Christian Cowan, the British-born, New York-based designer whose bright, voluptuous gowns have been worn by celebrities including Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Cardi B and Lil Nas X, will put on a show during Paris Fashion Week, featuring a performance by singer Sam Smith. The event will take place at the American Cathedral in Paris on Sept. 28.
Many standout American brands, including The Row, Vaquera, Rick Owens — and this year, Peter Do — opt to show in Paris. Cowan will not be on the La Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode’s official schedule, which is invitation only. But, the move is intended to lend the designer’s namesake brand — and name — a new sort of credibility.
“A lot of the brands I adore are European … if you want things to happen, you’ve got to be in the room,” said Cowan.
Cowan also sees showing in Paris as an opportunity to refresh his label as he looks to scale up the business. The designer opened his first store, which has since closed, and launched a line of basics including underwear, shirts and sweatpants in 2022. The show will feature around 65 looks, nearly double the amount he showed in his Autumn/Winter 2023 collection in New York in February, the debut of a new logo and Cowan’s first handbag (outside a collaboration with Motorola in 2020), on sale beginning Oct. 3. Paris Fashion Week typically draws a number of international celebrities, who could help boost Cowan’s brand.
“Businesswise, it makes sense for us. We want to drum up hype. Every single thing was pointing to showing in Paris,” said Cowan.
Cowan and Smith — who don’t comment on their relationship but are frequently pictured together attending events, including Cowan’s Autumn/Winter 2023 show — have collaborated before. Smith wore a look by Cowan in their “I’m Not Here To Make Friends” music video, released in January.
Even with a headliner, standing out in Paris, between big-budget behemoths like Chanel, Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton and buzzy independent labels including Coperni, Y/Project and Casablanca will be no easy task for Cowan. Mugler and Maison Margiela will also return to the schedule this year. Cowan’s event is scheduled for right after the Isabel Marant show.
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Mugler and Maison Margiela are also slated to return to the Paris womenswear calendar for Spring/Summer 2024, which is set to run from Sept. 25 to Oct. 3.