Paris Fashion Week felt bigger and busier than ever with a jam-packed schedule featuring a healthy mix of storied French houses including Chanel and Givenchy and younger, independent labels such as Cecile Bahnsen, Coperni and Anrealage. Debuts breathed fresh energy into the week. Harris Reed presented his first collection for Nina Ricci, reimagining the brand’s aesthetics with gender-fluid sensibilities and dialing up the volume in its silhouettes, colours and the theatrics of the show. Ludovic de Saint Sernin also made his mark as Ann Demeulemeester’s newest creative director, riffing on the brand’s archives of tailored black suits, minimalist floor-length dresses in leather and tulle, and low-slung silk bias-cut skirts paired with shearling shoulder shrugs. “The first look was literally me writing this new chapter. I think about everything she’s done and putting into today’s context to carry on that legacy. But also putting myself into it. I’m the new author of this amazing journey,” de Saint Sernin said after the show. Daniel Roseberry delivered Schiaparelli’s first ever ready-to-wear collection, taking its cues from the house’s couture codes — introducing accessibility without losing its gilded touch. It was a celebratory time in Paris. Christian Louboutin marked 30 years of his infamous red soles at the Opera Comique with a mesmerizing precision dance performance choreographed by Sadeck Berrabah attended by fans of the label including model Coco Rocha and stylist Law Roach. American department store Neiman Marcus threw a glamorous bash at La Suite Girafe to honour three of the industry’s visionaries with the esteemed Neiman Marcus Award, which was established in 1938 and has acknowledged over 150 designers including Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Rosita Missoni, who won the Award 50 years ago and was in attendance. Veteran designer Brunello Cucinelli was recognized for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion; Jonathan Anderson, creative director of Loewe and his own label JW Anderson, won the accolade for Creative Impact in the Field of Fashion, and accessories designer Amina Muaddi received the Award for Innovation in the Field of Fashion. The celebration of Vivienne Westwood’s life continued with a touching tribute by her widow and design partner, Andreas Kronthaler, in the brand’s first collection since her passing. It featured the Westwood canon of crinoline skirts and corsets, tartan prints on jackets, shirts and skirts, asymmetric hemlines and exquisite draping all made using deadstock and antique fabrics the couple collected throughout the years. Westwood’s muse Sara Stockbridge walked the show alongside supermodels Irina Shayk and Candice Swanepole. Westwood’s granddaughter Cora Corre closed the show in a corseted lace mini dress as the bride. Other highlights included many an A-list front row, drawing big crowds outside shows of fans hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrities. Jared Leto arrived at Givenchy in a gold sequined jacket and pink shadow rimming his entire eye. He was also seen at Schiaparelli, Vivienne Westwood and Acne. Lisa Rinna, Iris Law and Halsey also attended Givenchy, while Julia Fox checked out Courreges and Vivienne Westwood, and Penelope Cruz and FKA Twigs were spotted at Chanel. Balenciaga’s redemption In the brand’s first outing since the backlash surrounding its controversial campaign starring children with teddy bears in bondage, Demna scaled back the spectacle, allowing the clothes to take center stage. Gone were the flashy celebrities. gimmicks and viral moments the brand had become synonymous with. Guests in attendance were mainly industry professionals clad in black and speaking in hushed tones. Like the brands founder Cristóbal Balenciaga, Demna focused on the purity of tailoring and craftsmanship, reducing any extraneous noise. The collection reiterated all of Demna’s aesthetic codes: oversized black suits with a twist; floral dresses with rounded shoulders that have been part of his lexicon since his Vetements days; cocoon-like shapes seen in spacious outerwear and shrunken tracksuits — this time with inflatable inserts inspired by protective gear worn by equestrians and motorcyclists; strong floor-grazing eveningwear with a couture sensibility and elevated denim. And, not a logo in sight. Sustainability & Longevity A number of designers continue to put their best “green” credentials forward. Stella McCartney’s collection featured 89 percent responsible materials, according to show notes, including apple peels, grapes and mushrooms transformed into leather