Twice a year the streets of Paris become the only place anyone who is anyone within the world of fashion should be seen. Hundreds of fashion editors, assistants, stylists, models and the general cool and IT crowd descend on the French capital to see what they'll be wearing the next year.
One of the "Big 4", Paris Fashion Week has the honor of hosting the finale of every bi-annual fashion fest that takes place in the city. Along with New York, London and Milan, Paris Fashion Week is the culmination of weeks and weeks of work for the exhibiting designers and only the beginning of the work for all the editors and journalists who will write about it.
The official French name for Paris Fashion Week is Semaine des Createurs du Mode and, in accordance with its slightly pretentious name, current fashion weeks take place in Carrousel du Louvre. Normally, about a 100 shows in total span the city, ranging from the top fashion houses to lesser-known names.
The Fashion World's Heavyweights
The big boys - Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy - exhibit their collections in iconic Parisian locations such as the Grand Palais or the Espace Eiffel while the smaller fish are left with less high-profile, but often cooler, locations such as nightclubs and warehouses.
Paris Fashion Week, has the objective to show the fashion industry what's in in the season and what is definitely out. Paris Fashion Week and it is divided into three categories: Men's Fashion, Haute Couture, and Prêt-à-Porter. The term haute couture is protected in France so that only the very few fashion houses the meet the strict criteria can claim to have Haute Couture collections. These collections are shown at a different time to the prêt-à-porter (meaning ready-to-wear) collections which is what most modern fashion houses exhibit during Paris Fashion Week.
An International Flavor
Paris's cultural diversity as a city is often highlighted by the fashion weeks as designers from all over the world choose Paris as the city to host their shows.
There are always designers from all over the world, for instance Elie Saab from Lebanon or Issey Miyake from Japan, that show in Paris. Ethnic accents show up on the clothes too whether it be Russian furs strutting down Impasse de la Defense or braided Grecian belts and bright African patterns dominating in the Louvre.
Since its inception in 1973 Paris Fashion Week has been a Mecca for the fash pack, and naturally these fabulous people need fabulous parties. As well as all the serious work (runway events and trade shows), PFW is also a great excuse for grand openings, promotional events and lavish celebrity-studded parties thrown by anyone who's anyone.
Paris, being one of the cultural metropolises of the fashion world, has no shortage of experience in throwing big parties or a lack of luxurious party locations so it is a match made in heaven really.
Paris Fashion Week Men's January 15 – 20, 2019
Paris: Haute Couture January 21 – 24, 2019