Surrealism and female-focus dominate day at Paris fashion week | Paris fashion week

“I’ve always been a girls’ girl. All of my friends are women,” Victoria Beckham said at a preview of her latest collection, shown in Paris on Friday evening. “I make clothes that they want to wear and that I want to wear.”

In Paris, female designers are pushing back against an industry which has been sliding back into patriarchal control. A series of influential creative director roles in womenswear being awarded to men, most notably the appointment of Seán McGirr to replace the outgoing Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, has provoked criticism that fashion is being mansplained to women.

Beckham arrived in Paris on crutches – she broke her foot at the gym – but on the front foot, with her label in the black for the first time.

“Beauty is doing incredibly well, and now fashion in its own right has turned into a profit. I feel that moving [the catwalk show] to Paris has really elevated the brand and now I can start building the house I’ve dreamed of.”

Chemena Kamali, the Chloé creative director, debuted her first collection for the brand. Photograph: Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images

Her show last night was interrupted by a protest from the animal rights group Peta. Activists held up signs saying “Viva Vegan Leather” in protest at Beckham’s use of animal products

The hit of Paris fashion week so far has been the debut of 42-year-old Chemena Kamali at Chloé. Kamali’s success is being felt as a victory for the notion of fashion as a space for women to spend their time, energy – and money – focusing on and expressing themselves, and prioritizing their own tastes and pleasures over those of others.

Naming her first collection Intuition, Kamali explained that she was “drawn to the woman-to-woman connection” represented by previous female designers at Chloé, including Phoebe Philo.

An activist from the animal rights group Peta protests during Victoria Beckham’s show on Friday. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

These women “fitted the clothes on themselves, intuitively questioning how things felt and what attitude they wanted to express – that was the magic formula”, Kamali told Vogue. The lace blouses and high-waisted jeans, blanket coats and soft leather boots delighted the audience, and phones at Chloé HQ have been ringing off the hook with calls from celebrity stylists.

Beckham, well aware that her own life is her label’s best advertisement, had hoped to wear her new “escalation” trousers, with an elongated wide cut “that makes the legs look extra long” on the day of her show. “But I’m a bit worried that if I catch one of my crutches on them, I might go flying and I don’t need another accident.”

Skiwear-inspired high necklines balance out Beckham’s extra-long trousers. “I love the sense of drama you get with a high neck and a strong shoulder,” she said. “Silhouettes will always be key.” Details were inspired by looking inside a wardrobe – a sweetheart neckline dress with a cushioned trim was inspired by padded coat hangers.

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Loewe has made surrealism mainstream. Photograph: WWD/Getty Images

At Loewe, the Northern Irish designer Jonathan Anderson continues to challenge the assumption that a brand has to choose between being avant garde and commercially profitable.

Loewe has made surrealism mainstream – spy Anderson’s influence in Beckham’s coat-hanger dress – and the actor Meg Ryan and the Louis Vuitton designer Pharrell Williams were among the A-list front row who gathered in the Chateau de Vincennes to watch a show which featured tracksuits Tailored from floral tapestry, coats with collars carved from wood and frock coats with exaggerated needle-sharp tails.

Dresses in the Loewe collection were decorated with giant belt buckles. Photograph: WWD/Getty Images

After the show, Anderson said its Saltburn-meets-Antiques-Roadshow-meets-White-Cube aesthetic was “about the tropes of class and taste, and where luxury meets the grotesque. The idea of ​​aristocracy feels so foreign now, almost nonexistent, and I find that interesting.”

Loewe can pull off outlandish eccentricity because Anderson has a visceral connection to how fashion is worn on the street.

Here, dresses were decorated with giant belt buckles, confirming that belts, rarely seen in recent years when low-slung trousers dominated, are back in the frame as the key accessory of the season.