Paris Fashion Week: What is it, who goes and how will Karl Lagerfeld be remembered?

All eyes will be on Chanel following the death of creative director Karl Lagerfeld

Olivia Petter
Tuesday 26 February 2019 18:37
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Paris Fashion Week marks the grand finale to a jam-packed fashion month, preceded by New York, London and Milan.

With some of the world’s most esteemed fashion houses on the schedule – Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton, to name but a few – it’s often the most-anticipated event out of the four and usually attracts a roster of A-list celebrity attendees.

Previous seasons have seen everyone from Rihanna and Kate Moss to Jennifer Lawrence and Cara Delevingne in the front row.

There are also usually famous faces walking in the shows themselves, with Gigi Hadid, Adwoa Aboah and Kendall Jenner all having walked the runway.

This season, however, all eyes will be on the Chanel show given the recent death of the luxury label’s esteemed creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, who had been at the helm of the brand for more than 30 years.

Read on for everything you need to know about PFW.

What is it?

Paris Fashion Week is a trade event organised by La Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, which is the governing body for the French fashion industry.

Like its counterparts in New York, London and Milan, it happens twice a year: once in February, when autumn/winter collections are shown, and once in September, for the spring/summer collections.

Traditionally, the aim has been to give designers the opportunity to showcase their new collections ahead of when they will be available for purchase.

This allows buyers and editors to see what brands have planned for next season and identify the key trends and pieces that influence which clothes and accessories we see in shops, on websites and in magazines.

When is it?

Paris Fashion Week is always the final event on the fashion month lineup, with New York, London and Milan fashion weeks taking place beforehand.

This year, proceedings officially began on Tuesday 26 February and shows take place until Tuesday 5 March.

Who goes?

In addition to the buyers, editors and influencers in attendance, PFW typically boasts one of the most celebrity-heavy crowds.

Milan Fashion Week: Silvia Venturini Fendi sheds tears as she takes bow for Autumn/Winter show on behalf of Karl Lagerfeld

This is usually because many of the brands on the schedule boast high-profile muses and often have contracts with some of the biggest names in Hollywood e.g. Jennifer Lawrence for Dior and Kristen Stewart for Chanel.

Expect to see some very famous faces in the front row.

What are the main shows?

This season, there will be plenty of notable highlights thanks to ever-changing shifts at the top of some of the most esteemed French fashion houses.

Nina Ricci, for example, will debut its first collection on Friday 1 March under the leadership of design duo Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh following the departure of Guillaume Henry in 2018.

This PFW also marks an important moment for Tommy Hilfiger, who debuted his last collection for his eponymous label in Shanghai. The heritage American brand will debut its collaboration with The Greatest Showman star, Zendaya, at its show on Saturday 2 March.

Elsewhere, many will look forward to see what controversial fashion designer Hedi Slimane has in store for his second season at Celine.

The former Saint Laurent creative director prompted criticism in September when he debuted his inaugural collection for the French fashion house. It was a marked difference from the label’s minimalistic aesthetic, with sequin mini dresses taking centre stage, and was labelled “tone-deaf” due to its model line-up, the majority of whom were white. Slimane's autumn/winter 2019 collection will be showcased on Friday 1 March at 7.30pm GMT.

Despite all this, the most-anticipated moment of PFW is undoubtedly going to be on Tuesday 5 March at 9.30am GMT, which is when Karl Lagerfeld’s final collection for Chanel will be revealed.

It’s not yet known how the French fashion house will pay homage to the late designer, but given his legacy at the label and in the industry as a whole, we’re expecting big things. Watch this space.

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