PARIS — Not only shows — showrooms and presentations were back in full force and bustling with people during Paris Fashion Week.
Product-wise, there was a little something for every taste and need: Functional and essential accessories for corporate occasions, sparkle and high heels for partygoers and statement jewelry for those looking for investment pieces.
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Compared to the previous season, footwear slightly toned down the maximalist heights of platforms as flat and mid-heeled options rose both as everyday styles in lieu of sneakers — marking a shift toward a more formal aesthetic — and comfy alternatives for nights out.
But such a switch came with its dose of eccentricity and eye-catching details, thanks to vibrant colors, metallic hues, mirrored effects, crystal embellishments and architectural shapes, to sport even in daylight. The ever-present Y2K trend informed bold neon hues and denim galore that was seen on footwear and bags alike.
Meanwhile, indie contemporary brands have tiptoed into new product categories, hinting that accessories brands are evolving to increasingly provide head-to-toe offerings. To name a few, Wandler expanded into ready-to-wear; the Medea sisters flanked their irreverent bags with footwear and eyewear; footwear specialist Gia Borghini launched its first handbag style, and By Far introduced “Daydreams,” a full range of fragrances “to wear,” intended to be carried in refillable charms to hang on its buzzy handbags.
Here, the highlights.
Christian Louboutin: It was difficult to top the event Christian Louboutin staged during Paris Fashion Week. For the second iteration of “The Loubi Show” format, the brand took over the Gustave Eiffel Room on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. There, 13 dancers performed to a soundtrack of French artist Vendredi Sur Mer while wearing footwear styles from the brand’s spring 2023 collection. These included an upgrade of the lipstick-shaped heel introduced for fall 2022 and elevated into the new “Lipstrass” design covered in nearly 700 strass per pair. Seen on pumps and boots, the style was flanked by other flashy options, including neon acid green mules and pink sandals in PVC as well as the new “Loubila” bag in yellow. Yet the real coup de théâtre for the brand was the inclusion of architectural midi heels defining black vinyl and pastel-toned shoes. Unexpected yet trés chic.
Bruno Frisoni: Bruno Frisoni is back. After his 16-year tenure at Roger Vivier ended in 2018, earlier this year the footwear designer relaunched his namesake label, which was established in 1999 and was paused in 2012. Before unveiling a four-month pop-up store at Le Bon Marché this week, Frisoni presented his full collection, which played with his signature codes and stemmed from visits to his archives outside Paris. Keeping a “very intuitive and spontaneous” and hands-on approach to his brand, Frisoni repurposed vintage denim to craft open-toe booties embellished with crystal buttons and he beautifully draped metallic leather on high-heeled mules. “The most difficult part is to keep the movement that came naturally to me the first time and repeat it always the same,” noted Frisoni on the challenges informing the latter style. Elsewhere, pumps and sandals had asymmetric squared toes that are recognizable of the designer’s work, while minimal sandals were made extra-feminine with the addition of a big, side flower on the ankle strap. Discovering a pocket full of buttons also inspired Frisoni to develop the new Comet hardware. This metallic cabochon button punctuated sandals or was used to create floral motifs on sling-back styles and pointed ballerinas. It also became a foot ornament when applied on leather straps to wrap bare feet with, in an attempt to have “naked feet but still dressed,” noted the designer.
Paul Andrew: Also relaunching his eponymous brand earlier this year, Paul Andrew made a comeback with a strong collection mixing craft with high-tech details, as proved by the process behind the new, sculptural and curvaceous heels. Evoking the work of artists like Jean Arp and Constantin Brâncusi, the heels were actually produced in an Italian sports-car factory. Renditions of the design defined most of the styles, encompassing strappy platform sandals with iridescent effects; sling-back styles with a pointy toe or an exaggerated rounded one; and a series of mules in patent leather injected with glitter. The heel’s shape was also turned into a cage comprising a cubical gemstone in other shoe styles to further enhance the graphic effect. Andrew said he’s committed to offering “less but better” and more focused collections, as well as in “building a business in a pace that is sustainable.” Compared to his previous approach to his own brand, the designer said he has “a more fashion-forward woman in mind” and his collection proved this.
