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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?

MENSWEAR FASHION MONTH: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SPRING 2024 SHOWS

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Dior Men’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Dior)

The Menswear Spring 2024 season has set the stage for a groundbreaking revolution in men’s fashion. Embracing fluidity, inclusivity, sustainability, and innovation, designers have created a mesmerizing symphony of sartorial liberation. The runway serves as a canvas where traditional notions of masculinity are reimagined and reshaped. As the seasons change and fashion evolves, these groundbreaking trends remind us that menswear is not just clothing; it’s an ever-evolving expression of identity, freedom, and creativity.

Throughout Europe, the runways were a playground of limitless possibilities. The season kicked off in London with shows running from June 10 -12th. Then the dapper set were off to Italy, first stop, Pitti Uomo in Florence from June 13-16th and then the excitement of Milan revved up from June 16-20th. Paris of course closed out the season with a bang from June 20-25th. What about New York? The city that never sleeps will show menswear along with Woman’s Fashion Week in early September.

Jacquemus’ Spring 2024 showcase at the Lake Versailles was a sight to behold. (Photo Credit: Lifestyle Asia)

Many designers at Men’s Fashion Week Spring 2024 pulled out all the stops for their show creating over-the-top viral moments that left industry insiders in awe, which is no easy fete. From closed down bridges (Louis Vuitton, Kenzo) to moving floors (Dior Men), and palace-side boat rides (Jacquemus), this season was a spectacle and display of power, wealth, and access reached new heights. So it’s no surprise that according to a tally of the most-viewed men’s shows of SS24 on Vogue Runway, Louis Vuitton came in first place. The show was a star-studded event as everyone anxiously awaited to see Pharrell Williams’s debut for Louis Vuitton. The show was an instant hit and Williams featured “Damoflage” which in Pharrell’s show notes was a fusion between Louis Vuitton’s iconic checkered Damier pattern and traditional camouflage fabric. “Damoflage” appeared across the collection, and truly capsulates Pharrell’s personal avant garde style.

A video of Pharell William’s debut Louis Vuitton Spring 2024 Show. (Video Courtesy of YouTube FF Chanel)

Before we delve into the trends for the Spring 2024 season, here is a brief history on Menswear Fashion Week.

HISTORY

In the realm of fashion, one event stands as a bastion of style and innovation – Men’s Fashion Week. Spanning across four fashion capitals – Milan, Paris, London, and New York – this bi-annual celebration of masculinity has a rich history that weaves together creativity, culture, and couture. Join UoF on a journey through time, as we explore the origins and evolution of Men’s Fashion Week in these iconic cities.

Milan – The Birth of Dapper Debonair

The year was 1971 when Milan hosted its first-ever Men’s Fashion Week, a pioneering moment that brought Italian elegance to the forefront. Spearheaded by visionaries like Giorgio Armani and Nino Cerruti, the Milanese runway showcased sharp tailoring, luxurious fabrics, and a newfound emphasis on minimalistic sophistication. Men’s fashion was no longer relegated to the shadows; it was a statement of confidence and poise.

Paris – The Haute Heritage

Stepping into the elegant city of Paris, we travel back to the origins of Haute Couture. In 1973, Paris welcomed its inaugural Men’s Fashion Week, further solidifying the city’s reputation as a timeless fashion capital. Designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, and Jean-Paul Gaultier infused traditional French savoir-faire with a contemporary flair. Paris became synonymous with avant-garde and artistic expressions that transcended the ordinary.

London – Punks to Peacocks

Across the Channel, London’s Men’s Fashion Week story took a different turn. Emerging in 1984, it began as an edgy, rebellious movement with punk influences, thanks to designers like Vivienne Westwood. Over time, it evolved into a melting pot of diverse styles, from tailored Savile Row classics to eccentric, bold streetwear. London became a playground for experimentation, paving the way for a new generation of men’s fashion designers.

New York – American Dreams and Diversity

Crossing the Atlantic, we find ourselves in the bustling streets of New York. In 1995, the Big Apple hosted its inaugural Men’s Fashion Week, showcasing American dreams and diversity. Designers like Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, and Calvin Klein celebrated masculinity in all its forms – from rugged to refined. New York’s fashion week spotlighted the fusion of traditional American sportswear with cutting-edge contemporary designs.

As the years passed, Men’s Fashion Week in Milan, Paris, London, and New York transformed into a global phenomenon. The event expanded its reach beyond the fashion elite, with social media turning every spectator into a front-row participant. This democratization of fashion allowed designers to connect directly with their audience and opened doors for emerging talents from diverse backgrounds.

In recent years, a profound shift occurred in men’s fashion. Sustainability and ethical practices took center stage. Designers increasingly embraced eco-friendly materials, responsible manufacturing, and gender-neutral designs. Men’s Fashion Week became a platform to promote conscious consumption, making a positive impact on both the planet and society.

TRENDS

SCHOOL DAZE

Designers are feeling nostalgic this season as the schoolboy uniform trend makes its mark on the runway where you will find plenty of oversized blazers paired with tiny shorts.

