Written by Fiona Sinclair Scott, CNN

Contributors Lea Dolan, CNN

The latest round of fashion shows in Paris marked a return to relative normalcy, as the balance between digital and in-person events tilted in favor of the latter, and more international guests returned to the city this week. to soak up the atmosphere.

Balenciaga stole the show when the brand – led by creative director Demna Gvasalia – presented its first haute couture collection 53 years after the house’s founding designer, Cristóbal Balenciaga, closed his couture business in 1968.


Ella Emhoff made her Paris Fashion Week debut at Balenciaga. Credit: Courtesy of Balenciaga

The 40-year-old Georgian designer, who has been designing ready-to-wear clothes for Balenciaga for six years, has unveiled an extensive collection of 63 looks. Jeans and t-shirts rarely make an appearance on the couture catwalks, but the show showcased a decidedly modern take on high fashion, mixing casual wear with formal dresses and Demna’s iconic supersize outerwear ( he prefers to use his first name only).

At the same show, newly-signed model Ella Emhoff (stepdaughter of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris) made her own debut, walking for the first time at Paris Fashion Week. Kanye was rumored to be in the audience, mysteriously disguised by a balaclava, and other prominent guests included Bella Hadid, Lewis Hamilton and Anna Wintour.

Each Chanel couture show features a bride. Notable wives include Lily Rose Depp, Linda Evangelista, Devon Aoki, and Kendall Jenner. This year Margaret Qualley played the role. Credit: Mikael jansson

Meanwhile, France’s enfant terrible, Jean Paul Gaultier, handed the reins of creation to Sacai designer Chitose Abe, who drew on the iconic brand’s archives to present her own take on Gaultier. His collection is the first in an ongoing series of guest designers who set to work with the house after Gaultier announced his retirement in January 2020.

Other highlights from the four-day event include Margaret Qualley’s (daughter of Andie MacDowell’s) bridal cameo at Chanel, Victor & Rolf’s playful take on royal fashion, and Iris Van’s skydiving models. Herpen.

Iris van Herpen.

Skydiving and tailoring both “give up the thrill of leaving out whatever holds you down,” Iris Van Herpen said in the collection’s notes. Credit: Alexandre aimard

The American label Pyer Moss was to close the concerts Thursday with a historic first. The brand’s founder and creative director, Kerby Jean Raymond, is the first black American designer to be invited to parade on the official Parisian haute couture calendar.

Unfortunately, the weather in Irvington, New York, where the show was to take place, had other plans. Just as guests began to arrive at the venue, the former residence of black entrepreneur Madame CJ Walker, a storm blew in forcing plans to be postponed until Saturday.

Click the gallery above for all the highlights and watch the Pyer Moss show live below Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

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