Haute couture shows go ahead after riots

US rapper and actress Cardi B wearing a feathered ensemble for Monday's Schiaparelli show

US rapper and actress Cardi B wore a feathered ensemble for Monday’s Schiaparelli show

Celebrities and designers have kicked off Paris’ couture fashion week, which is taking place against a backdrop of five days of violence in the city.

US rap star Cardi B, singer Camila Cabello and actress Maisie Williams are among those in the French capital.

Maisie Williams and Camila Cabello attend the Iris Van Herpen Haute couture Fall/Winter 2023/2024 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 03, 2023

Camila Cabello (left) and Maisie Williams attended the Iris Van Herpen show on Monday

But there is some unease about the displays of materialism for the ultra-wealthy following serious civil unrest.

Some said catwalk shows and cocktail parties should be cancelled, and others said the fashionistas were “deaf tone”.

The Telegraph’s head of fashion, Lisa Armstrong, wrote: “These heavily scented, diamond-encrusted, removed-from-every-reality clients can seem weird even in normal times, but this week, they seem almost surreally tone deaf.”

She added that one attendee noted how it was “quite odd to see how the big French brands haven’t acknowledged what’s going at all in their own country”.

The violence in Paris and other French cities was sparked by the fatal shooting of teenager Nahel M during a police traffic stop, but the trouble appeared to have subsided by Monday.

Also on Monday, the first haute couture collections – the most elite branch of the fashion industry, where dresses are custom-made to fit clients for eye-watering sums – were unveiled.

Lupita Nyong'o attends the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023/2024 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 04, 2023

Black Panther star Lupita Nyong’o was at the Chanel show on Tuesday

Some brands, like Chloe, did cancel parties at the weekend but only one major label, Celine, pulled a show entirely because of the riots.

Its menswear show on Sunday, which was believed to have been planned to include live music performances in an expression of French youth culture, was not part of the official fashion week calendar.

Models walk the runway during the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023/2024 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 04, 2023

The Chanel catwalk was on the banks of the River Seine

Designer Hedi Slimane wrote on Instagram that “a fashion show in Paris, while France and its capital are bereaved and bruised, seems… inconsiderate and totally misplaced”.

Others brushed aside concerns, getting on with shows on Monday inspired by Greek goddesses at Christian Dior, fine art at Schiaparelli and mermaids at Iris Van Herpen.

Models present creations by designer Maria Grazia Chiuri as part of her haute couture fall/winter 2023-2024 collection show for fashion house Dior in Paris on Monday

Models present creations by designer Maria Grazia Chiuri as part of her haute couture show for Dior on Monday

The Guardian’s Jess Cartner-Morley wrote: “That they are proceeding untroubled by turbulence in less affluent areas of the city is perhaps a reflection of the polarization that underpins the situation in France.”

EJ Dickson of Rolling Stone magazine added that some influencers were acting as though they had been “mildly inconvenienced” by the protests.


Cardi B traveled to the French capital and attended Schiaparelli’s display of its haute couture fall/winter 2023-2024 fashion collection.

Posting a picture of her outfit on Instagram, the star hailed the show as “beautiful”. “They always have an amazing show so what’s new?” she later told Vogue. “It never fails to surprise me.”

Cardi B

Cardi B labeled the clothes on display at one show as “beautiful”

Dior, meanwhile, displayed its latest classical era-inspired collection in the garden of the Musée Rodin, focusing on beige, gold and cream colors and fabrics, and simple “ancient garments” such as tunics and capes.

The brand’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri said such items were “not only for the red carpet” but were in fact intended for people to “build a wardrobe”.

Dutch designer Van Herpen – whose designs are a fixture of red carpets and feature in Beyonce’s Renaissance tour – presented an aquatic and futuristic collection to a crowd including Cabello and Williams.

Actresses Margaret Qualley, Lupita Nyong’o and Jenna Coleman were among the stars at the Chanel show on the banks of the Seine on Tuesday, along with rapper Kendrick Lamar and directors George Lucas and Baz Luhrmann.

A model walks the runway during the Iris Van Herpen's show

A model walks the grassy runway during the Iris Van Herpen’s show

Monday saw the couture debuts of US designer Thom Browne and 26-year-old Charles de Vilmorin, who presented his own brand after having briefly served as artistic director of Rochas.

The Frenchman told AFP news agency: “I’m super happy to have lived through all this and to do my first show.”

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