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

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

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

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

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

VARSITY BLUES

Athletic inspired looks have come back this spring with a collegiate twist.

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

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

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

A look from Dsquared2’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saul Mash’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Fashionista)

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

FLORAL DELIGHT

“Florals for spring? Groundbreaking” is one of the most famous quotes from Miranda Priestly, the notoriously difficult boss in The Devil Wears Prada, but this season the motif is truly fashion forward as 3-D floral appliques made there way onto the menswear runways from a quirky hat to a tailored shirt.

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

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

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

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

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

DEEP POCKETS

It’s time to get to work. Cargo pockets and utilitarian looks are making a splash both on the runway and off.

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

A look from Li-Ning’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Fashionista)

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

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

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

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

THE GOING OUT TOP

The halter top gets a refresh as the androgynous look gives a 70s meets Y2K vibe.

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

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

A look from Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

So tell us, what is your favorite menswear trend for the spring 2024 season?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

PARIS FASHION WEEK SPRING 2023: THE THEATRICS OF IT ALL

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

Looks from Dior’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Dior)

Au revoir fashion month! Fashion’s grand finale, Paris Fashion Week, wrapped up Tuesday, Oct. 4th and it was a full 9 days of back-to-back shows, parties, and events. The IRL runway shows were packed with guests and celebrities, and the week was back to pre-pandemic levels. The fashion was magnificent as the French have a flare for the theatrical, ranging from pannier looks (Panniers or side hoops are women’s undergarments worn in the 17th and 18th centuries to extend the width of the skirts at the side while leaving the front and back relatively flat), to asymmetrical hemlines, bra tops, and catsuits.

Paris Fashion Week was filled with just as much excitement on the runways and off.

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

At Loewe, guests were sent a red anthurium flower as the invitation as the bold flower appeared on dresses, modelled as bra cups and breastplates made from metal covered in ceramic paint.

A look from Ester Manas’ Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Ester Manas celebrated ALL women. Her Spring 2023 show notes stated that ‘Everyone is welcome’, this was clear with the collection’s size-inclusive cast.

Stella McCartney and her models celebrate her Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Stella McCartney)

Stella McCartney is one of the biggest designers championing sustainable clothing and this season was her most sustainable collection to date, using 87% conscious materials.

A look from Junya Watababe’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Junya Watanabe returned to Paris with a bang. The models sported fantastic New Romantic wigs and strutted to a soundtrack of Duran Duran.

A look from Balenciaga’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The set at Balenciaga was an immense dimly lit mud pit that stank of damp soil as the poor models trudged around the perimeter. The show opened with Ye dressed in a multi-pocketed security guard jacket. Demna Gvasalia, the creative director for the brand, described the set as a ‘metaphor for digging for truth’.

Maria Grazia Chiuri on the runway of her Christian Dior Show with Dutch choreographers Imre and Marne van Opstal and their troupe who performed during the event. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Inspired by Catherine de Medici, who is recognized for bringing high heels, corsets, and Burano lace to the French court, Maria Grazia Chiuri riffed on the wide-skirt silhouette from that era for Dior’s Spring 2023. At the center of the runway was a grotto set by French artist Eva Jospin and a performance by dancers and choreographers Marne and Imre Van Opstal and their troupe.

Cher closes Balmain Spring 2023 Runway Show in a custom jumpsuit with designer Olivier Rousteing. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Cher made a cameo appearance at Balmain’s festival at Stade Jean-Bouin. She is the new face of Balmain’s handbag campaign, and the star joined creative director Olivier Rousteing for his bow.

The French artist Philippe Parreno began planning the Louis Vuitton set in June and construction began in August. (Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton)

A huge ‘monster flower’ installation designed by artist Philippe Parreno pulsated at the heart of the Louis Vuitton show, complete with lightbulb chandeliers whizzing about over ahead.

Victoria Beckham poses with family members Cruz, Harper, husband David, Romeo, Brooklyn and Brooklyn’s wife, Nicola Peltz, at her runway show. (Photo Credit: WireImage)

Victoria Beckham’s Paris runway debut brought a sexier edge to the brand, set against the backdrop of the cloisters of Val-de-Grâce. The Beckham family were all in attendance to cheer her on.

Issey Miyake’s runway show. (Photo Credit: Issey Miyake)

The first Issey Miyake show since the founder’s death in August, opened with a portrait of the late designer on big screens displaying one of his quotes, ‘I believe there is hope in design. Design evokes surprise and joy in people.’

Zendaya made a stunning appearance at the Valentino Spring 2023 Show in a sheer crystal embellished bodysuit from the brand. (Photo Credit: Elle)

Zendaya made a stunning appearance at the Valentino’s show during Paris Fashion Week and took a front seat to the runway. The actress wore a sheer bodysuit covered in tiny crystals covering a pair of black short-shorts, all from Valentino’s Spring 2022 collection.

Blackpink’s Rosé attended Saint Laurent in a black minidress. (Photo Credit: WWD)

K-Pop sensation Blackpink took over Paris Fashion Week as bandmembers made various appearances. Rosé attended Saint Laurent in a black minidress, Jisoo paired a black mini with fishnets at Dior and Jennie Kim looked absolutely delightful in a colorful, knit look at Chanel.

