University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Schiaparelli"

Haute Couture Renaissance: Spring 2024 Collections

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Chanel’s Spring 2024 haute couture fashion show. (Photo Credit: Su Shan Leong)

In a world marked by fast fashion and fleeting trends, the magnificent realm of haute couture stands as a beacon of unwavering elegance and artisanal excellence. The term “haute couture” itself invokes images of meticulous craftsmanship, exquisite fabrics, and runway shows that transcend mere fashion, evolving into wearable art. As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of style, one cannot help but ponder the relevance of haute couture today and acknowledge its enduring mark on the fashion industry.

Looks from Valentino’s Spring 2024 haute couture fashion show. (Photo Credit: The Impression)

The  words “haute couture” translates to “high sewing” in French, and this meticulous craftsmanship is at the heart of what makes it so unique and relevant. Unlike ready-to-wear collections that cater to mass markets, haute couture is a celebration of bespoke tailoring, where garments are meticulously crafted by skilled artisans to fit the individual client’s body like a second skin. This dedication to perfection ensures that each piece is not merely clothing but a work of art, an embodiment of the designer’s vision, and a testament to the client’s personality.

One might argue that haute couture is an anachronism in our fast-paced, digitally driven world, but it is precisely this anachronism that makes it so significant. In an era dominated by immediacy, haute couture is a reminder that true artistry takes time. The months spent handcrafting a single gown, the attention to every minute detail, and the emphasis on quality over quantity are a stark departure from the disposable nature of contemporary fashion. Haute couture embodies a philosophy of mindful consumption and an appreciation for the art of slow fashion.

Looks from Fendi’s Spring 2024 haute couture fashion show. (Photo Credit: CNN)

Beyond its intrinsic value, haute couture serves as the laboratory of innovation for the fashion industry. Designers who partake in this rarefied world push the boundaries of creativity, experimenting with avant-garde techniques, materials, and designs that often find their way into more accessible fashion later on. The runway shows become a visual symphony, where designers collaborate with skilled artisans, photographers, and makeup artists to create a mesmerizing experience that transcends the mere display of garments and produce some of THE most amazing social media images. Many of these posts are suitable for framing.

Looks from Robert Wun’s Spring 2024 haute couture fashion show. (Photo Credit: People)

The allure of haute couture extends beyond its aesthetic splendor. It is a powerful storyteller, reflecting the spirit of its time. Designers often draw inspiration from cultural, historical, or social influences, using their collections to make powerful statements or challenge conventional norms. Haute couture is a canvas for self-expression, allowing designers to weave narratives that resonate with the collective consciousness.

Furthermore, haute couture plays a pivotal role in sustaining traditional craftsmanship. In an era where technology threatens to replace skilled artisans with machines, haute couture remains a sanctuary for the preservation of age-old techniques. The ateliers are a haven for master embroiderers, seamstresses, and tailors whose expertise has been honed through generations. By investing in these crafts, haute couture ensures the survival of skills that might otherwise be lost in the relentless march of progress.

Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner are seen arriving at the Maison Margiela Fashion show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

And while Haute couture was filled with celebrity sightings such as Zendaya, Jennifer Lopez, the Kardashian and Jenner clan, Rihanna, and Natalie Portman to name a few, the stars did not outshine the triumphant return of Haute Couture at its best.

Looks from Christian Dior’s Spring 2024 haute couture fashion show. (Photo Credit: LVMH)

Of course, there were plenty of beautifully crafted pieces such as airy chiffon and tweed at Chanel, and Dior’s quiet luxury extravaganza. But there were a few shows that really broke the mold and pushed boundaries, that we are highlighting below:

MAISON MARGIELA

Video of Maison Margiela Haute Couture Spring Summer 2024 Collection. Video Courtesy of YouTube FF Channel.

John Galliano is a master at storytelling and for his Maison Margiela Couture Spring 2024 collection, the maestro turned out one of the most celebrated and emotional couture collections for the luxury fashion house to date. The show had it all, theatrical, rebellious, and oh so sexy. According to the house notes —it started with Brassai’s 1920s and ’30s portraits of the night-time underbelly of Paris’s clubs and streets.

This dark yet sexy inspiration turned into a dramatic work of art in Galliano’s hand. The extremely creative designer created a collection filled with extreme corsetry, padded hips, and erotically sheer lace dresses, paired with wildly imaginative hair, chiffon-masked makeup, and eerie doll-like body-modifications. “Galliano also created some scandalous hourglass dresses there was pubic hair to be seen through tulle and lace (they were merkins on underwear, but still bound to stir up a storm)” according to Vogue.

This certainly will be one show that will be praised for years to come as one of Galliano’s best and most theatrical for the House of Mason Margiela. And after years of Quiet Luxury fashion, we are all ready for dramatic fashion again.

SCHIAPARELLI

Video of Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring Summer 2024 Collection.  Video Courtesy of YouTube FF Channel.

In a galaxy far, far away….. Daniel Roseberry had ignited the Schiaparelli house into one of the most sought out brands in only a few short seasons, and for his Spring 2024 Couture Collection, he did not disappoint his A-List fans. His Sci-Fi meets Western-inspired collection came complete with a robot baby and all.

Roseberry looked to both the future and the past for inspiration. The creative director for Schiaparelli melded retro technology, classic sci-fi movies and a nod to his Texan childhood. He created an exquisite exoskeleton dresses and an entire 3D spine inspired by both Elsa Schiaparelli’s radical 1938 skeleton dress and Giger aliens from the Alien movie series. “Dressage braids” inspired the knots on a cream leather suit that nearly looked like it could have been a space uniform from NASA and let’s not forget the nestling robot baby on a model’s hip – she was wearing a white singlet and conceptual couture cargo pants—Roseberry’s tribute to Sigourney Weaver as Ripley. “I’ve watched the Alien series, like, six times,” he said in a backstage interview with Vogue.

As for Roseberry Texas roots, there were silver-tipped Western belt buckles which formed a corset, an intricate embroidered jacket with fringe detail, and let’s not forget the horse-tail gown that Zendaya rocked at the show.

