Under a cloud of belt tightening, Paris Fashion Week struts around

PARIS, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Celebrities and international crowds have descended on the French capital, signaling a strong comeback for the fashion industry as it rides through a post-pandemic spending spree.

The home stretch of Paris Fashion Week runs until October 4 and features big names such as Chanel, Dior, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent, completing a month of shows that also took place in New York, London and Milan.

As the City of Light fills with American and Asian designers and executives – with the exception of China – “the mood is very upbeat,” said Nathalie Lucas Verdier, purchasing director for womenswear at the French department store. Spring. “I have the impression that we don’t really feel the danger of inflation or recession yet, nor the geopolitical context.”

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The crowded fashion range has given a boost to local retail after an influx of tourists this summer who took advantage of the weak euro.

Glamorous fashion shows and splashy after-parties unfold against the backdrop of tight belts. Local authorities are preparing for energy saving measures. The government of French President Emmanuel Macron has called on companies to reduce their electricity consumption by 10%. The lights of the Eiffel Tower will be turned off one hour earlier than usual, while the boutiques belonging to LVMH brands (LVMH.PA) will turn off their lights three hours earlier.

LVMH on Thursday announced a bonus for 27,000 employees in France to help offset inflationary pressures on their budgets.

The fashion house’s affluent clientele has been largely insulated from the cost-of-living crisis. But Exane BNP Paribas analysts have added a recession scenario to their forecasts for the luxury industry from the fourth quarter, and for three quarters.

This puts fashion brands in an awkward position. They aim to generate buzz around their collections and recruit new consumers while preparing for a downturn – without sounding tone deaf or giving up the drama and glamor expected from such events.

“We live in very difficult times,” said Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri. The Dior show featured an imposing cave-like cardboard structure by artist Eva Jospin.

“Three years are really intense. … It’s impossible not to think that it hasn’t influenced my work,” said Chiuri, whose shows emphasize the skill and creativity used to transform ordinary and high-end materials in art.

Of the world’s major fashion capitals, Paris has emerged from the pandemic the strongest, brimming with new venues to serve the industry, as well as heavy investment in flagship stores and high-end hotels from luxury-based groups. here. Labels from other markets, including Victoria Beckham in the UK, have also flocked to the city to gain exposure and credibility in fashion.

American design duo Vaquera sent models down the catwalk to pulsating punk music in ripped jeans and faded American flags, evoking a sense of dread. “I guess it’s kind of global right now. It just seems like no one is really happy, people on both political sides are upset,” said Vaquera designer Bryn Taubensee, referring to tensions in the United States. United ahead of the midterm elections in November.

Some industry observers have noticed greater diversity in styles and what Verdier du Printemps described as “darker mixes”. Posh McKoy, stylist to TikTok star Jessica Wang, saw a mix of higher and simpler styles, as well as more vintage pieces.

“Now we want you to take the dress, but add your mother’s shoes, add your grandmother’s favorite diamond set, add these things to make it really look like yours,” he said. .

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Reporting by Mimosa Spencer; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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