Fashion week, the seven days that New Yorkers subconsciously spend an extra 20 minutes getting dressed in the morning.
Gimmicky pop-art bags are back in style, Canal Street pulses with men donning skirts, and women in metal clogs struggle to pedal on Citi Bikes. New Yorkers are looking better than usual. But let’s be real here: New York is just a warm-up for Paris. No matter how visionary season 4 of Yeezy is, it pales in comparison to anything seen in Paris. These are the haute-est of the haute couture French designers and brands gracing New York with their presence. It’s only lucky they had time for New York before they jet off to Paris to prepare for Fashion Week there. Tickets to these shows aren’t available to the public, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live stream it here or conveniently get lunch nearby in hopes of glimpsing a few of the celebrity and model glam girls.
1. Etienne Derœux
Though he trained in Belgium, Etienne Deroeux and his brand are very French. Based in France, Deroeux believes that luxury should be communicated through quality, rather than a logo (not like Calvin Klein underwear that has “CALVIN KLEIN” printed all over on the waistband.) To ensure quality, all materials in his garments are natural and handpicked by him. Each garment is numbered 1-100 so the buyer knows that their piece is a true Etienne Derœux.
The end of the U.S. Open doesn’t mean the end of daily tennis in our lives, thanks to Lacoste’s court-inspired couture collections. Lacoste’s current creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista, a young, Portuguese man who built his career in France, is continuing the Lacoste trends of soft fabrics and clean lines. Aligning perfectly with the brand, the theme of FW ‘16/17 collection was winter tennis. (What else did you expect from a fashion line founded by a tennis player?)
3. Comme tu es
Though designer Jia Liu hails from Beijing, she studied and traveled for seven years in France. Her connection to France is made clearest in her brand’s name, “Comme tu es” which translates to “as you are”. It’s a message communicated visually through the fluid sexuality of Liu’s designs. She makes clothes for men, women, and children, that are all made from the same fabrics and feature the same patterns and graphics.
4. Lulu et Gigi
With bitty fashionistas like Blue Ivy Carter and North West making children’s couture trendy, Lulu et Gigi is sure to be a hit this season. Eni Hegedus-Buiron, the Canadian CEO and head designer of Lulu et Gigi, has been revamping the brand in recent years with the Minerva collection, a line of garments for young girls reminiscent of the powerful female leaders of ancient Persia. Based in Marseilles, her line is designed and made in France using fine fabrics imported from the Middle East.
5. Chloe Gosselin
Chloe Gosselin is the ultimate fashion world veteran. She was born in France, and studied in Belgium before beginning her decade-long career as an international model. She studied fashion and shoes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and launched her own shoe collection in early 2014. Perhaps she got tired of following trends, because her shoe collection definitely doesn’t follow them. Her shoes are timeless, inspired by art, music, and culture, and made with a visionary moment in mind.
Lamine Badian Kouyaté, creator and designer of Xuly.Bët, was born in French-speaking Mali and drawn to fashion in France. He moved to Paris to study architecture in the 80’s, but fell in love with the fashion scene. The brand name, “Xuly Bët”, translates to “open your eyes wide”; It’s the Senegalese equivalent of, “Go ahead and stare, I know I look good.” His designs are truly Francophone, mixing the best of Parisian elegance and African bold patterns.
Featured image: Stock Photos from Mauro Del Signore /Shutterstock