Paris Fashion Week launched on Monday with a protege of Jean Paul Gaultier bringing light-hearted vibes to the catwalk, while the luxury world awaits the French debut of Victoria Beckham.

As is traditional, the first day focused on young designers, and the opening show of womenswear spring-summer 2023 was that of 28-year-old Victor Weinsanto, a former dancer who studied under Gaultier before launching his label in 2020.

Weinsanto told AFP his collection is a "declaration of love" to his generation, and inspired by young fellow designers.

In an unprecedented move, he brought some of those peers on to the runway, with Charles de Vilmorin (from Rochas) and Egonlab founders Kevin Nompeix and Florentin Glemarec parading clothes in their style, but with a "Weinsanto twist".

It was eclectic, featuring everything from regular denims to theatrical, overblown "black widow" dresses.


Models included all shapes and ages / © AFP

One plus-size model paraded in little more than bondage ties, while another sported a white dress with a huge lipstick kiss across the breast, and another filled the catwalk with gigantic white head-dress.

- 'We want escapism' -

Freshly decked out in bright orange hair, the designer said people were looking for "creativity, freedom, madness and humour" in their outfits at the moment.

The image of 1990s designers who gossiped nastily about each other has gone out of style, he added.

"No one wants that anymore," said Weinsanto. "We want a game among friends, a family reunion... We want escapism."

Like many of his generation, there is a focus on sustainability -- with almost all his designs made from surplus stock from other brands -- and inclusivity.

The clothes are designed for "both mother and daughter," he said, and the models included all ages and sizes, with smiles and dancing that were a clear link to Weinsanto's mentor.

- Metaverse -

Further nods to the zeitgeist: Weinsanto also included a collection created specially for K-Pop superstars Lightsum, who appeared virtually via holograms at an after show party.

That digital collection will be sold as NFTs in the metaverse.

Weinsanto said he was fascinated by online fashion, even if he didn't see it as crucial to the industry.

"You can really free yourself," he said. "I want to go beyond 3D."

More than 100 brands feature in the official calendar for Paris Fashion Week.

Almost all are back to live runway shows following the shift online during the Covid-19 pandemic, including Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney and Issey Miyake.


All eyes are on Victoria Beckham, who makes her first appearance at Paris Fashion Week / © AFP/File

But all eyes are on Victoria Beckham, who makes her first appearance at Paris Fashion Week after previously showing in New York and London.

Beckham's brand has struggled to turn a profit despite strong reviews since she launched as a designer in 2008, and a newly reorganised back office is hoping for a boost in Paris.