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Paris Fashion Week AW21 womenswear Miu Miu
Miu Miu AW21Photography Johnny Dufort, Courtesy of Miu Miu

Your guide to everything going down at Paris Fashion Week

From Rick Owens and Louis Vuitton, to Marine Serre, Ottolinger, and Ninamounah: these are the shows you need to see

The end of the AW21 season is nigh, but before it hits its crescendo, there’s still Paris Fashion Week’s uber-meaty line-up of shows to get through. Taking place across the course of the next eight days, big players and rising stars alike are getting set to debut what they’ve been working on for the last few months, with Marine Serre, Louis Vuitton, Ottolinger, and Rick Owens among them. With the virus that needs no introduction still relegating the runway to the digital realm for another season, the good news is we’ve all got a seat on the front row, baby. With that in mind, we’re rounding up everything you need to see in one handy rolling guide. Keep checking back as we’ll be updating as we go.


Given the events of 2020, you’d be hard-pressed to convince us that Marine Serre wasn’t some kind of soothsayer. Having spent the last three years imagining a bleak post-apocalyptic future that necessitated the use of heavy-duty masks and utilitarian protective gear, the only thing she really got wrong about ‘the end of the world’ was just how mind-numbingly boring it would be. Now, as she kicks off Paris Fashion Week’s latest outing, Serre seeks to rectify just that.

Focusing on the minutiae of everyday life, as models tend plants, head out for a jog, snap selfies, and play instruments, the designer’s AW21 Core collection offers fun for all the family. Going far beyond the runway and imagining the ways the clothing will come to life in the real world, Serre explains that the offering is “a love letter to everyone that makes our story possible. Our realities. Our families. Our lives”. With mum, dad, grandma, grandpa, and the kids all catered for, the designer blasts her crescent moon across more signature second-skin bodysuits, recycled denim, and buttersoft leather, while salvaged quilts and garish fleece blankets are transformed into outerwear and accessories for another season.

Elsewhere, band tees are slashed and spliced together to create more striking hybrid styles, and it goes without saying that her signature mask plays its part too. With classic logo-emblazoned nylon versions featuring heavily, there are also silk versions designed to be swept round the neck like a scarf – ideal for those that like a touch more drama from their ‘rona wear.

Head here to check out the full collection.


Surprise! Like plenty of other designers across the course of the last 12 months, the Situationist’s ‘show’ took the form of a short film this season. 

Titled ‘Forbidden Family’, the short opens on an abandoned post-soviet town, which is rural and desolate until models begin to trudge and trip through it’s snow-capped hills. These newcomers fecklessly fix broken tarpaulin, infiltrate butch cossacks in their traditional cherkesska uniform, and record the town’s entertainers on their iPhone 12s. It’s clear the brand’s creative director, Irakli Rusadze, is excavating, at least in part, the relationship between tradition and modernity – a theme the Georgian native has frequently revisited since the brand’s inception in 2016. 

Made all the more apparent by the brooding presence of a US flag at the film’s close, this reconsidering of tradition is mapped onto the garments themselves, too. Womenswear comes in sharp, with tiered trenches cinched at the waist or otherwise constructed with wraparound panels, while Rusadze pushes unique new silhouettes via cape-sweater hybrids. Co-ed tailoring cuts a powerful shape via integrated waistcoats and layered shoulders, which are Luke Skywalker-esque in how they’ve been stacked together. 

A particular mention also goes to Rusadze’s OTT outerwear, which rejects all the austerity of the landscape behind it. Here, the emerging designer offers up deep purple furs and leopard prints in blown-up 80s proportions, as well as a heavy shag coat that conjures the image of David Bowie in Labyrinth... or is it more Pete Burns in Big Brother?


Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient, the design duo behind Ottolinger, have been reading Vagabonds by the Chinese sci-fi author, Hao Jingfang. The novel opens in the year 2096 on Mars, which is presumably where we find ourselves for the label’s AW21 show. 