Roger Vivier: Gherardo Felloni deep dived into Roger Vivier’s archives to reinterpret the iconic codes the founder of the brand introduced through the years, ranging from the Virgule and Choc sculptural and curved heels to the signature rectangular buckle and rich embroideries. As result, the collection was filled with richly decorated styles in approachable heights that could work from day to night. These included the Virgule Flowers Bow sling-back style originally created in 1963, which Felloni revisited in an acid yellow mesh version with a contrasting pink heel, exquisite floral embroideries and a pink satin bow as a finishing touch. Elsewhere, Felloni used the founder’s crystal-embellished sphere element on slender heels in maxi proportions or as cubic shape on more graphic mid-heeled sandals.
13 09 SR: It took a visit to Serge Ruffieux’s studio to catch a pair of sneakers this season in Paris. Dubbed “UFO,” the style was crafted in a mesh technical fabric and featured a studded rubber sole and the brand’s signature egg heel. The design, which will retail at 590 euros, added to Ruffieux’s eclectic collection of comfy and crafty flats developed using responsible leather and deadstock silk, brocade and crystals. A nonconformist, the designer — who wrapped a three-season stint as creative director of Carven in 2018 — has always put a strong focus on flat shoes since the launch of his 13 09 SR project last year with Emilie Faure, therefore preceding the trend that emerged for spring 2023. Ruffieux said he prefers to relegate the “fetish” aspect to the brand’s communication (as seen in a campaign photographed by Guen Fiore) and keep an “anti-fetish” attitude in his approach to the product. So he shies away from “a veneration for the feet” and high heels in favor of a more pragmatic attitude and styles combining sporty references and sparkly embellishments. For spring, he also offered the Puli fringed moccasin in men’s sizes for the first time and revisited its design in a mule version, too. He additionally launched a new style of sunglasses, the Sunic bioacetate mask with a rounded shape and pierced on a temple by metal rings. As for the rest of the eyewear offering, this came with embroidered detachable straps in recycled neoprene.
Pierre Hardy: Comfy fit and sporty inflections also informed the expansive collection of Pierre Hardy, which had graphic styles crafted from neoprene, rubber or nappa that played with the contrasting colors the footwear maverick is best known for. The “Alpha” family stood out for its different iterations, encompassing the “Kos” flat sandal with quilted insole; the “Mega” option with double crossed front and ankle straps set on a rubber platform, and the “Rope” variant evoking a nautical theme as it’s laced with a cord passing through three wide striped straps in different colors and fabrics. In the high-heeled department, styles still kept the sporty vibe, as seen in the “Scuba” neon neoprene sandal with cutouts highlighted by contrasting piping. Part of the Pierre Hardy Planet capsule, the design had an eco-responsible bend, too, as its heel, sole and neoprene were recycled and recyclable.
Alexandre Birman: The Brazilian shoemaker Alexandre Birman celebrated his roots and communities in his home country with a joyful collection that touched on different styles, inspirations and techniques, encompassing the craftsmanship of lacemakers in Saubara, Bahia; knots seen in fishermen’s villages and color palettes nodding to sunsets in Itapuã. Highlights included the “Aria” series of leather sandals embellished with bobbin lace details, which were developed in collaboration with female artisans in Saubara. Other styles had details woven in straw hailing from local palms, or were defined by hand-braided ropes in metallic lurex and cord, as seen in the gladiator-like sandals “Barbara.” The “Cassie” design with wavy straps stood out for its color combinations as well as heels with real sand finishing.
