Exclusive: Anna Dello Russo and Valentino Bring the Unboxing Collection to Dubai

Exclusive: Anna Dello Russo and Valentino Bring the Unboxing Collection to Dubai

Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
Taking inspiration from the concept of deconstruction, Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli has created a distinctive, one-of-a-kind collection for SS23 – Unboxing Valentino. As a part of nine interpretations relying on renowned stylists in cities across the globe, the maison is now bringing a unique experience to Dubai with a little help from none other than Anna Dello Russo.
Unboxing Valentino is a celebration of individuality and the limitlessness of creative impulses. The diversity of artistic expression that is so essential to fashion is brought to the forefront as each stylist interprets the collection in line with their own visual language. Despite their different approaches, what ties each leg of Unboxing Valentino together is the genderless approach to the collection, which is heavily adorned in Toile Iconograph, a visual attestation to the Valentino identity.
Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
In this unboxing of sartorial expressiveness, the city of choice is just as essential as the stylist. This complex organism relying on repeated patterns – much like the quintessential Valentino Toile Iconograph – becomes the perfect vessel for Unboxing Valentino and all that it hopes to represent. What emerges is an amalgamation of spirits between the maison, the stylist, and the city itself, as unique displays are erected across these nine interpretations – a fusion of styles and stories formed from time, place, and personality.
In Dubai, Valentino is assisted by the iconic Dello Russo, who is without a doubt one of the most influential women in fashion. The creative consultant has a long list of accolades to her name, from being considered one of the pioneers of street style to having a celebrated Vogue career in as fashion editor. Holding a mirror to the city, Anna Dello Russo draws upon the abundance of Dubai to construct her display with Valentino. The window invites passers-by into a world where fantasy reigns supreme – cool aquamarine and gold create the feel of a fish tank as feathers, sequin-clad dresses gloves, statement accessories paint the mannequins like tropical fish.
Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
The remaining physical manifestations of Unboxing Valentino find themselves through the creative expression of Law Roach in New York, Rebbeca Corbin-Murray’s floral-infusion in in London, and Clement Lomellini’s torn paper backdrop in Paris, along with Geum Nam in Seoul, Masataka Hattori in Tokyo, Lorenzo Posocco in Milan, and Mix We in Shanghai. The ninth window exists online, an offering to individuals around the world. Created by styling duo Grandquist, this digital display draws upon the intensity of red, the color that expresses Valentino’s purest essence.
Visitors at Valentino stores in multiple cities around the world can also enjoy in-store activations including styling sessions, while AI powered by GameOn Technology creates dynamic social interactions and a whole new way to discover the collection for those at home. In addition to this, the experience also features an aural dimension, with stylists curating playlists that are a reflection of their installations. Not only will this additional expression of individuality be streamed in select boutiques, it will also be available on the Maison Valentino Spotify page.
Read Next: Valentino Joins the Metaverse Through an Exciting Partnership with UNXD

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.

Getty Images

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.

Balqees, Salma Abu Deif, Karen Wazen and Other Style Stars Spotted During Paris Fashion Week FW23

Balqees, Salma Abu Deif, Karen Wazen and Other Style Stars Spotted During Paris Fashion Week FW23