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

Video of Gaultier by Simone Rocha Haute Couture Spring Summer 2024 Collection. Video Courtesy of YouTube FF Channel.

All eyes are on the Maison Jean Paul Gaultier as the illustrious designer, Simone Rocha takes the helm for the Haute Couture Spring 2024 show, a mesmerizing fusion of two visionary forces.

Simone Rocha, renowned for her poetic designs that seamlessly blend tradition and modernity, steps into the spotlight, bringing her signature ethereal touch to the hallowed halls of Gaultier.

The show opens with a flourish of cascading ruffles, paying homage to Gaultier’s bold and irreverent spirit. The juxtaposition of Rocha’s signature pearl embellishments against Gaultier’s iconic Breton stripes creates a visual symphony that resonates with both innovation and tradition. As each model glides down the runway, the fusion of these two design philosophies becomes a harmonious celebration of fashion’s ever-evolving tapestry.

The collection was filled with Gaultier-inspired pink cross-laced satin corsetry, and paid tribute to the house classics, turning his Breton stripes into a t-shirt made entirely of ribbons and bows.

Rocha also created exquisite haute couture ballgown—romantic-ballerina shapes made from layers and layers of tulle. It was a magnificent show that won the audience over—and according to Vogue, Rocha received a giant hug from Monsieur Gaultier himself.

So, tell us, what was your favorite haute couture show this season?

Veteran’s Day: Saluting Style & Strength

- - Fashion History

A look from Sacai’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

As we celebrated Veterans Day on November 11th, we honor the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces. It’s a day to express gratitude, admiration, and respect for the sacrifices made by our veterans. But beyond parades and solemn ceremonies, it’s also a moment to celebrate the influence of military history on the world of fashion. We will explore how military-inspired fashion has made its mark on runways and especially acknowledge the remarkable women who played a crucial role during World War II – the era that ignited a fashion revolution.

COMMANDING STYLE

A look from The Attico’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Military-inspired fashion has a long history of making a bold statement on runways worldwide. Drawing from the uniform designs of various armed forces, designers have incorporated elements such as epaulettes, camouflage patterns, trench coats, and combat boots into their collections. These garments, often imbued with a sense of authority and structure, have been embraced by fashion enthusiasts seeking to make a powerful fashion statement.

During and after World War II, the military look permeated the fashion world. The iconic trench coat, originally designed for British soldiers, found its place in civilian wardrobes. The “bomber jacket” was adapted from aviation uniforms, becoming a symbol of cool rebellion and youthful style. Even the classic sailor stripe and sailor collar, inspired by naval uniforms, continue to be timeless fashion staples. Join us on a sartorial journey as we explore the chic, commanding and timeless world of military-inspired fashion.

THE TIMELESS TRENCH COAT

A look from Maison Margiela’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The trench coat, born on the battlefields of World War I, has become a symbol of sophistication and versatility. Its distinctive double-breasted design, epaulettes, and weather-resistant fabric exude an air of authority and practicality. Whether cinched at the waist with a belt or left open for a relaxed look, the trench coat is a must-have for every fashion-forward fashionista.

MARCHING ORDERS

A look from Balenciaga’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Camouflage patterns, designed to help soldiers blend into their surroundings, have become a high-impact fashion statement. From cargo pants to jackets, the camo trend makes a bold and unapologetic impression. Celebrities, models, and street-style aficionados have all embraced this print, effortlessly fusing military precision with urban street style.

THE BOMBER

A look from Undercover’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Originally designed for aviators, the bomber jacket has transcended its utilitarian roots to become a symbol of rebellion and youth culture. Its ribbed cuffs, waist, and collar, give it an iconic silhouette that exudes a sense of edginess. Today, bomber jackets come in various materials and colors, making them a versatile addition to any wardrobe.

REGAL IN OFFICER’S ATTIRE

A look from Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Military-style blazers with gold buttons, brass details, and sharp tailoring, lend an air of formality and elegance. Inspired by officer’s uniforms, these garments exude authority and sophistication. Paired with jeans for a casual look or a sleek pencil skirt for a professional ensemble, military blazers are a timeless choice for those who ‘command’ attention.

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TIME FOR COMBAT

Prada’s iconic combat boots. (Photo Credit: Prada)

Combat boots, initially crafted for soldiers to withstand the rigors of the battlefield, have become a staple in fashion. With their rugged, no-nonsense appearance, they effortlessly juxtapose with dresses, skirts, and denim, adding a dash of punk rock attitude to any outfit.

EARNING YOUR STRIPES

A look from Schiaparelli’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The classic sailor stripe, inspired by naval uniforms, continues to be a timeless fashion staple. Breton stripes bring a nautical charm to any outfit and can be effortlessly incorporated into both casual and formal looks. Whether it’s a striped tee or a striped dress, this pattern always ‘anchors’ your style.

WOMAN OF VALOR

Women in the Army during WW2. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

On Veterans Day, we should also celebrate the unsung heroines who played pivotal roles during World War II, reshaping history and leaving an indelible mark. We’s like to honor those women of valor – the Rosie the Riveters, the Pin-up girls on the sides of warplanes, the nurses, the secretaries, and all the women who raised their children solo, while their men were off at war. We appreciate their wartime contributions through the ages and the heightened role they play in military service today.

ROSIE THE RIVETER

Rosie the Riveter Poster. (Photo Credit: U.S. Department Of Defense)

Rosie the Riveter, a symbol of female empowerment during World War II, became an icon of resilience and determination. With her rolled-up sleeves, red bandana, and a strong, confident demeanor, Rosie represented the countless women who stepped into factory roles to support the war effort. She inspired not only women in the workforce but also fashion trends with her practical yet stylish jumpsuit, the modern boiler suit, and the fashionable reimagining of the iconic polka-dotted bandana.

