill paid, according to the OCE report. Streeters’ accounts receivable department made repeated attempts to secure payment, and threatened in a Feb. 23, 2022, email to “file a complaint with [New York City’s Office of Labor Policy and Standards for Workers] against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez if payment was not deposited before the end of the following business day. “On Feb. 24, 2022, two days after the OCE first contacted Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s staff about this review, the campaign staffer paid for her hair styling service,” the report stated.

Proenza Schouler, 20 Years Strong

Proenza Schouler, 20 Years Strong

It’s been 21 years since WWD declared Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez “most likely to succeed” shortly after they showed their Parsons senior thesis collection, using fabric donated by Michael Kors, and it was picked up by Barneys New York.
And succeed they have, but not without bumps in the road, and a revolving door of investors, including Valentino Group; Andrew Rosen and John Howard; Castanea, and now Mudrick.

Two decades in, they are feeling stronger than ever, sharing that they notched strong double-digit growth year-over-year from 2021 to 2022. After putting their Paris showroom on hold during COVID-19, they will be opening back up this season and traveling to fashion week there to engage with international retailers and press. They also have plans to expand distribution in China.

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Their fall 2023 show on Saturday afternoon marks their 20th anniversary at New York Fashion Week. This collection will be a departure in that it has not been designed with a theme or looks in mind, but using a new garment-based approach.

Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough in WWD in 2002.

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“This is the first time we’ve treated the collection in this way, starting out with who is the woman and what is she wearing,” McCollough said during a preview at the duo’s SoHo studio, in front of an inspiration wall papered with images of inspiring women, including Chloë Sevigny, Jenny Holzer, Patti Smith, Sade and many more.

“The styling process has been interesting because I draw half the collection and Lazaro draws half the collection. I’d usually draw the jacket with the top that goes with it and the skirt. But this time we just drew separates, so there’s no preconceived notion of how it’s meant to go together. We created a fabric story and color palette so every piece works with one another. It was so freeing in a way.”

“There are a lot of collaborations within the show, you’ll see. We’re calling it ‘Portrait of a Woman.’ We’re really bringing together our community,” Hernandez said.

WWD sat down with the designers and a slew of runway images spanning their 40-plus shows to talk about how their design process has evolved (while keeping certain techniques true to the brand); the moment they almost ran out of money; and how they moved from esoteric to relatable — and feel better for it.

Jack McCollough: “This is like going through a family photo album — there’s the awkward stage, then we hit puberty…”

Lazaro Hernandez: “Kristen Stewart wore that to promote ‘Twilight: New Moon.’ That was our first tie-dye season, and then people kept wanting it, and the shirts are still one of the highest volume things we do.”

A look from Proenza Schouler spring 2010 show.

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

WWD: Early on, you worked a lot with the corset or bra top and the short flippy skirt silhouette.

L.H.: We’ve always made clothes for our contemporaries, and in those days we were 24 years old. To think we were doing this at 24 blows my mind sometimes…

J.M.: We didn’t know what the hell we were doing…a lot of these early collections were very rooted in travel, we were traveling for the first time as young adults, we had paychecks for the first time…

L.H.: When me made our first paycheck we went to Bora Bora, Tahiti and Hawaii.

WWD: I loved those palm tree prints, and I actually have one of those jackets. It is quilted silk, printed, with coconut buttons — and it was a splurge when I bought it but worth it.

A look from the Proenza Schouler spring 2005 show.

Steve Eichner/WWD

L.H.: In the early days, we’d come from an arts school background, and the pieces were really well made, the materials were insane. It’s like wow, we sold that for that much money? We must have made pennies.

J.M.: Our margins were really bad…

WWD: The fall 2011 collection has been reconsidered in recent years in the context of cultural appropriation.

A look from the Proenza Schouler fall 2011 show.

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J.M.: We had gone on a road trip and ended up in New Mexico at Georgia O’Keeffe’s house, we were inspired by all the Pendleton blankets, too. We wouldn’t do anything like that now, but it’s hard to judge today by 20 years’ ago standards.

This was the show at the old Whitney Museum — we were really inspired by artist Robert Morris’ work. He does those felt wall pieces, slashed, and it kind of informed how we went into our fittings. We started with basic shapes, then cutting, and letting things fall, and letting gravity take over.

A look from the Proenza Schouler fall 2015 show.

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L.H.: Then there was the collection at the new Whitney, this new one coming up this season has some of that same energy…

WWD: That cold-shoulder look was so trendsetting, those pieces were everywhere.