All eyes have been on the streets of Paris as sartorial enthusiasts from around the world flocked to Paris Fashion Week. While the runway certainly presented some unforgettable collections, a lot of our major style inspiration came from the Arab tastemakers as they flitted around corners on their way to fashion shows or lounged in bistros.
The much-awaited Loewe FW23 show under Jonathan Anderson had many Arab faces in attendance with Rania Fawaz supporting an oversized knit dress in lavender and furry sage green boots reflecting the playful identity of the brand. Saudi influencer Hala Abdallah was spotted at the show in denim-on-denim with a white Loewe puzzle edge bag in her hand. Later, Abdallah opted for a burgundy ensemble at Stella McCartney with delicately designed jewelry from her personal brand Ofa.
Karen Wazen was understandably busy this season as she attended multiple shows in Paris – from Lebanese couturier Elie Saab to Isabel Marant, Dior, and Coperni. Valentino FW23 also saw a number of Arab stars in attendance – Salma Abu Deif was spotted in a shimmering mini-dress while Emirati singer Balqees adorned herself in a modest animal print jumpsuit.
Scroll down to discover what your favorite Arab style stars wore to Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2023.
Imaan Hammam in Loewe. Photo:
Karen Wazen in Coperni. Photo:
Rania Fawaz in Loewe. Photo:
Nojoud Alrumaihi in Hermès. Photo:
Zeynab El Helw in Givenchy. Photo:
Hala Abdallah in Stella McCartney. Photo:
Nada Baeshen. Photo:
Balqees in Valentino. Photo:
Salma Abu Deif in Valentino. Photo:
Dima Sheikhly in Elie Saab. Photo:
Read Next: Here’s What Arab It Girls, Hala Abdallah, Rania Fawaz, and More are Wearing During Milan Fashion Week

Valentino Joins the Metaverse Through an Exciting Partnership with UNXD

Valentino Joins the Metaverse Through an Exciting Partnership with UNXD

Valentino Spring 2023 couture
Valentino is the latest fashion house to venture into the metaverse. Moments ago, the Italian maison announced its partnership with UNXD, the leading luxury Web3 platform, not only bringing its creative vision to the digital world but also marking a new era for the brand.
The special collaboration will result in virtual fashion, physical craftsmanship, and curated community experiences, as UNXD promises to explore new ways in which clients can connect with the brand and its coveted designs. Think one-of-a-kind events, launches, and stories that walk the line between physical and digital, all while keeping the essence of Valentino intact.

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“Valentino is one of the most iconic luxury maisons, and truly a brand in and of the moment,” says Shashi Menon, CEO of UNXD. “We’re thrilled to bring Valentino’s unparalleled creativity and narrative into Web3: opening doors to never-before-seen digital and physical hybrid experiences. Together, UNXD and Valentino will write luxury’s next chapter.”
Those who keep up with the world uniting fashion and the metaverse will know that this is not the first time UNXD has brought an iconic brand to Web3. Its roster includes partnerships with Dolce & Gabbana and Jacob & Co., among others.
Read Next: Pierpaolo Piccioli on Valentino’s Biggest Exhibition, and the First in the Middle East: “This is Where Everything Starts”