Kylie Jenner and Khloé Kardashian heading to Baleciaga’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Kylie Jenner also made a splash at Paris Fashion Week as the reality star popped up in multiple front rows and events. She definitely went out of her comfort zone as she wore bold fashion looks.

Bella Hadid Closing Show at Coperni’s Spring 2023 Collection. Video Courtesy of YouTube The Front Row

In a runway moment that evoked the iconic Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 1999 show, in which Shalom Harlow’s white dress was live-painted on the runway by two robots as she stood on a rotating platform, Coperni designers Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant sprayed a dress onto Bella Hadid before the audience’s eyes. It was a moment very clearly engineered to go viral, but in that respect, it was a massive success: The brand gained hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers in the days after the show, and a post depicting the moment garnered over 2 million likes in just 48 hours, according to Nylon Magazine.

Doja Cat took Paris Fashion Week by storm. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Doja Cat was a front row fixture all month long, sometimes putting the collections on the runways to shame. The entertainer is definitely having fun with fashion.

Off-White’s tribute to founder Virgil Abloh during Paris Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Off-White)

Spring 2023 marked Ib Kamara’s first, as the art and image director at Off-White in the wake of founder Virgil Abloh’s passing, and the show — complete with a live musical performance and a dancers — was a lovely celebration of the Abloh’s life, work, and legacy.

Thom Browne’s Spring 2023 Runway Cadillac. (Photo Credit: HighSnobSociety)

It doesn’t matter where Thom Browne shows, his runway extravaganzas are nothing short of magic. This season, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez shut down the runway by climbing into a pink Cadillac as Aretha Franklin song of the same name blasted from the speakers.

BIZZAREST MOMENT OF PARIS FASHION WEEK

Candace Owens and Kanye West at his Yeezy Season 9 sow in their controversial shirts. (Photo Credit: Candace Owens/ Twitter)

Kanye West — who legally changed his name to Ye — sparked controversy in his black long-sleeve tee with its statement, “White Lives Matter” which is considered a “hate slogan” by the Anti-Defamation League, during his Yeezy Season 9 event at Paris Fashion Week on Monday, October 10th. His look was on full display as the designer gave a speech during the opening of the presentation. It was also featured in an image uploaded to Twitter by conservative commentator Candace Owens — who wore the same shirt in white to the show.

The fashion industry has collectively deemed Ye’s YZY show as dangerous and irresponsible, and they have also rallied around Vogue fashion editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson after the artist bullied her in response to her critique on the show.

PARIS FASHION WEEK TRENDS

Aside from Ye’s disastrous show, there was plenty of great fashion in Paris and here are a few breakout trends:

HIP PARADE

Everything old is new again, even the pannier – an under-structure used in eighteenth-century fashion that created a shape wide at the sides and flat at the front and back – designers ranging from Dior to Loewe all created modernized versions of the hip-accentuating silhouette.

A look from Christian Dior’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Rochas’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Comme des Garçons’ Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lanvin’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

HOOD NEWS

Hooded evening-looks were all over the runways in Milan, and in Paris the trend is going strong.  But in France, the capuche (French for hood) looks more like a cowl or an already-attached headscarf than what you’d see on a sweatshirt. These hooded ensembles can be found on anything from a cropped top to a slinky gown.

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Off-White’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Mônot’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Comme des Garçons’ Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

BRIEF ENCOUNTER

This spring the French Runways were filled with the tiniest of shorts, so go ahead and show off your legs.

A look from Miu Miu’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Chanel’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alessandra Rich’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Nina Ricci’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

LEATHER ALERT

Bra tops have been going strong and for Spring 2023, the French Runways were filled with leather variations of the controversial top.

A look from Givenchy’s Spring 2023 show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Monot’s Spring 2023 show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Saint Sernin’s Spring 2023 show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Koche’s Spring 2023 show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Vaquera’s Spring 2023 show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

CATSUITS

Designers are favoring the one-and-done style of the catsuit this Spring season. From Sheer and sparkling numbers to printed versions, one things for sure, none of these looks are a bore.

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Stella McCartney’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Victoria Beckham’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

HELLO MOTO

The moto-bike trend trickled up from the streets to the Paris Runways. For spring 2023, there were plenty of moto jackets that ranged from graphic motifs to minimalistic leather versions.

A look from Chloé’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Off-White’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Isabel Marant’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Junya Watanabe’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ottolinger’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO

It was a disco inferno on the Paris runways as designers presented sparkling dresses that are perfect for dancing the night away.

A look from Chanel’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Givenchy’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Miu Miu’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Sacai’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE CANADIAN TUXEDO

The Y2K trend is still going strong as designers are inspired by Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake matching denim looks from the 2001 American Music Awards. An update to the Canadian Tuxedo definitely made its mark on the Paris runways this season.

A look from Chloé’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Miu Miu’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Givenchy’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Courrèges’ Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balenciaga’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from AZ Factory’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SIDE HUSTLE

Another popular Y2K trend is back for Spring 2023, the asymmetrical hemline. In Paris, designers opted to shift mullet hems from to side-to-side for a modern version of the handkerchief dresses.

