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The impact of the Olympics on Paris Fashion Week: Professionals tell their stories

By Julia Garel


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Place de la Concorde is transformed into a construction site for the construction of the ephemeral Urban Park in the run-up to the Olympic Games. Credits: ERIC BRONCARD / Hans Lucas via AFP

To leave Paris in the hands of the Olympic Games, the Fédération de la Mode et de la Haute Couture (FMCM) brought forward the dates of the Men's Fashion Week from 18 to 23 June 2024. Despite this precaution, the fashion event - which is organised around the FHCM's official calendar and an off-site diary - is set to be impacted by the global sporting event, whose opening ceremony will take place on 26 July.

When interviewed by FashionUnited, several press agencies reported logistical difficulties and said they had seen a reduction in the number of brands taking part in Paris Fashion Week, dedicated to the men's spring/summer 2025 collections. This is particularly the case for the Lucien Pagès agency, which is responsible for the catwalks of several major names in luxury goods: "This is essentially due to the rise in prices and the logistical complications that the Paris Olympic Games may entail," explained Daniel Urrutia, fashion public relations specialist at Lucien Pagès, in an email. The agency has no plans to set up special systems to operate during the Olympic Games: "We will have to adapt and continue to operate as efficiently as possible despite the constraints that may arise," he continued.

The capital will be forced to close several major roads. Some roads will no longer be accessible to transport, notably the Cours la Reine, between the Alexandre III and Invalides bridges, the Alexandre III bridge and the low quays nearby. The Place de la Concorde has also been closed since the beginning of June, and the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais will not be accessible.

"The choice of a venue for a presentation and/or a fashion show must be made by weighing up the risks associated with ease of access (deliveries and guests)," noted Livio Facchini, founder of the Public Image PR agency. "So we're going to give preference to venues in areas less affected by traffic restrictions.” The director added that he has also seen a reduction in the number of brands present, and emphasised that men's and mixed labels prefer to postpone a press presentation until September.

Lyor Amar, founder of the agency of the same name, also said that many brands had cancelled shows, presentations and other events in June because of the Olympic Games. "Couture, on the other hand, seems to be less affected," he added. FashionUnited found that other professionals shared the same opinion regarding Haute Couture Week (24 - 27 June).

Stephanie Veuriot, manager of the Autrement PR agency, talks about the difficulty of finding venues: "We represent the Prototypes brand, which hijacks and recycles sportswear, so we were looking for a sports ground (gymnasium, tennis courts, football pitch) and all we got was a refusal from the Paris City Hall events department. Priority was given to the Olympics and to maintaining sports classes for the city's residents". The company had finally opted for a tunnel on the banks of the Seine before learning that these would be closed in preparation for the opening ceremony.

Stephanie Veuriot confided that she had to turn down an assignment for a foreign sportswear brand that wanted to put on a show at the end of July to attract the fashion press, and regretted that the agency and its team have found themselves "as is very often the case, quite alone in finding solutions that do not jeopardise the smooth running of the company".

Showrooms: Between absence and opportunity

As far as the showrooms are concerned, opinions seem to be mixed. Talk-studio sees the Olympics as an opportunity to boost its business through partnerships with sports brands. While The Clothette showroom - which has a portfolio of around 30 brands - has chosen to start its sales early (at the beginning of June rather than in mid-June as is usually the case) and has planned to organise visits for buyers who will not be travelling this season.

However, the absence of Italian showrooms is making itself felt. Giacomo Piazza, co-founder and director of Milan showroom 247 (which distributes around 40 brands), told FashionUnited that he and other leading international showrooms had decided to limit themselves to Milan for the June/July market.

"We love Paris and consider it as much our home as Milan, but we think we will provide a better service to buyers and our client brands if we only sell in Milan for this first stage of PE25," Piazza said by email. He added: "Of course, the complication of logistics, accommodation and travel costs, etc. has led many buyers, and therefore brands, to extend their stay in Milan and reduce their stay in Paris. We also evaluated our cost perimeter and decided to take fewer financial risks in view of all these challenges".

The prices charged by hoteliers in Greater Paris during the Olympic Games are higher than during the normal period, with an average price of 381 euros during the Olympic Games, compared with 202 euros in July 2023 and 161 euros in August 2023 (source: Paris Tourist Office May 2024 barometer).

The official Fashion Week, coordinated by the FHCM, was organised in consultation with a number of public authorities (the Préfecture de Police, the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (COJO), Paris City Hall and the relevant ministries) to ensure security and access to the venues. Beforehand, the Federation submitted 260 locations often used by brands for their presentations and fashion shows to the authorities. More than 200 were approved by the Prefecture of Police. In addition, there will be six shuttles for accredited professionals, compared with the usual two.

As of 5 June, the number of accreditations (which continue to be registered right up to the last minute) communicated by the FHCM to FashionUnited was equivalent to last season (258 compared to 263).

As a reminder, in addition to the Men's Fashion Week organised from 18 to Sunday 23 June, Paris will host the traditional Haute Couture Week (from 24 to Thursday 27 June) and Women's Fashion Week (from 23 September to Tuesday 1 October).

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.FR. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.

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