DUBAI: The stars came out for the opening night of Paris Fashion Week on Monday, with only 13 of the 95 fashion houses on the official roster staying fully online.
Opening night struck a bittersweet note with the final collection by Off-White founder Virgil Abloh, who died from cancer in November at 41.
But the fall 2022 ready-to-wear show was a dazzling affair, with celebrities including a heavily pregnant Rihanna and Jordanian-Romanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi in attendance, and a striking effort to position Off-White in fashion history.
That was partly done with the models, including Arab megastars Gigi and Bella Hadid, who were joined on the runway by Kendall Jenner, Joan Smalls and Kaia Gerber, alongside veteran supermodels Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford.
And it was partly in the clothes, which pulled in ideas from across recent decades — from glamorous polkadot cocktail dresses to huge shaggy bodysuits — all reimagined with the brand’s trademark street swagger.
For her turn down the runway, Gigi wore an oversized fur hat with a tiered skirt and a cropped bomber jacket.
Bella turned heads wearing a white, off-the-shoulder gown with ruffled, voluminous sleeves.
The part-Palestinian models were close to Abloh — a former Kanye West collaborator who turned Off-White into one of fashion’s fastest-growing labels and was recruited to head menswear for Louis Vuitton before his career was tragically cut short — and were understandably devastated when he died.
“He was 1 of 1,” Gigi wrote in an Instagram tribute to the late US-Ghanaian designer. “His kindness and energetic generosity left a lasting impression on every life he touched — he made everyone feel seen and special.”
She added: “He will be deeply missed, cherished, and celebrated by me and all the people and industries that have been lucky enough to work around and know the true supernova behind this man.”
Her younger sister also took to the social media platform to share her own tribute to the designer, writing: “I’m at a loss . . . He was someone to everyone. That was the magic power he held. He made every person he came across feel special in whatever way he possibly could. Even when the world felt sad, he brought laughter and color and beauty.”