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Paris Fashion Week FW21: Hermès, Akris, Schiaparelli, and more

As Paris Fashion Week commences in the city of lights, we’re highlighting some of our favorite details from Hermès, Thom Browne, Elie Saab, Akris, Balmain, Schiaparelli, and Zadig & Voltaire.


Courtesy of Hermès.

Hermès unveiled its latest collection over three performances, hosted in New York, Paris, and Shanghai. The socially distanced fashion show in France was held at the Garde républicaine, and broadcasted live; in New York at the Armory Show, where choreographer Madeline Hollander interpreted movements derived from the collection; and in Shanghai, dancers under the direction of choreographer Gu Jiani invigorated the orange-hued space with energy and vigor. The house’s creative director Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski’s new pieces were caught on film by Sébastien Lifshitz—a filmmaker steeped in fashion and dance—to honor the clothing and its many global movements.

Thom Browne.

Courtesy of Thom Browne.

Thom Browne entrusted the Olympic ski star Lindsey Vonn to star in a fable-like Carissa Gallo-directed film for Fall/Winter 2021. The collection’s notes that accompanied the dreamlike video let our minds wander, encouraging the pieces to be menswear for women and womenswear for men. Down the slopes at wind-whipping speed, there was an emergence of formalwear-meets-sportswear and vice-versa. Vonn emerged in a dress with buttons down the back and off-shoulder lapels paired with an oversized gold lamé tailcoat gown puffer. With drawstrings and backpack straps, accessories in mirrored gold leather, and a Mr. Thom backpack, Vonn traversed through the snow in her buckled ski boots with curved heels, and right into our fashion memories.

Elie Saab.

Courtesy of Elie Saab.

Elie Saab’s latest collection is “Reflecting Worlds” through fashion. Women’s everyday storylines—woven with charisma, strength, and allure—were narrated to celebrate the feminine mystique in diverse styles that exuded power. A careful balance between soft and bold, delicate and wild, the garments mirrored her every move in flow and structure. Plisse caped dresses cinched with monogram belts, fitted crepe dresses with a shimmering sequined back, and gowns with long ruffled layers complement embroidered floral patterns, geometric movements, and pink lapel feather details that contour collars carry the imagination away.


Courtesy of Akris.

At The Abbey Library of Saint Gall—a UNESCO World Heritage Site in St. Gallen, Switzerland—Akris presented its Fall/Winter 2021 collection. Through a film by Anton Corbijn, there were garments and accessories inspired by the journey of a woman—from the streets and pathways she takes to the natural encounters she has. The house’s creative director Albert Kriemler took this intimate idea to new heights in draped layers and pastel hues, and colorful patterns made up of maps—his own, in fact. His hometown, St. Gallen, is seen in colors like gallus green and baby blue on dresses, trousers, and jackets to remind us of where he and the Akris spirit comes from. “St. Gallen, the embroidery city, is renowned for its exquisite fabrics,” he said. “A textile excellence cluster that started with the monks weaving linen in the late middle ages. Each look in this collection holds an embroidery item. With it, I want to celebrate the spirit of St. Gallen, this unique city, that defines Akris.”


Courtesy of Balmain.

For Fall/Winter 2021, Balmain took to the sky. Creative director Olivier Rousteing called upon the Air France team to host his team of models and photographers “backstage” for the presentation, centered around the house’s yesteryears. 75 years ago, Pierre Balmain presented his first couture collection and immediately started traveling. From Paris to America, then from to London to Australia, Balmain celebrated his know-how then by delivering lectures on French culture and savoir-faire. Rousteing brought that spirit to the 21st century with a heightened emphasis on appreciation. Models were ready for takeoff, heading to new destinations in exaggerated classic Balmain silhouettes. Structures soldiers grace blazers and fur coats, lace-up flight boots were paired with carry-ons in the relaunched Labyrinth print, and travel neck pillows, paper planes, and compasses inspired clever new bags.


Courtsey of Schiaparelli.

Schiaparelli’s dedication to the unexpected was peppered with risky, exuberant accessories that broadened philosophies on dressing. Everything was re-thought, oversized, and unapologetic—from the jewelry to the parkas. Bold and gold, necklaces, earrings, brooches, breast plates, and hats topped looks with enough pizazz to make even the most introverted dresser inch toward exuberance. Whispers turned to shouts with wondrous shapes, sky-high shoes, and cowboy cut trousers, encouraging the Schiaparelli woman that wherever wit and wonder lead her, she’s in the right place.

Zadig & Voltaire.

Courtesy of Zadig & Voltaire.

Zadig & Voltaire’s Fall/Winter 2021 “Love Yourself” campaign took us from Paris to Tokyo, from Stockholm to Seoul, from New York to Los Angeles, and from London to Shanghai. Shot by Yvan Benedetti at Studio 217, a stone’s throw from Paris, the set took two days and 50 technicians to create, featuring a gargantuan LED wall that stretched 60 meters long and 4 meters tall. Creative director Cecilia Bönström illuminated the new collection with the tech help of 130 projectors, gave “Z” and “V” letters to Fogal tights, and debuted her new eponymous Cecilia bag in organic vegetable leather. Ready for the next adventure, in both the world and with oneself, the self-love messaging pushes us to pause and give ourselves a much-needed break.



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Kelly Wearstler




Go inside the worlds of Art, Fashion, Design and Lifestyle.


This week in Paris, Pharrell Williams presented his third collection for Louis Vuitton's men's collections, rooted in the Western wardrobe.
Whitewall takes you to the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2024 men's fashion show in Paris, Pharrell Williams's first show for the brand.


Go inside the worlds
of Art, Fashion, Design,
and Lifestyle.