5 Things To Know About Valentino’s “Le Club Couture” SS23 Show

5 Things To Know About Valentino’s “Le Club Couture” SS23 Show

Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli continued to push the boundaries of haute couture with his club-inspired collection, held below the Pont Alexandre III in Paris. Vogue fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen shares his five key takeaways from the Italian fashion house’s spring/summer 2023 couture show.
It took place in a nightclub
Pierpaolo Piccioli staged his Valentino haute couture show at 10pm in the dark of the underground Bridge Club below the Pont Alexandre III, with Kylie Minogue and Anne Hathaway dressed to the nines. “It’s the idea of the club as a place where fantasies can become real; where people are not only allowed to be who they want to be, but where their fantasies can transform them into whomever they wish to be. I think this is quite contemporary,” he said during a preview. “It’s a moment where I feel that people really want to feel free – to express themselves. Haute couture is culture based in fashion.” The message was clear: we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it, as the 1980s saying goes. Piccioli’s research was nestled in the transgressive spirit of New Wave and the New Romantics: kids like Leigh Bowery and his kind, who made the club their paradise of freedom. But, he said, “In the ’80s they were kind of hiding in the clubs. Now it’s a new stage of life.” No more getting changed on the night bus home, guys. The street is your dancefloor.
It reflected a new culture of haute couture
Since Piccioli started shaking up the world of haute couture some six years ago – going by the philosophy of “keeping its codes but changing its values” – it has become a different culture. When he popped into the atelier to have a look at the orders being made for clients the day before the show, the petites-mains were working on an outfit made up of a bra with a skirt and a coat. Not your traditional couture order. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said with a smile, but he could. The reason Piccioli can now stage couture shows in flamboyant club surroundings is because the popularity of his early solo shows for the house had the impact they did on social media. Now, those audiences – clients as well as onlookers and the many influencers who attend his shows – expect the amped-up, vibrant, sassy displays of attitude that unfolded under the Pont Alexandre III this season. “Fashion is about catching the zeitgeist, and the opportunity to progress people’s thoughts,” he said.
It was a meeting between Leigh Bowery and Mr Valentino
If the large-scale capes and balloon skirts that hit his proverbial dancefloor would be a daunting fit even for the most epic of discotheques, rest assured this wasn’t a collection designed for the club, but one inspired by the idea of it. “I didn’t want to adapt couture to the club, I wanted to create the kind of couture I’d want them to wear. It’s the Diana Vreeland way: ‘Don’t give them what they want, but let them want what you give them!’ That’s the fantasy. The dream of couture,” Piccioli mused. “The world of Leigh Bowery, the world of Mr Valentino in the ’80s. The glamour of the stripes, the polka dots, the ruffles, the most classical signs of haute couture, but re-signified in a different way with a different kind of balance. Leigh Bowery meets Mr Valentino.” He expressed it in formidable silhouettes that bordered on the performance art native to the ’80s clubbing codes, and painted them in the new intensified take on his signature colour and texture language he debuted in his last ready-to-wear show.
It was couture for the people
This was a collection shaped by its context. In the maison’s palatial salons on Place Vendôme – where the breeze of haute history still envelops you in stardust when you walk through the rooms – Piccioli’s creations looked much more like classical couture than they did on the raised podium of the club, with Anohni and Visage on the loudspeakers. It was an interesting experiment: an exercise into how far out of its traditional frames you can push couture and still make it feel haute. Elevated onto sky-high neon orange platforms with matching leggings and crowned with pink sunglasses with spiky plumes, this was pop couture – for the people. “I don’t want to be the kind of couturier who cares what people do with the clothes. I keep my show, and it can be worn like this or in a more classical way,” Piccioli said. “Couture clients today are not like in the ’50s. Hopefully they wear it with a pair of jeans and T-shirt. It’s not about the looks, it’s about the pieces.”
It was a manifesto for freedom
Now, Piccioli’s approach to haute couture is to give people the tools to transform into the best – and, you might say, most exuberant – version of themselves. “This is a sort of manifesto of freedom. In clubs there are not boundaries, and I hope that can happen in the world. Giving people a stage,” he said. “As a designer, I feel a responsibility to use my voice with awareness. I don’t want to talk about how many ruffles are on a dress because you can just count them. I feel that true haute couture is louder. You can deliver messages for the moment.”
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Valentino Hosts Cocktail Party at Maxfield in L.A.

Valentino Hosts Cocktail Party at Maxfield in L.A.

Stephanie Hsu, Maddie Ziegler, Luna Blaise, Chiara Aurelia, Kathryn Newton, Diego Boneta, Abigail Cowen, Ella Balinska and Chike Okonkwo came out for the Maison Valentino Essentials cocktail party at Maxfield in West Hollywood, Calif. on Thursday evening.

The brand was fresh off a strong showing at the Golden Globes, where it dressed Selena Gomez and Eddie Redmayne, among others, and looking to keep the L.A. momentum going.

Founded in 1960, it was in 2016 that the Italian house embarked on a new creative direction with Pierpaolo Piccioli at the helm. Maison Valentino Essentials is his take on men’s wardrobe necessities, now available at Maxfield.

