Paris once again the world’s undisputed fashion capital

New York, Milan and London have all tried to take its crown, but more than ever Paris remains the world's fashion capital (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2017

Paris once again the world’s undisputed fashion capital

PARIS: When Paris fashion week begins on Monday, it will do so in a city that is once again the undisputed fashion capital of the world.
New York, Milan and London have all tried to take its crown, but more than ever Paris remains fashion’s reference point, analysts insist.
An exodus of American designers to Paris left New York fashion week earlier this month a withered shadow of its former self.
The loss of Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, Thom Browne and Altuzarra to Paris prompted a bout of soul-searching in the US fashion industry which had felt that momentum was on its side.
“Three is a trend, but now there’s four,” said US Vogue’s Nicole Phelps. “And it’s not just any four; it’s four of the best regarded, most influential labels on the calendar. New York has lost a good-sized chunk of its new guard.”
The iconic New York brand Tommy Hilfiger also decamped to London, with sportswear giant Lacoste following the rush to Paris. And on Friday the ever so British Mulberry also said it was quitting its traditional London berth for Paris.
While New York fashion week’s slimmed down line-up now lasts six days like Milan, and London is all over in four, Paris is a whirlwind of nine mostly madly packed days.
The turnaround in fortunes is all the more startling given that 18 months ago New York looked like it was going to turn the whole fashion calendar on its head.
Its big commercial brands were pushing a shift to the “see now, buy now” model, where clothes go straight on sale after shows.
Paris resisted ending the traditional four- to six-month lag from runway to retail, warning of the environmental impact of unsold clothes no one liked and claiming it would steamroll creativity and younger labels who need to try out ideas on the catwalk.
With many designers already questioning the need for fashion shows in an age of Instagram launches, Paris looked like it might be caught on the wrong side of history.
But things have worked out quite differently, French analyst Nicolas Boulanger of L&CPG consultants told AFP.
Paris has only become more dominant, he said.
“There is a density of luxury brands (in Paris) that you do not find elsewhere, and the fact that it is the home city of large groups like Kering and LVMH, who dominate luxury brands, only reinforces its historic hold,” Boulanger said.
He argued that Paris has a “greater legitimacy in some respects over other fashion capitals” because of the “holy unction” imparted by haute couture, the elite shows of handmade creations that are only held in the French capital.
Boulanger said part of the reason that Paris has been “shining even more” in recent seasons was because haute couture opened its doors to younger talent.
Steven Kolb, head of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which runs the New York shows, remains bullish, citing how New York poached pop star Rihanna’s Fenty Puma show back after two years in Paris.
The council is also making the best of a bad lot by showcasing 13 American designers’ work in Paris.
Kolb told reporters that the US brands who defected to Paris had done so for personal or strategic reasons, mostly to prolong the time their collections stay in the shops.
“If you were to ask any one of them, I think they would confirm that it’s not a negative statement on New York,” he said.
And Boulanger agrees that talk of New York fashion week’s demise is off the mark. “Tom Ford’s return to show in New York... means he sees his future there and it would be foolish to write it off in an industry where everything moves so fast,” he said.
As if to prove the point the Global Language Monitor, which measures the online and media impact of major events, this month named New York on top of its annual “global fashion capitals” list, toppling Paris.
Boulanger insisted that having a few fashion capitals rather than just one was “important in a truly global business... so having different capitals with different personalities is a strength,” he added.

MUSE: Rawan bin Hussain talks social media stardom

Updated 20 September 2018

MUSE: Rawan bin Hussain talks social media stardom

  • Rawan Bin Hussain is one of the largest influencers in the region
  • Aside from launching a lipstick line, the Kuwaiti blogger studies law in London

DUBAI: The Kuwaiti influencer, who has 3 million Instagram followers, talks about studying law, learning to fly and why gender biases are ‘so 1800s’

Being a fashion blogger is not the opposite of being a lawyer – they don’t conflict. I didn’t leave law behind. I’m still studying it. I could have moved to Dubai and made millions a month like other bloggers, but I’m not. I’m living in London making nothing a month because education comes first for me.
To show that lawyers don’t only fight for justice in court, but also in real life by giving back to the community, I launched a law association in Kuwait for female law students, law graduates and lawyers. If you have knowledge in the field of law, I want your experience and we can work together to do charity work and attend workshops.
I’ve always loved traveling around the world, so why not have my own license and my own airplane jetting around the world?
I don’t mind taking risks because I think people who don’t take risks are cowards. Life is fun, life is full of experiences, full of lessons. If you don’t fail and if you don’t learn from your mistakes, you won’t achieve anything in life. It doesn’t come on a plate of gold. You have to work for it.

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Happy to be here! @noorandzee

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A lot of people think that when you are a beauty icon, you are an empty head, empty-minded. We are not. A lot of bloggers are good mothers to their children, they are engineers, doctors, lawyers. They have a career, they just choose to do blogging, which is what they love, and I respect it because you should do what you love and love what you do.
We need to stop stereotyping, criticizing, judging based on the way she looks, the way she dresses, the way she appeals to others. I cannot please everybody as, most of all, I need to please myself.
I regret being too transparent sometimes. I am too spontaneous. I say my opinion in a very casual way – maybe I don’t think about the circumstances or the consequences. But if you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn a lesson.  
We shouldn’t look as men as competition or a dangerous threat. We can work together to make this world a better place.
As a woman, I want to say look at me, I’m here. I can be a lawyer, a pilot, a public figure, an entrepreneur. I am capable of doing so many things. Men need to see that and respect that and not underestimate us because we are females. Judgment based on gender is so 1800s.