A look from the Proenza Schouler spring 2016 show.

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

WWD: The collections were much more lady in the beginning.

L.H.: When we started, a lot of younger designers in New York were deconstructing things, cutting up T-shirts, it was the Benjamin Cho, Imitation of Christ days.

J.M.: And we thought it was punk in a weird way to construct, because it was the antithesis of that. And we were very influenced by midcentury designers.

WWD: Those cutout and pleated metallic looks were a huge hit, and I remember the skirts carrying over a few seasons in stores. When did you start to think about that commercially?

A look from the Proenza Schouler spring 2014 show.

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J.M.: It took a minute to establish our codes and repeat things for people to associate them with us.

L.H:. And to develop a business head space, that happened a lot later.

J.M.: One season, we had pieces that were all crocheted in Madagascar, we sent one of our team members to oversee it and she ended up getting malaria.

L.H.: We got really good at making things so it was all about challenging ourselves. The zenith of that mindset was when we came in with a multicolored carpet pad, and we sat here with our team and said, “We want to do this.” And they had to fly all over the world and figure it out and it was $1,000 a yard, and it was this crazy beautiful piece of art you couldn’t really sell. We pushed ourselves to create these things that were beautiful and esoteric, but you lose the woman at some point.

WWD: When was the come to Jesus moment?

J.M.: For me it was after we did those two runway shows in Paris, and we came back and did a whole collection that was cotton and denim. It wasn’t my favorite collection, but it helped us flip the switch in terms of our approach.

A look from the Proenza Schouler spring 2019 show.


WWD: People were not so kind about that collection.

L.H.: Americans weren’t, but that was one of the most press heavy collections we ever had in Europe.

WWD: Was it because you were losing money?

L.H.: Yeah, we were basically running out of money and we were like, “What are we going to do?” We couldn’t afford to go back to Paris. So we said, “Let’s go back to New York and what’s more American than jeans; let’s do a collection of denim.” We had pushed the bar in Paris and people were expecting feathers and embroidery and more, more, more. And the denim collection sold well and was wearable.

White Label came into the picture a while after that, but that was a good incubator of a White Label idea of going back to basics and the wearability and wardrobing.

J.M.: It helped us reset and reprogram our headspace.

WWD: When did tailoring become more important?

J.M.: Tailoring to get it right you have to have patternmakers who know what they are doing and the ones we had in house were more flou people. So we did most of our tailoring in Italy and we’d go there for fittings. But there’s something to developing anything in an outside factory versus with your own people. It’s not the same. So we brought a great patternmaker in who knew tailoring.

A look from the Proenza Schouler spring 2020 show.

Rodin Banica/WWD

L.H.: The last couple seasons, especially pre-collections, our focus has been on who is our woman. Before, we were more interested in a concept, theme or idea, going to Hawaii and India…we’d go off on a creative tangent. And the woman wasn’t so much a part of it, it was more whatever grasped our attention we’d do that.

J.M.: I also think the time has changed in the broader fashion thinking. Back to the 2000s, 2010s, a lot of designers, you didn’t know from season to season what to expect. Prada, Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga was that, everyone was flipping the switch every two seconds. Now people want to see more consistency. and it’s really about the repetition to really drill into peoples’ heads that this is what the brand is about, this is what they stand for.

A look from the Proenza Schouler pre-fall 2022 collection.

Andrew Morales/WWD

WWD: And a little feminism came to bear on the industry maybe, where women were no longer willing to switch their wardrobe every season.

J.M.: Totally, I think Phoebe [Philo] flipped the switch on that as well.

L.H.: I’m surprised and obviously happy that we survived the transition. When we were making those collections that were very esoteric, the business was very much about accessories, and not just accessories, the PS1 bag. It was 85 percent of our business. And we’d make retailers buy clothes to get the PS1. The PS1 is what kept the company afloat. Every “It” bag has a moment, then starts to die down. The pinch point was during that denim collection. But we were able to transition from an accessories only house to selling clothes. Accessories are still there — they are about 40 percent of the business — but we sell lots of clothes and that feels good.

WWD: Do you miss those crazy fashion days?

J.M.: I have a lot of love in my heart for those days, but we also really pushed ourselves. It’s not that we don’t now, but we repeat ideas so it’s not having to reinvent season after season.

