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Paris Fashion Week returns on Tuesday, June 18, offering a touch of glamour to a country currently navigating political turmoil. The event kicks off with Menswear Week, running until next Sunday, followed by the haute couture shows until June 27.

The landscape in France has been turbulent since President Emmanuel Macron called surprise legislative elections following a surge by the far-right in European polls. However, for fashion enthusiasts, the primary concern is navigating Paris, which is finalizing preparations for next month’s Olympic Games. The preparations have led to a significant increase in traffic congestion due to road and site closures.

The Olympics have advanced the menswear and couture weeks from July to June, with womenswear scheduled for September. This accelerated schedule has caused some fashion houses to withdraw this season, including Olivier Rousteing’s Balmain, which pulled out at the last minute. Valentino and Givenchy are also skipping this week’s shows.

Notable appearances include hip-hop mogul Pharrell Williams, who will continue his prominent role at Louis Vuitton, marking a year since his extravagant debut show on the Pont Neuf bridge. The highlight will be a mega-party organized by Vogue on Sunday, blending the worlds of sports and fashion. This event, the third edition of Vogue World, follows successful iterations in New York and London and aims to keep the brand relevant amidst declining magazine sales. Top brands like Dior, Jacquemus, Hermes and Balenciaga will showcase collections, each paired with an Olympic discipline from athletics to breakdancing.

There have been significant changes at the helm of major fashion houses. The biggest surprise was the announcement last week that Chanel parted ways with Virginie Viard, who worked alongside Karl Lagerfeld for 20 years and took over after his death in 2019. The split appears less than amicable, as Viard will not be present for Chanel’s couture show on June 25, despite overseeing record sales for the brand last year.

Speculation is rife about who will succeed Virginie Viard, with names like France’s Marine Serre, Hedi Slimane of Celine, Pierpaolo Piccioli who recently left Valentino and Simon Porte Jacquemus being mentioned. Valentino is awaiting the debut of its new creative director Alessandro Michele, formerly of Gucci, while Givenchy is still searching for a lead designer following the departure of Matthew Williams last year.

This week will also feature the final show by Belgian designer Dries Van Noten on Saturday. Although not a household name, the 66-year-old is celebrated among serious fashion fans for his avant-garde styles and expert tailoring.

With AFP

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