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Vogue World: Paris – A Spectacular Fusion of Fashion and Sport Ahead of the Olympics

Paris played host to an ultra-glitzy collision between fashion and sport as Vogue staged its latest branding event, “Vogue World: Paris,” in the heart of the city. This dazzling spectacle was neatly timed during Paris Fashion Week and on International Olympic Day, ahead of the Paris Olympic Games. With magazine sales falling, the fashion bible has turned to star-studded events in a bid to keep its name relevant. Following similar events in New York and London, this show was a grand celebration of French fashion, athleticism, and a century of style.

The event took over the iconic Place Vendome, transforming it into a vibrant runway and performance space. Vogue World’s theme matched each decade of fashion from the past century, since Paris last hosted the Games in 1924, with different sports, from gymnastics to breakdancing to fencing. The spectacle blended athleticism, French fashion, and pure, unadulterated razzmatazz from the past century.

A Star-Studded Extravaganza

The evening began with Jean Paul Gaultier putting the finishing touches on the dress of French singing star Aya Nakamura. An orchestra delivered a classical take on Daft Punk’s “Around the World” for the 800 guests, including Pharrell Williams, Venus and Serena Williams, Katy Perry, Bad Bunny, Kendall Jenner, and Gigi Hadid. The atmosphere was electric as celebrities and fashion enthusiasts gathered to witness the unique fusion of fashion and sport.

The high-octane collection extravaganza felt like a polished Broadway musical, complete with amazing clothes, as the sun set on Paris’ magnificent Place Vendome. The show featured an eclectic mix of athletic performances and fashion displays, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that left the audience in awe.

Decades of Style and Sports

The show traced a century of fashion, with each decade paired with a designer and a sport. The 1920s, represented by cycling, featured white coats by designers such as Chanel and Schiaparelli. Models rode vintage bicycles, showcasing the elegance and sophistication of the era. The 1930s brought track and field, with Balenciaga’s designs reflecting the athletic spirit of the time.

The 1940s, the era that gave the world the bikini, featured aquatics by Jacquemus. Models strutted down the runway in swimwear that combined vintage charm with modern flair. The 1950s highlighted equestrian styles, shown through the prism of Dior’s decade-defining New Look. Supermodels Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner rode horses around the square, all dressed in Hermes, adding a touch of grace and grandeur to the event.

The 1960s, represented by Courreges, featured fencing looks that were both futuristic and chic. The 1970s brought choreographed gymnastics fueled by Givenchy, creating a dynamic and energetic display that captivated the audience. The 1980s focused on martial arts, with bold and striking designs that embodied the power and intensity of the sport.

The 1990s celebrated soccer, with a reinterpretation of the late icon Azzedine Alaia’s tricolor dress. Cheers rose when the Williams sisters appeared for the tennis section, Venus in a bold figure-hugging mermaid dress and Serena warrior-like in a black, utilitarian split gown. The finale featured breakdancing, a nod to the modern urban culture, bringing the show to an exhilarating close.

Vogue World’s Impact

The Vogue World event was not just a fashion show but a celebration of French culture and history. The event marked 100 years since the last Games in Paris in 1924 and referred back to June 23, 1894, the day on which the founder of the modern Olympics, French nobleman Pierre de Coubertin, launched the International Olympic Committee. Vogue World’s tribute to the Olympics and French fashion was a reminder of Paris’ rich cultural heritage and its continuing influence on the world stage.

Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor-in-chief, expressed her gratitude for the support from the French community and the world of fashion in Paris. “We’re here to celebrate the wonder of French fashion. So I’m just grateful for all the support from the French community and the world of fashion here in Paris,” she told AFP before the event kicked off.

Sacai’s Hybrid Collection

Under the lofty ceiling of the historic La Poste du Louvre, Japanese it-brand Sacai held its latest collection. Designer Chitose Abe, renowned for her approach of “hybridization,” continued to merge disparate elements into singular, eye-catching pieces, making them look like one thing from the front and another from the back. Twists were evident throughout the show. Pleats, as seen on white, red carpet tuxedo shirts, were creatively reimagined as billowing white floppy tubular skirts and white boho toggle tops. In darker colors, these off-kilter styles channeled a preppy look, complemented by sheeny leather loafers.

Indeed, preppy and military details, Abe’s signatures, were on full display in the funky collection. White shirts, thick-rimmed spectacles, and pinstripes ticked the preppy box, while chunky round shoulders and thick layering ticked the military one. The collection also highlighted Abe’s knack for blending the traditional with the modern. Denim, colorful patterns, and huggable knits provided a welcome touch of softness against the harder-lined silhouettes.

Wooyoungmi’s Fusion of East and West

Madame Woo of Wooyoungmi is renowned for her fusion of Parisian elegance and Korean cultural heritage. The South Korean designer’s creations blend traditional elements from her homeland with a contemporary, open-minded view of culture. On Sunday, her show was a testament to this. Leather Derby shoes were effortlessly paired with cropped Renaissance laced pants adorned with traditional decorative neck beading.

Other looks masterfully combined the rugged allure of the American Wild West with details like decorated belts and a perforated long coat, reminiscent of fashion-forward leather hide. Madame Woo often transforms utilitarian basics into luxurious, tactile masterpieces, as seen in previous collections featuring lush blue velvet chore coats and fine brushed suede uniform jackets. Cropped black leather biker pants and a Wooyoungmi logo-emblazoned baseball top on Sunday ensured that, despite the rich cultural references, eclecticism was the name of the game this spring.

The Art of the Invitation

In an age dominated by email and heightened environmental awareness, the fashion industry’s antiquated system of invitations remains largely untouched. Season after season, gasoline-guzzling couriers crisscross Paris, personally delivering elaborate, often handmade show invites. Top fashion houses compete for the most imaginative and wacky ideas, often hinting at the runway collection’s theme. Pharrell Williams’ invitation for his UNESCO show was a Louis Vuitton embossed Apple AirTag, reminiscent of a royal mint memento. Loewe’s invite came as a giant colored leather square pocket, too large for any conventional letterbox. Dior Men’s opted for a leather pencil case, topped with a sketch of the collection’s referenced artist and ceramicist, Hylton Nel. In contrast, Vogue World embraced eco-friendliness with a simple QR code sent via email.

Conclusion

“Vogue World: Paris” was a spectacular fusion of fashion, sport, and culture, celebrating the rich heritage of the Olympic Games and French fashion. The event’s unique blend of athletic performances and fashion displays, combined with the star-studded guest list and breathtaking setting, created an unforgettable experience. As the Paris Games approach, Vogue World’s celebration serves as an unofficial kickoff, highlighting the city’s enduring influence on the worlds of fashion and sport.

Jonas Muthoni
Jonas is a visionary serial entrepreneur with an innate ability to turn ideas into influential realities. As the founder of Deviate Agency and SomeFuse, Jonas has successfully carved a niche in the world of media by helping brands capture the spotlight with his meticulously crafted strategies. His prowess goes beyond business; he is an avid writer and contributor to various publications, sharing insights that reflect his deep understanding of the contemporary market landscape. Beyond his professional pursuits, Jonas's heart is deeply rooted in philanthropy. For over six years, he has been a dedicated board member for a breast cancer organization, reinforcing his commitment to giving back to the community and making a tangible difference in the lives of many. In a world that's constantly evolving, Jonas Muthoni stands as a beacon of innovation, compassion, and leadership.