If you like your fashion with a healthy dose of drama, Paris Haute Couture Week is for you. The four-day event has just come to a close in the City of Lights, delivering everything from Céline Dion in dozens of sizzling looks to a ridiculous amount of feathers.
This isn’t your normal fashion week either – the clothes can’t just be bought online, but are custom-made and have a hefty price tag to match. In keeping with the tradition of couture craftsmanship and a healthy competition to outdo one another, fashion houses really pull out all the stops when it comes to putting on a show – read: plenty of memorable moments that won’t soon be forgotten.
Chanel Hits the Books
This was Chanel’s first couture show since Karl Lagerfeld passed away, so newly-appointed Creative Director Virginie Viard had a lot to live up to. Luckily, it was business as usual for the brand: an elaborate set and typically Chanel clothes.
Inspired by Mademoiselle Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s library in her Paris apartment, the Grand Palais was transformed into the chicest bibliotheque in town. The setting also served as a nod to the late Lagerfeld’s obsession with books. Models walked past heavily laden shelves, many of them wearing large spectacles showing that bookishness is “in” this season. Given the house’s A-list associations, the front row was saturated with stars, with everyone from Margot Robbie to Marion Cotillard in attendance.
Feathered Finery at Givenchy
Givenchy couture shows generally adhere to the “more is more” way of thinking, and this season was no different. With a punk attitude softened by multiple plumed creations, the French label served up both darkness and light. As one of the Duchess of Sussex’s favorite fashion houses, we’re already imagining a day where she might break with royal tradition completely, and wear one of these stunning creations to an outing instead.
Optical Illusions at Iris van Herpen
Iris van Herpen occupies a very special place between fashion and sculpture and, this season, the brand took inspiration from the moving, ‘kinetic’ sculptures of American artist Anthony Howe. The result was a range of dresses (if that’s the right term) that moved in the wind as the model walked the catwalk, managing to be both delicate and edgy at the same time.
An Artistic Extravaganza at Schiaparelli
Schiaparelli has a long history of creating wearable art; it regularly collaborates with artists (such as Salvador Dalí, to make the iconic lobster dress). With a new Creative Director at the helm, Daniel Roseberry, the house’s art tradition continues – the collection would be equally at home in a gallery as on the runway.
One of the highlights of the show was an appearance from legendary model Debra Shaw, resplendent in a slinky black dress and bright green mantilla. Couture shows are often seen to be less diverse than ready-to-wear, so it’s particularly refreshing to see a model of color in her 40s on the runway.
East Meets West at Elie Saab
Couture week is famed for big, opulent gowns fit for a princess, but this season, Elie Saab’s princess was tasked with uniting East and West. With Asian themes present alongside opulent European embellishment, the Lebanese designer sent some of Paris Haute Couture Week’s most elaborate creations down the runway.
An Emotional High at Valentino
Valentino is always a highlight of Couture Week, and it didn’t disappoint. It was a riot of color and textures, all beautifully crafted in celebration of the individual. At the end of the show, Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli did something unusual: he brought out all the petite mains (the seamstresses who make couture collections) and had them take a bow with him.
Afterwards, they all went and kissed Valentino Garavani – the man who founded the brand – making for a particularly emotional show. In addition to this tearful triumph, fashion greats like Lauren Hutton walked the runway, watched by other icons including Naomi Campbell and Céline Dion.
Céline Dion Steals the Spotlight
Speaking of Dion – forget about the shows because she’s the real gift of Couture Week. A true fashion lover, she’s a regular face in the front rows, and her style choices were perfect for the occasion. Whether she was wearing a Chanel bodysuit or a skirt that made her look a bit like Big Bird, you’ve got to love Dion for having a whole lot of fun with fashion. Couture Week has traditionally been seen as having quite a stiff upper lip, so the popstar brings some welcome irreverence to its proceedings.