PIN-UP GIRLS

World War II,  U.S. Army Vintage Print Pin-up. (Photo Credit: Etsy)

In the midst of wartime uncertainty, pin-up girls adorned the sides of warplanes, bringing both beauty and morale to the frontlines. These alluring images, often featuring glamorous women in patriotic poses, became symbols of hope and inspiration for the troops. Today, the pin-up girl aesthetic continues to influence fashion, from high-waisted bikinis to retro-inspired dresses, capturing the playful and vintage appeal of that era.

ANGELS OF MERCY: NURSES

Navy nurses dressed in new uniforms, in the nurses quarters at Aiea Naval Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii, early March 1945 after liberation. (Photo Credit: Navel History and Heritage Command)

The nurses of World War II, often referred to as “angels of mercy,” played a vital role in caring to the wounded soldiers. Their courage, compassion, and dedication continue to be an inspiration. While their uniforms were functional and practical, their commitment to duty remains unmatched. Today, their spirit lives on in the clean lines and crisp whites of medical-inspired fashion, reflecting an air of professionalism and compassion.

SECRETARIAL DUTY

Women’s Army Corps during WWII. (Photo Credit: Britannica)

The secretaries, typists, and administrative assistants of the wartime era were the backbone of military logistics. They were tasked with managing the ever-growing volumes of paperwork and correspondence. Their contributions paved the way for modern office attire, with pencil skirts, tailored blouses, and sleek accessories. These outfits exemplify the blend of professionalism and elegance that marked the wartime working woman.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE

The Women’s Army Corps (WAC)  in WWII. (Photo Credit: National Woman’s History Museum)

So, this Veterans Day, as we remember and honor those who served, let’s also celebrate the intersection of style and strength – a legacy that endures through military-inspired fashion. These designs connect us to the past and continue to inspire us in the present, reminding us of the remarkable women and men who shaped history during wartime.

So, tell us, are you a fan of military-inspired fashion?

THE ENDURING MAGIC OF HAUTE COUTURE: FALL 2023

Backstage at the Iris Van Herpen Fall 2023 Couture Collection Runway Show. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Despite the backdrop of Paris protests, as a result of the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk, fashion’s elite indulged in the finer things of life and high tailoring during Haute Couture’s Fall 2023 season. Couture took center stage last week as fashion insiders and celebrities sashayed throughout the most fashionable city in the world. The Paris Couture season, which ran from July 3rd to the 6th, was jam packed with whimsical and fanciful creations and blew up every fashionista’s social media channel.

Cardi B rocks Couture Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Haute couture is the epitome of high fashion, it carries with it a rich history spanning over a century. From its origins in the late 19th century to its evolution into the modern era, haute couture has remained a symbol of creativity, craftsmanship, and timeless elegance. In today’s society, where trends come and go in the blink of an eye, it is worth exploring the roots of haute couture and examining its enduring relevance in shaping the fashion landscape.

THE HISTORY OF HAUTE COUTURE

A gown from House of Worth dated 1882. (Photo Credit: Met Museum)

The story of haute couture begins in Paris during the mid-19th century. It was Charles Frederick Worth, an Englishman residing in Paris, who is credited as the ‘father of haute couture’. Worth’s innovative approach involved creating custom-made garments for individual clients, departing from the prevailing practice of mass-produced attire. By infusing creativity, impeccable craftsmanship, and luxurious materials, Worth elevated fashion to an art form and set the stage for the birth of haute couture.

The early 20th century witnessed the rise of prestigious fashion houses that defined the golden era of haute couture. Designers such as Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent became synonymous with unparalleled elegance and sophistication. These designers crafted exquisite garments that reflected the spirit of their time, capturing the essence of societal shifts and women’s evolving roles. The allure of haute couture grew as these visionaries introduced iconic silhouettes, such as the “New Look,” and groundbreaking techniques that transformed the fashion landscape.

In today’s fast-paced world driven by fast fashion, mass production and rapid fashion trends, the artistry and enchantment of haute couture continues to shine as a beacon of beauty and craftsmanship. Those of us who value the talent of the petit mains who create these masterpieces in every designer’s atelier, know and respect the meticulous attention to detail that goes into creating these exquisite garments that transcend time. In today’s society, where individuality is cherished, the magic of haute couture remains an essential and awe-inspiring force.

THE RELEVANCE OF HAUTE COUTURE IN TODAY’S SOCIETY

Looks from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle)

As another season of haute couture has come to an end and the debate over whether or not couture is still revenant, no one can deny that the artistic expression and innovation was well worth it (not to mention the big marketing opportunities brands gain from  showing a couture collection). Haute couture serves as a canvas for designers to unleash their creative expertise and push the boundaries of fashion. It is a playground of innovation, where new techniques, materials, and silhouettes are explored. The avant-garde creations showcased in haute couture collections often serve as a source of inspiration for ready-to-wear lines, influencing trends and shaping the future of fashion.

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle)

A hallmark of haute couture lies in its impeccable craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. Each garment is meticulously constructed by skilled artisans, employing traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations. The use of luxurious fabrics, intricate hand-sewn embellishments, and delicate embroideries creates garments of unparalleled quality and splendor. Haute couture reminds us of the enduring value of artisanal work and the irreplaceable beauty of true craftsmanship.

In a world of mass production, where conformity often reigns, haute couture celebrates individuality and offers exclusivity. Just like a Savile Row suit, each haute couture garment is custom-made for a specific client, ensuring a perfect fit and reflecting their unique personality and style. It provides a luxurious experience that fosters a sense of identity and self-expression, allowing individuals to embrace their distinctiveness in a world of uniformity.

Haute couture plays a pivotal role in preserving cultural heritage and traditional craftsmanship. Collaborations between designers and skilled artisans ensure the continuity of time-honored techniques, from intricate embroidery to hand weaving. By intertwining contemporary design with cultural traditions, haute couture showcases the richness of global heritage, paying homage to diverse craft traditions and sustaining their legacy.

