Designers To Know Ahead of Paris Fashion Week

Backstage at the Giambattista Valli spring/summer 2018 show, Paris Fashion Week, 2 October 2017
Backstage at the Giambattista Valli spring/summer 2018 show, Paris Fashion Week, 2 October 2017 | © WWD/REX/Shutterstock
Photo of Sarah Leigh Bannerman
Fashion Editor26 September 2018

Paris Fashion Week (PFW) is the last of four weeks dedicated to the industry’s upcoming designer collections. The exclusive event sees the who’s who of fashion flock to the French capital to watch shows and presentations hosted by some of the world’s most applauded luxury designers. From the established to the emerging, these are the labels to look out for at this year’s PFW.


When it was announced in January 2018 that ex-Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane would be taking the helm of illustrious Parisian fashion house Celine, speculation around the label’s new aesthetic sparked. A reputation as established as Slimane’s comes with high expectations. His most famous work has a dark, rock’n’roll edge to it – one that’s distinctly different from Celine’s current minimalist style as perfected by his predecessor, Phoebe Philo. Teasers in the run-up to the show have included the new leather tote bag as worn by Lady Gaga and a revamped logo. Whatever the designer’s debut collection entails, it’s sure to make headlines.

Celine show, Runway, Spring Summer 2018, Paris Fashion Week. | © Pixelformula/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

Yohji Yamamoto

Launched in the early 1980s and combining haute couture design with a sportswear-inspired edge, Yohji Yamamoto is loved by the fashion industry’s most experimental dressers. Its uniform look is one of predominantly black-and-white, expertly draped designs and oversize silhouettes adorned with explosive graphic prints. A Japanese label based in Paris, it stands out among a highly saturated crowd, especially one in a city traditionally governed by romantic style.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Pixelformula/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock (9448482al) Model on the catwalk Yohji Yamamoto show, Runway, Fall Winter 2018, Paris Fashion Week, France - 04 Mar 2018 | © Pixelformula/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

Designers Apartment

The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode is the organisation behind PFW, and as part of its initiative to support emerging talent, it selects 10 new designers to showcase at the Designers Apartment throughout PFW. Chosen spring/summer 2019 participants include the Central St Martins graduate behind French label Marazine and California-born Quoï Alexander. Not only will they get the opportunity to present to buyers, editors and guests of the event, but along with their peers, they will also receive a year-long mentorship and financial backing from the organisation. The showcase will take place in the Paris Fashion Week Centre in The Palais de Tokyo.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by CAROLINE BLUMBERG/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9442493b) Models present creations of the Fall/Winter 2018-19 Women Ready to Wear collection by Chinese designer Dawei Sun for the label Dawei during the Paris Fashion Week, in Paris, France, 27 February 2018. The presentation of the Women's collections runs from 26 February to 06 March 2018. Dawei - Runway - Paris Fashion Week Ready to Wear F/W 2018-19, France - 27 Feb 2018 | © CAROLINE BLUMBERG/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock


Italian label Gucci has shown at Milan Fashion Week (MFW) since the event’s inception in 1958, and despite kicking off the week with a rousing party, it has moved its runway presentation for this season to Paris. This makes sense, considering the past three collections have been an homage to France – including a pre-fall 2018 ad campaign inspired by the riots of 1968. It’s a one-time-only change, and as such, it’s planned for the day between the end of MFW and the beginning of PFW – a risky positioning considering that it’s a travel day for much of the industry.

Gucci show, Runway, Milan Fashion Week. | © REX/Shutterstock


Positioning her namesake label between Shanghai and Paris, Masha Ma is part of a new wave of Chinese designers storming PFW. Since her label’s inception in 2008, she has successfully established powerful signature design traits including masculine tailoring and an ultramodern sensibility – even the florals that she incorporates into her designs feel more futuristic than feminine. Expect an impactful selection of block-colour and printed looks, oversize silhouettes and a nod to how PFW’s presentations will continue to evolve.

Mashama show, Runway, Autumn Winter 2017, Paris Fashion Week. | © Dominique Maitre/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Giambattista Valli

Paris is the only fashion capital that plays host to haute couture collections as well as the ready-to-wear designs that are showcased throughout September and March each year, and Giambattista Valli is one of the few names to feature on both line-ups. Steeped in heritage, the label is a true representation of the city’s penchant for craftsmanship and acts as a reminder of Parisian fashion’s signature opulence.

Giambattista Valli show, Runway, Paris Fashion Week | © REX/Shutterstock

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