PARIS – Fendi put a fitting exclamation point on Paris couture week by drawing an A-list crowd to the opulent Palais Brongniart. Naomi Watts, Zoe Saldana, Cardi B, Lily James and Shakira were among the celebrities seated front row for a show that dazzled with its artful fusion of jewelry-making and deceptively simple couture.
Elsewhere, fashion whispers were finally confirmed: Gabriela Hearst is stepping down as the creative director of Maison Chloé after a brief but impactful three-year tenure. Hearst, the first female designer with multicultural roots (Uruguay and United States) to lead a Parisian fashion house, has been a transformative force at Chloé since her appointment in December 2020.
Here are some highlights of the last day of fall couture shows on Thursday:
SPARKLE AND SHINE: FENDI LITERALLY PUTS THE BLING IN COUTURE
“This season, our focus was on embodying fluidity, drape and shape through couture techniques, while harmonizing these elements with the contemporary spirit,” declared Kim Jones, Fendi’s designer.
The show began with a strikingly neutral ensemble, seemingly a second skin, acting as the prelude to the jewelry-inspired collection. The design skill was evident in its huge, eccentric sleeve that darted out narrowly from the shoulder, capturing imaginations. In stark contrast came a fluid emerald green satin gown that cascaded down the model’s body, shimmering with the dynamism of a precious gem.
Figure-defining silhouettes in vibrant ruby red and jet black were showcased by models, their forms distilled down to their essential sinews. A cream sheath, brought to life with an Asian-inspired waist wrap, bore finely carved groove lines, invoking the refined artistry of jewelry craftsmanship.
Looks that seemed to unfurl from the shoulders left necklace-less necks provocatively bare, as if in anticipation of an exquisite adornment.
The show was a poetical ode to couture. “Our canvas was a template inspired by high jewelry. Even in the absence of physical jewelry, its essence is echoed through the collection’s color palette and ornamentation, with the clothes themselves channeling the spirit of jewelry,” Jones explained. “We took cues from the flesh tones and the hues of stones: black diamonds, rubies, sapphires. It’s a dance of soft and hard, flesh and stone.”
The collection embodied that philosophy in a showcase of Fendi’s creative prowess. The rousing applause at its finale signaled Fendi’s successful defiance of traditional couture boundaries, once again.
GABRIELA HEARST BIDS ADIEU TO CHLOÉ, LEAVING A GREEN LEGACY
Fashion whispers have finally been confirmed: Gabriela Hearst is stepping down as the creative director of Maison Chloé after a brief but impactful three-year tenure. Hearst, the first female designer with multicultural roots (Uruguay and United States) to lead a Parisian fashion house, has been a transformative force at Chloé since her appointment in December 2020.
Despite the relative brevity of her tenure, Hearst leaves an indelible imprint on Chloé. She ushered the house into a new era of sustainability, turning it into the first European luxury fashion house to secure a B Corp certification. Hearst’s sustainability agenda included innovative initiatives such as the integration of eco-friendly materials, a ground-breaking resale program and collections focusing on climate-forward solutions.
Her leadership at Chloé sparked considerable growth and a seismic shift in the fashion house’s ethos. Riccardo Bellini, president and CEO of Chloé, praised Hearst’s vision, passion and commitment to values, crediting her with scripting a “new and vibrant chapter” in the annals of Chloé.
Upon her departure, Hearst expressed a sense of fulfillment and gratitude, emphasizing the importance for shaping a more sustainable and purpose-driven future for the fashion industry. She said she took pride in the “positive change” effected by her team during her tenure.
Hearst found herself in a lineage of illustrious designers that have shaped the fashion house’s unique style and identity. Her predecessors include revered figures in the industry such as Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld, Clare Waight Keller, Phoebe Philo, and most recently, Natacha Ramsay-Levi.
Chloé, founded in 1952, is often credited with pioneering the concept of ready-to-wear, which revolutionized the fashion industry.
The finale of Hearst’s journey at Chloé will be marked by the presentation of the spring collection on Sept. 28, drawing the curtains on an era marked by sustainability, innovation, and diversity.
CARTIER UNVEILS GLITTERING HIGH JEWELRY PREVIEW AT ICONIC RITZ HOTEL
Cartier, the legendary French jeweler, offered an enticing preview of its latest high jewelry collection, “The Journey Begins Again,” at the famed Ritz hotel on the Place Vendome. Surrounded by champagne and luxury, attendees were privy to a selection of 50 pieces from the collection to be unveiled in August.
Cartier’s enduring legacy stretches back to 1847, when Louis-Francois Cartier transformed the jewelry world with his intricate designs and craftsmanship. This legacy shone in the latest collection, which showcased seven pieces in two innovative series: “Unda” and “Voltea.”
The “Unda” series, named after the Latin word for wave, featured a necklace bedecked with 1,092 diamonds and 67 emeralds. Set in white gold, the piece dazzled with its intricate wave patterns.
The “Voltea” series brought a burst of color and modernity. Derived from the concept of voltage or electricity, the series showcased a striking necklace in pink gold and coral, a material notorious for its fragility. The segmented design of the necklace beautifully echoed the pattern of an electric wave.
IMANE AYISSI’S VIBRANT CULTURE FUSION
Cameroon-born couturier Imane Ayissi’s latest collection, presented at Paris Couture Week on Thursday, delivered a punch of vibrant color and cultural fusion, reflecting his unique approach to couture that marries African inspirations with European codes.
The presentation saw a profusion of bright hues and eclectic style. Painted colored eyebrows and round orange earrings lent an edgy boost to the collection, amplifying the designer’s knack for theatricality honed from his early career in the Cameroon National Ballet.
One standout piece was a top creatively constructed from a myriad of vermilion flowers, a nod to the dynamic African wrap, contrasted with striking blue pants. The ensemble exemplified Ayissi’s signature fusion of styles and his ability to transform traditional African fabrics and concepts into couture.
A light green satin couture dress with a cascading cape offered a graceful take on European fashion norms, while an unstructured yellow dress with a bold fuchsia bow on the midriff further underscored Ayissi’s playful use of color.
JEWELS MEET ART: REPOSSI’S ‘ANTIFER’ INSPIRES ARTISTS
In an intersection of contemporary art and high-end jewelry design, Repossi celebrated the 10th anniversary of its “Antifer” collection with an exhibition on Paris’ chic Left Bank. The legacy Italian brand, rooted in fine jewelry craftsmanship since 1920, transformed a lush garden into an elegant stage for the milestone.
The “Antifer” collection, recognized for its minimalist lines and architectural inspiration, has become an emblematic part of the Repossi brand over the past decade. Reflecting this aesthetic, the evening showcased a curated collection of works from six international artists, each offering a distinct artistic interpretation of the “Antifer” design.
The event explored creative dialogue between art and jewelry, with guests enjoying a relaxed garden party atmosphere complete with a DJ and art displays inspired by the jewelry collection.
The curated artworks, together with the “Antifer” collection, will be available for public viewing at the Amelie, Maison d’art Gallery starting July 7.