Updated: Wed, 26 Jun 2013 03:51:30 GMT | By Agence France-Presse

Paris fashion week kicks off

After London and Milan, Paris on Wednesday picks up the fashion baton with the start of nine days of catwalk collections for 2014 kicking off with menswear and ending with haute couture.


Paris fashion week kicks off

Raf Simons, artistic director of Dior, pictured at the end of his Croisiere 2014 show in Monaco on May 18, 2013. Paris fashion week begins with shows by Simons, who will be showing his own label's latest collection, and French designer Julien David.

The week begins notably with shows by Tokyo-based French designer Julien David and Belgium's Raf Simons, the artistic director of Christian Dior who will be showing his own label's latest collection.

Five days of menswear for spring/summer 2014 will round off on Sunday with Saint Laurent designer and champion of the pencil-thin skinny suit Hedi Slimane's second menswear collection for the label following a grunge dominated debut.

The intense interest in the French designer's work comes as men's collections become ever more important commercially.

"Before men's was in retreat (compared to womenswear) but today brands are making a lot of money thanks to men's," fashion consultant Jean-Jacques Picart told AFP.

The season's most unmissable collection, however, is scheduled for Monday, the first of four days of haute couture for autumn/winter 2013/2014, when Christian Lacroix returns to Paris fashion for the first time in four years.

The darling of 1990s fashion editors will present 18 pieces paying tribute to Elsa Schiaparelli, the Italian designer who died in 1973 and famed for her collaborations with Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau.

The label, which closed in 1954 after failing to adapt to post-war austerity, was officially reopened in July 2012 having been purchased in 2006 by Diego Della Valle, head of the Italian leather goods company Tod's.

Lacroix lost his his fashion house in December 2009 when a Paris bankruptcy court approved a plan to end production of the classic label's haute couture and ready-to-wear lines.

The house had run up losses of 10 million euros (about 15 million dollars) in 2008 after being hit by the sharp downturn of the luxury market.

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