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It’s a minimalist collection in black, beige, white and brown, with pops of color — bright lime green, yellow, pink, prune and purple. Silk and fine calfskin leather largely make up the everyday wear; there’s a pajama set ($1,950 for each item), a wool double-breasted jacket and pants, a variety of shirts (from a cotton short-sleeve top to a silk iteration with a neck tie), Bermuda shorts, a cotton tracksuit, low-top sneakers in black or white, and accessories that include a logo crossbody bag. Prices range from $570 for a calfskin belt to $3,150 for an anorak jacket.

A look at the collection inside Maxfield.

Courtesy of Valentino/Marc Patrick

The brand tapped art director Tommaso Garner and AI designer Vittorio Maria Dal Maso to visualize the lookbook, inspired by the world of robotics.

According to the brand, “Maison Valentino Essentials is a quest for essence conducted within the perimeter of the masculine wardrobe and the elements that make up for it: an edit of pieces culled from the Valentino collections, streamlined to their design essence and organized into a an expandable, ever-evolving system.”

Michael Cimino, Kathryn Newton, Danny Ramirez

Courtesy of Valentino/Marc Patrick

The Top 10 Women’s Shows of 2022

The Top 10 Women’s Shows of 2022

Following the pandemic, the sky is the limit when it comes to runway shows.
From the most glamorous resort destinations and beautiful couture moments from Valentino to a culture-shaping, Instagram-viral Coperni show featuring Bella Hadid dressed by spraying Fabrican Spray-on fabric, WWD’s top 10 runway shows of 2022 display the megawatt experience that has emerged from the traditional industry-attending runway format.

WWD staff’s criteria show that it’s not just about the dazzling clothes, but also locations, showmanship, originality, clarity of purpose and vision, relevance, emotional impact and immersive experiences that expand far beyond showtime through social media’s wide reach, driven not only by the brands themselves but through influencer and celebrity partnerships.

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From Bottega Veneta’s standout spring 2023 collection featuring Kate Moss clad in a leather plaid shirt and jeans to Rick Owens’ parvis of the Palais de Tokyo-set seductive spring spectacular, these runway shows ticked all the boxes with a distinct point of view.

Here, WWD’s top 10 women’s shows of 2022.

1. Bottega Veneta RTW Spring 2023

Aitor Rosas Sune/WWD

1. Bottega Veneta Spring 2023

“Matthieu Blazy’s sophomore collection was pure dynamite — a highlight of Milan Fashion Week,” reported WWD’s Miles Socha.

“Watching Matthieu Blazy’s sophomore show for Bottega Veneta, propped on a colorful chair by Italian design master Gaetano Pesce, was edge-of-your-seat exhilarating, one of the highlights of a Milan Fashion Week short on fashion fireworks. And it wasn’t because Kate Moss was back on the runway but because the clothes were pure dynamite: considered, luxurious, sophisticated and slyly inventive, always offering more than what the eye first perceived.”

Gucci RTW Spring 2023

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

2. Gucci Spring 2023

Alessandro Michele’s spring runway collection for Gucci — his latest, and last for the storied house as creative director — was reported by WWD’s Booth Moore as a “poignant statement about solidarity in a deeply divided time.”

“It was a gorgeous, and deeply introspective, moment for Michele,” Moore said of the show’s 68 pairs of model look-alikes — all of them actual real-life twins — that came together from opposite sides on the runway, joining hands for a final walk.

Looks from the Louis Vuitton Resort 2023 collection.

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

3. Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023

Nicholas Ghesquière was once again drawn to California to debut his Louis Vuitton resort collection in the plaza of the Salk Institute of Biological Studies overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla.

“Nature does put on a good show,” WWD’s Moore wrote. “Which is one reason why Nicolas Ghesquière was drawn to California once again to present his resort collection for the French fashion house. That and the dramatic Brutalist architecture of the research institute founded by vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk and designed by architect Louis Kahn. The mirror-image blocky concrete buildings with a trickling “River of Life” running through the center plaza, and out to the ocean beyond, made for a superbly scenic backdrop, which is really what resort shows are all about: the photo op.

