By Laurence Benaïm

The temperature may be dropping, but Paris Fashion Week, which runs from September 25th through October 3rd, is sure to keep everyone's diaries alight. With 107 fashion houses on the official calendar – 67 shows and 40 presentations – Spring-Summer 2024 is shaping up to be a colourful season.  At the Palais de Tokyo, SPHERE puts the spotlight on young designers, with Benjamin Benmoyal, Florentina Leitner, Lucille Thièvre, Maitrepierre and Rolf Ekroth. There will be a number of comebacks, such as Carven, Maison Margiela and Mugler. There are also a number of firsts, notably Stefano Gallici, a Venetian who began his career in Antwerp as Haider Ackermann's assistant, and who is presenting his first collection for Ann Demeulemeester. Another newcomer, at least on the women’s wear schedule, is Charaf Tajer of Casablanca who was among the eight finalists of the 2020 LVMH 2020 prize. There’s Duran Lantink from the Netherlands who won this year’s ANDAM Special Prize, Marie Adam-Leenarerdt from Belgium, and Peter Do from the United States). Marni may be an established house but will be showing in Italy for the first time. 


Lantink gave us a preview of what he will present: "Denim jackets, little black dresses, white polo shirts – this season I've tried to take the classics of the wardrobe and give them a Dutch twist,” says the designer, who likes to use the expressions "hand writing," "uniform," and "atelier" to describe his collection, which will show on the last day.


The return of Mugler to the calendar under the vision of Casey Cadwallader, has been generating excitement. It is striking to observe the rigourous of the cut, the sharp tailoring. The designer earned his stripes at Derek Lam and Celine and has always believed in well-made clothes that transcend time. 


Paris remains a laboratory for research and creativity. Rethinking street style, Charaf Tajer has always channeled the ardent fountain of French happiness so dear to Apollinaire. Born in Paris in 1984, this Franco-Moroccan conceived his brand as an homage to the eponymous city where his parents, Latifah and Mohammed, both employed in a sewing workshop, met. His references include Gabrielle Chanel, Hermès, Yves Saint Laurent, architecture and nature and he champions a return to beautiful clothes often embellished with 'paradise' prints. Founding a label based around these elements almost seemed pre-destined. His maternal grandfather, worked for five years on the mosaics at the Royal Palace in Ifrane, Morocco, and taught his mother the meaning of colour.


Paris has turned this sense of exacting standards into a trademark, a signature, a form of obsession that cannot be traced back to one generation or another. The word heritage floats naturally in the air, as if it were handed down from one generation to the next, and Fashion Week guests will be able to move from a catwalk show to a "made-to-measure" exhibition as they please. Ten years after the major retrospective devoted to the couturier at the Palais Galliera, Azzedine Alaïa (1935-2017) is back in the spotlight, with the "Alaïa couturier et collectionneur" exhibition presenting, for the first time, the exceptional heritage collection assembled by the master of cut through the years. This extraordinary journey is punctuated by 140 dresses, from Vionnet to Comme des Garçons, not forgetting Yves Saint Laurent's Trapèze dress at Dior. But there is another aspect, a double vision that is absolute and masterful, as Alaïa's vision is complemented by that of Olivier Saillard. The curator of these two exhibitions and director of the Fondation Alaïa has given a new presence to the dresses now on display, long stored in boxes. In fact, the same dresses are also currently on display at the Fondation Alaia, which proposes a sublime interplay between Azzedine Alaia and Madame Grès. Here, we savour the pure beauty, a moment of silence in this capital buzzing with a thousand events, launches, inaugurations, restaurant openings and re-openings, anniversaries and more – all surrounding this Fashion Week that attracts not only visitors, but builds upon the extraordinary energy that all Paris enjoys.