HAUTE COUTURE FALL 2023 SHOWS

Looks from Chanel’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle)

The Fall 2023 Haute Couture season transported us to a realm of unparalleled creativity, innovation, and artistry. From the breathtaking designs that grace the runway to the meticulous craftsmanship that brings them to life, haute couture continues to enchant and inspire. As we witness the magic unfold in Paris, we are reminded of the enduring power of fashion as an art form and its ability to captivate and transport us into a world of imagination. The Fall 2023 haute couture shows leave us in awe, eagerly awaiting the next chapter of fashion’s captivating tale. Here are some showstopping looks from each show that captured the essence of the season.

SCHIAPARELLI

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Looks From Christian Dior’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Christian Dior)

THOM BROWNE

A look from Thom Browne’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

CHANEL

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

ARMANI PRIVE

Looks from Armani Privé’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle)

BALENCIAGA

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

VALENTINO

Looks From Valentino’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar)

FENDI

A look from Fendi’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

JEAN-PAUL GAULTIER

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

IRIS VAN HERPEN

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

VIKTOR & ROLF

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

So tell us, which couture show inspired you the most?

 

 

 

WHAT’S ALL THE BUZZ BEHIND THIS YEAR’S SPRING 2023 COUTURE SEASON?

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Viktor & Rolf’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Victor & Rolf)

I don’t know about you, but my phone hasn’t stop blowing up ever since Paris couture season started Monday, January 23rd. Haute Couture week kicked off with an unrecognizable, red-crystal-covered Doja Cat attending the Schiaparelli in a head-to-toe 30,000 red Swarovski crystals outfit. The rapper later showed up at the Viktor and Rolf show with eyebrows, a mustache, and a soul patch made from lashes. Looks like the place to be and be seen is Paris Couture Week. So, if anyone thinks couture is dead…think again!

Doja Cat wearing a red Swarovski crystal outfit

Rapper Dojo Cat wearing a Swarovski crystal-encrusted outfit (Image Credit: Marc Piasecki for Getty Images)

Haute Couture, translated as “high sewing” or “high dressmaking,” is a term that is reserved for the most exclusive and expensive garments in the fashion industry. These garments are custom-made for individual clients and are crafted by the most skilled ‘petits mains’ in the business by some of the most renown fashion houses in the world. The question of whether Haute Couture is still relevant today is a complex one, as it touches on issues of craftsmanship, artistry, exclusivity, and luxury. On one hand, Haute Couture represents the highest level of craftsmanship and artistry in the fashion industry, using the finest materials and employing techniques that are nearly extinct. The level of attention to detail and the quality of the finished product is unmatched in the fashion world and yet, in today’s fashion world, where climate change, sustainability, and attempts at reducing landfills is front and center, what purpose does the couture really serve?  If you ask fashion pundits and the fashion flock, you’ll hear that “haute couture is seen as a celebration of the art of fashion and the skills of the people who create it”. And so, it’s no wonder that a brand like Victor & Rolf, whose couture show this season caused such a controversy with their topsy-turvy, upside down and sideways dresses was a huge hit that nearly broke the internet.

In celebration of the art & craft of haute couture, University of Fashion’s social media channels (Facebook  –  Instagram) is featuring some of its couture sewing techniques this week so that you can see just how special the ‘petits mains’ are (little hands) that create these fabulous clothes. Watch as we demo how to make handmade flowers as seen on the runway at Elie Saab, the hand-rolled sheer hems at Victor & Rolf, how to sew lace side seams from Chanel and the art of tambour beading from Valentino.

Looks from Chanel’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Style Du Monde)

In addition to craft appreciation, Haute Couture is about fantasy. And in today’s topsy-turvy world, who doesn’t need an escape hatch? To those who can afford the price tag, Haute Couture is seen as a symbol of wealth and status, for the rest of us, it’s about fantasy and honoring the art, craft and amazing techniques that are used in their creation. Haute Couture collections inspire ready-to-wear fashion designers and although the materials and craftsmanship are well beyond reach for ready-to-wear brands, ideas often trickle down to the mass market, influencing trends within the broader fashion industry.

A look from Elie Saab’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

So, when you hear the buzz about whether the couture is relevant today, in a world where fast fashion and the pressure to consume less is front and center, think of Haute Couture as a living art museum where the most talented people in the world dedicate their lives to preserving a craft, creating art-to-wear pieces that are not mass-produced and sold to stores by the dozens. In sharp contrast to the fast-paced, consumerist culture of today, couture clothes are meant to last a lifetime, will never end up in a landfill – more likely in a museum – and are meant to be passed down to future generations. Viva la Haute Couture!

Here are a few of the most dramatic moments of the Spring 2023 Couture Season:

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

SCHIAPARELLI

Looks from Schiaparelli’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Hypebeast)

Daniel Roseberry blew up the internet with his fake Schiaparelli taxidermy pieces for his Spring 2023 Couture show.

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Looks from Christian Dior’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Grazia)

Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by archival pictures of Josephine Baker performing at Dior couture in 1951 New York. Baker was a leading light of the Jazz Age cabaret in Paris.

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

Looks from Giambattisa Valli ‘s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Perfect Wedding Magazine)

Giambattisa Valli is living la vita dolce with a couture collection filled with beautiful colors and plenty of optimism for brighter days ahead.

CHANEL

Looks from Chanel’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Elle)

Virginie Viard played circus ringmaster for her charming Chanel Couture show with a menagerie of mobile animal sculptures and all.

ARMANI PRIVÉ

Looks from Armani Prive’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Style Du Monde)

Giorgio Armani can surely use a lesson in editing as the designer sent out 77 looks for his Armani Privé Couture collection that was inspired by harlequins.

RONALD VAN DER KEMP

A look from Ronald van der Kemp’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Ronald van der Kemp has taken sustainability to a new level as he turned repurposed deadstock into a glamourous and fun couture collection.

VICTOR & ROLF

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Rolf Snoeren and Viktor Horsting, the duo behind the label Viktor & Rolf sent out a delightfully topsy – turvy collection.