L.H.: It’s really exciting at the beginning to win all the awards, but it feels really good now to see women in the clothes. Before, we had all these clothes we spent six months making and we’d sell one or two of them. People would love the show but then it was really hard to wear. But now we’re dressing a lot of women and people covet the clothes, there’s lines around the blocks for sample sales. We know when something is too much, we can make clothes that have the same level of passion and technicality, but it’s relatable. Before it was esoteric, now it’s relatable.

Ella Emhoff modeling Proenza Schouler RTW Fall 2021

Courtesy of Proenza Schouler

WWD: You recently cast Kendall Jenner in your spring ad campaign. How else are you engaging the younger generation?

L.H.: A lot through casting, the women we invite into our narrative. There’s interest from these girls and we’ve been opening up allowing the next generation to be part of what we do. Girls like Ella [Emhoff] are amazing and really feel on-brand. Kendall is really fun and last season, we had this sexy Latin feel, and she made a lot of sense for us.

J.M.: Our clothes have grown up as we’ve grown up but that doesn’t exclude any age group. It’s more an attitude and a spirit.

L.H.: There’s an adulthood to the clothes and there are a lot of young women who want to look more put together and intelligent. And that’s who we cater to.

Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon to Debut His Second Restaurant: Monarch

Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon to Debut His Second Restaurant: Monarch

Food has been an integral part of Humberto Leon’s life for as long as he can remember. From his grandmother and mother to his sister, his family has long operated restaurants.
“As immigrants to America, it was an easy way to enter the workforce,” said Leon, whose heritage is Chinese and Peruvian. “My family of five moved to America with $500 in our pockets.”

So it didn’t come as too much of a surprise when the cofounder of Opening Ceremony opened Chifa in 2020 in Los Angeles. Chifa, a Chinese-Peruvian restaurant modeled after one his mother had run in Peru, quickly established itself as a must-dine location in a city with myriad choices.

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Now Leon is opening a second restaurant in Arcadia, California, in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley. Called Monarch, it will offer authentic Hong Kong cuisine. It will be operated by his sister, Ricardina Leon, who will serve as chief executive officer, and the chef will be John Liu, his brother-in-law, along with his mother, Wendy “Popo” Leon.

The interior sports a blue color palette.

“This is the area where I grew up from 10 to 18 years old,” Humberto Leon said. “My uncle had a restaurant in Arcadia and I worked there as a waiter. It had the best Asian food in Los Angeles. So I thought it was the perfect location to open a family restaurant.”

Monarch, which will open on Saturday, was designed by Leon along with architect Michael Loverich. The concept is “dining with deities,” in a space described as “both surreal and heavenly.”

Cocktails from Monarch.

Its palette is tonal blues intended to give the feeling of dining on a cloud. Cutlery is from designer Isabel Lam, vases are from Tim Teven Studio and Corsi by Enzo Mari, there are exclusive cocktail glasses by MAMO, custom USM shelving and a collaboration of coffee and tea sets designed by Leon for Polen Peru titled “Bamboo Jungle.”

The logo, designed by Naomi Otsu, is a butterfly with several Chinese characters embedded within and there are artworks specifically created for the restaurant by Charlie Mai that include a feng shui waterfall painting.

True to Leon’s roots, everything at Monarch is also available for sale. And like he did at Chifa, he partnered with Vistaprint, a design and marketing firm for small businesses, to create an assortment of pieces for purchase including hoodies, T-shirts, tote bags, baseball caps, stickers, phone wallets, water bottles, bumper stickers and even a cooler bag. Some of the pieces feature artwork by Otsu as well as Vanna Youngstein and Li Kuanzhen.

The apparel was designed exclusively for the restaurant.

“I’m the king of collaborations, so I couldn’t help working with Vista on this,” Leon said.

Blending food and merchandise is nothing new for Leon. He said that during the heyday of Opening Ceremony as well as when he served as co-creative director at Kenzo, the company often partnered with other buzzy firms to serve popular food items such as Cronuts and Magnolia Bakery cupcakes to attendees.

“I’ve always been obsessed with food,” he said. “I look at it as another way of storytelling. We all eat, so it’s the most democratic expression. It’s really not that different from fashion. And this feels like Opening Ceremony in a restaurant.”

Even though Monarch has yet to open, Leon is confident that it will quickly establish a following. “If you love a restaurant or a store, you want to take something away with you,” he said. “And Vistaprint helped us imagine that. When you think merchandise for a restaurant, you think T-shirt, sweatshirt or lighter. But we created a chef tote, a lunch box and a cooler bench — we really pushed what it could be.”