As seen in another short film, models stalk a barren wasteland like ethereal deities or “future-elves”, dressed in the brand’s signature bodycon pieces and spliced gowns. This time around, Ottolinger also makes a strong case for protruding, statement outerwear and dishevelled knits. Snake figurines, bum bags and unhemmed straps wrap around the models like great asphyxiating vines. Even more than usual, this AW21, Ottolinger’s clothing comes hybrid, part apparel and part sculpture. And this is no better exemplified than some highly covetable, if not bizarre, footwear. Think lumpy, cushioned heels and bulbous arctic boots. 

This season the Ottolinger duo have also joined forces with Bronx-based artist Cheyenne Julian, whose otherworldly portraits have been transferred onto mesh pieces à la Jean Paul Gaultier. Only the prints, already surreal and sublime, now come warped by the shapes of the bodies beneath them. Julian’s swirling eyeballs become deep pools of anxiety, as a panic stricken narrator rattles between rabid twitter slang and nonsensical aphorisms. It makes for a frenetic but deeply sensual collection.


Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta have never been ones to play by the book. And while not technically on the Paris Fashion Week schedule, the New York based duo have just unveiled their collection for the upcoming AW21 season during its stretch. 

In a lo-fi, camcorder-rendered film, the designers take us to a dimly lit warehouse space somewhere deep in Bushwick. Models stomp across a rickety catwalk, punctuated by the thuds and scrapes of their feet beneath them, which is the show’s only musical accompaniment this season. Much like the semi-sewn hems, precise cut-outs, and distressed denim within the collection itself, the ambience speaks to a sense of absence and deconstruction. 

The Eckhaus handwriting we’ve all become accustomed to is present throughout, of course. Cut-out backs, unravelled knitwear, and spliced elbows all feature across the collection – it’s just this season, the voids in the clothing spread outwards, and became part of the abyss. So, the brand gave us comforting silhouettes and textures to nestle beneath, like homespun balaclavas, quilted wrap-around skirts, and patchwork joggers. 

The collection was not entirely solemn, though. Trippy prints, leather pants, and bright jolts of orange broke through the grit and gave a sense of optimism, if not normality. While much of fashion has encouraged us to look ahead, Eckhaus Latta has brought the current mood into crystal clarity. There are no bells and whistles here, but a modest collection that speaks to the present, and transforms it into something, potentially, desirable. 


It would be trite to assume every designer on schedule was making some kind of comment about the coronavirus, but each collection does seem to be offering obvious solutions for or against the pandemic’s restrictions. In the case of Acne Studios, which gave us pastoral pyjamas, duvet dresses, and fluffy, slouchy knitwear, it would appear to be the former. 

With worn-in pastels and ditzy prints scattered across amply-cut silhouettes, many of the show’s models looked as though they had simply poked their heads out while changing the bedlinen. Then, having emerged from this domestic bliss, they carry porcelain animals around the show space as if plucked off a lovingly curated home mantlepiece.

Before things got too bucolic, however, Acne’s creative director, Jonny Johansson, cut through with some hard and fast accessories, so as to not isolate the brand’s trend-led customer base. Think huge Yoko Ono sunglasses, chunky plastic jewellery, and grandad socks stuffed into heels – basically, looks that are sure to dominate the influencer set in t-minus six months time. 

Towards the end of Johansson’s collection, the mood begins to pale. Suddenly we’re affronted with monochromatic tailoring in severe cuts and twisted lace. Off-shoulder dresses with asymmetric and distended sleeves pollute the pastelle dreamscape like great harbingers of doom. Is this Johansson’s picture of a life post-pandemic? Perhaps it was there all along, and all we needed was an uncomfortable awakening.