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Haider Ackerman is the fourth designer to create a one-season collaboration for the house of Jean Paul Gaultier since Gaultier’s retirement. For his couture collaboration, Ackerman created a chic line-up filled with the body-sharp tailoring and scissored draping for which he has become known.

VALENTINO

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Inspired by the 1980’s club scene, from Studio 54 to London’s New Romantic Blitz Club, Pierpaolo Piccioli, the designer behind Valentino, offered a youthful take by literally taking couture to the club.

FENDI

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Kim Jones created a ravishingly delicate collection for his Fendi Couture runway show with plenty of lingerie-inspired pieces.

So tell us, when you look at couture do you appreciate the craft and consider it art?

THE MAGIC OF COUTURE: FALL 2022-2023 SHOWS

 

Looks from Valentino’s Fall 2022 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Tired of a world gone mad? Can’t watch the news or scroll down your phone for fear you’ll see one more upsetting thing? Well, get ready to enter the land of dreams, Haute Couture to the rescue! In one of the best couture seasons in recent memory, designers answered the call by delivering the very best in fantasy, feathers and the phantasmagorical.

For years, fashion followers have asked the question, “is Haute Couture still relevant in today’s day and age”? And, while many articles have been written about the ‘imminent death’ of couture, today, nothing could be further from the truth. Haute Couture is alive, well and thriving as it now appeals to a new generation of clients. The one-of-a-kind creations are no longer exclusively for the aristocratic old-moneyed doyennes, even if the cost of buying these clothes lies within reach of the extremely wealthy ‘one- percenters’.

Kim Kardashian, Nicole Kidman and Dua Lipa Walked The Runway At Balenciaga’s Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Balenciaga)

The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (the regulating commission that determines which fashion houses are eligible to be true haute couture houses) sets strict criteria for its classifications of couture, counting just 14 members alongside a host of guest designers each season. As of 2022, there are only 14 fashion houses that are considered couture, such as Dior, Chanel, and Givenchy. Although a lot has changed in the fashion world since the establishment of the House of Worth and La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the qualifications of a couture fashion house have not changed. Despite the old rules, designers like Daniel Roseberry of Maison Schiaparelli and Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond, who showed for the first-time last season, are bringing a fresh point of view to couture.

Looks from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

Truth is, there are only a handful of individuals around the world that could afford the couture level hyper-luxury price tag. And, it’s also a fact that most houses shy away from publishing their prices. For example, a gown from Valentino’s Haute Couture runway show can cost approximately $95,000, and that is one without intricate embroidery or beading. As the old saying goes…”“If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it” ~ U.S. financier J.P. Morgan (1837 – 1913).

While the cost may be out of reach for most of us, one can at least appreciate Haute Couture, which at its best, is fashion where true artistry and craft are allowed to shine without the restrictions of commercialism. Haute Couture is a celebration those rare skills that we at the University of Fashion LOVE so much. We hope that the couture will be preserved for generations to come, as the ateliers employ thousands of specialists, tailors and seamstresses, all of whom are master craftsmen and without the couture would be considered a dying art form.

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

For Jean-Noël Kapferer, a professor at the leading French business school HEC (Hautes Etudes Commerciales) and the author of several books about management in the luxury market, Haute Couture is definitely still relevant today. “It’s the sign of absolute luxury,” he explains. In a sector where differentiation is essential, it “offers luxury brands an additional means of influence. A Couture show is art. By extending the limits of what is and isn’t feasible, Couture gives Houses a way of creating emotion, and of reawakening desire and the ability to dream – which is essential, as the latter inevitably starts to fade in the face of commercial success.” The challenge is to transform desire into action, and want into purchases, particularly for the benefit of other product categories. “The aura of Haute Couture brings a glow to other activities and transforms the perception of a brand. If there is one area where the ‘trickle down’ effect actually works, it’s in Haute Couture! Its daring and creativity will benefit the ready-to-wear segment, as it allows Houses to set high prices and thereby increase their symbolic authority.”

Didier Grumbach, honorary president of France’s Haute Couture Federation (FHC) and a leading figure in the sector for over 50 years, recognizes this effect, having witnessed its impact from a close proximity. “Even if they never actually get worn, Haute Couture pieces increase the status of the House presenting them. In particular, Couture is a real help when it comes to launching a perfume offering.”

Couture’s ability to be in touch with its era is, of course, at the heart of its ability to create value. Claudia D’Arpizio, a luxury sector expert at consultants Bain & Co. points out, it is “in synch with today’s lifestyles. There is a desire for exquisite pieces that are no longer reserved for special occasions but can be worn for any occasion when that person wants to feel special, which might be in the daytime and not just the evening.” Moreover, Haute Couture embodies the very highest level of “the human touch, which can sometimes be lacking in the luxury sector.” Her point is shared by Jean-Noël Kapferer, who emphasizes how Haute Couture’s characteristics are modern, and a reflection of the aspirations of the younger generation: ultra-creative, ultra-personalized, sustainable, timeless, and experimental, with new forms, new materials, and new volumes.

Looks from Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Laure Sciacovelli)

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HAUTE COUTURE

Haute Couture dates back to 1858, when designer Charles Frederick Worth, an English couturier based in Paris, created his “special House of new confections” at number 7, rue de la Paix. Worth was the first to create collections under his own signature, to see himself as a creator, and to present his collections by having the clothes worn by models who sauntered the floors of his luxurious salons. Worth was the first to offer new collections each season, he invented today’s fashion cycle: spring-summer and fall-winter. Within a few years, the foundations for Couture were laid, with the help of other pioneers such as Paul Poiret, the first to launch his own perfume House in 1911, Jeanne Lanvin, Jean Patou, Madeleine Vionnet and Gabrielle Chanel, who notably introduced the concepts of boutiques, accessories, and marketing. It was the start of a golden age of unprecedented creativity with exceptional know-how. However, the arrival of ‘ready-to-wear’ in the 1960s and 1970s challenged both the business model of Couture and its place in the world of fashion.

