Designer Walter Van Beirendonck's collection featured clothes with "Stop Terrorizing Our World" emblazoned on the front, and showed that even in its elite bubble the fashion world isn't completely immune to world events.
Actor Louis Garrel arrived late at Valentino and joined "The Hobbit" star Luke Evans and pop star Stromae in the front row. But it was a pared-down celebrity pack at this, the day's biggest show, following previous seasons' big-hitters such as Will Smith.
Here are the highlights of day one of the fall-winter 2015 shows, including show reviews for Valentino, Raf Simons and Julien David.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
Fashionistas chatted away to each other at Valentino of half-empty planes from New York and eerily silent Paris hotels. Others dramatized stories of their relatives imploring them to avoid Paris altogether after the attacks that left 17 victims and three gunmen dead this month, which included a strike on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
"Of course, the show must go on — but I hope even in this quite privileged milieu we keep an eye on everyday reality," said fashion designer Alessandro Sellaretti, attending the Valentino show inside the posh Hotel de Rothschild.
"The catwalk is a window for the collections and they're designed to make people dream, but it's also there to boost fashion's economy, as it's also taken a hit. You can't completely cover things up," he added.
Others were more defiant.
"I've had a lot of people tell me this week 'Don't go to Paris!' But if I didn't come, then the terrorists have won," photographer Ed Kavishe said.
One 22-year-old fashion student, Dumitrita Negoita, was blase: "Can I tell the truth? Well, I think that fashion is a business, so nobody cares."
Fashion designers Nicolas Ghesquiere, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and model Caroline de Maigret have expressed their support for journalistic freedom by posting "Je suis Charlie" and the symbolic image of a pen on social media.
VALENTINO'S BOLD PATTERNS
The starting point for Valentino's diverse show was the 1920s' Ballets Russes.
The Russian movement's famed founder Sergei Diaghilev worked with the greatest artists of the time, including Pablo Picasso, to create incredible costumes and sets. And in this menswear show, the Italian house drew on the strong, colour-rich geometry of these artistic collaborations — with a dash of the Sixties.
Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli produced an angular, often sharp, and pattern-rich display — with myriad references including Scottish tartan and the now-signature militaristic camouflage.
There were some enviable looks: like the luxuriant green and brown shot silken fitted suits, or the oversize statement coats.
Geometric patterns on sweaters and in fastidiously detailed coats, elsewhere, came across sometimes as Sixties, and, elsewhere, as almost Balkan.
It further explored the current mania for ethnic-looking motifs.
Bold colours — mid-blues, golden brown and burgundy — set the patterns alight.
But was the palette a tad too bold for the average Joe?
RAF SIMONS GETS RAW
There is an increasing rawness and informality at prominent Belgian designer Raf Simons' shows.
It's perhaps to do with the new standing-only policy where guests huddle haphazardly together, which does away with the elite hierarchy that the seated collections bring.
But in Wednesday's fall-winter show, the rawness appeared again in the deconstructed nature of the clothes and the unfinished set: metal scaffolding which featured beam lights and messy colored film.
In the 41 looks, edges were often frayed on long, voluminous column silhouettes in grey and blue, broken up with flashes of crimson and canary yellow. Flappy beige trench coats had sleeves torn off. White chemistry-class aprons featured hand-drawn doodles. And hair was made to look like it was styled by a greasy and rebellious adolescent.
Down points included the repetition of a hummingbird motif which seemed uninspired and frayed holes in high-school-style knitted tank tops that didn't look particularly original, or classy.
But Simons got top marks for some highly original silhouettes: like a sartorial, minimalist jerkin that hung down like a college dandy.
JULIEN DAVID'S SPORTY TEDDY BOY
It was a confident collection from one of the rising stars in menswear, Julien David — that could be summed up as the 50s-man-gets-sporty.
Broad and baggy suit jackets in charcoal grey and black were almost fit for 1950s screen legend Robert Mitchum.
But the smarter elements were broken up with the French designer's signature love of casual.
Untucked white shirts came alongside loose ties, lop-sided tie pins and scruffily open coats — perhaps to conjure the image of leaving work in haste.
Hair bands, baggy shorts and shades, meanwhile, gave this collection a sporty edge. Proceedings were given more complexity with smart references to Japanese wardrobe, like Samurai straps or voluminous layers on a boxy silhouette.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP