Fashion week is when Paris becomes the centre of the world. Everyone from a-list celebrities to bloggers and creatives descends onto Paris. While every fashion week leaves its mark on the industry, Paris Fashion Week is in a league of its own.
Last weeks saw dozens of our favourite streetwear designers showcasing their Fall/Winter 2023 collections across the French capital. Designers made headlines across the globe with avant-garde collections that ranged from chunky footwear to faux taxidermy. This Paris Fashion Week delivered something for everyone. We’re recapping everything you need to know about Paris Fashion Week to put you ahead of the Fall/Winter 2023 trends. Our Fashion Week recap spotlights the collections of two of the designers you’ll find at Unfolloworld, Juun.J and Feng Chen Wang.
Paris Fashion Week Recap
This month’s Paris Fashion Week marked a shift in the industry. We’re officially saying goodbye to the laidback silhouettes that were ushered in during the pandemic when loungewear and casual streetwear reigned supreme. Menswear and womenswear both shifted their focus to tailoring with collections that reimagined classic pieces with a new approach to timeless elegance. Saint Laurent led the way with menswear and womenswear collections focused on bringing glamour to the forefront. It’s a motif picked up by Kim Jones at Dior where his menswear collection incorporated couture-inspired fabrics with intricate silhouettes. Loewe took a playful tone with contrasting fabrics from romantic silks to traditional leathers and unexpected metals. After several seasons of turning away from tradition, Paris Fashion Week shows that Autumn/Winter 2023 is all about embracing tradition. Womenswear and menswear collections are reinterpreting classic silhouettes for consumers who have become comfortable with loungewear and gender-blurring fashion.
4 Trends from Paris Fashion Week
The collections at Paris Fashion Week set the tone for the seasons to come. Fast fashion means runway trends are trickling down into mainstream fashion faster than ever. Four trends stood out on the runway at Paris Fashion Week for Autumn/Winter 2023 – including one that suggests fashion has moved on from glorifying trophy hunting.
• Chunky Footwear
We’re heading back to the era of ‘these boots were made for walking’. Chunky footwear is officially back in vogue. It’s time to hang up your sneakers and experiment with chunky footwear. Rick Owens is leading the way with this trend, experimenting with high-top boots influenced by classic military silhouettes and a platform take on sneakers. Architectural shapes were the hallmark of Owens’ Paris Fashion Week collection with an aesthetic that looked as though it stepped right out of the ‘70s. What makes this chunky footwear different is that it carries across footwear’s recent focus on comfort. Grilled platform boots have leather buckles and thick padding that shows high fashion doesn’t mean painful footwear.
• Pleats and Geometric Shapes
Silhouettes were a main talking point at Paris Fashion Week with pleats and geometric shapes taking centre stage. Issey Miyake led the way with different interpretations of triangles and angular shapes popping up in silhouettes and intricate patterns. While triangles might not seem the most obvious shape to build a collection around, Issey Miyake uses triangular shapes to provide traditional garments with more definition. The Paris Fashion Week show brought these geometric designs to life with dancers showcasing the functionality of each piece. The geometric shapes featured Issey Miyake’s signature pleats that were explored to create outerwear influenced by origami.
• Dior Mania
Every Paris Fashion Week there is one brand that reigns supreme. Dior mania reached new heights with the brand’s menswear collection has become as popular as its main womenswear line. It’s an impressive feat for a menswear range launched in 2001 against a womenswear range responsible for defining feminine style. The Dior collection showcased at Paris Fashion Week paid homage to the legendary Yves Saint Laurent, the designer who worked alongside Christian Dior to learn the secrets of haute couture. The collection took inspiration from Yves Saint Laurent’s first collection with Christian Dior in 1958. Kim Jones carried through the spirit of Saint Laurent’s debut Dior collection with gender-neutral suits and fluid shapes. Gwendoline Christie and Robert Pattinson spearheaded the gender-bending motif on the Paris Fashion Week runway.
