Paris Fashion Week: All You Need To Know
When it comes to fashion, Paris falls under the “big 4” of the global fashion week empires. The other three being New York, London and Milan.
So Fashion Week in Paris is a big deal, and if you’ve ever been in the city during one you’ll likely have noticed a distinct change in general street life. Everyone is suddenly a little taller, a little cooler, and far too well dressed to simply be a regular traveler.
The phrase “fashion week” doesn’t actually refer to just a single week in the year; there are actually around six weeks dedicated to fashion in Paris throughout the year in total.
They are scattered across different months and under separate categories. Autumn/winter usually takes place in the first half of the year with sessions for both men, women and haute couture. And then spring/summer follows later on with the same three sessions.
While most of the shows work on an invite only basis, there are other opportunities around the city to get involved in the excitement. Here is everything you can expect from Fashion Week in the French capital.
For the most part, venues in Fashion Week tend to stay the same for each brand season to season. Fashion houses make longstanding deals with landmarks and buildings that allow them the frequent use of the venue for every show.
Almost all free guided walking tours through Paris pass by the main Fashion Week venues at one point or another. Many of them are iconic landmarks situated in the city center or nearby arrondissements.
A few of the most major ones include:
The Palais de Tokyo
The Palais de Tokyo is an important piece of architecture in the center of Paris. It’s a hub for contemporary and modern art, housing the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris on the property.
The space has been known to host shows including Rick Owens, Armani and Akris.
If you have some time to spare in Paris, I highly recommend giving yourself a self-tour of the Palais de Tokyo exterior from the street side right around through to the fountain. The building is beautiful and there is sculpture detail up the main walls that one can spend hours dissecting.
Chanel is probably the biggest name in fashion in Paris, and arguably the rest of the world. The fashion house is a point of pride for the French, and the Chanel show is a highlight for every season of Paris Fashion Week.
Such a renowned show needs a venue to match. The Grand Palais has become the permanent home for this anticipated event.
Each season, thousands of celebrities, bloggers, designers, influencers and industry leaders can be seen flocking to this historic building; all over the moon to both see and be seen.
If you’re visiting Paris for the first time it’s somewhat inevitable that you’ll be visiting the Trocadéro as well.
The Trocadéro and the Eiffel Tower go hand in hand. The Trocadéro is the massive viewing deck that overlooks the tower and gardens from the city center. This iconic view has attracted the likes of brands such as Yves Saint Laurent during Fashion Week, and grand displays have been coordinated through the space.
The Trocadéro also happens to be one of the best spots in Paris from which to watch both the sunrise and sunset .
The fashion houses that exhibit during Paris Fashion Week also love a good museum space. Perhaps it draws parallels to the notion of fashion as art and vice verse.
There is nothing quite as Parisian as the Louvre Museum, and Paris Fashion Week wouldn’t be complete without at least one label making use of this historic & iconic space for their showcase.
Louis Vuitton is usually first to scoop up this venue. And the juxtapositioning of the latest collections next to the classical works of art is astounding.
Unfortunately the size and importance of Paris Fashion Week makes it one of the least accessible events to gain access to. Unless you have been formally invited it is unlikely that you will manage to worm your way inside.
For the smaller fashion houses there is sometimes chance to purchase tickets for entry. This depends on the collection, season and event coordinators decision in general and would need to be checked in on closer to the time of the show.
Paris Fashion Week Street Style
While you might not be able to physically attend the show of your dreams, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying the energy outside of the event on the day.
All of the venues used in Paris Fashion Week are publicly accessible from the outside. Attendees will begin arriving about an hour before the event in order to be captured by the street style photographers.
To be part of this you would just need to make your way to the particular venue in the city and observe from a distance (there are usually barricades).
Paris Fashion Week and le Marais
While many of the major venues used during Paris Fashion Week lie directly in the center of the city, le Marais plays an important role as well.
Le Marais is considered central without actually being “central” per say, it is also regarded as the trendiest neighborhood in Paris.
During Fashion Week, the hotels and Airbnb’s of le Marais are completely booked out by the models, influencers, photographers and other creatives who need to be in the city for the event.
Almost overnight the change in energy in this district becomes tangible. The cafes are more vibrant than usual, bars are busting, people you’ve seen in magazines are walking past you on the street … it’s a special time for the artistic suburb.
The official Fashion Week dates for each season and collection are released annually. You can find them here.