Delvaux: Setting up a striking installation that recreated sand castles and dunes, Belgian luxury handbag label Delvaux spotlighted its craftsmanship and skills in reinterpreting archival pieces for spring. One of the highlights, the “Tempête” bag and its design dating back to 1967, were reworked in the “Tempête Tote” and “Tempête Crush” leather versions, with the former exuding a more polished and sophisticated allure and the latter winking to younger consumers with its smaller size and candy colors. More eccentric options saw the signature “Brilliant” bag and “Pin” bucket covered in leather pompoms for a fun touch, while the “Lingot” leather style inspired by the brand’s ’70s archives and first introduced for fall 2022 was offered also in a more elongated clutch, further emphasizing the oversize “D” buckle made out of a single brass bar.
Delfina Delettrez: Loopy lines defined the new jewelry collection Delfina Delettrez Fendi developed for her own label. Also artistic director of jewelry at Fendi, the designer revisited the classic diamond tennis bracelet with a modern twist — literally — with the goal to create “diamond nests” in precious white gold necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings. She added some bracelet designs that mixed a rigid structure in yellow gold with a looser one in white gold and diamonds for a simple yet striking effect.
Repossi: It doesn’t get more exclusive than Repossi’s new project. Gaia Repossi, artistic director of the brand since 2007, has launched the new Limited Editions series that will see the brand unveil exclusive designs in September and March from now on. To kick off the project, Repossi introduced the “Transient” ring crafted from 18K gold and diamonds and available only in 15 pieces worldwide. In sync with Repossi’s aesthetic inclination toward minimalism, architecture and modern art, the design combines curves and a sharp, thin line of diamonds in a sleek style that will come with a price tag of 13,500 euros.
Boucheron: Don’t expect the latest Boucheron collection to be in stores just quite yet, but the “Jack de Boucheron Ultime” line is the latest in the house’s series of experiments on materials. This time, Claire Choisne gives her take on the saying that one person’s trash is another’s treasure by working with Cofalit, a “final material” or waste that can have no further use. Research and development is still under way to industrialize the process, which involves a series of highly specialized treatments, but in the house’s expert hands, it becomes a jet-black stone infused with a light silver sparkle — think lapis-lazuli but in black — used for rings, bracelets and a sizable brooch. — LILY TEMPLETON
Joseph Duclos: Launched last year under the artistic direction of Ramesh Nair — who made a name for himself at his previous experiences at Hermès and Moynat — the Maison Joseph Duclos brand continued to celebrate craftsmanship and the legacy of entrepreneur Joseph Duclos, who in the 18th century combined three small tanneries in Lectoure, France, and earned the title of Royal Leather Manufacture by King Louis XV in 1754. The range of luxury leather accessories has been expanded to include new styles, including variants of the Saint-Clair design that offers a contemporary take on pouches worn by royal officers. A limited edition of the bag saw the boxy leather structure paired with different types and shades of soft and a nubuck flap, while two new clutches made their way into the permanent collection. Coming in black, chestnut and burgundy, these styles featured curved silhouettes molded by hand from a single piece of leather and secured with a corner stitching technique.
Mark Cross: Under the creative direction of designer Rebeca Mendoza, historic handbag label Mark Cross is updating its codes and tweaking staple styles to welcome a new audience to the brand. The square shape of the iconic “Grace” bag — the one seen in the hands of Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film “Rear Window” — was rendered in an extra supple leather in a soft, pillow-like variant or elongated in a rectangular silhouette in a new style dubbed “Grace Lungo.” The latter came with a wide, belt-like strap featuring a new “M” buckle to carry it on the shoulder, and was available in the brand’s signature red color and classic black, as well as sophisticated shades including butter, burgundy and celadon python.
Eéra: Romy Blanga and Chiara Capitani create high-end jewelry that can resonate with today’s consumers, this time presented via an exhibition of photographs by John Yuyi. The cofounders’ penchant for mixing industrial design references, utilitarian elements and tropes of classic jewelry resulted in new product families, including the “Stone” one. This hinged on a motif that recalled can tabs, which was featured on diamond pavé earrings as well as on necklaces, such as T bar-fastening pieces and a statement choker with strands of pearls. New takes on piercings were explored via spiked studs and elongated bars defining sharp earrings, and for the first time the brand debuted a series of hoops, both rounded and geometric.
