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At Heliot Emil’s Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2023 presentation on Tuesday (February 28), a model walked the runway while donning a combustible all-black outfit that had been lit on fire beforehand. An oversized hooded jacket, loose flared slacks with zipper detailing, chunky shoes, a little packed bag, a backpack, a baseball cap with a veil, and an additional sweatshirt knotted around the model’s waist completed the look.

Avril Lavigne and Tyga were among the audience who could be seen watching and whipping out their phones at the time. Video of the incident showed staff workers waiting with fire extinguishers. The company’s Instagram video has been seen more than 1.1 million times. A few social media users compared the appearance to Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen from the film “The Hunger Games,” who is known as “the girl on fire” who wears a dress made of flames.

Some asserted that the clothing was “taken” from unnamed smaller firms. Hunter Shires, a Brooklyn-based fashion blogger, claimed that the fashion industry’s use of gimmicks to attract attention is getting “old” and that firms are relying too heavily on social media for buzz and sales.

This year’s Paris Fashion Week included a variety of eccentric looks, such as the topsy-turvy gowns unveiled by designers Viktor & Rolf in January. The 18 glistening shapes, which were a part of the brand’s spring haute couture collection, were fashioned diagonally, sideways, and upside-down; one model even gave the impression that her dress was impaling her.

Paris Fashion Week, which runs through March 7, is certain to generate more vehement discussion on what constitutes fashion. Some, though, are urging a departure from gimmicks and a return to clothing that puts quality and sustainability first.