The 7 Biggest Trends at Paris Fashion Week Fall 2020

As fashion month enters its final weekend, here are the top fashion and footwear trends that have emerged from Paris Fashion Week’s fall ’20:

1. Checks and Balances

The perennial autumn pattern is making itself known again this season, after showing up on quite a few runways at New York Fashion Week. At Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri continued her parade of tartans, upgrading from the red-and-black buffalo checks of fall ’19 to more nuanced motifs like argyle and glen plaids. Both Wandler and Laurence Dacade showed mini dogstooths (the former on boots and a square toe slide with ankle chain; the latter on sling backs and cozy two-strap sandals. At Dries Van Noten, an electric blue plaid pumped up a deliciously dark show.

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2. Platforms March On

Flat, sensible knee boots have been trending for all of fashion month, but Paris stepped things up a bit — literally. The platform trend of the past two seasons is still going strong here. Alexandre Birman presented an entirely new platform shape designed to diminish a high pitch while keeping things… high. Meanwhile on the runway, Rick Owens kept up his apocalyptic high-steppers, this time with medical looking clear rubber uppers (and matching gloves). Dries Van Noten also stayed with his platform boot as the canvas for any and all decoration, and Hedi Slimane’s Celine collection had deceptively high platforms in neutral leathers.
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Velvet embellished platforms at Rochas fall ’20.

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Alexandre Birman gold platforms for fall ’20.

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Platforms at Dries Van Noten fall ’20.

3. Brown Out

Like every other fashion week of the season — and countless street style looks — fall ’20 is full of varying shades of brown, from greige to espresso. At Balmain, Olivier Rousteing used the entire palette on everything from coffee-colored, mahogany sculpted-leather bodice tops and camel capes to café con leche boots (Mugler also sculpted brown leather into a breastplate-like top and matching trousers). At Chloé, too, Natacha Ramsay-Levi used undertones of brown everywhere, including on stacked heel ankle booties complete with double monk straps and even a kiltie. Elsewhere, brands like CelineNina RicciRochas and Kenzo all included the brownish khaki hues.

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Model Liya Kebede in shades of brown at Balmain fall ’20.

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Chloé’s double-monk strap stacked heel for fall ’20.

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A brown leather look at Hermès fall ’20.

4. The Clunky, Chunky Shoe

Of all the footwear trends of the upcoming and current season, none have been more pervasive than the chunky everyday boot, brogue or loafer. Decidedly men’s inspired, it’s quickly become the favored footwear of everyone from designers and models to influencers and editors. Mostly devoid of hardware and decoration, it often has a large rounded toe and sizable flatform rubber sole — and a definitive Dr. Martens vibe, too. On the runway, Valentino paired them with red tulle dresses, while Pierre Hardy actually sized down some of his men’s styles for his fall ’20 women’s collection. Even the usually delicate Alaïa did a chunky brogue, complete with its mini studding.

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Valentino’s big chunky boots for fall ’20.

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Pierre Hardy’s men’s-inspired women’s suede boot for fall ’20.

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A chunky brogue at Alaïa fall ’20.

5. Slick chicks

From latex to patent leather, head to toe, fall ’20 is taking on a lot of gloss. Latex was in almost every look at Saint Laurent, from dresses and blouses to pencil skirts and slouchy boots. A slouchy thigh-high boot in patent leather was also a key silhouette at Balmain, which was also a high gloss collection. Footwear designers like Wandler and By Far also made sure to include a few patent versions (though it was not the basis of their collections).

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Saint Laurent fall ’20.

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Patent leather head-to-toe at Balmain fall ’20.
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By Far’s patent leather boot from fall ’20.

6. Adverse Conditions

Plenty of designers have been thinking about how they can add practicality to glamour when it comes to footwear, especially for inclement weather (at long last!). While Milan’s interpretations were a bit clunky (in the form of rain boots at both Prada and Versace), in Paris it was all about incorporating technical details to more nuanced styles. This was the basis for much of Laurence Dacade’s new collection, where she added rubber soles to some of her après-ski-inspired boots, including one that was also inspired by Girl Scouts (the French version). On the runway, Kenzo and Christian Dior also got into some rubberized details.
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A rubber-soled boot at Kenzo fall ’20.

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Christian Dior’s white rubberized boot for fall ’20.
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A winter boot by Laurence Dacade for fall ’20.

7. Purple Reign

Rich, grape-hued silks, satins and other textures are giving Paris’s fall ’20 collections a luxuriously dark tinge, from pleated gowns at Andrew Gn and Koche to violet details all around at Dries Van Noten. Expect to see more of this color come spring ’21.
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A pleated purple gown at Andrew Gn fall ’20.

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An all-purple look at Dries Van Noten fall ’20.
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A bias-cut purple satin dress at Koche fall ’20.