Boochier: Have you ever tied a string around your finger to remember something? Make sure they’re precious things when you go for Boochier’s Ties chain necklace and its 18-karat gold twists. Hong Kong-based jeweler Melinda Zeman materialized her blended family heritage and the playfulness of childhood in this brand, filling it with zesty references like slinkies, fruit loops and ’90s bead necklaces — made precious in gold, South Sea pearls and diamonds. — L.T.
Paris Texas: Italian shoe label Paris Texas, which made waves in the industry for its brightly hued and crystal-encrusted boots, has been increasingly showing range. After expanding its repertoire with fierce stiletto mules, platforms, wedges and strappy sandals, founders Annamaria and Margherita Brivio are experimenting with new fabrics to flank their flashier styles. Cue denim, which covered towering platforms as well as the sexy mule “Lidia” that has already made an appearance on the feet of Kylie Jenner. Other denim sandals with chunky heels were covered in crystals but with a matte, stud-like finish, indicating that a more rock ’n’ roll vibe might be up next for the brand.
Arielle Baron: “A little sense of revenge and anger” ran through the collection Arielle Baron presented in Paris, where she relocated six months ago from Los Angeles. “This is me responding to two years of pandemic,” said the bubbly designer as she pointed to shoes that will have party animals covered come next spring. Towering platforms and sandals abounded but the highlights were sculptural, transparent wedges with seamless constructions that defined many styles, including pointy PVC mules and vinyl boots. Strappy sandals with metallic finishing and mirror-like heels also stood out with their sharp lines, reflecting the light in their movement. “Magic doesn’t happen until you wear them,” said the designer.
Medea: There was big news for Italian label Medea, which since its launch in 2018 has increasingly captured buyers’ attention with its youthful and irreverent spirit injected into pop handbags. For spring, founders Camilla and Giulia Venturini introduced their first footwear style and debuted eyewear. The former was a ruched ballerina flat rendered in denim as well as vinyl leather with a bold rubber sole spelling the brand’s name. The latter included acetate sunglasses in two different shapes: A wrapping, rounded frame with a ’90s rave vibe and temple ends ironically recalling chili peppers, and a narrower model in transparent hues outlined with bold piping. Still the brand’s core, handbags, continued to mirror Venturinis’ playful attitude toward fashion. Cue the “Nina,” an ironic mock-up of a Birkin filtered through Medea’s lens, so crafted from rubber or from a vintage pair of denim pants.
Iindaco: Italian designers and friends Pamela Costantini and Domitilla Rapisardi brought the heat to Paris with new renditions of their signature crystal-encrusted heels with a flame design. They continued to include this element in unfussy, midi-heeled mules but also started to incorporate it in more seductive and eccentric styles, as seen in boots with open toes and heels. The designers were inspired by the heydays of MTV and summer hits videos from the likes of Christina Aguilera and Ricky Martin. “MTV was important for our generation, and we could stay hours watching music videos. Everything was highly visual, the colors super bright,” said Constantini. Hence the tangerine, lilac and fuchsia hues popping up in the collection next to black and white. In particular, the founders flanked their go-to moiré silk fabric with eco-satin, which was used to craft the uppers of asymmetric squared-toe mules and sandals and was embellished with transparent crystals intended to evoke “water drops” (or, better, sweat given the dancing reference). In sync with the Y2K trend, the duo included footwear crafted from old Levi’s jeans. Next up, an exclusive capsule collection with a “Euphoria” theme will launch at Browns in London.
L’Atelier Nawbar: Popping shades of fuchsia, lilac, yellow and turquoise defined the new collection of Lebanese fine-jewelry brand L’Atelier Nawbar. The brand, which dates back to 1891 and has been revamped by the fourth generation of Nawbars, put on hold its usual nods to astrology and lucky symbols to offer monochrome, joyful pendants and rings in geometrical shapes. The most decorative elements surfaced in pieces portraying summery scenes such as palms, sun and sea waves through precious gemstones. But for those inclined to silence both colors and patterns, diamond rings with a transparent construction were just as striking and chic.
