Biannually, the fashion world descends on Paris to celebrate fashion, design innovation and creativity. Fashion Week, known as Semaine des Createurs du Mode by Parisians, is one of the big four fashion weeks along with New York, London and Milan. Paris Fashion Week is the culmination of months of hard work for the exhibiting designers.
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With events occurring across the city, Paris Fashion Week typically consists of 100 shows that feature a collection of renowned designers in addition to some lesser known names. Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Armani typically hold their events at high profile Parisian landmarks, while smaller designers usually hold their shows at off the map, trendy locations dotted across central Paris.
The current incarnation of Paris Fashion Week started in 1973. The event was originally organised as a fundraiser to restore the dilapidated Palace of Versailles. American designers, in addition to French designers, were invited to attend the event. Bill Blass, Stephen Burrows, Anne Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent all attended the event. Since 1973, Paris has played host to Fashion Week in Spring and Autumn.
Paris Fashion Week has been a veritable mecca for fashionistas since the early 1970s. Paris’ cultural diversity is often on display during fashion week, as designers from across the city and all over the world host their collections in front of an insatiable media.
With the explicit objective to display what is hot and what is not, Paris Fashion Week is divided into three categories: Men’s Fashion, Haute Couture and Prêt-à-Porter. Only a few fashion houses in Paris can lay claim to the term Haute Couture, with the term being fiercely guarded by the Paris fashion elite. The Haute Couture collections are held at a different time to the prêt-à-porter ( ready-to-wear) collections. The Men’s Fashion shows, similarly, are held in separate locations.
This season, Paris Fashion Week runs from the 26th September to Tuesday 3rd October. Christian Dior and Saint Laurent will start the week, before collections from Balmain, Comme des Garcons take to the catwalk. Paris Fashion Week will conclude with Chanel and Miu Miu on Tuesday.