Having switched up Paris for a deserted Venice at the start of the pandemic, Rick Owens’ latest womenswear show takes place on the beach directly opposite his apartment. Opening with a thick mist that seeps across the screen, the camera zooms into the concrete pier, splintering into the ocean like a pathway to Alcatraz. It’s a haunting setting, soon breached by a series of humongous silhouettes, gloomy capes, and sci-fi bodysuits, which stride out of the fog. As we go deeper into Owens’ underworld, power shoulders transform outerwear into skyscraping blockhouses and single-sleeve, twisted gowns recast the label’s glam-grunge trademarks into sculptural haute couture. 

While Owens continues with the Gethsemane title from his men’s show, it would be remiss to read this AW21 offering as a particularly spiritual encounter. It’s very much rooted in the real – Owens is one of the only designers thus far to have models wear face masks. That being said, there is something monastic in the way the models glide across the jetty, with their brooding robes scraping the stone beneath them. It creates a cinematic, if not ecclesiastical, atmosphere.

In his previous men’s show, Owens dealt with the theme of aggression following the storming of the Capitol, and that same sense of menace is brought forward to his womenswear, with just a touch of glitz. Vibrant, scale-like sequins appear as if chainmail had been put through a disco filter, while fish-tail evening skirts, sparkly thongs, and the ubiquitous platform boot helped alleviate an otherwise fatalistic mood.


At some point, everyone has been in the back of an Uber, late, stuck in traffic, and with no choice but to get out and power-walk the remainder of the distance. And that’s presumably what Coperni’s Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant were trying to capture with their AW21 presentation.

In an innovative bending of COVID restrictions, 70 of the show’s guests were picked up in electric cars and driven to the 20,000 person AccorHotels Arena in Paris. As the final guests rolled in, all the cars synced to announce the show’s kick-off. Then, as if by transformer-magic, each headlight lit up to illuminate the models strutting through.

Soundtracked by Clara 3000, the collection was an ode to all things that go bump in the night. From pre-COVID Parisian techno clubs to deep, slumberous nights beneath the sheets. There were a-line mini dresses, diamante-encrusted thigh highs, and glistening transparent shifts. There were tiny, neon bags and huge, structural shoulders. But there were also spongey, faux-fur coats and leisurely drawstring bottoms. 

The collection also carried through Meyer and Vaillant’s flair for futurism, which they honed as co-creative directors of the space-age Courrèges, in shrunken capes, second-skin sports separates and miniscule visors. It felt fitting, given we’re about as close to a night out as we are to space travel.


Via live broadcast, the Hermès show took us seamlessly from contemporary choreography in New York to its catwalk in Paris to a dance show in Shanghai. Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski stayed true to the brand’s wearable, understated vision of luxury with a collection that she described as a “reset”. Staple denim and leather, as well as knitwear, were elevated with neat trims, piping, and decorative motifs, providing us with a wardrobe of versatile but suburban garments as if Vanhee-Cybulski was suggesting a blank, rather than bland, slate. 

Albeit slight, there was a sense of renewal which beat beneath the collection. Brand standards like the Carré scarf were transformed into miniatures, while the Birkin bag became multi-use in a bag/clutch hybrid. Meanwhile, a standout made itself evident, as Vanhee-Cybulski gave us a leather pendant to house the newly launched Hermès lipstick. Honestly too chic. 


Ukrainian designer Anton Belinskiy opens his AW21 film from a derelict watchtower, which juts out of the Kiev sea, dashed with splinters of ice. Models amble along its banks in open-knit crochets, deep pile jackets, and wrap-around blankets as the camera warps and snaps back into focus.

Belinskiy’s tailoring flits between the classic and boxy to downright deconstructed as large scale photo-prints are spread across shirts, trousers, and gauzy dresses, making up this season’s hero pieces. Crafted from deadstock fabrics, the collection seems an incongruous, bric-a-brac mashup when it eventually comes together. Yet perhaps that’s the point, as Belinskiy’s main narrative is in its very absence. “This collection doesn’t have any message” he says, “it’s important to not have any message right now.” 