Aeyde: Berlin-based footwear brand Aeyde, which was founded in 2015 by Luisa Dames, continued to put functionality first and built on the contemporary-priced, Bauhaus-inspired designs that positioned the label in a sweet spot for consumers. For spring, new graphic heels appeared on minimal sandals and mules, including the new “Greta” style that also introduced a buckle detail set to become one of the signature elements of the brand. To wit, its curved shape already appeared in jewelry pieces in brass plated gold or platinum — ranging from pendant earrings to rings — and thin belts. Increasingly expanding the assortment, this season Dames also added printed foulards to her offering.
Charles Jourdan: Earlier this year, French footwear label Charles Jourdan made a comeback under the new artistic direction of fashion designer Christelle Kocher. Initiated with wearable and colorful designs with an architectural touch, the brand’s new course continued to hinge on a revamped graphic logo from the ’70s, which was used as a buckle and ornament punctuating styles such as caged sandals. These were offered in classic black or a combination of metallic hues in platform sandals with Plexiglas heels. Elsewhere, the sculptural, metal heels that echoed the work of minimalist artist Donald Judd and architect Eileen Gray elevated sling-back styles and pumps with pointy toes and matte or iridescent finishing.
GiaBorghini x Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: The tie-up between Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and GiaBorghini is still going strong. In its fifth iteration, the combination of the model and actress’ taste and minimalist flair with the Florentine footwear label’s expertise resulted in sculptural wedges, strappy sandals with button details outlining the silhouette and lovely linen mules with retro peep-toes, all rendered in a neutral palette of chocolate, beige, white and black, with tangerine popping here and there.
GiaBorghini: Under the watch of creative consultant, Danish influencer Pernille Teisbaek, GiaBorghini is growing bigger and more inclusive. Starting from spring 2023, the brand will offer footwear sizes from 35 to 45, while it also made its first official foray into sunglasses and bags. Stylewise, the shoe range had an urban vibe and referenced the ’90s and R&B aesthetic in its display of camouflage prints, towering platforms with chunky lug soles, over-the-knee boots and neon or crystal-embellished padded slides.
Lastframe: Japanese label Lastframe expanded its cult Ichimatsu series of knitted bags with a checkered pattern through new multicolor schemes or sheer effects. A range deploying lame threads injected a metallic spin into the functional brand, which was launched in 2018 by Takanohiro Okude, which is best known for its styles resembling shopping bags in different proportions that come with removable leather straps. A new model dubbed “Hyotan” also debuted a shape that evoked a gourd, which has been popular as a lucky charm in Japan since ancient times.
Marzook: Founded in 2012 by Shouq and Fahad Al-Marzook, the Marzook brand has been building a reputation for its bold bags, ranging from pill-shaped clutches to the crystal ball minaudiere seen in the hands of Beyoncé, among others. For spring, the brand introduced the “Sierra” collection comprising clutches shaped as fans that had an Art Deco vibe. These came in different sizes and finishings, with options crafted from Plexiglas resins, outlined by metal details or covered in crystals.
Maison Michel: Crafts and materials are the center of this iteration of Maison Michel’s summer proposal. Creative director Priscilla Royer delved deep into the milliner’s playbook to create a lace out of straw ribbons or develop a dip-dye gradient effect on its best-selling Panama shapes. Elsewhere, for the first time, she has imagined designs that bring together summer straw and classic felt in one hat. — L.T.
Goossens: Byzantine and antique jewelry has long been an inspiration for the Chanel-owned silversmith Goossens, which is extending its range with the introduction of hair accessories. Part of the Venice-inspired “Venise” collection, this compact new category includes — for now — hairclips and a long haircomb adorned with natural rock crystal, freshwater pearls and touches of mother-of-pearl. — L.T.
