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
0

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.


Kuwait’s Bibi Al-Abdulmohsen shows off stunning summer looks

Updated 23 June 2018
0

Kuwait’s Bibi Al-Abdulmohsen shows off stunning summer looks

DUBAI: What do you get when you mix a GCC social media influencer with three massive fashion brands? A dream look book, that’s what.
While we’re normally quite skeptical about influencer-brand collaborations — due to the fit usually not being quite right — it’s hard to fault this “One Thousand and One Nights” themed photoshoot, a collaboration between Bibi Al-Abdulmohsen, Jimmy Choo, Tiffany & Co. and Esposa Privé. Why? Well, first of all the campaign, masterminded by the UAE-based wedding planning company Brides to Be, is all about the clothes rather than the influencer herself.
Secondly, it’s clear that a lot of thought has been put into it. Shot by French photographer Jeremy Zaessinger at Dubai’s Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel, Al-Abdulmohsen sported a number of looks by the three heavyweight brands, with the finishing touches of hair and make-up offered by Maison de Joelle.
While the campaign was originally created for the month of Ramadan, the images were released just before Eid Al-Fitr. However, we don’t think it matters as it actually goes beyond the festive season, with the Kuwaiti social media star — who has 1.8 million followers on Instagram — sporting modest looks that are appropriate for many an evening function or wedding.

It is said that Esposa Privé, Jimmy Choo and Tiffany & Co. worked together to create the looks, mixing traditional elements with modern accessories. Silk features prominently, with many embroidered abayas, along with Jimmy Choo’s Viola collection — footwear adorned with Swarovski crystals.
Al-Abdulmohsen also showcases a couple of bridal looks by Esposa Privé. Designed by Kristie Romanos, the flowy, luxurious dresses feature unique cuts and embody a modern, yet timeless elegance. The bespoke bridal couture pieces were accessorized with pieces from Jimmy Choo’s “Cinderella” collection, reimagined iconic glass slippers decorated with more than 7,000 dazzling Swarovski crystals.
Anyone into fashion will be familiar with all three major iconic brands involved. With a presence in the Middle East region for more than 30 years, Esposa Group is home to Esposa and Esposa Privé, both of which are available in Dubai and Beirut. Meanwhile, Jimmy Choo has a slew of celebrity fans, including Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Obama and Beyoncé.