HAUTE COUTURE FALL 2022-2023 TRENDS

THE JEANPOOL

Haute Couture designers played with denim this season, as the “all American” favorite was found on everything from a feathered strapless dress to corseted suit.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Maison Margiela’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ronald van der Kemp’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

GREENDAY

Couture designers are seeing green this season as the hue made its mark all over the Paris runways. From emerald suits, to pistachio gowns, one thing is for sure, you’ll be going green this season.

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE ROMANTICS

Frothy confections made their way into the Haute Couture collections as these dreamy numbers will make us all feel like royalty.

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHEER LEADERS

Designers had nothing to hide as they played up the transparency trend from utterly see-through to subtly sheer.

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Fendi’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Threeasfour’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Maison Margiela’s Fall 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHIRT STORIES

The classic white button shirt gets a glamorous yet phantasmagorical make-over this season.

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BROAD WAY

Power babes stalked the runways as they flaunted strong shoulder silhouettes on everything from mini dresses to jackets.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Elie Saab’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ronald van der Kemp’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

FRINGE BENEFITS

Fringe was all over the couture runways, from Seventies inspired to futuristic motifs, these stringy looks are playful yet chic.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Elie Saab’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BOUDOIR FAIRE

Innerwear-as-outerwear continues to intrigue designers as corset-inspired looks were found all over the couture runways.

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHINE LANGUAGE

Silver and gold ruled the Fall 2022-2023 Couture runways. The metallic hues could be found on everything from dramatic evening dresses to bold jackets, and even sexy minidresses.

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Julie de Libran’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. Photo (Credit Vogue: Runway)

GREEK REVIVAL

Calling all post-modern goddesses! The return of the elegant, draped gown is back and they are even more glamorous than ever.

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, in today’s political, social, and economical climate, has couture lifted your spirits?

SPRING 2022 COUTURE: JANUARY SHOWS ARE FILLED WITH BEAUTY AND HEARTBREAK

- - Fashion Shows

Monaco’s Princess Charlotte rides in on horseback wearing Chanel for their Spring-Summer 2022 Couture  collection. (Photo Credit: AP Photo)

We are only a month in and already 2021 has started off as a challenge. Omicron and its new iteration BA.2  is still on the move, infecting even those who are triple-vaccinated. Vladimir Putin is on the brink of invading Ukraine and a number of celebrities unexpectedly passed away, from comedian Bob Saget to legendary singer Meat Loaf. Last week UoF announced the passing of André Leon Talley, the larger-than-life former Vogue editor who died on January 18th at the age of 73. And then 5 days later on January 23, also at the age of 73, the fashion world lost another industry legend, Manfred Thierry Mugler, the visionary French designer who was responsible for having created some of the most avant-garde and iconic looks of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

A photo of the late Manfred Thierry Mugler. (Photo Credit: Stephane Reugere for Mugler)

Mugler’s theatrical designs put him on the map as one of the most creative designers of his generation. He was also one of the first designers to showcase diversity in his runway shows, often challenging racism and ageism, and including non-traditional models such as drag queens, pornstars, and transgender women.

Mugler’s signature looks were worn by some of the greatest music artists, such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and David Bowie, to name a few. There has also been a resurgence of celebrities wearing vintage Mugler, such as Lady Gaga in her music video for “Telephone” and Cardi B, who had a friendship with Mugler, often wearing his vintage designs on red carpets and in her music videos, as well as mentioning the brand in her song “Wild Side”. In 2019, Mugler created a one-of-a-kind dress for Kim Kardashian to wear to the Met Gala.

Looks throughout the years from Thierry Mugler. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Those who followed Mugler throughout his career couldn’t help but notice his ever changing ‘personal look’. The late designer had been involved in several accidents, one of which was a jeep crash which destroyed his nose. He also had his chin reconstructed using his hipbone. The designer-turned-bodybuiler, was once quoted as saying, “I wanted my face to represent progress, because after years of being a thin, charming dancer, I wanted to be a warrior. I’ve done so much in my life. I’ve fought so much. I’m a superhero, so it’s normal to have the face of one.”

Mugler may have left his namesake brand far too early, but he will continue to have an empowering impact on fashion will into the future.

COUTURE SHOWS BRING FANTASY AND HOPE TO US ALL

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Giambattista Valli)

Paris Couture is back and it was spectacular. The couture season began on Monday January 24th and ran through Thursday the 27th. While many couture houses held IRT runway shows, there were a few that opted to present their collections digitally, such as Azzaro and Giambattista Valli. Meanwhile, Giorgio Armani canceled his Privé show altogether.

One of the highlights of any fashion week is the constant parade of street style looks and influencers. Paris couture week did not disappoint. Kanye West (Ye) introduced his new girlfriend Julia Fox to the fashion scene wearing a black leather Schiaparelli outfit  (reminiscent of vintage Thierry Mugler), and he in  trademark moon boots and padded gloves, plus a Schiaparelli black balaclava, a nod to his ex (Kim Kardasian), who worn head-to-toe Schiaparelli to the Met Gala. Oh, and to complete their outfits they adopted a new couple name…’Juliye’.

Julia Fox and Kanye West at the Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring 2022 show in Paris. (Photo Credit: Jacopo Raule for Getty Images)

Here’s a few of our favorites from Paris Couture 2022

ALEXANDRE VAUTHIER

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

High-octane glamour was all over Alexandre Vauthier’s Spring 2022 couture collection, as he presented velvet power suits, sequin gowns and plenty of slinky frocks.

CHANEL

A look from Chanel’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

“The idea for the show’s décor came from a longstanding desire to work with Xavier Veilhan,” Virginie Viard, Chanel’s creative director, explained the setting of the SS22 couture show to Harper’s Bazaar, “His references to constructivism remind me of those of Karl Lagerfeld. I like this similarity of spirit between us, now and across time. In addition to creating the show décor with its references to the avant-gardes of the 1920s and 1930s, Xavier wanted to work with Charlotte Casiraghi. His artistic universe is full of horses and Charlotte is a skilled rider.”

