From 5th July, Haut Couture week began in Paris, with many shows from designers being hotly anticipated - not least because it has been a while since they have shown live. And they didn’t disappoint. I love Couture week - it is a week of unashamed glamour and the occasional trip to fantasy land and don’t we all need that at the moment.
The overall impression was one of sparkle and shine, wearable silhouettes and luxurious materials.
Daniel Roseberry for Schiapparelli, presented “The Matador”, lavish jackets, over the top dresses and shoes and accessories which are works of art in themselves. The “wow” effect was definitely there.
Dior was next, following their Resort show held in Athens. The Haute Couture show was held in the Museé Rodin with the backdrop of the work of the French Eva Jospin, an embroidered tapestry that will remain on display in the museum, which focuses on the art of embroidery typical of haute couture and the Maison Dior.
There were some beautiful shapes and the occasional “wow” piece, the overall effect was sombre which I admit to be disappointed in.
Giambattista Valli presented his Haute Couture in Paris against the backdrop of the former headquarters of the Communist Party designed by the architect Niemeyer. This gave a stark contrast to the fairytale princess dresses of frothy tulle, which was dramatic in the extreme.
The second day gave us Chanel. The show was held in front of a small audience at the Palais Galliera, the fashion museum in Paris, but was then broadcast online with a short movie by Sofia and Roman Coppola. It was wonderfully “Chanel”, with Virginie Viard producing a colourful and playful collection of tweeds and silks. Closing the show was Margaret Qualley, the muse of the maison, in the wedding dress.
My favourite show of the whole week has to be Giorgio Armani - Armani Privé. He called it his “Shine” collection and was held in the halls of the Italian Embassy in Paris. And did it ever shine?! Trousers, skirts, dresses and tube tops, shone in iridescent fabrics, topped with velvet jackets, dresses in lame organza, silk and sequins shimmered under the lights. The colours were blues and pinks, greys and beiges, but oh so beautiful and the silhouettes were eminently wearable - as were the shoes with their low, elegant heels. I predict that these will be seen all over the highstreet soon!
On Wednesday it was the turn of Balenciaga, presenting their fist haute couture show in 53 years, by the creative director, Demna Gvasalia. This was a mixture of the heritage of Cristobel Balenciaga and the future with Demna.
Chitose Abe’s collection for Jean Paul Gaultier was a homage to the punk combined with classic style synonymous with Gaultier - think deconstructed suits, denim dresses made from jeans, patterned tights with heavy boots and loud tartans.
Victor & Rolf took us firmly into the land of fantasy, with Alice in Wonderland Queen of Hearts type outfits walking to the sound of "Always wear your invisible crown!"
Lastly came Fendi. Creative director Kim Jones presented his second couture collection featuring supermodels Kate Moss (also featured in Kim's debut show), Christy Turlington and Amber Valletta.
Each creation harked back to Fendi’s DNA in Rome, with delicate shades of neutral colours and marble.
The week ended with a sigh of relief that life was getting back to normal, but also with a sense of optimism which was reflected in the designs.
The Paris Haute Couture week closed on Thursday, but Maison Valentino announced an exclusive show which is to be off-calendar on July 15th. This is to be held in Venice at Le Gaggiadre at the Arsenale, where the Venice Biennale is normally exhibited. Pier Paolo Piccioli chose this location as a gesture of love for the city and to bring together other artists. I am very excited to see it and will be reporting on it next time!
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