Laundress Lucca, Paris fashion show, and Ukrainian designers, oh my!

July 10, 2022

Laundress Lucca is just back from a whirlwind trip to Paris to absorb the designer couture shows revealing Spring 2023. As you may recall from our Louis Vuitton coverage in San Diego last month, Spring follows the Cruise season, which is really nothing more than a tease. Spring tends to have a broader reach as it’s not just catering to the wealthy that can afford warmer locales in winter. All the big names were there, Gucci, Balenciaga, Ferragamo, and Hermes, just to name a few. While the attendance at Louis Vuitton at Salk was a single brand show, fashion week in Paris is all-encompassing. It requires significant stamina and endurance as it’s common to hit 5 or 6 shows in one day, all of which are on opposite ends of town. Throw in the glitz and glamour of the parties and receptions in the evening, and you’re just plain exhausted by the time you roll into bed at 3am and up at 7am to hit another show. Regardless of your languishing hangover and throbbing headache from the copious amounts of Veuve Clicquot the night before, you still have to look your best and appear as put together as you possibly can, in spite of last night’s boozy affair.   

While there were a few glimpses of edited and flattering women’s collections, the bulk of women’s wear was focused on billowy fabrics in shimmering jade. And the oversized cardigans in lapis hinted of school-girl frivolity. Much like the LV show in San Diego, the giant caftans and unflattering tents make Laundress Lucca question the wearability and practicality of such nonsense. 


Many of the men’s-wear designers incorporated the evolution of the ways we interpret gender as a clever tool. This is the place to note that despite the prevalence of clutches, totes, purses, skirts, and various other frilly, feminine things, men’s wear this season focused on those who skew masculine. If you consider a guy wearing a veil and slinging a murse with legs like pipe-cleaners a fine display of machismo. Largely vanished were dual-gender presentations or much of the sexual ambiguity that marked pre-pandemic experimentation. Though gender fluidity is here to stay, this was not its moment on the Paris catwalks. Laundress Lucca relished in the fact that designers defaulted to historical evolution: Men, evidently, as feminine as they are, are the new men.

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Tom Browne – Laundress Lucca took her front-row seat just in time to bump into gal-pal Tess Testosterone. Tess is a La Jolla socialite and is indeed a fashionista but, in some circles, just a tragic fashion victim. That does not mean she doesn’t attend every global fashion event, premier, and opening. She’s also no stranger to dropping thousands of dollars on the right product. Just sometimes, her interpretation doesn’t align with what the designers intended. Perhaps evidenced by her last name, Tess Testosterone is indeed an expert consultant. Still, her specialty is all things provocative, naughty and male.

What made the show memorable was a raunchy detour into an attempt at naughty kink. Men’s skirts slung at swagger length were worn over red, white, and blue jockstraps that revealed a generous view of plumber’s…. let’s say, dorsal cleavage. That none of it was the least bit erotic was no surprise. Tom Ford let it all hang out in 1997 with the infamous Gucci G-string that now sells for $6000 on e-bay. Mr. Browne’s relationship with overt sexual heat is more subdued. Still, Laundress Lucca guarantees we will see those jockstraps on the trails and in the bushes at Blacks Beach next Spring. 

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Paris was sizzling, but it wasn’t just the sun blazing down on guests in all the outdoor venues. Again, there is a new gold rush, but this time the fortune seekers are leaving Ukraine for the runways and stages of Paris. The world becomes more global here, Laundress Lucca pointed out. According to the Federation de la Haute Couture, there were 76 physical shows and presentations and only 8 digital-only shows, basically the opposite of what it’s been for the last 3 years. 

We don’t have time to cover all the shows Laundress Lucca attended. Still, there were three brands that particularly stood out for being fresh, forward-thinking, and actually complementary to the human body. Not only was the fashion provocative, but the designer’s plight to bring it to shelves will be a monumental challenge accompanied by significant danger and fear. In chatting up the designers at a late-night soiree, they struck a soft spot in Laundress Lucca’s heart. She was left to ponder, how can we help, and how do we bring these fabulous garments to the global theater?



