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Paris Fashion Week: media clashes and stunning debuts

Paris Fashion Week began with a bang. By day one, a drama had erupted with Vogue UK’s editorial team penning an essay about their experience at Milan Fashion Week, taking time to write a scathing critique of the street-style scene and paid bloggers, calling them “pathetic” and “sad”.

Stella McCartney, Sonia Rykiel, Hermes: women on top at Paris Fashion Week

Vogue’s digital creative director Sally Singer wrote: “Note to bloggers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour: Please stop. Find another business. You are heralding the death of style.”

Cue Twitter and Instagram backlash, with bloggers such as Susie Bubble (eloquently) and others (less so) calling out magazine editors for hypocrisy and their own street-style misdemeanours, borrowing clothes from brands and regularly slipping pieces into editorial fashion shoots just because the brand in question advertises in their publication.

There was a litany of celebrities in the French capital: Jennifer Lawrence did casual chic at Dior, where Marion Cotillard looked pristine in pure white. Hong Kong megastar Faye Wong turned heads at Céline. Kim Kardashian was seen at Balenciaga and Givenchy, but flew out after her traumatic robbery.

On the runway, the big debuts were by Maria Grazia Chiuri, at Dior, Anthony Vaccarello, at Saint Laurent and Bouchra Jarrar, at Lanvin.

At Paris Fashion Week, female designers shine brightly

Dior’s new chapter mixed sporty, clean-cut and tailored with the feminine fluidity of balletic, high-waisted tulle and organza gowns that Chiuri used to create at Valentino. At Saint Laurent, Vaccarello went hell for leather with big 1980s shoulders and thigh-skimming black micro minis (similar to those favoured by Hedi Slimane in his last collection for the house), keeping the brand racy, though not quite so controversial. Jarrar, meanwhile, surprised audiences (after a bland resort collection) with slinky, grown-up glamour that referenced and updated Lanvin’s house codes with pyjama dressing, languid suiting and glittering, gemstoned accessories.

Paris Fashion Week highlights from Balenciaga, Celine, Valentino, Givenchy

Valentino, under only Pier Paolo Piccioli (his design partner, Chiuri, having defected to Dior) was a solo debut of sorts, too – and utterly exquisite. Piccioli infused a more relaxed way of dressing with the pains­taking­ly beautiful couture detailing of Valentino gowns.

Other standout shows included Loewe’s sophisticated turn under J.W. Anderson and a very popular Céline collection mixing sensual draping with structured suiting. Hermès did a wide silhouette cinched at the waist in soothing hues, while Giambattista Valli went off the shoulder with pretty nymph-like dresses and impossibly high heels.

There was a new influx of tailoring, nearly all black at Givenchy, and in a colourful array with Haider Ackermann.

Stella McCartney got political with her anti-fur and leather stance on logos, as well as a celebratory show for women – models having fun with a long co-ordinated dance routine for the finale.

Sportswear, oversized masculine silhouettes and outerwear continued to inform many runways, with volume present in floaty Victorian blouses by Dries Van Noten, Chloé’s short ruffled babydoll dresses and Sacai’s wide tough-girl jackets.

Others in Paris celebrated unapologeti­cally conventional ideals of feminine glamour. Among these was Elie Saab with its camp, joyful evocation of the disco era – all glittering sparkles, sexy, body-skimming jumpsuits and low V-neckline dresses. The Balmain woman similarly shed her armour in favour of fluid, long shapes, strappy belts, shimmering lamé, jungle-inspired tropical colours and plenty of snakeskin.

There were a few final shows still to see in Paris at the time of writing. For an over­view of the season’s runways and trends, see next week’s fashion edition of Post Magazine .