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

A look from Stella McCartney’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Issey Miyake’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Sacai’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

HIPS DON’T LIE

And the Y2K continues with low-rise bottoms. Designers in Paris presented low-rise everything: skirts, jeans, trousers, cargo pants and shorts. This trend is here to stay.

A look from Stella McCartney’s Spring 2023 show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

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

A look from Off-White’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Isabel Marant’s Spring 2023 show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Givenchy’s Spring 2023 show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Miu Miu’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

So tell us, after New York, London, Milan, and Paris Fashion Weeks, which city do you think has the strongest trends?

BARBIECORE & WHY BARBIE IS NOT JUST SOME DUMB BLONDE

Celebrities embracing the Barbiecore trend. NY Post Photo Illustration. (Photo Credit: NY Post)

As we all know, fashion is cyclical. Trends come and go, hemlines rise and fall and each season we await the ‘color’ of the season (last season it was periwinkle). Well, this summer the color is pink and has its roots in the style icon, the Barbie doll. Yes, Barbie is Back!  The last time Barbie made it into pop culture was in the ’90s when the Danish/Norwegian band Aqua released their hit song, Barbie Girl, with the ear worm refrain,  “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world. Life in plastic, it’s fantastic. You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere. Imagination, life is your creation!”

The massive publicity push is on, a full year in advance, for the July 2023 release of the Barbie film directed by Greta Gerwig (Little Women and Lady Bird) starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. The trends surrounding the film are known as “Barbicore” (the word ‘core’ referring to the aesthetic associated with a film, for example ‘Regencycore’ for the series Bridgerton).  The new vibrant pink trend is getting a massive push in the fashion industry and actually began during the fall-winter 2022 shows when Valentino featured it for both their women’s and men’s styles and at Michael Kors, Versace, Act No. 1 and Dolce & Gabbana.

In a world where gender fluidity has been center stage (ex. Harry Styles), Barbicore is definitely bringing gender extremes back to the forefront of fashion. And if Barbicore is not the look for you, well then, grab your baggiest basketball shorts and oversized tees and try “Sandlercore“, a lazy man’s dressing trend made popular by actor Adam Sandler. Fashion has something for everyone, right?

Fashion marketers and influencers have jumped on the Barbicore trend as have celebs, from Megan Fox to Kim Kardashian. In an interview with the New York Post, Kim Culmone, Senior VP at Mattel, Inc. said “BarbieCore is the summer’s latest fashion trend influencing everything from clothing to home decor, and we are here for it. It’s been delightful seeing celebrities decked out in their best pink looks – Barbie would approve.”

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling filming the new Barbie film. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The iconic Mattel doll has always been an inspiration to young women, even if she has sometimes been given a ‘ dumb blond’ moniker. The original ‘Barbie look’, consists of sexy curves and hot pink, bright neons, feminine makeup, and sparkly accessories, and has taken over TikTok. In fact, the hashtag #Barbiecore has more than 7 million views on TikTok and, according to Google Trends data, interest in Barbie has spiked to new heights as fans await the live-action movie.

In today’s #MeToo environment, director Greta Gerwig has a bold new vision of the iconic doll’s story. She is both writing and directing the movie, with input from her partner Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story). The plot of the story will revolve around a doll leaving Barbieland due to her so-called ‘imperfections’, only to discover along the way, that perfection can truly be found within.

Robbie’s costumes are being designed by Gerwig’s Little Women collaborator Jacqueline Durran (for which she won an Oscar) and are already inspiring street style. The Barbie aesthetic has entered the fashion zeitgeist, inspiring A-listers and fashion lovers worldwide.

Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly have embraced the Barbiecore trend head on. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

One of the most famous quotes from fashion legend Diana Vreeland was “Pink is the navy blue of India.” And for Fall 2022, Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli showcased a pretty in pink collection in partnership with Pantone. The runway, backdrop, floors, and even the seats were the same shade of pink, which created a dazzling impact.

“Pinks are no doubt ‘having a moment.’ In fact, pink is having more than a moment,” Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, told The Post in an interview. “It is a color family we have seen growing in popularity across the spectrum since 2013, one which sparked the intro of Millennial Pink and with the rise of the ‘gender blur’ became even more prominent. A time where we began doing away with all color rules and breaking down the boundaries.”

Left to Right: Hailey Beiber, Khloe Kardashian, and Kim Kardashian rocking the Barbiecore trend. (Photo Credit: Michigannewstimes)

“The bright pinks and fuchsias we are seeing today are exultant and empowering. They are stand-out statements being worn with confidence,” Pressman continued. “Vibrant and high-energy. they help us to feel uninhibited and free.”

Barbiecore, as a fashion movement, has been building for years. Remember in the early aughts when Tyra Banks took on the doll’s tailored aesthetic as Eve in the 2000 Disney film Life-Size? And, when Reese Witherspoon, as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, (circa 2001) was essentially a Barbie in a lawyer’s world?

Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the 2010s, we often saw Nicki Minaj sporting some serious Barbie-inspired looks after her own Barbie doll hit the market in 2011 (to this day the rapper still wears her signature diamond Barbie nameplate necklace). In 2015, Paris Hilton wore a hot pink Barbie one-piece by a pool in Ibiza, and footwear designer Sophia Webster collaborated with Barbie on a collection of limited-edition shoes the same year.

Kacey Musgraves at the Met Gala in 2019. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In 2019, Kacey Musgraves wore a Barbie-inspired outfit for her Met Gala appearance: A floor-length, hot pink motorcycle dress designed by Moschino (a very Barbiecore brand!), complete with a matching hairdryer clutch, sunglasses, chandelier teardrop diamond earrings, and shiny silver pumps. The look was almost an exact replica of the Barbie x Moschino doll, which was being sold in the museum’s gift shop at the time.

Moschino’s Spring 2015 Barbie inspired Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Kim Culmone told InStyle that, like the beloved doll, what constitutes Barbiecore is ever evolving. “Barbie is inspired by pop culture and fashion. And like many of us, her style evolves to be reflective of today’s trends and culture. For 2022, as we move past the pandemic and regain our social lives, it’s Barbie’s genuine playfulness and bright, bold color palette that people are trying to incorporate into their daily routines.

Anne Hathaway at the Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2022 fashion show. Right Lizzo. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

HISTORY OF BARBIE

Artist Reinhard Beuthien created Lilli in 1952 for the German tabloid Bild as a comic strip character (Image credit Hobbylark.com). 

The Stolen Legacy of Bild Lilli

Barbie was modeled after a comic strip character called Lilli, created by Reinhard Beutheien in 1952 for the German tabloid, Bild. She soon became known as Bild Lilli and was marketed as a racy gag gift doll that men could buy in tobacco shops. The Bild Lilli doll became extremely popular with women and children too and eventually there would plenty of knockoff dolls worldwide.
Ruth Handler (co-founder of Mattel) discovered the Lilli doll while on vacation in Hamburg, Germany, had her copied and named her Barbie (after her daughter Barbara). Handler’s version, which launched in 1959, was made of vinyl with rooted hair and curly bangs rather than a wig-cap, and included separate shoes and earrings, which were not molded on, as were Lilli’s.  Handler acquired the rights to Bild Lilli in 1964, and production of the German doll ceased. 

The original Barbie launched in March 1959. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The first Barbie doll came with a black and white striped swimsuit with cat-eye glasses, gold hoops, and her signature ponytail, mimicking the glamour of 1950s divas Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. At the time, many toy buyers were uncertain of the doll’s sexy/curvy appearance as compared with traditional baby dolls, but Barbie took the world by storm with sales of 300,000 dolls in its first year of production. Today, over 90 percent of American girls between the ages of 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie doll.

It didn’t take long for Mattel to see Barbie as a voice for women’s rights. In 1962, before American women were even permitted to open their own bank accounts, Barbie bought her first Dreamhouse, becoming a symbol of independence and empowerment. In 1965, Astronaut Barbie made her debut, two years after Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space and four years before Neil Armstrong and his team landed on the moon. Barbie opened the eyes and imagination of young girls to imagine a future in any field they desired. So much for that dumb blonde moniker!

The Oscar de la Renta Barbie Series, 1985. (Photo Credit: Mattel)

Professional & Activist Barbie

In its 63-year history, the American mass-produced Barbie doll has been a colossal success, and over the decades she has assumed many professions, from doctor and archeologist, to rock star and computer engineer. The first Twiggy Barbie was distributed in 1967. Others celeb Barbies include, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Cher, and current young icons like Zendaya and Gigi Hadid.

This year, the Barbie Inspiring Women series added a Maya Angelou doll alongside figures like civil rights activist Rosa Parks, feminist leader Susan B. Anthony and tennis star Billie Jean King. Barbie has also enjoyed stints as a model for major fashion designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela, Ralph Lauren, Anna Sui, and Burberry, as well as a CEO, a presidential candidate, and a vlogger.

In 2022 Barbie teamed up with heritage house Balmain (Barbie x Balmain) featuring a clothing collection and an NFT! (Image credit: highsnobiety.com)

The Jane Goodall Barbie doll as part of Mattel’s Inspiring Women series (Image credit: Mattel.com) 

For decades Barbie has had Black friends – Christie and Francie, but in 1980 Mattel introduced the first Black Barbie. Today, Barbie is an advocate for body inclusivity and diversity on every level, as promoted in Mattel’s WE ARE Barbie video in 2020. The Barbie Fashionista series includes a Barbie in a wheelchair and in 2022 Barbie became a sustainability advocate through a partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute. The dolls are now made from recycled ocean-bound plastic.

Sales for Mattel’s Barbie brand in 2021 amounted to about 1.68 billion U.S. dollars, up from about 1.35 billion U.S. dollars the year before.

Today Barbie is truly a woke toy, in fact, she is more than just a toy.

