It's been a blisteringly busy Paris fashion week here at the BoF, but we've been taking everything in and can finally share some of our views on all the action -- and the business implications. This season, we were most interested in Balenciaga and Givenchy -- the new Paris establishment -- and the series of brand revivalists - including Stuart Vevers at Loewe, Estaban Cortazar at Ungaro and Alessandra Facchinetti at Valentino. Today, the new establishment. Tomorrow, the brand revivalists.
After what was widely considered a tour-de-force from Nicolas Ghesquiere last season, the anticipation was building for a Balenciaga for A/W 2008. He did not disappoint, picking up on last season's modern, sculpted silhouette (which, incidentally has also popped up in other collections this season from Marchesa to Bruno Pieters) and producing a more wearable, but still distinctive, collection. Ghesquiere is solidifying his place as the leader of the new Paris establishment.
Perhaps one reason why Ghesquiere is beginning to focus on gradually channeling his outstanding ideas in a more commercial direction (and we mean that in the best sense) is because he is reported to have about a 10% stake in the business. It's very smart for designers to have their interests aligned with the brand owners. Everybody wins.
Then last night, Riccardo Tisci wowed the 900 people who assembled at Le Carreau du Temple with a genius collection for Givenchy. A new square runway format allowed almost everyone to take in the slick tailoring with ruffles and rouching up close. You could almost reach out and touch Tisci's new signature for Givenchy.
He also allowed the Givenchy girl to add a bit of a muted colour palette to her wardrobe and there were no signs of a polkadot or Swiss-cheese fabric in sight, though some of the later looks were perhaps a bit heavy on the embellishment.
On our way out, we saw Carine Roitfeld racing towards the backstage area, with a huge smile on her face. The designer she has been supporting since his debut at Givenchy had proven her instincts correct. But while Tisci can be credited with the successful revival of Givenchy, credit must also go to a brand with a great heritage and CEO who meshes very well with the designer.
This powerful troika should have the cash registers at Givenchy's new Paris store on the rue du Faubourg St Honore ringing like the one-armed bandits in Las Vegas. At tonight's store opening, a super-chic elegant crowd, sporting Givenchy looks and those oh-so-hot Givenchy bags, feted the designer once again in the understated, minimalist space that lets the clothes, shoes and bags do all the talking.