“Ghesquière’s runway gestures were equally grand. The collection was inspired by the California landscape, desert nomads and surf rats, with his signature sci-fi cinematic touches right at home against the stark sunset vista.”

Loewe RTW Spring 2023

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

4. Loewe Spring 2023

“Jonathan Anderson settled on either shrunken or supersized silhouettes, and both were sensational,” Socha said of Anderson’s spring collection for Loewe.

“After a gripping Loewe men’s show in June that exalted nature and technology in tender and disquieting ways, here was another spectacle that made you think about both — and dazzled you with fashion fireworks.”

Valentino Couture Spring 2022

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

5. Valentino Spring 2022 Couture

“Pierpaolo Piccioli’s latest haute couture collection for Valentino, an haute experiment in dressing women with a variety of body frames, is sure to rouse interest among design students, diversity proponents — and anyone with more than a passing curiosity about why we find some bodies more beautiful than others,” Socha wrote. 

“The Italian designer decided to break the couture tradition of fitting collections on a single-fit model and embrace a broader spectrum of humanity in terms of age and body shape. He relished the challenge of creating couture outfits that would best dignify and exalt the beauty of each individual, achieving the purpose of couture in the first place.”

Dior Cruise 2023

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

6. Dior Cruise 2023

“On a day when religious processions snaked across Seville to mark the Feast of Corpus Christi, Maria Grazia Chiuri staged her own spectacle in the Andalusian city, taking over the vast Plaza de España with a fashion and flamenco show for Dior’s annual cruise collection,” reported WWD’s Joelle Diderich.

“Chiuri delivered one of her most accomplished collections to date, rife with desirable clothes and exceptional craftsmanship,” she added.

Rick Owens RTW Spring 2023

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

7. Rick Owens Spring 2023

“The designer seduced with a fountain, fog, gorgeous colors and frothy silhouetted,” Socha described of Rick Owens’ spring show.

“I’m saying there are different aesthetic options,” Owens explained backstage amid eco-tulle skirts so vast they stood on their own. “It’s a protest against conventional judgment. And this is what I have dedicated my life to.”

“And what a ravishing fashion protest it was,” Socha added.

Backstage at Jil Sander RTW Spring 2023

Vanni Bassetti/WWD

8. Jil Sander Spring 2023

“Lucie and Luke Meier served up one of the highlights of the week with a charming collection that combined pragmatism and Hollywood glitz,” WWD’s Sandra Salibian wrote of Jil Sander’s coed spring collection.

“This was a display of fashion force, which exhibited the charm of the Meiers’ codes. Precision, a sense of ease and proportion, research into fabrics, crafty details and a unique color sensibility inform their approach.”

Chanel Cruise 2023

Dominique Maitre/WWD

9. Chanel Cruise 2023

“Virginie Viard, creative director of the French luxury brand since [Karl] Lagerfeld’s death in 2019, set about writing the next chapter of the story with her cruise collection, which was equal parts homage to Princess Caroline [of Monaco], and tongue-in-cheek wink to the pop culture aura of the land that spawned a thousand Lagerfeld photo shoots,” wrote Diderich of Viard’s Chanel cruise show, which was set in Monaco and boasted a celebrity-filled audience (with the likes of Kristen Stewart, Tilda Swinton, G-Dragon, Sofia Coppola and Vanessa Paradis).

Bella Hadid is dressed by spraying Fabrican Spray-on fabric during the Coperni spring 2023 show.

AFP via Getty Images

10. Coperni Spring 2023

“Technology and fashion have always been uneasy bedfellows, but if anyone can make science sexy, then it’s Coperni designers, who partnered with Manel Torres, the inventor of the Spray-on fabric, for the performance,” Diderich reported of the Coperni designer and married couple Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer’s show-closing performance featuring a nearly naked Bella Hadid in “the world’s first live-action spray-on dress.”