 

Meet Ann Driskill – Barbie Designer

Ann Driskill (Barbie designer at Mattel ) 

 

Ann Driskill, a Parsons graduate, had a 20-year career designing for Barbie at Mattel in Pasadena, California. Recently, our founder Francesca Sterlacci had an opportunity to talk with Ann about her experience and what is was like to design for such a style icon.

Francesca: Can you talk about your experience as a Barbie designer for 20 years?

Ann: Mattel designers design the entire doll: the prints, all the accessories, her hair, her makeup – specifically for each doll, plus sometimes new and unique body parts and poses. Mattel has artists specializing in all of these departments.

Francesca: Where is Barbie manufactured?

Ann: The production of the doll and the clothes are done in China, using super narrow seam allowance sewing machine attachments to handle the tiny seam allowances on the clothes.

Francesca: What was the best part of working on Barbie at Mattel?

Ann: The most fun about working at Mattel was collaborating with so many creative people.

Francesca: What were some of the challenges you encountered in the 20 years that you designed for Barbie?

Ann: The hardest part about designing for Barbie was learning how to adjust to her small size. You have to choose thin fabrics that don’t add bulk to Barbie’s slim  figure. You also need to design very small prints and patterns that don’t overwhelm her. Otherwise, it’s a lot like designing for real people,  except she never complains!

Ann was kind enough to share some of her designs for Barbie over the years

Ann Driskill’s original Barbie sketches (Images courtesy Ann Driskill) 

 

So tell us, in what way has Barbie been an inspiration to you?

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?

JE NE SAIS QUOI – PARIS FASHION WEEK 2022 TRENDS

- - Fashion Shows

Models strut the runway at Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Masks may be an au courant trend (not without controversy), but thanks to masks, social distancing and vax cards Paris Fashion Week roared back to life. The festivities that began on Monday, September 27th wind down on Tuesday, October 5th with major fashion houses opting for live shows such as Dior, Chanel, Hermes, and Vuitton.

Looks from Dior’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

“We are overjoyed at their return and the presence of the other big brands,” Pascal Morand, head of France’s Federation for Haute Couture and Fashion, told AFP, a news network in France. “We feel this appetite for the physical, for the show,” he added.

But we cannot forget that COVID-19 is not yet over and so just like in New York, London, and Milan, face coverings were compulsory at all the shows this week in the City of Lights.

Of the 97 fashion brands showing at PFW, about two-thirds are continuing with online presentations.

A look from Kenneth Ize’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Nigerian designer, Kenneth Ize, a favorite of supermodel Naomi Campbell, kicked off Paris Fashion Week with a show at the Palais de Tokyo.

Then on Sunday evening, Givenchy held its first IRL catwalk presentation by its new American artistic director Matthew Williams, who brought an element of street style to the historic French brand.

Saint Laurent was also back with a live show on Tuesday evening, despite being the first major house to quit the Paris Fashion official calendar when the deadly pandemic hit in 2020. Today it’s obvious that the brand and it’s creative director, Anthony Vaccarello, made the right choice. The historic French house has been protesting the chaotic pace of the fashion calendar, which has led several major brands to rethink their strategies even before the pandemic.

A video of Saint Laurent’s spring 2022 show. (Video courtesy of Saint Laurent on YouTube)

Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala Balanciaga Look rewrote the Red Carpet’s Rules. (Photo Credit: Elle)

On Saturday night the much-anticipated Balenciaga show took place. All eyes were on the brand’s creative director Demna Gvasalia, especially after making waves at the Met Gala when he dressed Kim Kardashian in a controversial all-black, head-to-toe covering (talk about the ultimate Covid mask!).

Balenciaga, which is under the umbrella of the French global luxury group Kering (Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Bottega Veneta to name a few) proved that they are totally committed to the future of fashion. Prior to Paris Fashion Week they announced at their brands would be going entirely fur-free. Balenciaga announced that they had teamed up with the hit cartoon comedy show The Simpsons, and they announced a partnership with Unreal Engine’s popular computer game Fortnite. Keep your eyes on this space and watch for our upcoming blog topic on how the fashion industry is entering the gaming space.

Video about Kering going fur-free. (Video Courtesy of France24 on YouTube)

Although there was plenty of excitement and so many live shows to attend, there were still a few who have opted out of showing during the Paris Fashion Week calendar. Most noteworthy absent brands were Celine, whose artistic director Hedi Slimane has argued that the traditional calendar was “obsolete” in the age of social media. Off-White, the brand of the popular streetwear designer Virgil Abloh, has not appeared for several seasons now, as well as Stella McCartney, although she has not given a reason for skipping out of the fashion calendar.

PFW will end with an homage to Israeli-American designer Alber Elbaz, who died from Covid-related complications in April 2020. The late Elbaz’s company, AZ Factory, planned a tribute show with 44 of the world’s most talented designers, each of whom have created a piece in Elber’s honor. Among the designers participating: Rei Kawakubo, Alessandro Michele, Donatella Versace, and Nicolas Ghesquière, and from the U.S., Ralph Lauren, Virgil Abloh and Daniel Roseberry of Schiaparelli.  The company is calling the event, which will be live streamed on October 5 at 8 pm CET, “Love Brings Love.” I am sure the event will bring many to tears as Alber Elbaz was one of the most beloved and charismatic designers of our time.

