From Paris With Love

In­ter­na­tional jet-set­ter SUZANNE ROGERS shares her PARIS FASH­ION WEEK Spring/Sum­mer 2018 high­lights.

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Though the ge­n­e­sis

of Paris Fash­ion Week dates to the 1940s, it wasn’t truly ig­nited un­til 1973, when—as su­perbly doc­u­mented in Robin Givhan’s best­selling The Bat­tle of

Ver­sailles— a fundraiser or­ga­nized by the Fédéra­tion Française de la Cou­ture fa­mously (and con­tro­ver­sially) com­min­gled French and Amer­i­can de­sign­ers. The now bian­nual Paris weeks have be­come the nu­clei of my spring and fall cal­en­dars.

For­tu­nately, my daugh­ter Chloe’s re­turn to univer­sity in Lon­don wasn’t un­til mid-Oc­to­ber, so I was de­lighted to have her join me for the en­tire week, be­gin­ning Septem­ber 26. Af­ter a multi-mil­lion dol­lar ren­o­va­tion that lasted four years, our favourite Paris lo­cale, the land­mark Hô­tel Ritz, re­opened last year. The set­ting, ser­vice, and spec­tac­u­larly ap­pointed suites re­main non­pareil.

The flurry of shows was non­stop, each more breath­tak­ing than the last. Four were par­tic­u­lar stand­outs. Le­banese de­signer-to-the-stars Elie Saab un­veiled what he dubbed his Ama­zon col­lec­tion. The jun­gle theme played out in python and frond prints, and lush botan­i­cal de­tails adorn­ing sheer dresses, though Saab also pre­sented ex­quis­ite day and evening wear in a wide ar­ray of vivid colours.

The bril­liant Pier­paolo Pic­ci­oli re­vealed his spec­tac­u­lar Spring 2018 col­lec­tion for Valentino in the court­yard of the Ly­cée Carnot. Pay­ing homage to the leg­endary fash­ion house’s name­sake, Pic­ci­oli put his own distinc­tive mark on the clas­sic Valentino aes­thetic, re­mark­ing that “It’s just re-see­ing what you al­ready have, but with a new per­spec­tive.”

One of the week’s most cov­eted tick­ets, Sarah Bur­ton’s Alexan­der McQueen col­lec­tion, took its in­spi­ra­tion from the out­doors. The run­way was fes­tooned with em­broi­dered flow­ers as mod­els, seem­ingly fresh from a spring­time shower, walked a brick path. Vi­brant pinks and reds, of­ten dra­mat­i­cally off­set by black or white, shaped Bur­ton’s stated fo­cus on “Bri­tish-ness, be­ing in the gar­den, and the heal­ing power of na­ture.” Chloe and I caught up with her for a lengthy back­stage chat be­fore head­ing to a fab­u­lous din­ner for about a dozen VIP guests hosted by McQueen ex­ec­u­tives.

A raw, in­dus­trial space in the 17th ar­rondisse­ment pro­vided an ideally min­i­mal­ist stage for in­cur­able ro­man­tic Gi­ambat­tista Valli’s de­li­cious as­sort­ment of spring­time con­fec­tions. Tak­ing his cues from the sto­ry­book ro­mance of royal-born Nancy Rus­poli and post­mod­ern artist Mario Schi­fano, the Ro­man de­signer again demon­strated his inim­itable flair for ul­tra-fem­i­nine day and evening wear, with del­i­cate flo­ral pat­terns, lacy tops, se­quins, and bil­lowy gowns with waves of ruf­fles. A month later, that same stel­lar Spring 2018 col­lec­tion made its ex­clu­sive Cana­dian de­but at Toronto’s Haute Af­fair, a gala fundraiser I was hon­oured to co-chair with Vonna Bi­tove.

At the Ritz’s cozy, wood-lined Hem­ing­way Bar, I set­tled in for a quiet tête-à-tête with my dear friend Er­dem Mo­ralıoğlu, dis­cussing his re­mark­able show and other high­lights. Chloe and I also found time to savour de­lec­ta­ble din­ners at such favourite spots as L’Av­enue and Le Costes. End­ing the whirl­wind in ap­pro­pri­ately high style, the el­e­gant Musée Yves Saint Lau­rent opened on Paris Fash­ion Week’s fi­nal day (a com­pan­ion mu­seum in Mar­rakesh, ad­ja­cent to Lau­rent’s beloved Ma­jorelle Gar­den, where his ashes were scat­tered, was un­veiled two weeks later). Lo­cated at 5 Av­enue Marceau—Lau­rent’s head­quar­ters from 1974 un­til his re­tire­ment in 2002—this four-storey salute to the trail­blaz­ing ge­nius will fea­ture ro­tat­ing cou­ture ex­hibits, aptly be­gin­ning with his de­but col­lec­tion from 1962.

GI­AMBAT­TISTA VALLI

VALENTINO

ALEXAN­DER MCQUEEN

ELIE SAAB

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