Prices range from $1.50 for a sticker and $8 for a bottle opener to $58 for T-shirts, $128 for the hoodie and $118 for the cooler chair. The assortment will also be available online.

The cooler bag.

Ricky Engelberg, chief marketing officer of Vistaprint, has worked with a lot of different companies over the years including Carhartt and the Boston Celtics to “bring brands to life” through merchandise. He called the collaboration with Monarch “one of the highlights” for the company. “Our goal is to make sure people are inspired and become advocates of the brand.”

So would Leon consider opening restaurants outside of California, maybe in New York where Opening Ceremony established such a following? “I’ve been approached a bunch and New York is the stepping stone for us,” he said.

Jaclyn Smith Redux Happening on HSN

Jaclyn Smith Redux Happening on HSN

America’s most enduring celebrity fashion collection has a second wind.
Jaclyn Smith, who became an overnight icon by playing Kelly Garrett on the “Charlie’s Angels” television series which ran from 1976 to 1981, has officially relaunched her namesake fashion collection on HSN. For starters, it’s a 10-piece spring line targeting women 35 and older, with classic and on-trend items that can be worn day into night, have stretch characteristics and sizes that fit “real people,” the actress said.

“This is exciting because through HSN, with its broadcast streaming, website, mobile app and social pages, I will have a chance to reach many more people,” Smith told WWD in an interview. “I’ve had a 36-year commitment to my customers,” whom she characterized as being diverse and from all walks of life.

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The Jaclyn Smith collection was first launched in 1985 and always sold exclusively at Kmart. Her brand was one of the reasons why Kmart was able to keep operating despite its mismanagement, bankruptcy and constant store closings over the years. Kmart is down to just three stores now, from nearly 2,500 in the mid-’90s.

In its peak years, the Jaclyn Smith collection encompassed women’s apparel, accessories, intimate apparel, footwear, seasonal gifts, bedding, tabletop, decor and furniture, and generated $250 million to $300 million in annual sales. All told over the decades at Kmart, the Jaclyn Smith brand sold more than 100 million items. Her contract with Kmart expired at the end of July 2021, and there was about a yearlong sell-off period.

Though Christmas has just past, Thursday’s timing for the relaunch is still opportune. Consumers last year began renewing wardrobes as they emerged from COVID-19-related, stay-at-home lifestyles and returned to socializing and office settings. But they are pinched by inflation, spending less on discretionary items, and challenged to find fashionable women’s apparel at low prices. With the new Jaclyn Smith collection, “everything in the launch collection is under $100,” said the former Charlie’s Angel.

Smith will appear live as part of HSN’s “Obsessed With Style” show on Saturday during the 8 a.m. hour, again at 1 p.m. and during The List at 7 p.m., most likely wearing her moto jacket. It’s designed in a nubby tweed with fringe around the neck, a rose gold zipper and shoulder pads, and is priced $59.75. “It looks very high-end and very refined,” Smith said.

Asked to cite a few other favorites from the collection, Smith singled out a fully lined bomber jacket with cargo pockets and a drawstring, priced $59.75. “It’s perfect for spring. It takes the chill out but it’s light enough to wear inside. You can wear it open or closed….I am a jacket girl.”

She also singled out a short-sleeved knit textured top, priced $24.75. “It’s my answer to a classic T, but more refined, stepped up, with a wonderful stretch to it.”

Then there’s the cardigan sweater duster with thin vertical stripes and narrow ribbing, priced $42.75. “It’s very flattering, and worn totally open. I like clothes that move with you,” Smith said. “I chose to do vertical stripes, which a lot of people questioned, thinking it makes you look bigger. But done right, it doesn’t have to. I love stripes.”

The collection also features a wrinkle-free safari-patterned, short-sleeve cuffed button-front shirt ($32) and a matching side-tie wrapped skirt ($49.75). Both pieces are available in other colorways and can be mixed and matched. “You can carry the pieces in a bag,” Smith said. “The fabric holds and the sportswear goes from day to night. My goal is to make it wearable.”

The collection runs from size XS to 3X. “We size on real people, not a form. If something isn’t comfortable or doesn’t move with me, or isn’t a stretch, it’s not on the line,” Smith said.

“I’ve never done HSN,” she said. “It’s like I’m going into unknown terrain. But it’s rejuvenating. It steps up my game.” She’ll be describing her new fashion pieces and where she draws inspiration for the collection, including Paris fashion shows she’s attended.