While the final stretch of the Spring 2022 shows is still going strong, here are some key trends coming out of Paris so far:

POSH SPLICE

This season, designers in Paris played mix masters with a mélange of luxe and alluring combinations.

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Sarawong’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Thebe Magugu’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lutz Huelle’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Isabel Marant’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TWISTER

Twisted halter tops take center stage this season as the sexy neckline can be found on everything from body-con dresses and jumpsuits to barely there tops.

A look from Courrèges’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Issey Miyake’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

JUMP STARTS

No longer the sole domain for dancers and gymnasts, the jumpsuit takes on a racy twist in skintight versions that are oh-so-sexy.

A look from Balenciaga’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Acne Studios’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SPORTS CENTER

Getting in shape never looked better. Designers are inspired by the sporty life with chic riffs on everything from cool basketball-style shorts to a full-on boxing looks.

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

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Isabel Marant’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Meryll Rogge’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE BELT WAY

Cinch it in! Designers are opting for belting looks this season to accentuate the waist.

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Patou’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Andrew Gn’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

A look from Hermès’ Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BARING CONDITIONS

The French have a flare for sexiness and this spring designers are adding an extra dose of seduction with strategically placed  cut-outs leaving very little to the imagination.

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Gauchere’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Coperni’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

YOU’RE A GEM

The collections in Paris were filled with brilliant jewel tone colors – rich magentas, emeralds, and blues – enough to make you sparkle like a gem.

A look from Andrew Gn’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Kenneth Ize’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Issey Miyake’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Patou’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHINE LANGUAGE

Metallic hues take a playful turn for spring 2022 as designers show an array of shiny looks from a gold fringe dress to a silver futuristic topper, one things for sure, it’s time to shine on.

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

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Courrèges’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lutz Huelle’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christopher Kane’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balenciaga’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Now that we’ve covered each of the major fashion week capitals, which city do you believe has the most creative talent?

 

 

ICONIC FASHION DESIGNERS ON THE SILVER SCREEN

An image from the film Saint Laurent. (Photo Courtesy of Mandarin Films/ EuropaCorp)

Let’s face it, it’s been a tough year and a half, between the global pandemic, and all the political and social unjust in the world today, we can all use a break from reality and escape into the magical world of film. So here at UoF, we compiled a list of some of our favorite films based on, you guessed it, fashion designers.  Whether it’s a biopic on Yves Saint Laurent’s life, Gabrielle Chanel’s first steps into the fashion, or a brush up on some fashion history with documentaries covering the glamorous life of Valentino, the rebellious escapades of Vivienne Westwood, or the agony and the ecstasy of Alexander McQueen, one thing is for sure, we LOVE to peer into the secret lives of fashion designers. Just check out the 82% Rotten Tomatoes audience score that the latest Halston biopic series on Netflix got and the 88% score that the 2019 Halston documentary received.

Whether it’s a documentary or a scrumptious little slice of fiction, these films transport us to another world with eccentric stories and extravagant anecdotes that make up the theatrical, glittering and whimsical world of fashion.

START THE POPCORN

Without further ado, here are a few of our favorite films and documentaries based on some of the most innovative designers. I guess you can all them the University of Fashion Oscars!

SAINT LAURENT (2014)

Saint Laurent official trailer. (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Saint Laurent is a 2014 French biographical drama film about Yves Saint Laurent. The film was co-written and directed by Bertrand Bonello;  the film stars Gaspard Ulliel as Yves Saint Laurent, Jérémie Renier as Pierre Bergé, and Louis Garrel as Jacques de Bascher. The film centers on Yves Saint Laurent’s life from 1967 to 1976, which was the peak of his career, as he becomes one of the most iconic designers in the history of fashion.

The film examines the mythical and sometime scandalous life of the late Yves Saint Laurent. The director transports the audience into the 1970s, to a time where the designer was known for sporting both innovative and elegant outfits. In a divine journey into Yves Saint Laurent’s mind, the director examines this era, filled with folly and changing tides. Gaspard Ulliel offers an intense portrayal of the designer, who dives into a world of drugs and partying to silence his inner demons and his chronic, acute depression.

Saint Laurent was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but was not nominated.  In January 2015, Saint Laurent received ten César Award nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor. It also received five nominations at the 20th Lumières Awards, winning Best Actor for Gaspard Ulliel.

COCO BEFORE CHANEL (2009)

A preview of Coco Before Chanel. (Courtesy of YouTubeMovies)

Coco Before Chanel is a biographical film based on the start of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s extraordinary career.  The French film was directed by Anne Fontaine and stars Audrey Tautou as she plays a young Coco Chanel. The story of Coco Chanel’s journey from obscure, headstrong orphan to the legendary couturier who represented the modern woman and became an eternal symbol of success, freedom and style.

The French director decided to focus on the designer before her time of glory, to better understand the woman behind the fashion icon, and portrays a wounded woman, bruised by her neglected childhood and her tragic love stories.

