Paris Fashion Week S/S 2023 Dissected: A Conversation with Unbiased Label podcast host Zara Korutz


The first in-person Paris Fashion Week was a much-expected post-pandemic luxury for all. Truth is the shows were many and diverse, almost something for everyone. After two years of Covid disrupted shows, the fashion crowd flocked to Paris to experience the ever-loved ritual of live fashion shows. And while viewing them has been a smooth experience, re-viewing them was a different story. For this challenge, I teamed up with Zara Korutz, the New York-based Ph.D. researcher, writer, speaker, and host of Unbiased Label podcast to help me dissect the art from the hype.

Did you find Paris Fashion Week to be relevant?

Not particularly. Don’t get me wrong, there were shows that I thought were relevant. Take Demna’s Balenciaga for example. He orchestrated such a dramatic end-of-times presentation that I think he has to be categorized as relevant because of the turbulent world we live in. He manages to capture the relevancy. His presentation, his music, and his setting were very relevant, in totality. The clothes, that’s a different discussion and I think we’ll get into that. The Loewe show felt very relevant with its playfulness, and the desire to have some surrealism with beauty. Anderson did a really great job, of capturing it. There was a lot happening in Paris this year, almost too many. A lot of conversations happening that it’s hard to nail a specific season theme.

I’ve heard from other people as well in private discussions, that there were so many messages transmitted people some felt lost. There wasn’t a unified theme, but rather different communities coming together around different designers.

Yes, I agree with that. I do think that it was unifying in some ways and polarizing at the same time. Take Ye’s collection and the community that is backing his work. It has been quite a discussion online about the White Lives Matter T-shirt, but no one looked at the clothes and asked why this is on Paris Fashion Week. Why, why is this thing happening right now? Yes, he’s a racist. But he secured a spot in Paris Fashion Week whereas other young designers don’t.
If we really look at the clothes then we should definitely talk about Schiaparelli. I love Daniel Roseberry, he has the training, he’s artistic, he’s inclusive, and he’s all these wonderful things. Still, the collection felt more the same to me. I didn’t feel anything new, revived differently.

What about the Coperni finale? Some reviews said it was more of a gimmick than a true fashion performance

It’s definitely not new. If we look at Alexander McQueen’s collection finale with the mechanical arms, it’s very, one might say similar in concept,. This back then was very ahead of its time. So the performance piece is not a new concept. It’s just not done that often. Just because it’s not done that often, it seems shocking or new, which tells me that people wanna be engaged. They want more than just a show. They want something to draw them in.

Still, the sight of a woman being and not being able to express or move made me think that this is not the type of new woman I would like to see, on the runway. Skinny, white, and immobilized.

Hadid is very likable. She has very positive vibes but she’s another skinny white model. A New Woman model should have been a woman of age, color, ability, size, and transgender. The performance concept was interesting still a different type of body shape, it would’ve given it a completely different message. The notion of the male gaze was on steroids there.

We agree with that.

This is why these conversations are so important; we have to look beyond the razzle and dazzle of fashion and pull the curtain behind us to see what the designers are really telling us. Take Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood. In his collection he referenced literature and you could see the correlation. The message was powerful and clear.

Rick Owens also did express his vision in a very strong, encapsulating way.

I really like Rick Owens. His world is cynical perhaps slightly perverse but he offers a perspective. He has the spectacle and he executes it well. It’s bizarre, but it’s in the right place at the right time.

What about traditional brands? Take Chanel, there are people in the industry right now saying that Viard isn’t the brand any further. Some said this collection was heavy, and not all-inclusive. What was your takeaway from that?

Well, Chanel is not known to be inclusive, so that’s not necessarily surprising to me. I think Viard is doing what she needs to do. You know he’s not going to be Karl, she’s not a visionary, but she has an institutional knowledge she is able to sustain. This season she once more got inspiration from their vast archives. It didn’t wow me. It didn’t disappoint me either. It was elegant, it was beautiful. If I was a Chanel fan, I would want to go and get quite a few pieces. Her work really spoke to their core audience.

So what’s the overview of the season?

To me, it seems there’s just no direction and vision. And quite honestly think there are still too many seasons and too many collections.

Isn’t it all about the shock factor? If you look at the sales numbers, super-hyped collections and logos still sell despite all the conversation.

I think we have to have fewer collections anyway. If you’re really not coming to the table with something that is thought out really well, invented something that’s interesting, better to not show up and wait until you have something really fantastic to say. In that sense I particularly enjoyed Thom Browne’s show, it’s like going to the theater. The hair is perfect. The makeup, the styling, the clothes, the whole storyline. It’s absurd and it’s fanciful, but it’s fantastic and It’s executed impeccably. Sometimes I just want to enjoy some beauty and a simple, clear storyline that makes me feel good.

I would also like to see more fashion that has a clear storyline where everyone feels engaged until the end just as Alexander Mc Queen masterfully did…

Alexander McQueen made the emotion simple and yet as complex as everything that he did. Everything fits simplistically together. That’s sometimes the hardest. To make something seem so easy when it’s very complicated is very hard, but it was very digestible. The storyline, the set, the music, and the clothes, all work together to tell a complete story. And I think that’s what’s missing. We’re not hearing, and we’re not seeing complete stories, I think right now we need vulnerability in our lives. We as humanity, have to connect through, our pain, our loss, our suffering, and our sense of hope We are living in this world that’s already dark, and fashion needs to be a source of light and release. Even fetish can be a source of release if it’s done properly, not necessarily sweetness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s