The Chanel show opened with Monaco’s Princess Charlotte dressed in a Chanel jacket, riding a beautiful eight-year old Spanish bay horse Kuskus (that would explain the sand runway), first in an elegant “collected walk,” then a trot. A perfect opening that paid homage to the creative director’s ’20s and ’30s Gatsby-inspired modern take on the classic Chanel tweed suit. There were also filmy chiffon and organza dresses with uneven hems, slithering satin evening dresses, and tiny beaded gilets to add an extra dose of glamour.

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Backstage, looks from Christian Dior’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

This season’s Christian Dior couture collection was a celebration of embroidery: “A symbol of the atelier’s original excellence, embroidery is not just a decorative detail. It gives fabric its structure, its architecture.” According to the house’s show notes. “An inspiring creative dialogue, collective, exalting virtuoso skills, where embroidery is transformed into a collaborative mode of expression, at the crossroads of art and craft“. Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, collaborated with Indian artists Madhvi and Manu Parekh, the Chanakya Atelier and the Chanakya School of Craft, in creating exquisite embroideries and embellishments for her couture collection.

SCHIAPARELLI

A look from Schiaparelli’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A recent red-carpet favorite, Daniel Roseberry presented his latest couture collection for Schiaparelli in a show entitled “An Age of Discipline”. Roseberry took the season as a chance to explore what design really means to him, especially after these chaotic few years. “Designing this collection also made me realize something else,” he explained in his show notes. “There are designers who design because they love clothes. There are designers who make clothes because they love the craft, because they love people. There are designers whose work is indebted to fashion as a concept, or to glamour as a business.”

“But I design in order to make people feel something. When clothes and craft and hair and music and the wearer are in harmony together, when they are all trying to communicate something, we can be reminded why we love fashion— why I love fashion. It isn’t for the celebrities. It isn’t for the likes. It isn’t for the reviews. It’s because, when it’s done right, when it has something to tell us, it can help us feel the inarticulable. It’s because it still has the power to move us.”

And moved us he did, as his collection pushed the boundaries of fashion as art.

VALENTINO

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

‘The Anatomy of Couture’ was the title of Valentino’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. As creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli explained in his show notes, he imagined his collection not on one single and idealized house model, but on a variety of women with different body types and ages. He states in his collection notes, “Soft and welcoming in the democratic spirit, and at the same time radical in the approach that rewrites known processes, Piccioli builds the collection as a composite harmony of physical types and the clothes that dress them, studied through a long process, both scientific and poetic. The message does not change in its purpose, which is to convey beauty, but in the welcoming expression.”

Did you have a favorite couture collection?

FALL 2020 COUTURE: A TRULY DIGITAL FASHION WEEK

- - Fashion Shows

Balmain’s Fall 2020 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

If you’re a faithful follower of the UoF blog, then you know what we’ve been asking for years… “are fashion shows still relevant”?

This question has long been debated among the fashion set as well. But the fashion industry, an industry whose DNA is ALL about CHANGE & TRENDS, has historically been reluctant to abandon live runway shows and try something new. It has literally taken a pandemic to get them off the dime!

Alas! For this Fall 2020 Haute Couture season, the industry has given the digital runway world a whirl. However, reviews of digital shows for this couture season have been mixed. Many fear that if digital IS the future of fashion, then the economies of Paris, Milan, London and New York’s will greatly suffer. Why? Because fashion week in each of these cities brings many other financial benefits. Buyers, clients and the press, book flights, hotels and restaurants. Lots of lost revenue. Let’s not forget the taxi drivers, Uber drivers, D.J.’s, lighting technicians, show venues, models, and the list goes on and on. More lost revenue.

By going digital, the industry also misses out on the social aspect of attending shows. Fashion week is a great way for fashion editors, buyers, publicists, designers and influencers to network and celebrate fashion. However exhausting attending back to back shows for an entire month may be, watching a digital show at home, or in your office behind a computer screen, or hunched over on your phone, is just not the same. Although there were plenty creative films dedicated this Fall’s couture collections, for many, nothing beats a live show.

Paris Couture Fashion Week was kicked off with a video address by model/celeb Naomi Campbell, who dedicated the season to the “fight for equality and diversity.” Campbell quoted Nelson Mandela and the Black Lives Matter movement. “This is a call for action we are making,” she said, wearing sleeveless T-shirt bearing the words PHENOMENALLY BLACK. “It is up to us, it is up to you to start enforcing inclusion of the multitude of identities that compose our countries,” she said. “The time has come to build a more equitable industry with a good form of checks and balances. It is now more than ever compulsory to include them in a permanent way, and not a transient one,” she added.

The supermodel urged “regular and sustainable conversations with minorities from each country and culture in this mega industry.”

I am Naomi Campbell and I declare Paris couture fashion week ouvert. merci.”

SCHIAPARELLI

A Schiaparelli Couture sketch. (Photo Credit: Shiaparelli)

American designer, Daniel Roseberry, the creative director for Schiaparelli, has been quarantined in New York City since the NY coronavirus lockdown, and therefore did not have a collection to present for the Fall 2020 couture season. However, what he did do, was present a short film featuring himself sketching on a bench in NYC’s Washington Square Park. The film was dubbed an “Imaginary Collection.” Roseberry stated, “Life today is lived according to opposites; the pandemic has inverted everything we knew. Now, instead of a team to execute this collection, I just have my own imagination. Instead of the Place Vendôme in Paris, it’s been designed and sketched on a park bench.”  Who  out there doesn’t love seeing how a designer conceptualizes a collection?

Roseberry’s drawings featured nods to founder Elsa Schiaparelli that included a shocking pink column dress, a jacket with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a “chandelier” top. The house hopes to show a capsule collection of these designs in Los Angeles in December. “Everything has changed, but imagination, and the drive to create, has never been more relevant, or more profound. This collection is a tribute to that impulse to create,” said Roseberry in a WWD article. “Someday very soon, I will venture back to Paris and hand these styles off to the atelier. We will make a portion of these and take them around the world to share with our valued clients and stylists.”
Here’s his video.