• Animals in Fashion
One of the most talked about collections at Paris Fashion Week was Schiaparelli Haute Couture. While its whimsical designs carried an elegant air, the runway went viral for its use of faux animal heads. Kylie Jenner attended the runway show wearing a black strapless dress with a realistic Lion’s head attached to the shoulder. The collection largely received backlash on social media for its use of animals, showing how far Paris Fashion Week has come from the time when real fur dominated the runway. Daniel Roseberry’s focus on faux taxidermy raised eyebrows with snow leopard heads and lion heads representing his interpretation of Dante’s Inferno. While it’s received criticism for glamorising trophy hunting, fashion editorials have largely taken the view that the use of animals was a design choice to explore the duality of beauty and death.
We’re moving on from the trends of Paris Fashion Week to spotlight the collections of two of Unfolloworld’s most popular brands: Juun.J and Feng Chen Wang.
Juun.J at Paris Fashion Week
Juun.J presented its ‘Broken’ Fall/Winter 2023 collection at Paris Fashion Week. This collection offers a modern and luxurious take on the rock-punk aesthetic. ‘Broken’ is a conversation around the beauty of damaged, old, and outdated items. Fashion trends come and go with time, hallmarked as being nostalgic. Juun.J reinterprets rock punk staples that include military and motorbiking staples with a focus on denim. The brand describes it as ‘Aesthetics of Atypicallity’ by breaking boundaries to create new items from classic pieces of the past. Juun.J chose the Arab World Institute to host its Paris Fashion Week show for Fall/Winter 2023. Wookjun Jung, the brand’s Creative Director, described a desire to explore “atypical aesthetics” from different viewpoints. The collection featured 40 pieces of various fabrication, from wool to leather and denim, experimenting with deconstructions and fading for each garment. The Paris Fashion Week collection introduces new silhouettes for motorbike and military fashion, giving new life to the broken garments of decades past. Jung’s focus on deconstruction creates a new sense of beauty for damaged items of the past. The brand chose an earthy colour palette for the Fall/Winter 2023 collection, focusing on greens, black, and brown with hints of blue.
Feng Chen Wang at Paris Fashion Week
Feng Chen Wang’s Paris Fashion Week show was built on the idea of connection. The brand’s newest collection explores connections through cultures, communities, individuals, and time periods. It’s a marrying of the present with the past and a homage to the brand’s name. The Chinese word ‘Feng’ (‘缝’) means to knit or sew together. The pronunciation is also used for the Chinese word 鳳, meaning phoenix. It symbolises the connection of yin and yang, along with Feng Chen Wang’s signature motif. The brand’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection is about this knitting together of different concepts: the past and the present, men and women, east and west, and the traditional with the modern. Gender liberation is another motif at the heart of Feng Chen Wang’s collection, explored through traditional Chinese techniques that are used to reimagine modern western fashion with a focus on denim and tailoring. This aesthetic reappears in the collection’s earthy colour palette of grey, white, khaki, and indigo being juxtaposed against vibrant orange and warm-tone pink. Wang explores the Chinese tradition of the ‘Hundred Families Robe”. This tradition is where 100 days after the birth of a child, the parents will visit 100 people to receive a piece of cloth from each. These people include family members, neighbours, and friends. The cloth is sewn together to create a patchwork robe that becomes a symbol of shared love. Feng Chen Wang picks up this tradition and gives it a new meaning by using surplus fabric from previous collections to create pieces that sustainably symbolise Chinese tradition. Wang’s signature motif, the phoenix, once again takes centre stage at Paris Fashion Week. It flew across the runway on printed denim and quilted fabric, brought to life with traditional landscape painting techniques. The phoenix appears throughout every aspect of the collection, from its ready-to-wear to remade Nike shoes and accessories. Another traditional Chinese motif explored in this collection is the Chinese knot, paying homage to Wang’s grandmother. The knots act as a way of connecting two separate parts together, linking cultures, communities, and generations. Wang makes the Chinese knots oversized as a statement piece on jackets, coats, and scarves. Feng Chen Wang’s Paris Fashion Week Show also marked the launch of the brand’s collaboration with Estee Lauder for a limited edition makeup range designed by Wang. The brand’s Paris Fashion Week show calls for us to come together in a time of fractured society to live a more beautiful life in unity with each other.