“Beyond the ‘wow’ factor of watching Hadid walk down the runway in her instant dress, the show raised all kinds of fascinating questions about how technology will change the way we clothe ourselves not only in the virtual world, but IRL,” Diderich added.

Balqees Fathi Drenched Herself in Gold for an Unforgettable Performance at the FIFA World Cup 2022 Finale

Balqees Fathi Drenched Herself in Gold for an Unforgettable Performance at the FIFA World Cup 2022 Finale

Last night, all eyes were on Qatar, where the much-awaited FIFA World Cup finale between Argentina and France took place. Prior to Argentina’s spectacular win, fans at Doha’s Lusail Stadium—and those watching on TV screens across the globe—were treated to several big moments, one of which was a musical performance featuring a host of musicians, including Balqees Fathi.

For her routine in the midst of the grand celebration, the Emirati musician made sure to pick a look that stood out. Not one to do things halfway, Fathi opted for a head-to-toe gold Valentino Couture ensemble. Her picks: a high neck, full sleeved bodysuit, topped off with a voluminous tasseled cape that glistened under the spotlights. Keeping with the molten metal aesthetic, the actor paired the outfit with matching pointed toe heels that blended perfectly with her bodysuit.

No stage costume is complete without the right accessories, however, and Balqees made sure to make a statement with her add-ons. Along with unconventional rings by Yeprem, the singer sported a piece of winding gold headgear that resembled a serpent. With her hair tied back, Balqees Fathi amped up her beauty look with a shimmery smoky eye, perfectly sculpted cheekbones, and creamy pink lips. In case you missed her performance, here’s a little snippet.

Salma Abu Deif’s Valentino Look for the 2022 Vogue Ball of Arabia Oozed Cool-Girl Glamour

Salma Abu Deif’s Valentino Look for the 2022 Vogue Ball of Arabia Oozed Cool-Girl Glamour

Photo: Dazl Production
Known for her inclination to fun and edgy pieces, Salma Abu Deif brought her cool girl style to the 2022 Vogue Ball of Arabia celebrating the divas and Golden Age of Arab entertainment. The Egyptian actor joined the best-dressed attendees of the evening including Razane Jammal, Cyrine Abdelnour, Dorra Zarrouk, and more, wearing a dazzling look from Valentino.
As the regional ambassador for the Italian fashion house, Abu Deif has stepped out in some of the most coveted pieces from the brand helmed by Pierpaolo Piccioli, and her latest pick was no exception. The glittering golden bronze gown was aptly picked from Valentino‘s 2022 Party Collection and came with striking cutouts on the bodice, and a floor-grazing hem. The actor complemented the dress with a shimmering teal smokey eye, and a bold red manicure.
The star-studded Ball of Arabia was held at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam on December 15, celebrating the careers of three iconic women who paved the way for young talent: Egyptian actor Nabila Ebeed, Tunisian singer Latifa, and Lebanese model and Miss Universe Georgina Rizk. The glamorous evening brought together some of the most stylish and renowned individuals from the region, and culminated with an incredible performance by three-time Grammy nominee and Brit award nominee Leona Lewis.

French Event Organizer Françoise Dumas Reflects on Life as ‘Mistress of Ceremonies’

French Event Organizer Françoise Dumas Reflects on Life as ‘Mistress of Ceremonies’

For more than four decades, Françoise Dumas was swept up in a whirl of charity galas, luxury launches and state dinners. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and the event organizer’s professional activity came screeching to a halt.
Dumas was at her holiday home in Comporta, Portugal, when the first lockdowns were announced and decided to remain there instead of returning to Paris, France.

The forced break allowed her to take stock and write a book, “Mistress of Ceremonies,” recently published in French by Grasset, in which she recounts the parties she’s planned for luminaries like luxury magnate Bernard Arnault, designer Karl Lagerfeld, Princess Caroline of Monaco and former presidential couple Jacques and Bernadette Chirac.