Jaclyn Smith in her tweed moto zip jacket, priced $59.75, and straight-leg jean, $49.75.

HSN is a big change from her Kmart days, when she did store appearances, television ads and print ads. Now it’s more about streaming and social media. Smith does her own social media, reminiscing about Christmas at her home, her vacations and other aspects of her life. “Social media was hard for me at first because I am so private but you get into it and take joy in other people’s social media. I’ve gotten better at it. The people that follow you over the years want to know about your personal life and your home.”

Nearly four decades since breaking into fashion, she says her philosophy remains the same: to offer a quality brand at an accessible price.

The collection has been rebirthed through a licensing agreement with RDG Global LLC, a major private label supplier to retailers that is located at 550 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan’s Garment District, though the collection was designed and photographed in Los Angeles where Smith lives.

“We really had time to source and develop the fabrics from all over the world. I didn’t have to rush this. It’s a more elevated line, from the fabric choices to the detailing, whether it’s a rose gold zipper or a toggle. The detailing makes the difference. We put a lot of thought into each piece. It wasn’t like doing 100 pieces,” season after season at Kmart.

While officially launching on HSN, unofficially (and quietly) different items under the Jaclyn Smith label have been selling on Nordstrom Rack’s website since the fall, as kind of a trial run helping to gauge the label’s popularity and provide confidence moving forward with HSN. “It’s done very well at Nordstrom Rack with a soft launch,” Smith said. “I’ve built trust, credibility and a following. It’s been a long-term relationship with my customers.”

“Jaclyn’s vision has been brought to life from carefully crafted fabrics and designs that she herself loves to wear,” added Bridget Love, HSN’s general merchandise manager and vice president of fashion, accessories, jewelry and beauty. “HSN continues to take the lead as a pioneer in the live video commerce space by incorporating entertainment, personalities, and industry experts such as Jaclyn Smith.”

Brands Hop Into Year of the Rabbit With Playful Products, Thoughtful Rituals

Brands Hop Into Year of the Rabbit With Playful Products, Thoughtful Rituals

SHANGHAI — As China gets ready for the first Chinese New Year holiday rush following the removal of COVID-19-related restrictions on Jan. 8, brands have released their Year of the Rabbit campaigns for the key gifting period.
With the country’s economy expected to experience a steady U-shape recovery and the luxury sector set to grow between 5 and 10 percent in 2023, brands are introducing Chinese New Year capsule collections with a wide range of product offerings and global retail releases as Chinese shoppers resume traveling.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, tourism revenue grew 4 percent year-over-year to 26.5 billion renminbi, or $3.8 billion, during the 2022 Chinese New Year holiday, while a New Year travel boom is expected this year.

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Dior Men’s Year of the Rabbit campaign.


This year, Chinese New Year falls on Jan. 22 and marks the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit, an energetic and prosperous animal that is said to be the luckiest of the 12 zodiac signs.

Pooky Lee, fashion curator and partner at the Shanghai-based creative agency Poptag, said Chinese New Year offers “an opportunity for brands and designers to demonstrate their ability to make localized creative expressions of culture.”

Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci have created playful and childlike motifs of the rabbit on a range of products, including festive and casual outfits, handbags, jewelry and a popular gifting item, the scarf. 

Neither Chanel nor Hermès has released any capsules for the occasion, but the latter is running a rabbit-themed edit on its e-commerce site on the WeChat mini-program.

Balenciaga is also noticeably missing from the festive event, possibly due to the recent controversies about past ad campaigns. Its Year of Tiger campaign was well received last year.

Burberry’s Year of the Rabbit campaign.


Burberry created a Chinese New Year capsule with the brand’s signature TB monogram reimagined with rabbit ears and cartoon-inspired motifs. Some are positioned back-to-back so that the ears meet to form a heart shape while others sit atop the Burberry logo.

The collection is accompanied by a series of short films featuring actors Qi Xi, Shi Pengyuan, and sportswoman Zhao Lina. Images were captured by video director Zika Liu and photographer Sky.

To add a sense of pop and fun, brands such as Givenchy, Mulberry, Moschino and Moncler linked with famous bunny characters to create a sense of nostalgia and cater to a broad audience base.

Mulberry collaborated with the Dutch bunny Miffy on a capsule collection featuring bags and accessories in Miffy’s signature orange, green and blue. Mulberry brought the collection to life with a campaign that features cheerful models playing hide-and-seek against the backdrop of the Shanghai skyline.