Missile Strikes, employees’ safety, and shopping deaths are among the many concerns that Ukrainian designers are facing. Yet, despite their lives and businesses uprooted by the Russian invasion, three Ukrainian designers somehow made it to Paris to share with the world their collections. While many companies have suspended operations or put their business on hold, Frolove’s Ivan Frolov, Paskal’s Julie Paskal, and Anna October are moving ahead regardless of the monumental obstacles they face. 

The suffering and destruction in their homeland remain very much top-of-mind. On Monday, the situation escalated after a Russian missile struck a shopping mall in Kremenchuk with 1,000 people inside, killing 10 and injuring dozens more. All three designers have stores in the decimated shopping center that remain closed. More than 8 million people have crossed the border from Ukraine in the past four months, according to the United Nations. 

While the notion of fashion might seem superfluous in the face of such hardship, Frolove and Paskal stressed how fueling the domestic economy is a way of fighting the Russian invasion. Before the pandemic in 2019, the Ukrainian fashion industry accounted for 16,000 jobs in apparel and footwear and 16,000 more in fabric manufacturing. That same year combined, they generated $1.18 billion in revenue. So, even though most of us have never even heard of Ukrainian fashion, Laundress Lucca deemed the product fabulous and stressed the prudent time for our support. 

In order to travel to Paris, Frolove required permission from Ukraine’s minister of culture. In late February, the Ukraine State Border Guard Service mandated that men between the ages of 18 and 60 were prohibited from leaving the country. Ukrainian officials have worked to create a professional army by employing people who understand how to fight unitedly and have a real passion for being soldiers, not necessarily combat soldiers Frolov said. “But they also know that another side is aware of the economy, and we should be strong to try to develop our businesses even in this situation to save our companies.” 

Outsiders need to remember that Ukraine is not only defending itself but all of Europe and “the whole world from the worst terrorist of the 21st century”, Frolov said. “It doesn’t mean they can’t live their regular lives, but they should be thinking about what’s happening in Ukraine every day.” “These people don’t have anything – anything! They are happy to receive any food or anything we can give them.” 

The designer just introduced three $420 sweatshirts that will benefit the Marsha Foundation, which helps children affected by the war. Each item has a hand-embroidered heart, an emblem of the country’s cultural heritage. Thirty master embroiderers were hired – triple the company’s normal amount – to work on the project. In more anime, the hearts are numbered individually to reflect how each human heart is unique. Dropping retailers in Russia and Belarus have ratcheted up the need for new accounts and a broader reach. The US is a benefactor as the plan is to focus on North American markets.  

The designer Anna October showed her spring collection that was made with help from a Ukrainian refugee tailor, Paris-based Institut Francais de la Mode. The rest of it was produced in her studio in Ukraine. Under her guidance via Zoom. October is also part of the “Spend With Ukraine.” The initiative highlights Ukrainian brands that ship internationally. The alliance is meant to support Ukrainian entrepreneurship. 

And just like that, it was time to rush back to San Diego for a three-day turnaround before heading to Palm Springs for the 4th. Both Terri Cloth and Tess Tosterone will be in attendance, with plenty of time to chat and gossip poolside. If the mood strikes Laundress Lucca, we may get a review of Air France first class from LAX to Paris, a suite at Plaza Athenee, and a much-deserved lunch at La Tour d’Argent. In situations with tight timelines, Laundress Lucca could never survive without the pick-up and delivery service she relies on from After unpacking from Paris, she schleps it to the porch, and 48 hours later, it arrives clean & fresh and ready for the next adventure. Next week look for Laundress Lucca’s synopsis on Palm Springs and the 4th of July. Perhaps we will see glimpses of Terri’s new boobs and Tess’s latest male enhancement. 

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