By day, young Coco works as a seamstress, but at night, she performs as a cabaret entertainer.  Coco then meets a wealthy heir (Benoît Poelvoorde) and becomes not only his lover, but also his fashion consultant. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel throws herself as passionately into her work as she does into her love life. Audrey Tautou gracefully embodies this great Mademoiselle who liberated women with her sleek, straightforward clothes. Tired of the flowery hats, tight corsets and yards of lace that define women’s fashion, Coco infused her lover’s clothing as a starting point to refine an elegant and sophisticated line of women’s clothing that propels her to the top of Parisian haute couture.

DIOR AND I (2014)

Dior And I official trailer. (Courtesy of Madman Films)

Dior and I (French: Dior et moi) is a 2014 French documentary film written and directed by Frédéric Tcheng. The film captures the artistic genius of designer Raf Simons as he creates his first haute couture collection as the new artistic director of Christian Dior.

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17, 2014. The film focused upon Simons’ debut season at Dior and includes non-speaking cameo appearances by Marion Cotillard, Isabelle Huppert, Jennifer Lawrence, and Sharon Stone. The documentary received positive reviews by critics.

Dior and I brings the audience inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection -a true labor of love created by a loyal group of collaborators. Melding the everyday, pressure-filled elements of fashion with mysterious echoes from the iconic house’s past, the film is also a colorful homage to the seamstresses who serve Simons’ vision.

VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR (2008)

Valentino: The Last Emperor official trailer. (Courtesy of YouTube)

Valentino: The Last Emperor is a documentary film about the life of famed Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani, the designer and founder of the legendary label Valentino. It was produced and directed by Matt Tyrnauer, Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine. The picture documents the dramatic final act of Valentino’s career, tells the story of his life, and delves into the heart of the fashion industry. The documentary also delves into the loving relationship between Valentino and his business partner and companion of 50 years, Giancarlo Giammetti.

Valentino Garavani opened his first fashion house in 1959. In 2007, Valentino shocked the fashion world as he revealed his retirement plans and began preparing for his final fashion show. The documentary follows Valentino during the last two years of his time as a designer, as he gets ready to conclude his fashion career; as well as his worries about the intentions of the corporation buying his namesake label.

The filmmakers shot over 250 hours of footage with exclusive access to Valentino and his entourage. “We were let into the inner circle, but we had to stick it out for a long time, practically move in, to capture the truly great moments,” says Tyrnauer in an interview with Italian Living. “Valentino is surrounded by a tight-knit family of friends and employees, but, eventually, their guard came down and they forgot there was a camera crew in the room.”

“Valentino was one of the first designers to make himself the inspirational figure at the center of the story he was telling,” says Tyrnauer in an interview with Vanity Fair. “He is a born dreamer and the last true couturier, who let us in on his creative process and also let us in on the life he built around him to sustain this process,” adds Tyrnauer. “He lives as lavishly as his clients and set a standard for the industry. He shuts out all that is not beautiful, and we followed him around the world to capture that special world.”

WESTWOOD: PUNK. ICON. ACTIVIST. (2018)

Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. official trailer. (Courtesy of Madman Films)

Vivienne Westwood has been disrupting British fashion for more than 40 years, using her fashion status fame as a platform for her political, social and environmental activism. In 2018, filmmaker Lorna Tucker releases a feature-length documentary about the designer, Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. chronicling the incredible career of the designer.

Vivienne Westwood ignited the punk movement with ex-partner and Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren, and the iconic designer has been redefining British fashion since 1971. She is responsible for creating many of the most distinctive pieces of recent time. Blending archival footage and insightful interviews a portrait emerges of Vivienne’s fascinating network of collaborators, taking the audience on her journey — from a childhood in postwar Derbyshire to the runways of Paris and Milan.

Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. is the first film to embody the extraordinary story of one of the true icons of our time, as she fights to maintain her brand’s integrity, her principles – and her legacy. The documentary was screened at the Sundance film festival on January 20, 2018, in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.

MCQUEEN (2018)

https://youtu.be/cVQVxcK6v3A

A preview of the MCQUEEN trailer. Courtesy of YouTube.

McQueen is a 2018 biographical documentary film, directed by Ian Bonhôte, written and co-directed by Peter Ettedgui, and produced by Ian Bonhôte, Andee Ryder, Nick Taussig, and Paul Van Carter under the banner of Misfits Entertainment, and Salon Pictures. The documentary looks into life and career of the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

The life of Alexander McQueen is a rags-to-riches story, a modern-day fairy tale, laced with the gothic, tragic twist. The designer started his career in his teens before gaining notice as designer for Givenchy and launching his own label in 1992, which continues to this day under the creative direction of Sarah Jane Burton. Mirroring the savage beauty, boldness and exuberance of his creations, this documentary is an intimate exposé of McQueen’s own world, both tortured and inspired, which celebrates a radical and hypnotic brilliance of great influence. Sadly the brilliant designer took his life February 11, 2010

The film is a personal look at the extraordinary life, career and artistry of Alexander McQueen. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, exquisite visuals and music, McQueen is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary.

Let us know, which is your favorite film?