alternatives seen in her bags and shoes. Meanwhile Gabriela Hearst, a long-time climate activist, sent veteran model and environmentalist Kristy Hume down the Chloe runway, presenting a collection within which 62 percent of materials are what the brand calls “low impact.” Leather and shearling outerwear, delicate knits and breezy maxi dresses paired with hiking boots with recycled soles stood out. Lila Moss closed the wearing a white slip dress similar to the ones her mother Kate made famous more than two decades ago. Elsewhere, Danish designer Cecilie Bahnsen continued her play with proportions using deadstock material from LVMH-backed fabric resale platform Nona Source. And at Y/Project, Glenn Martens used denim scraps as embroidery material that embellished dresses, coats and gowns with a lace-life effect. At Dries Van Noten, the Belgium designer emphasized long-lasting luxury through his fabrications with tailored outerwear in strong English wools, sensual textures in washed silks and organza with golden embroidery and detailing running through the entire collection that is meant to be worn and repaired. “The pleasure of fabrics and the life they take on over the years; cherished, used, repaired and given new meaning for today,” read collection notes. Fusion of fashion and technology Coperni’s spray-on dress was the viral moment of last season and this season, and the brand attempted to top it with robotic dogs who shared the runway with models including Lila Moss and Rianne Van Rompaey. The design duo, Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, reimagined the 17th century French poem, “The Wolf and The Lamb,” and replaced the wolf and lamb with robots and models. One robot playfully caresses Van Rompaey’s cheek while helping her take her cardigan off, while another holds Moss’ bag as she poses for photos, showing how man and machine can coexist together. Elsewhere, Kunihiko Morinaga created his collection for ‘s Anrealage using a photochromic material that changes color when exposed to UV rays. Nicolas di Felice of Courreges sent the models down the runway scrolling on iPhones. Hoodies and moto jackets with curved backs evoked a hunched back felt on trend, and the brand’s iconic circular metallic emblem that dangled like pendants on necks and down torsos felt modern, even futuristic, against vinyl mini-dresses and draped jersey maxi-dresses. Provocative proportions and power dressing Sharp shoulders can still elicit a reaction. Saint Laurent’s creative head Anthony Vacarello offered a version power dressing firmly rooted in respect for the label’s history of the suits Yves created with exaggerated shoulders that jutted out like sharp panniers. And, Rick Owens’ oversized proportions took on a protective role, wrapping his models in giant duvet-filled donuts that draped across the shoulders and around the hips. Others wore voluminous jackets with pointed shoulders that shot up past their heads and shielded their faces. Distorted proportions were also seen in his lucite-heeled boots, which were padded out even further, as if to safeguard their long limbs from battle wounds. Meanwhile, Y/Project offered a tougher sensibility with its thigh-high denim boots that melded into tucked in jeans, and Givenchy’s tailored, ankle-grazing coats with sculptural shoulders modernized traditional power dressing silhouettes. Elsewhere, brands like Miu Miu, Victoria Beckham and Chanel showed a softer, more everyday iteration of the theme, with bejewelled knickers paired with strict turtlenecks, broad-shouldered coats that can be worn as gowns and relaxed tweed jackets embellished with camelia motifs. Inclusive casting While New York, London and Milan struggled with inclusive casting choices, Paris told a slightly more optimistic story. Harris Reed, who identifies as queer, has long been pushing for a more inclusive fashion community and plus-size model Precious Lee opened his debut Nina Ricci show which also included seasoned models Debra Shaw and Sibyl Buck who are 46 and 50 years old respectively, Chinese model Luo Yi, trans model Colin Jones and queer model Joakim Gjemmestad. Curves were abundant at Ester Manas while Vivienne Westwood’s models represented different ages, skin tones, genders and body types including 57-year-old model Sara Stockbridge. At Chanel, an often uniform cast was subverted with the likes of mid-size Dutch model Jill Kortleve and Somali-Dutch model Mona Tougaard who closed the show. Non-binary actor Emma Corrin closed the Miu Miu show, which also saw the runway debut of Zaya Wade, the daughter of former basketball player Dwyane Wade.