Can Independent Fashion Brands Redefine Luxury in a World Obsessed with Price?

The fashion industry is obsessed with money right now. They talk about brands and labels that have too much or too little. And they also discuss the egregious problem of price inflation in fashion.

Vaquera’s opening remarks at Paris Fashion Week included a mention of money and the challenges independent designers face. Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee and others have been in the fashion industry for almost 10 years. They’re both successful but it’s still a challenge to scale an independent brand. They expressed this struggle both subversively and literally, with the most striking example being a bodycon dress in money print and a top with a rosette shoulder that featured the word “FAKE”, over the White House.

The collection was full of wearable and sellable items, but also cleverly designed. A top with breast holes, for example, or a pannier skirt with silver sequined embellishments were all examples. DiCaprio & Taubensee presented a variety of looks, including a denim look that was a standout. They also showed baggy suits and cool outerwear you might find on Vaquera fans or at Nordstrom.

Vaquera Fall RTW 2024
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EsterManas is another great independent name that opened the week in Paris. It’s helmed the Balthazar and Ester Delpierre duo, who have returned to the calendar following a one-year hiatus in order to recalibrate their business. Ester Manas, one of the very few brands on the Paris fashion scene that casts its shows with diverse body types, is back.

Manas showed this season a joyous, unbridled sense of confidence in her vision. Her husband is responsible for marketing and business. Her skintight, ruched dresses and separates as well as her new outerwear offerings and bags were a hit. Deleoierre & Manas’s fall collection, “Missed You,” is a loving love letter to those who have supported them and given them the space to develop their size inclusive approach. It will be interesting to see what they do next. No doubt, more women will begin to realize how good these clothes make them feel.

Ester Manas Fall/Winter ’24 Ready-to-Wear Gallery
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Maria Grazia Chiuri, the new creative director at Christian Dior, looked back to the Miss Dior era. Marc Bohan was the house’s creative director for almost 30 years, through the 1960s and 70s. Bohan launched a second line, Miss Dior, to appeal to young women who wanted more freedom with their clothing and did not want to adhere to the strict rules of haute couture.

Chiuri painted the words “Miss Dior”, in black, on simple skirts and trenches. He also honoured this idea of effortlessness with loose-fitted suits in black and white. The collection included lovely long knit dresses with open-work and denim jackets that go with everything. Chiuri’s collection was simple, but elegant, and well-marketed, but not too product-like.

Christian Dior Fall RTW 2024
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Anthony Vacarello showed a series of sexy, in-your face dresses made from sheer hosiery at Saint Laurent. Vacarello presented a unique vision, with a few coats, small accessories and a lot of sheer hosiery.

It was refreshing to watch a designer focus on an original idea instead of focusing on the merchandise. And in a season of so much practical outerwear and wearable, movable, trousers and blazers, the parade of sheer looks felt–if a little jarring–provocative.

Saint Laurent Fall 2020 RTW
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Brooke Bobb, the fashion news director for Harper’s Bazaar is responsible for all print and digital platforms. She was previously a senior editor at Amazon Fashion and a senior fashion writer at Vogue Runway.

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