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Paris Haute Couture Week: 28 dazzling looks and the designers behind them

The shows are a testament to the talent of some of the world's most respected fashion creatives, who wield the power to surprise and shock in equal measure

Twice yearly, the fashion world waits with bated breath for the couture shows, and the outpouring of unrestricted creativity that it signifies. Entirely handmade, this universe may feel disconnected to the real world. Yet, despite the hours of work and staggeringly high prices, the ideas unleashed here go on to influence what we will all be wearing next year. Haute couture is the epicentre from where ready-to-wear creations (and the­ facsimiles that end up on the high street) take their cues.

At this year’s autumn/winter shows, Givenchy’s artistic director Clare Waight Keller dedicated her 42-look couture collection to the label’s founder, the late Hubert de Givenchy. Entitled Caraman – after the house where Givenchy showed his first couture collection in 1959 – the show was a breathtaking journey through the founder’s signature silhouettes, including capes, the sack dress, and the boat neck (recently seen on Meghan Markle’s wedding dress).

Rami Al Ali delivered his 14th couture collection, this time choosing to focus on the patterning of art deco for inspiration.

Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior seemed to shun the razzamatazz of dressing for social media with her couture collection, choosing instead to focus on the beauty of understated gowns, and the importance of the women who make it, and those who ­actually wear it.

At Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld delivered a sonnet to Paris, set on a re-creation of the banks of the River Seine (complete with art sellers) in predominately gritty greys that reflected the surrounding buildings.

Giambattista Valli, meanwhile, looked to a newer, younger audience for his collection, with multiple looks of bandeau tops and exposed midriffs, which instantly excludes any woman over the age of 20.

For Maison Margiela, John Galliano seemed to be exploring ideas about global nomads, and the notion of – literally– carrying one’s life on one’s back, sending out looks that were walking jumble sales of layering.

More surrealism appeared at Jean Paul Gaultier, in the form of column dresses topped with rectangular Perspex capes in an almost entirely monochromatic collection.

Zuhair Murad really threw down the gauntlet to his atelier with this collection, which was so heavily beaded and embroidered, it must have challenged even his highly skilled petit mains.

See pictures below:

Culled from The National