Grace Jones, Biker Gangs, And Other Paris Fashion Week Highlights

While you were contemplating brunch choices and cringing at Lyft charges this weekend, Paris was exuding unbridled feminine fire. There was Zendaya casting her first-ever Tommy Hilfiger and giving us Grace Jones walking down the runway, Pierpaolo Piccioli throwing us passion and dramatic-quote light installations at Valentino, and Balmain going full Hells Angels. Wild! Read on for what you missed this weekend.Grace Jones, Biker Gangs, and Other Paris Fashion Week Highlights This Weekend 3

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Zendaya Cast All-Black Models—On Saturday night in Paris, Zendaya presented her first #TommyNow collection, and it was a big-name brand done good. Jones took the runway to her 1981 hit single “Pull Up To The Bumper”, and the all-black cast was comprised of 59 models ages 18-70. Icons like Veronica Webb, the first African-American woman to have a major cosmetics contract, Pat Cleveland, widely acknowledged as the world’s first black supermodel, and Beverly Johnson, the first African-American model to cover American Vogue, walked the runway.


Closing the show with Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family”, the show was equal parts fun and emotion. As Tyra Banks tweeted, “You see my face. I am in Paris. Watching so many fierce black women from all generations of modeling represent in our beauty during the #TommyNow show. I am so proud of Mizz Designer @Zendaya!”

Grace Jones, Biker Gangs, and Other Paris Fashion Week Highlights This Weekend 2

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Thom Browne Took Us to the Office—Thom Browne’s show brought us into the office on a weekend, and that was more than alright. Staged at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, a factory-like office space with rows of steel desks and chairs that gave us immersive scenery to imagine Browne’s uniforms put to use. Made for very much the working woman—maybe a chic ‘70s magazine editor—there was an abundance of classic, highly tailored suits, brogue pumps, and tweed.

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Valentino Gave Us Passion—”The people you love become ghosts inside of you and like this you keep them alive,” read the Robert Montgomery light installation behind Valentino’s models. It was bittersweet romance that made Valentino come vulnerably alive with blood-red roses, leather capes, and lace.


The evening wear consisted of many sheer gowns with glimmering tulle—all delicate—with one embroidered with poetry. The tender emotion was inspired by four poets, hand-picked by Piccioli, to compose poems highlighting the romance of the clothes. Collected in a book titled “On Love,” the designer explained the poetry theme in the forward, writing, “poetry is the most intimate expression of freedom. Because freedom is what we all need now. Because ‘we do not want to be so dreamless now.’”

Grace Jones, Biker Gangs, and Other Paris Fashion Week Highlights This Weekend

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Altuzarra Got Tough—The double muse behind Joseph Altuzarrra’s Saturday morning show was the work of Robert Mapplethorpe and the fetish culture of leather and biker gear. “I was really interested in the language of bikers and leather fetish, and on the flip side, the idea of sophistication of dressing up,” Altuzarra said backstage. “The juxtaposition between those two things created the central tension of the collection.”


There was a lot of brassy outerwear—bulky, fur-lined bombers and biker jackets—worn over classically feminine pieces.

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Balmain Turned Us Into Troublemakers—And speaking of biker gangs, Olivier Rousteing took Balmain’s usual armor couture to another level by drawing some Hells Angel-flavored inspiration. The Balmain woman is, after all, always ready for battle. Rousteing described her: “She’s got attitude; she is a troublemaker, and she doesn’t care. She’s defiant, but she is a paradox: She can be sweet and romantic too; she can be an angel . . . or she can be a devil. She cannot be categorized.”


And that 50% devil/50% angel attitude took form with studded black bouclé blazers, all-black leather suits with wide lapels, sharp (literally, could almost be painful to run into) shoulders, and dramatic uses of denim. Was it…a lot? Yes. Was it fun? Also yes.

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