Fashion Extreme Paris, now in its third edition, kicked off Paris Fashion Week (Sept. 27 to Oct. 5) with a spectacular array of designs from 13 international designers. Founded by expat couple Suzette and Ryan Riego, the proceeds are donated to Cœurs à Cœurs Foundation. Since the devastating affects of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, this dynamic and dedicated couple have made rebuilding the lives and homes of people in despair a priority.
The setting of the show could not have been more appropriate, located on Rue Marbeuf, just off the prestigious Avenue des Champ-Elysées and paralleling the infamous luxury shopping street, Avenue Montaigne.
Once inside, hostesses, models and photographers were on the scene, donating their time and talent to one of the season’s hottest charitable community events, whilst Parisian socialites queued up to be photographed.
Downstairs, the front row glittered with VIPs and photographers jockeying for positions at the end of the runway. We got to have a sneak peek backstage where models were completing their hair and makeup and last minute fittings.
Agnès Szabelewski, wedding dress and evening wear extraordinaire, was kind enough to let us view her collection on the rack. Her outfits, reminiscent of the days of Marie Antoinette, transported us into a fantasy world full of elegance and aristocracy. On the runway, the models were enveloped in evening gowns that mirrored the finesse of a French pastry. Draped layers of fabric folded onto themselves like the cream of a millefeuille, dipped in crystals and sprinkled with poise.
In the spirit of the fresh fall season, the runway was illuminated by slow-fade orange lighting decorating the chestnut brown walls and rustic red spotlight lighting overhead. The runway itself was close enough for the front row to rest their champagne as they eagerly anticipated the show. The front row took their own outfits very seriously, dressed in this season’s hottest trends, including vibrant red jumpsuits and slip dresses, blousons with billowing sleeves and ruffles and printed silk scarves tied delicately around the neck.
The show commenced with the new-to-Paris designer BLCK Code showcasing a streetwear collection with a base of blacks, greys and khakis with varsity influences, such as a subtle stripe on a collar or cuff.
The Parisian design duo OMENs Paris followed quickly after, with a cohesive collection, concise in style and voice, consisting of a series of white shirt dresses with interesting nuances, such as button-up backs, deep sweetheart necklines and trapeze silhouettes, interspersed with multi-button, high-waist trousers and matching cropped jackets and a candy striper-style pinafore dress.
In contrast to the minimalist collection by OMENs Paris, the collection by Malagasy designer I.ARI featured elaborate, floor-length dresses encrusted in gold sequins, black lace and red ruffles. Shiny, gold hot pants also made an appearance with removable dress trains, full of fluidity and light enough to catch the air as the model strutted down the runway. Skirt and crop top separates, with equally detailed shawls, intermingled with exuberant dresses and asymmetric sleeve playsuits.
In the second half of the show, Atelier Swan, a collaboration of two young designers, revealed their luxurious wedding dress collection. Allowing the ideas of lingerie to trickle into their designs, they contrasted heavily-adorned dresses with feathered and appliquéd mesh sleeves with the simplicity of unpretentious dropped-waist column dresses. A unique collection, ideal for anyone looking for a bit of French “je ne sais quoi” in their wedding dress and they have a showroom right here in the 13th arrondissement.
The grand finale was an unexpected lingerie collection, a collaborated collection by all of the featured designers, made especially for Fashion Extreme Paris. A very exciting start to fashion week — I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings!