The curtain has closed on Paris Fashion Week, marking the official end of fashion month.
Compared to its fashion week sister cities, PFW is traditionally a bit more buttoned-up. While it pushed the boundaries this year with a few ostentatious performances — an operational Chanel-branded spaceship, Miu Miu covering the entirety of the Palais d’Iéna in fake purple fur, models traipsing around the Louvre for Louis Vuitton — it avoided the political statements made by brands like Christian Siriano and Missoni in New York and Milan. However, Paris was not without its fair share of controversy. Including claims of model mistreatment and sexist behavior from brands like Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, there were several moments of outcry.
Below are some of our major takeaways from the week:
Chanel’s space odyssey was…a lot.
Karl Lagerfeld is always one to up the ante, but his Chanel spaceship was next-level. At the end of the Chanel show on Tuesday, models clad in shimmery gold and silver, in keeping with the show’s intergalactic theme, gathered in a circle around a spaceship adorned with Chanel logos, before it lifted 33 feet in the air, releasing a plume of smoke. (Better yet, the show ended to a soundtrack of Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”) The rocket was particularly adventurous (not to mention pricey), given the Chanel show was housed in the glass-enclosed, 120-year-old Grand Palais.
The fashion industry has been particularly enamored of space as of late, and Chanel’s show reflects that. Fast-fashion retailers like Topshop and Urban Outfitters started selling nostalgic merchandise with the Nasa logo last year, while Anwar Hadid donned a full orange Nasa suit for the cover of Teen Vogue.
H&M is giving see-now-buy-now a shot.
H&M decided to give see-now-buy-now a go during its runway show last week, taking a cue from fellow retailers that have prioritized instant gratification at runway shows. The looks were immediately available to consumers online and in select stores the following day. The Swedish brand featured some big names at its show, including both Hadid sisters, Luka Sabbat and Winnie Harlow, as well as an after-party performance from The Weeknd.
“Anything that brings us closer to our customers and makes fashion even more accessible is very positive,” Pernilia Wolhfhart, H&M’s creative director, said in a statement.
Instagram activism continued.
At least one Instagram post went viral during Paris Fashion Week: an image posted by James Scully, a fashion industry casting director. In the post, Scully alleges that more than 150 women were forced to wait for more than three hours in a darkened stairwell while the team behind the casting agency Madia & Ramy went out to lunch. Scully purports that several of these models subsequently requested to be pulled from the show, as well as the Hermès and and Ellie Saab shows, which the company also oversees.
Scully goes on to share other accusations, including that Lanvin was actively avoiding casting models of color and that other brands were sneaking underage models onto their runways. As of yet, the brands have not responded to his statements.
A Saint Laurent advertisement went too far.
Balenciaga and Lanvin weren’t the only brands that sparked outcry. Saint Laurent launched a campaign during fashion week that depicted several scantily clad women in compromising positions, spurring several Parisians to take to Twitter to air their grievances. Many shared their thoughts on the ad being offensive with the hashtag #YSLRetireTaPubDegradante, which in French means “YSL, Remove Your Degrading Ad.”
— Camille Bullot (@hello_camille) March 6, 2017
Even ARPP, France’s marketing and advertising regulating body, intervened, requiring the brand to remove or alter the images. “We asked the brand and the ad displayer to make changes to these visuals as soon as possible,” ARPP director Stephane Martine told Reuters.
Rihanna’s fashion star continued to shine (like a diamond).
Rihanna debuted her much-anticipated third collection with Fenty and Puma at PFW, which was university inspired. Dubbed Fenty University (which allowed the singer to get cheeky with embroidery that said “FU”), Rihanna’s collection was back-to-school-themed and centered on quintessential high-school stereotypes, like the nerd, the jock and the goth. The models themselves walked atop library tables, to give the show an extra collegiate vibe.
“RiRi and company achieved the improbable: a back-to-school collection with serious sex appeal,” wrote Los Angeles Times reporter Adam Tschorn.