BALMAIN

A look from Balmain’s Couture Extravaganza. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

Olivier Rousteing, the social media genius and creative director for Balmain, planned a two-hour extravaganza that was live-streamed on TikTok. This marked the first time TikTok has ever worked with a luxury brand. Rousteing used the hashtag #BalmainSurSeine making Paris’ Seine River his stage.

The Balmain crew traveled on a barge from the Eiffel Tower eastward and featured French pop singer Yseult and 50 dancers. A very social media-worthy idea! However, not without technical difficulties. The sound dropped and minutes after embarking the live feed cut out, never to return but by that time Balmain had already racked up about 15,000 new followers on his social media platforms. That’s a win!

“What happened on Sunday was beyond the digital Fashion Week,” Rousteing said to Vogue, estimating that approximately 20,000 locals caught at least some part of the spectacle.

After 75 years, Balmain is showing a new direction. We gave people access to our house, and we showed that we are really French. It was our gift to Paris, the City of Light,” said Rousteing. The show was re-streamed on the Federation de la Haute Couture’s online platform. According to Rousteing, “It’s really hard to just do digital without any physical experience; we are all missing it. We work for an audience and you lose the emotion if you don’t have one. We need to go back to that.”

IRIS VAN HERPEN

Everyone always looks to Iris van Herpen as the future of fashion, so it was no surprise that she created a fantasmagorial short film entitled “Transmotion.” The film was directed by Ryan McDaniels and starred Games Of Throne’s actress Carice van Houten, wandering through a modern courtyard surrounded by mesmerizing pulsating lights. Throughout the video were shots of black crystals that magically assembled on the floor and then morphed into the same lattice pattern that appeared on her dress. The film featured only one dress, but was a signature Iris Van Herpen creation that perfectly blends high-tech artistry with old-world techniques.

DIOR

A look from Dior’s Couture collection. (Photo Credit: Dior)

Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections at Dior, recruited Italian director Matteo Garrone to produce a short film showcasing the intricate looks of her Fall 2020 haute couture collection. The movie, entitled, “The Dior Myth,” was based on mythology and drew viewers into a magical woodland journey filled with fairytale creatures like sirens, nymphs, a faun and a woman emerging from a giant shell. It was dreamy and fantastical, which is what one expects from couture. However, Dior’s film caught plenty of criticism for its lack of diversity.

RALPH & RUSSO

A sketch from the Ralph & Russo’s 2020 couture collection. (Photo Credit: Ralph & Russo)

Sure travel feels like a distant memory right about now as some of us are still quarantining and can only take domestic flights, but in the digital world, anything’s possible. Tamara Ralph, the artistic director behind the Ralph & Russo label, created a whimsical collection worn by an avatar model. Ralph’s backdrop of choice? The Seven Wonders of the World, which added a playful twist to the intricate collection.

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Couture collection. (Photo Credit: Giambattista Valli)

Many designers have been showing restrain this season as the crippling affects of the economy due to COVID-19 have many in panic mode, but this can’t be said about Giambattista Valli. The designer created his frothy, voluminous gowns that were unapologetically grand. He even featured a few face coverings, a nod to the pandemic, but they were purely decorative and not for protection.

Unlike other designers who collaborated with famous film directors and photographers to create their digital show, Valli  personally filmed extreme closeups of his creations with  his iPhone, yes, his iPhone!  He chose as his muse Puerto Rican supermodel and actress, Joan Smalls. “I’m taking by the hand all the viewers around the world who are still confined and can’t travel, and showing them Paris through my eyes,” he explained to Vogue.

 

CHANEL

A look from Chanel’s 2020 couture collection. (Photo Credit: Mikael Jansson for Chanel)

The eighties are back! At least in the world of Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard, who presented a line-up that was so unapologetically maximalist. There were party dresses galore and plenty of bling. “It’s an eccentric girl with a touch of the Eighties. I wanted something joyful,” the designer said in an interview with WWD. Viard worked with photographer Mikael Jansson to create a show video: a one-minute, 22-second burst of images spliced with grainy black and white footage of models Rianne Van Rompaey and Adut Akech.

 

RAHUL MISHRA

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2020 haute couture. (Photo Credit: Rahul Mishra)

Every stitch, every knot is strongly related to the present and future of an artisan, especially hit by the pandemic,” said Rahul Mishra in an interview with WWD. The designer is more determined than ever to support the embroiderers of India who created his elaborate designs. “Butterfly People” was the title of the collection, as it is meant to evoke nature flourishing without human intervention.

 

VIKTOR & ROLF

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s 2020 haute couture collection. (Photo Credit: Casper Kofi for Viktor & Rolf)

‘Couture in the time of coronavirus’ was the reality behind Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren’s namesake couture collection. The duo cleverly created three mini wardrobes comprised of a negligee, dressing gown, and coat, meant to represent pandemic-related emotional states.

They started the video with the fear and anxiety, emotions that we are all feeling as a society, but then the show quickly evolved into visuals representing feelings of love and joy. In the video, singer Mika plays a retro newscaster offering deadpan commentary on Viktor & Rolf’s collection. His description of a spiky coat was part of the gloom-and-doom segment. “There’s a lot to feel angry about and this garment will communicate exactly that,” he intones.

The collection consisted of nine intricate creations that ranged from a storm cloud slip dress to the ‘halo of hearts’ confection pictured above. All with Viktor & Rolf’s famous tongue-in-cheek humor.

Our Favorite Couture Video

At UoF, we think the most creative of all fashion video productions is this one by Dior, showcasing their new dress collection on 37 half scale dress forms each handmade by their expert couturiers and petits mains. Once the preferred design method used by famed French designer Madeleine Vionnet, working half scale is a great way to try out your designs sustainably. Dior plans to take orders by sending these clothed mini dress forms to their clients around the world.

Be sure to check out UoF’s social media channels and website to view our upcoming half scale draping and pattern making series. So very inspiring!

 

What are YOUR thoughts about digital shows vs runway shows?