Why TV stars shine brighter than models at fashion week

Men’s Fashion Week, which is actually closer to two weeks, wrapped up last weekend. It may interest you. You may not. Or, you may have already seen Kylie Jenner bobbing a foam lion’s head through Paris at couture shows and she promptly deleted Instagram. In any case, I was about to kick off this new issue of Fashion Statement by explaining because we write about these shows, because in all honesty, I had the same question before writing about them.

But instead I’m going to talk about how I am, because that’s the question I get asked the most. Yes, these are fashion shows with catwalks, air conditioning and curious snacks (ginger shots at Givenchy, scotch eggs at Kenzo do). But the most interesting part, at least for the outside world, is who is there. Fashion Week might be about the clothes and the runway might be its red carpet, but front row is where fashion meets popular culture.

Playing bingo with The White Lotus Season 2 cast and Emily in Paris was a particularly highlight in Milan and Paris. From the first, Adam DiMarco (Albie) attended his “first show!!!” from Prada; Simona Tabasco (Lucia) and Sabrina Impacciatore (Valentina) were beaming at JW Anderson, while Will Sharpe (Ethan) and Theo James (Cameron) were at Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani respectively. Meanwhile, we saw Emily in Paris’s Camille Razat (Camille) at Kenzo, Lucien Laviscount (Alfie) wearing a skirt for Louis Vuitton, and Paul Forman (Nicolas) cheering on the chef himself, Lucas Bravo, who also did the model in a show.

Things seemed smooth enough until Sharpe appeared again at Loewe and a fellow editor saw Leo Woodall (Jack) on the Eurostar. The White Lotus is the better show of the two. And when it comes to sartorial scope, that obviously won out too. We can only hope that Jennifer Coolidge plays her part at next month’s women’s shows…

It’s worth mentioning that they rarely seat reporters next to celebrities at shows. Usually, we can see them but can’t touch them, the walkway playing its Stygian role in keeping us apart. Though at Prada, they usually just hook up a projector behind their seats so you’re blindsided long before you can steal a glimpse.

Incidentally, the guest I saw the most was director Luca Guadagnino, who sneaked into almost every Milanese fashion show unnoticed, and even went to Paris to see Loewe. His interest in fashion will not be new to anyone who has seen his films. Just look at the mid-80s micro shorts in Call Me By Your Name, or Susie’s printed dress in Suspiria, inspired by the designs of Louise Bourgeois. Guadagnino is evidently more interested in trends than in creating period costumes and when I spoke to him after the Prada show, he told me that his favorite looks weren’t big coats but men’s suits in chamois. Later, I saw him having dinner with Loewe’s designer, Jonathan Anderson. All of which is to say that we can expect to see Timothée Chalamet in a suit and some wellies at the Oscars.

Sometimes a celebrity appearance is contractual, because stars are brand ambassadors. The growing prevalence of K-pop acts such as Taeyang at Givenchy, Jimin at Dior and BTS’ Suga at Valentino, are designed to make me feel old or to show the fiscal appeal of the East Asian market. For me, it just makes getting to my seat more stressful. (The crowds outside Dior were absolutely crazy.)

Compared to the women’s shows, the front row at the men’s shows is usually refreshingly thin: absent Vogue titans Anna Wintour and Edward Enninful. The only shows the Beckhams attended were Rick Owens and Dior. All of which tends to make celebrity sightings even juicier. My only real issue is the lack of spoiler alerts when celebrities wear the clothes we’re about to see on the runway. See: Kylie Jenner and the lion in her wardrobe.

For labels, it’s also about the halo effect: put the right faces in the front row and the likes will follow. But for the rest of us, it’s simply a sign that we’re right about finding these things interesting to look at. As for because we cover fashion week, we will get there in due time, don’t worry. Thanks for reading!

The To measure

Going up

Williamsburg wallet | That is the new Birkin of Brooklyn. It took 300 seconds for “thousands and thousands” of Telfar wallets to run out.

Maxi men’s clothing | Nothing against Harry-Styles in ball gowns, but slightly longer skirts in heavier fabrics, as seen on Lucien Laviscount at Louis Vuitton and Robert Pattinson at Dior as well as Luar, Givenchy and Gucci, are the new winter wear for men.

Pinge | Cooper ruined bangs by impregnating it with trauma in Emily in Paris. He tries on Kylie Jenner’s fringe, which is really just the ponytail pulled up in front of her. Chicness without commitment.

Bodices | Spotted on Eddie Redmayne and Emma D’Arcy at the Golden Globes and on the spring/summer ’23 runways of Prada and Bottega Veneta. Flamboyant roses and enlivened peonies are key. Go to Etsy to emulate.

Walking down

Spenny’s Basics | $70 for a plain white tank top? TikTok says it’s okay. We blame Prada for starting this trend.

FOMadonna | We have it. You have a ticket. Enough of the Material Girl posts!

Pencil-thin eyebrows | Trust us millennials: Pinch like Rita Ora and you’ll live to regret it.

Tablescaping | Fireplaces and fireplaces, meaning what you put on your mantel, is the new surface. Stained glass candle holders, dried flowers and donut vases are all over Instagram. Try saving up for a cheaper outlet.

Readings of the week

Refinery29 looks at what happened to Lush bath bomb enthusiasts. Photography: Anastasiia Krivenok/Getty Images

What to click

Piano: Cate Blanchett impresses with power chic fashion in Tár

Hipster: The return of Y2K’s most debauched trend

Dior revives the spirit of Josephine Baker as a beacon on the runway

Gen Z Yellow: Will young people ever embrace the new ‘it’ colour?

Paris Men’s Fashion Week AW23: Highlights – in pictures

Style clinic

Jess Cartner-Morley solves your wardrobe dilemmas

President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Trogneux

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Trogneux. Photography: Chesnot/Getty Images

Q: How should I tie my scarf? Simon, 34, Manchester

A: Great question, Yes. I’m writing this dispatch from the couture shows in Paris, where it’s even colder than in London. Here, everyone folds the scarf lengthwise and joins the two ends through the loop. Yes, exactly like Emmanuel Macron.

I don’t like this look – nothing personal, Monsieur President, I find the asymmetry off-putting – but it has a vaguely refined feel. Here is my alternative suggestion. Start with the scarf draped so it falls evenly on each side, then wrap each length once. Not too tight. Fluff the ends so they aren’t sad and scruffy. Not Rowan Atkinson’s gift wrap in Love Actually, just a little zhuzh. Now run! Or you will miss the train.

You have yours matter of style? Send to fashionstatement@theguardian.com

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