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Now Dumas is back in action, with events like the annual Société des Amis du Musée d’Orsay gala dinner, but she reckons the world will never be the same again.

“I’m at a turning point in my life, but it’s not just due to my age. I think we’re at a turning point in society too, aren’t we?” she says tentatively over a cappuccino at the Ritz hotel in Paris. “It’s strange, very strange. I really feel like things are completely changing. But I’m not the person to organize Zoom dinners in the metaverse. I prefer living matter.”

Françoise Dumas at the entrance of the Elysée presidential palace in Paris.

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

Dumas could be forgiven for thinking she’s part of a dying breed. There’s only a handful of great society hostesses left in Paris, including her friend Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, Sisley cofounder Countess Isabelle d’Ornano and Hélène David-Weill, all of whom belong to a generation well-versed in the codes of entertaining à la française.

“I wonder if the young generations will be as interested in this traditional art of living,” ponders Dumas, whose book details the arcane rules for hosts and guests, from the court of King Louis XIV to the present day (who knew that a dinner napkin should always be folded in half before being placed on your lap?).  

“I wanted to recall certain rules that I feel are important for a pleasant and courteous life,” she says in her signature affable delivery. “I feel that you can’t just do as you please.”

Dumas has always been drawn to the social whirl. Born in 1939, she spent her early years in the Loire region, largely shielded from the effects of World War II. As a child, she developed a passion for history, through regular visits to the area’s famous castles, and practiced organizing receptions with her doll’s tea set.

The dinner for the opening of the “From the Great Mughals to the Maharajas. Jewels from the Al Thani collection” exhibition.

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

Her imagination was fueled by fantasies of the great masked balls hosted by the likes of Étienne de Beaumont, Alexis de Redé and Carlos de Beistegui in the 1920s and 1930s. By the time Dumas started working for event organizers in the ‘60s, however, those socialite gatherings were a distant memory, replaced by buzzy film premieres, like the 1962 party for “The Longest Day,” which culminated with a concert by Edith Piaf on the Eiffel Tower.

Dumas wanted in, but as a junior in the office of Georges Cravenne, the man who launched the Césars ceremony, France’s equivalent to the Oscars, she was relegated to the accounts that nobody else wanted: jewelers, perfumers and fashion designers, who at the time were considered minor clients and disparagingly referred to as “suppliers.”

Little did she know that she was laying the foundations for the agency she would go on to found with her business partner Anne Roustang in 1980. Her first fragrance launch was for Valentino in 1978 and took the shape of a gala for Roland Petit’s new ballet for Mikhail Baryshnikov, followed by dinner at Maxim’s.

“I think it was the first time that the launch of a luxury product was tied to a cultural event and it was a great success,” Dumas recalls.

Her meeting with Arnault came to define a large portion of her career, with Dumas helping the head of luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton to host events, including the blowout launch of Dior’s Dune fragrance in 1991 at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, and the 1996 Met Gala, which Princess Diana attended in John Galliano’s first haute couture design for the French fashion house.

Françoise Dumas behind Bernard Arnault and Princess Diana at a charity dinner in Paris in 1995.

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

Dumas says legendary WWD boss John B. Fairchild credited her with burnishing the image of Arnault — whose frenzied acquisition of luxury brands in the 1980s and 1990s earned him the nickname “the wolf in a cashmere coat” — by masterminding the gala events he sponsored for charities headed by former French first lady Claude Pompidou and later Madame Chirac.

“Alongside [Arnault’s] conquering or combative side, there was his patronage and support for social or cultural causes,” she says. “When we started working together, I would always say to him, ‘Monsieur, you want to create the world’s largest luxury group. It would be wonderful to perpetuate this French art of living.’ And that’s what he’s done with his brands.”

Dumas also takes credit for popularizing one of Dior’s bestsellers, the Lady Dior handbag.

“This is a true story,” she announces with a smile, going on to explain that Bernadette Chirac asked her to pick a gift from the Dior boutique for the Princess of Wales, who was expected for tea at the Elysée presidential palace during a 1995 visit to France.