What is it about the mountains that has so captured the attention of the big houses this season? Given we’ve been cooped up for lord knows how long now, no prizes will be given for guessing it’s due to the fact they symbolise freedom. Following hot on the heels of yesterday’s ski-inspired Chanel show, Miuccia Prada dragged us up another snowy peak, this time IRL in Italy’s Dolomites Alps, for AW21. There her models – the brave hearts – gathered in a ceremonial, almost pagan circle around a blazing bonfire.

Exploring themes of protection and practicality, the designer turned out a puffed-up collection for the new season, with squashy ski jackets, pumped-up pants, and XL jumpsuits presented in a shimmering, sugared-almond palette. Further into the offering came a series of fine-gauge knitted slip dresses, cosy slim-fit sweaters, and suede overcoats with shearling trims, with models clutching matching pouches under their arms as they trampled through the snow. Much like Virginie Viard, Mrs. P also has fuzzy moon boots marked out as hot – quite literally – for winter 2021. Within the ranks of the Miu Miu Mountain Club, the style extends all the way up the thigh, rendering the wearer half-human, half-yeti, and naturally, wholly fab.

With the coronavirus vaccine rollout well under way around the world, all signs point to a return to travel pretty soon – and thus skiing later this year, if you’re into that sort of thing. And if not? Well, the sequin sheath dresses and those giant boots with the fur Miuccia has proposed will certainly make your mid-December schleps to Tesco that much more glam. Watch the film above.


The first ever piece of Vuitton came in the shape of a stackable trunk made for overnight stays in 1858, and as such, the brand has built a legacy on the allure of travel and its nomad spirit. Take AW21 for example, where Nicholas Ghesquière takes us not only through countries and culture, but through space and time itself. 

Flanked by the Michaelangelo and Daru galleries in the Louvre, Ghesquière sent out a kaleidoscopic collection, which collaged images of classical antiquity with his signature sports futurism. Think gladiator skirts and neoprene capes, thermal ski jackets, and distended tulle. There were satin blouson bombers flung over glittering embroidered tunics and long, bubble skirts which broke out beneath thick ribbed knitwear. It was a collection teeming with reference, constituting Ghesquière’s ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future. 

The show also debuted a collaboration with Fornasetti, an Italian homeware company famous for its subversive use of classical portraiture, namely the opera singer Lina Cavalieri, of which there are over 500 whimsical depictions. For this collection, Fornasetti gave us etched roman busts which Ghesquière then laser-printed in vibrant hues across waxy fabrics, laying portraits over each other in a pop-art derived vibrancy. Pacing between the gallery’s ancient sculptures, this Vuitton collection took us from decay to decadence, gesturing to a whole new era which lies ahead.


This AW21 season marked the 10th anniversary for AMI, which has built a reputation on pared-back wardrobing and an aloof, but instantly recognisable, sense of European chic. Alexandre Mattiussi, AMI’s creative director, sits at the helm, a self-professed pop-culture consummate, diffusing the label’s Parisian whims with streetwise proportions and modern cuts. 

Having spent his 20s in the much-referenced 90s, this season, Mattiusi gave us a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes of a runway show, taking us through pre-show briefings, fittings, and hair and make-up, as if we were watching the season’s offering on an old cable fashion network. Dubbed Le Défilé, Adut Akech took on the film’s principal role, guiding us through the most romanticised moments of fashion week – the model chatter, moodboards, and last minute changes – for a sense of proximity and personability, which has been so absent in this season’s digital experience.

There was a certain 90s quality to the clothing, too, in its minimalist tailoring, leisurely-cut pieces, and monochromatic styling. Mattiussi journeyed through his signature colour wheel, from jet black leathers to neutral knitted column dresses and créme-hued suiting. Although this season, the designer cut through with bright cobalts and blood-orange numbers as if the cable signal had glitched and snagged at the collection’s laissez-faire simplicity.