Annelise Michelson: When it comes to sticking up to the patriarchy, the ultimate figurehead is the mythical figure of Lilith, who was so free that she got booted out of Biblical narratives. She is the muse for Parisian jeweler Annelise Michelson’s latest collection, where the designer added a touch of marble to sculptural solo earrings — a major trend across the jewelry sector — but also cuffs and statement necklaces, for a graphic interplay between stone, metal and the person wearing it. — L.T.
Ruslan Baginskiy: Seeing the breezy, summer-ready designs of Ruslan Baginskiy, one wouldn’t imagine that the Kyiv-based milliner has had to uproot his entire life, production and teams to relocate them to the relative safety of the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv. For spring, the designer continued to explore the handcrafts of his besieged native land, like raphia or an expansive floppy hat. A crochet version featured a witty sunflower with his monogram woven into the central motif, and he’s also developed a “rain pack,” containing a hat and capelet that would have been perfect for the week’s uncertain weather. There are also plenty of crystalized baker boy caps, berets and hats for those who want to channel Madonna, Kaia Gerber or Bella Hadid, to name a few of Baginskiy’s famous clients. — L.T.
Aida Bergsen: Nature serves as the biggest inspiration for the work of Istanbul-based designer Aida Bergsen, who shies away from minimalism to offer statement jewelry pieces. This doesn’t mean they are not practical, too. Bergsen applies her background in sculpting and traditional goldsmithing techniques to make her creations versatile and multifunctional. For one, gold and diamond chandelier earrings shaped as hedera leaves can be worn in different lengths or as a pendant while flower rings with rubies can double as necklaces. Bolder offerings play with gold, diamonds and enameled details to recreate flora and fauna motifs in eccentric brooches and necklaces, while the latest additions see frogs and snails popping up on multifinger rings.
Peracas: Also hailing from Istanbul, Peracas imbued the same natural references into more approachable pieces. Inspired by Renaissance paintings, the designs are crafted from semi-precious stones and crystals on 24K gold-plated bronze, as seen in pendant earrings resembling bunch of grapes in different colors and shorter options shaped as seashells.
Sarah Madeleine Bru: After Ludovic de Saint Sernin and Loewe, it’s definitely anthurium season in Paris and London-based French designer Sarah Madeleine Bru is in on it. She 3D-scanned the spadix, a.k.a., the phallic-looking center of this genus of arums, and curled it around the finger to create an interestingly textured ring. She also took a scalpel to one of its petals to create a ribbed earcuff. Both are part of her second and latest “Fragment Floral” collection, which also include gold, gold-plated and silver versions of sweetpea petals scanned in 3D or a chain-style necklace inspired by Bru’s freehand sketch of the arum’s gently twisting leaf. – L.T.
Roseark: Founded in 2003 in Los Angeles by Kathy and Rick Rose, Roseark is a jewelry destination displaying the work of many designers. Under her own brand, Kathy Rose focuses on curvaceous silhouettes and pieces wrapping around fingers and wrists inspired by natural elements, such as eagle tail- or snake-shaped ear cuffs and bracelets as well as rosebud rings in 18K gold and diamonds.
Gigi Studios: Barcelona-based eyewear brand Gigi Studios hosted its first presentation in Paris and picked the Silencio club as location. Good thing the sculptural frames could be seen — or better, touched — even in the darkness. The brand founded in 2015 by Patricia Ramo — who is the third generation of a family specialized in the optical industry — is defined by a bold aesthetic, playing with volumes and sharp angles in frames crafted from organic acetate. “We were inspired by contemporary architectural movements, giving a lot of attention to three-dimensionality and a vibrant color palette,” she said, holding the fire red “Kika” sunglasses and the bold, mask-like “Georgina” option. Available in opticians and independent retailers in more than 50 countries, the brand counts France as its best-performing market.
Lily Templeton contributed reporting to this article.