“I had noticed a little bag, which at the time was made of fabric, and so I had it wrapped and sent to the Elysée. I phoned Monsieur Arnault to let him know, and he said, ‘Recall the bag immediately.’ Why? Because he was working on a prototype in leather. He had it finished overnight, and the leather version was sent instead,” she says.

Eventually, the bag was so closely associated with Princess Diana, who was still referred to as Lady Diana in France despite her royal title, that it was renamed in her honor.

While Dumas has always sought the company of the great and the good, she is clear on her position in the ecosystem.

“I found my place as an organizer and as a kind of reference, but I never tried to become a great socialite. That was never my intention,” she explains. “I think of people and always try to give them an instant of beauty and happiness. We always try to create moments that will become special memories. That’s really important.”

Françoise Dumas curtsies for Queen Elizabeth II at a French state dinner in 2004.

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

Nonetheless, she admits to being star-struck on at least one occasion: the 2004 state dinner where she met the late Queen Elizabeth II.

“I loved Madame Chirac. I was very close to her and we did a lot of events together, and one day I mentioned that I would be thrilled to attend a state dinner. I thought that she might invite me for a president that would draw a smaller crowd. A few days later, she called and said, ‘Would you like to attend the dinner for the Queen of England?’” she recalls.

Dumas and Roustang dressed in their finery and hit the red carpet. “What was very funny is that we were attending as guests, but once inside the Elysée, people were so used to seeing us there as event organizers that they kept asking us for directions,” she says.

She pulls out a folder of glossy photographs, pointing to the shot where she curtsies for the Queen. “Look at her gaze — she looks at you as if she’s known you forever,” Dumas marvels.

From her 12 years of organizing events at the presidential palace she has gained an unparalleled knowledge of diplomatic etiquette, which she combines with an encyclopedic awareness of the ins and outs of Paris society — though don’t expect her to dish any gossip, beyond some amusing anecdotes about narrowly averted seating disasters.

“We’re like a switchboard, so obviously we’re aware of a lot of things that we’re not at liberty to disclose, but if you want a party to succeed and there is a seated dinner, you’ve got to know how to place guests. That’s one of my favorite parts of the job,” she says. “If you get your seating right, people have a good time.”

Dumas still uses a system of cards — blue for men, pink for women — that she fixes with paper clips, allowing for last-minute reshuffles. “It’s like a battle plan,” she says, dismissing computerized alternatives. “I will never get rid of my cards.”

Françoise Dumas works on seating charts at a Valentino event in Rome.

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

Dumas, who organized the nuptials of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock in 2011, is used to directing battalions of chefs, waiters, florists and decorators. “Sometimes there are more people behind the scenes than there are guests, so you really have to treat these events like a big film production,” she says.

She lovingly describes her most spectacular events, held in locations including the Château de Versailles, and the Forbidden City in Beijing.

“When you find yourself all alone in the galleries at Versailles, it’s extraordinary. The first time, I stood in front of the portrait of Louis XIV that is in every French child’s history schoolbook. I was enthralled. It was fascinating. The two great joys of my job are the people and the incredible places that belong to you for a few hours,” she says.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, she’s mulling the future of her agency, Françoise Dumas-Anne Roustang & associés. “I’m going through a bout of soul-searching. I would say that I really loved what I did, and I tried to do it to the best of my ability,” she says.

“I compare it to what Chanel is doing with its Métiers d’Art houses. This is like a métier d’art, and maybe this tradition needs to be modernized, but we need to keep it alive,” Dumas continues. “There are very large event production offices now, because the activity has grown over time, but I don’t think anyone has my experience as a hostess.”

In her bedroom, Dumas keeps a photograph of herself as a little girl. She confides: “I often talk to this little girl and I ask her, ‘Are you happy with what you did?’”  

Françoise Dumas

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

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