There are four important fashion weeks, often referred to as the “Big 4”: New-York, Paris, London and Milan. But what many may not know is that Paris is home to the industry’s first-ever organized fashion week. Since its inception in 1973, the event is an unmissable rendezvous for all fashion lovers, both in France and worldwide. While the official title is “Semaine des Créateurs de Mode”, the maxim Paris Fashion Week (or PFW) is the most commonly used expression. The events at Paris Fashion Week are divided into 3 categories: Menswear, Haute Couture and Ready-to-wear, of which the word “Haute-Couture” is protected by intellectual property copyright. Indeed, to be eligible, the houses need to fulfil the stringent criteria set in place by the Chamber of the Haute Couture. Those criteria consist of many rules, of which one is the requirement to create a minimum of 35 looks per year and which must include both day and evening wear. Only a few houses get bestowed with this appellation and can be considered as producing “Haute-Couture” collections. Organized by the French Fashion Federation, the fashion week includes over 100 shows which feature top fashion houses such as Chanel, Christian Dior or Yves Saint Laurent, as well as lesser-known designers. The financial impact of the PFW on the French capital amounts to €400 million, excluding sales in stores.
Where is Paris Fashion Week taking place?
Paris Fashion Week takes place twice yearly in the French capital, with a Spring/Summer edition and an Autumn/Winter edition. The dates are determined by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. The Haute-Couture collections are always presented before the ready-to-wear collections, which represents half of the shows.
For a long time, Paris Fashion Week’s shows have taken place mainly in the Carrousel du Louvre. During the Fashion Week itself, a hundred shows and events also take place at different venues throughout the city, such as the iconic Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld shows, which have been taking place in the Grand Palais for several years.