Paris Fashion Week: the major trends to know

 Valentino Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2019/2020

1. Poetry in motion

A billboard featuring the words of Scottish poet Robert Montgomery towered over Pierpaolo Piccioli’s latest collection for Valentino — and provided a backdrop for a showcase in which its designer looked to draw a parallel between couture and poetry.

Inspired by the idea that poetry, like luxury fashion, should be shared with the world instead of saved for an elite few, Piccioli enlisted four contemporary poets to work with him on his collection. The words of writers that included Yrsa Daley-Ward and Mustafa the poet were immortalised on hero items from the collection. “There’s a forever beyond the sky, I think we should go there tonight”, found a home on a black coat while a mini dress read “I woke up and felt the night leaving. Desire looked strange in the light”. Pierpaolo’s message: don’t say it with flowers, say it with words.  KD

Balenciaga show, Woman Runway, Fall Winter 2019, Paris Fashion Week (

2. Behold the water bottle bag

For Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia took his cue from Paris style. But there were no Breton tops or tweed suits. “It’s what I see when I go out on the street,” said the designer, whose practice is to recast mundane wardrobe items — see the clothes we wear to pop out for milk or commute to the office — in a high-fashion context. At the heart of his new vision is a Balenciaga branded water bottle bag. And they say modern life is rubbish.  KD

Louise Trotter, Lacoste

3. Be a good sport

Louise Trotter, a Geordie with an affection for navy roll-necks, is the woman charged with reinventing storied French sportswear brand Lacoste. Full of admiration and interest in the brand’s founder René, the former Joseph designer began her debut collection with a deep dig through the archives. Her plan to reinvent Lacoste’s classic for a contemporary consumer focuses on wardrobe choice. Expect playful polo-necks, excellent cuts and plenty of crocodiles. KD

Alexander Mcqueen AW19 (

4. Heritage trust

Following a month of shows dominated by heritage techniques — see dogtooth and tweed— it fell to Sarah Burton to deliver the final word. With the mill towns of Derbyshire where she grew up at heart, the Alexander McQueen designer presented a love letter to the unsung stars of the fashion industry: the individuals that make and do. Blanket coats and tweed suits made on home soil served as a manifestation of this idea. A silver gown, embroidered with fragments of a textile loom which evoked the sound of the mill floor as the model walked, served as a literal dedication — and one of Paris Fashion Week’s most emotive inclusions.  KD

Chloe AW19

5. Top of the jean pool

Denim in its most desirable (expensive) incarnation emerged as a catwalk hit this season — first, at Chloé, with jeans featuring cargo pockets and deep turn-ups, then again at Celine with denim culottes and faded jeans tucked into shearling over-the-knee boots. Both served as a statement for austere times, with their lack of logos and aspirational price tags, and will no doubt prove hot property when collections land in store.  EM

Kenzo AW19

6. Let’s interact

In an age where brands must be much more to their customers than a source of clothing, immersive catwalk shows are de rigueur. At Tommy Hilfiger — a master in the art — distractions included retro arcade games and a 1970s roller disco. At Kenzo, onlookers quite literally became part of the show as seating blocks zoomed across the floor to offer a 360-degree view of the dance troupe who modelled the collection available to buy the very next day. It made for exceptional Instagram coverage — precisely the brand’s intention. EM

Dries Van Noten AW19 (

7. Wear protection

A troubled world beyond the catwalk has plagued the minds of designers across the globe this fashion month — and has given us some of its brightest moments. Among them, Belgian designer Dries Van Noten, who picked delicate blooms from his own garden and planted them under oversized quilted duvet coats which in turn, were hugged  protectively close by the wearer. Is this a sign of the industry steeling itself for a soft landing? Or at least shielding itself from what’s to come? We’ll take this over stockpiling cans of beans any day. EM

8. Women’s hour

Expensive, inaccessible, inspiring: luxury fashion is many things but it’s rarely inclusive. With the help of Zendaya, a millennial spokeswoman and actress, Tommy Hilfiger seems intent on changing that. At his Tommy Now showcase, staged in the Théâtre des Champs Élysées on Saturday night, the brand cast a roster of all-black models who reminded spectators that beauty has no age, shape or skin colour — oh and THE ACTUAL GRACE JONES!  KD

Grace Jones at Tommy Hilfiger AW19

9. The debutante returns

Meghan Markle’s post-maternity wardrobe is shaping up nicely with plissé, high-collar gowns and a tuxedo with one embellished lapel among Clare Waight Keller’s new collection for Givenchy. Will the show’s star inclusion, a thigh-high coral deb dress with exploding puff shoulders be a punch in the face of protocol? We think not. The cocktail gown, inspired by the attic archives of ageing aristocrats, was quite literally made for modern high society. With sleek evening attire, almost entirely off the agenda in Paris this week, it stands as proof that going all out is back en vogue. KD

Givenchy AW19

10. Get stoned

What with the tiger-print sequin gowns and paillette chainmail skirts, there was no shortage of shiny things to tempt style magpies at Paco Rabanne. But the most eagle-eyed fashion fan found themselves dazzled by a humble pair of tights — albeit ones encrusted in rhinestones — with designer Julien Dossena proposing an entirely legitimate way to sprinkle a bit of magic on even the most mundane of garments. Could slipping on a sparkling pair of opaques be 2019’s answer to the post-work, pre-cocktail shoe swap? You heard it here first.  EM

Paco Rabanne AW19 (pixelformula)

11. New Celine is old Celine

After the melodrama that followed Hedi Slimane’s decimation of Phoebe Philo’s Celine last season, guests arrived at the designer’s sophomore show spoiling for a fight. Slimane was in a more agreeable mood. Delivering the female-friendly collection many had hoped for five months previously, the Frenchman offered up bourgeois Gallic style that was in the spirit of Celine’s heritage. Was this Slimane taking on criticism? Or an exercise in shock and awe? No matter. For your wardrobe it spells tweed culottes, pie-crust collars and a chance to dress like a rebellious Princess Diana.  KD

Celine AW19 

12. The intellectual

Selfie culture has been preoccupying the mind of Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson — but not the pouting C-list celebrity kind. Instead, his latest collection sprung from a 1839 image of Robert Cornelius, thought to be the earliest self-portrait in existence. What followed on the catwalk was Instagram-friendly trophy pieces for the thinking woman’s wardrobe. Pearl-encrusted sweats, rainbow check jackets and leather skirts which streamed with silver tinsel were just a snapshot of Anderson’s brilliance at its very best.  EM

Loewe AW19 

13. The age of inverted excess

Ever the innovator, John Galliano chooses the medium of podcast to broadcast his latest message for Maison Margiela to the masses. This time that was as a comment on “the chaos, the social media, the oversaturation” and the information overload which confronts Generations Y and Z. His antidote? “Inverted excess”. Or to put it another way, minimalism for millennials. This was translated on to the catwalk via a mackintosh cut from conservative grey gabardine at the front and riot of colourful flamingo prints at the back. Modern. EM

Maison Margiela AW19

14. Bucket hats and anoraks

Dior’s artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri cited everything from Teddy Girls to Princess Margaret and the works of feminist poet Robin Morgan as her inspiration for next season. Though she made no reference to the Nineties, undeniably the decade wasn’t far from the mind with the bucket hat figuring high on her agenda. Designed with Stephen Jones, Dior’s spanned veiled vinyl to leopard print or logoed and topped the head of every model. In homage to the era, she also offered up anoraks which, without the Dior logo, would have looked at home at Spike Island. This was Ian Brown meets Parisian couture. Are you mad for it?  EM

Dior AW19