Mulberry’s Year of the Rabbit campaign featuring Miffy.

The brand said the collection’s “bright color palette and playful designs encapsulate Miffy’s joyful and adventurous spirit,” while Miffy’s “youthful character” appeals to audiences globally.

“In the short time since the collection launched, we have already seen a great reaction to the collaboration, in China and across our global store and digital network,” Mulberry added.

The American pop culture character Bugs Bunny took over Moschino’s Chinese New Year collection. Moschino’s biker bag now has bunny ears while biker jackets and silk trousers are printed with Bugs dressed in black tie and snacking on a carrot.

Moncler teamed with Roger Rabbit, the protagonist from Disney’s 1988 animated film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” with a campaign shot by the up-and-coming Chinese photographer Sky capturing Moncler ambassador Wang Yibo and models in a dreamlike setting.

Givenchy collaborated with another Disney character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, for a capsule collection.

Moschino’s Year of the Rabbit campaign featuring Bugs Bunny.

Bottega Veneta and Prada focused less on rabbits and instead created poetic narratives exploring the evolving meaning of the Chinese New Year.

For Pooky Lee, “emotionally sensitive” campaigns can further engage the younger generation of Chinese consumers who value nuanced, creative expression from brands. “It means that you truly understand and respect the complexity of the market,” said Lee.

Bottega Veneta released a fashion film called “Reunion in Motion,” which portrays young travelers, including Chinese model Liu Wen, embarking on journeys back home. 

Echoing creative director Matthieu Blazy’s vision of setting “craft in motion,” the brand also set in motion a traditional green-skinned train that bore no brand markings, only the slogan “On the road back home, Happy New Year.” 

Stills from Bottega Veneta’s “Reunion in Motion” fashion film.

The month-long initiative will take passengers from Shanghai to Dalian, making a special stop at the Shanhaiguan district near the Great Wall, a nod to the Italian luxury brand’s destination campaign for the Year of the Tiger in 2022.

Prada also took a subtle approach by focusing on creating an intimate connection with its brand ambassadors. Named “Memories of Beauty,” the campaign features Prada ambassadors Cai Xukun, Chunxia, actor Yufan Bai and model Du Juan alongside still-life images of objects such as a record player and a pot of daffodils, which “bear witness to moments from their past.”

For Self-Portrait founder and creative director Han Chong, celebrating traditional values such as “unity, community and shared rituals” is just as important. 

The contemporary womenswear brand enlisted British Chinese photographer Alexandra Leese and Chinese stylist Audrey Hu to recreate a scene from a family banquet in rich colors and textures.

Self-Portrait’s Chinese New Year campaign shot by Alexandra Leese.

The collection features designs for women and kids and includes holiday dresses inspired by the cheongsam, or qipao, in the brand’s signature guipure lace and crepe fabrics.

“This is our second Lunar New Year capsule collection, which has seen increasing popularity with our wholesale and retail partners,” said Chong. “We believe that part of the success is due to our sincere yet contemporary approach, respecting traditions but also celebrating this important moment with modern sensibilities that was previously missing from the market.”

Also, keen on forging new rituals and “cherishing every day,” Chinese designer brand Xu Zhi created a holiday campaign featuring friends and family dressed in his bunny-filled sweaters and cardigans. The designer, Daniel Xu Zhi Chen, even made a cameo himself. 

Xu Zhi’s Year of the Rabbit campaign featuring friends and family.

“Our ancestors celebrated the 24 solar terms and the 72 pentads, but I think the deeper meaning of creating rituals is to live in the moment, to document the love and goodwill that surrounds me, and to share that love with our customers,” said Chen.

For another local brand, Short Sentence, the Chinese New Year holiday celebration extends to Valentine’s Day. The brand unveiled the “I love you, too” (with “too” rhyming with the Chinese character for rabbit) campaign featuring red and pink “Mr. Bunny” sweaters and a rabbit hole-like window installation at the brand’s Shanghai store.

Short Sentence’s Year of the Rabbit store installation.

Short Sentence designer Lin Guan said the collection aims to break the stigma of expressing love and gratitude for family members and loved ones.

“The Chinese only express love and admiration in a very reserved fashion. Love should not be expressed passionately; if you do so to your family members, it could be met with embarrassment,” said Guan. “But when you say, ‘I love you, too,’ it’s less embarrassing.”

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