The City of Love has been taken over by models, fashion designers and editors as Paris Fashion Week 2021 kicked off on 27 September for the women. More than 100 brands will be showcasing their Spring/Summer 2022 collections until the close of fashion week on 5 October.
Storied houses like Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga, Valentino and Louis Vuitton will be returning to physical runways while other brands will remain digital during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This year saw the S/S 2022 menswear fashion week take place from 22 to 27 June 2021.
On the runways, long kilts and other gender-neutral silhouettes mixed with sportswear and classic military cuts, monochromes, florals and black-and-white animal prints.
Many of the biggest trends seen throughout the six days of the fashion shows were excavated from the 1990s, while a crop of newer labels founded on principles of sustainability and collectivity looked to the future.
However, fashion is constantly changing and I am not talking about the styles. According to Zippa, there are over 4,397 fashion designers currently employed in the United States. 73.0% of all fashion designers are women, while only 19.5% are men.
The numbers for male designers are slowly rising.
This year at the Paris Fashion Week 2021, they have either made their debut or have returned with even more extraordinary looks. With the womenswear fashion week among us, it is time to explore just who some of these rising stars are.
Let’s meet four incredible inspiring designers who are showcasing their masterpieces to the world:
Olivier Rousteing Celebrates His 10th Anniversary As Creative Director At Luxury Brand Balmain
The French-born designer began his fashion career in 2003 at the age of 17 as an intern for Italian designer, Roberto Cavalli. From here he rose through the ranks and soon became the Creative Director of the ready-to-wear collection – a position he held for five years.
He then applied for a job in the fashion line Balmain and two years later at the age of 24, he became the Creative Director for the luxury house. Since then he has become widely known and hugely influential with numerous celebrity fans. These include Justin Bieber, Rihanna, all of the Kardashians, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Beyonce and many more.
Not only is he the first man of colour to helm a French fashion house but he is the youngest designer ever to have a job title as he does.
Now at 35 years old, he has accomplished what others may take decades to achieve for the luxury house. His most expensive current design is an embroidered skirt costing over $20 500.
At Paris Fashion Week 2021, Rousteing celebrated his 10 year anniversary working for Balmain.
“I was a Balmain baby — and now Balmain is my baby,” says Olivier Rousteing.
On Wednesday the designer held a blowout event during Paris Fashion Week 2021 featuring musical performers, a retrospective of his Balmain designs and his spring 2022 collections for women and men.
In a giant Paris arena, where thousands of guests came to see the designer’s spring 2022 fashion show, a recording of Beyoncé spoke of his accomplishment and many more before the runway portion began
Models like Precious Lee and Jordan Barrett drew the biggest cheers from the crowd. The final segment was a supermodel reunion, with names like Naomi Campbell, Natalia Vodianova and France’s own Carla Bruni, wore a rehashed capsule of past Balmain looks.
The show was closed with a performance by Doja Cat.
Kenneth Ize The Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Prize nominee is dedicated to preserving African craft and heritage
A former LVMH Prize finalist who burst on the scene in February 2020 with his take on traditional Nigerian dress and textiles, Ize’s profile has only grown multifold despite the pandemic putting a hold on live shows again.
During this time, his show caught the world’s attention and it mostly caught the eye of supermodel Naomi Campbell, who closed the competition.
It was Kenneth Ize’s first show of Paris Fashion Week, held at the Palais de Tokyo this year. His show aimed at expressing shimmering silk fringing, pleated tiger print, picnic blanket checks, and optical stripes.
The fabrics showcased on Austrian-Nigerian designer Ize’s S/S 2022 catwalk were sumptuous and tactile in their finish.
His label is dedicated to preserving that heritage, drawing on a network of textile artisans across Kwara, Kogi and Lagos.
Despite the challenges, Ize is committed to producing locally. “Everything that can be done in Africa, weaving, batik, tie-dye, anything artisanal, will be done here.”
One of his clients said she buys his pieces because the traditional Asoke fabric he has handwoven in Nigeria has “the hand-feel of couture.”
According to Financial Times Ize is one of those different thinkers. He’s built a factory in Ilorin, Nigeria where the majority of his materials are crafted.
Here, they translated into insouciant, easy and layered men’s and women’s shapes, from soft tailoring to sarong skirts, lean knitwear to fluid dresses, paired with sporty caps, slouchy shoulder bags and buckled sandals.
80% of his fabrics are woven there, with most finishings done in Italy.
The designer has plans to expand into interiors and open an education centre, which will focus on weaving in the hopes of making it as synonymous with Nigeria as tartan is to Scotland.
Charles de Vilmorin Made His Debut At This Year’s Paris Fashion Week 2021 – At 24 Years Old
Having graduated from the esteemed De la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in 2019 – a fashion school that has seen the talents of Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino Garavani, Charles de Vilmorin is set to present his very first collection in spring of 2022.
Prior to this, the rising star was best known for his bold, vibrant and quilted bomber jackets which he had first launched as part of his graduate collection.
It is said the designer’s great-aunt Louise de Vilmorin – a novelist and poet – was acquainted with Marcel Rochas’ wife, Hélène Rochas. This connection elevated his fashion career to great heights.
He is currently the Creative Director of the brand Rochas.
At just 24 years old, Charles de Vilmorin has been entrusted with overseeing design for one of the oldest French fashion houses, Rochas.
He made a splash last year when he was invited by the Chambre Syndicale to present his own collection on the couture calendar.
For his Rochas runway debut, at this year’s Paris Fashion Week 2021, he reinterpreted the brand’s signature femininity and lightness with some more heavy touches like flame motifs and structural shapes.
The abstract drawings recall the illustrations he does for his own label, and the clunky statement boots are sure to grace a pop star’s feet in the coming weeks.
The young French designer burst onto the pandemic-quietened scene last year with a collection of puffers and leggings in patchworks and swirls of vivid colour.
Thebe Magugu Returns To Paris Fashion Week 2021 With A Round Table Discussion Of His S/S 2022 Collection
That soulful and considered approach to making fashion caught the world’s attention last fall when Magugu was awarded the prestigious 2019 LVMH prize, the first African designer to win in the competition’s seven-year history.
He’s now using his newfound global platform to shine a light on the burgeoning creative industry bubbling up at his front door.
This year the South African designer, Thebe Magugu valued his S/S 2022 by creating a collection based on the idea of ‘memory as a reservoir for optimism’, drawing on silhouettes in old family photographs.
The designer’s Genealogy collection was showcased through a round-table discussion, with Magugu’s family poring over old images. From bright red playsuits with frothing feather trim to skirts and jackets, all his work was inspired by his heritage and culture.
On one side of the screen, Magugu was seen playing the intergenerational talk-show host as they opened a box of family photographs together and related all their memories and anecdotes about who wore what, where, and why.
And on the other half were his images of how he’d affectionately and elegantly translated each photo into the pieces of his collection.
Watch the full show below: