For a fashion lover, fashion week is probably the most important event of the year. Spring/Summer Fashion Week takes place in September and Fall/Winter Fashion Week takes place in February (in NYC). They are the Superbowls of fashion and fashionistas everywhere await these events with bated breath. However, much like football, there’s a drought between the two events that seems to drag to eternity. We start questioning the meaning of life and scrolling through old collections wondering what designers will come up with next. Then thankfully, the fashion Gods smile upon us and benevolently give us Paris Couture Week every July.
Paris Couture Week is unlike the main two Fashion Weeks, as designers use this event to think outside the box. They bring out their most ostentatious creations to leave the crowds gawking. Indeed, nothing is too extravagant during Paris Couture Week. Exaggerated gowns, headpieces and jewelry are all fair game and it almost makes one feel like they’re watching a large-budget movie as opposed to a fashion show.
You may be thinking, what makes something couture? It seems every small store calls their clothes “couture” nowadays. Unfortunately, they’re likely lying just to attract buyers. In order to be considered couture (specifically, haute couture), a fashion house must abide by the following rules:
- The business must be a part of the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture in Paris.
- Members must employ 15 or more people in a Parisian atelier.
- Designers present their collections twice a year. The collections must consist of at least 35 separate outfits for day and eveningwear.
- The clothes are made almost entirely by hand.
- The clothes are expensive as hell!
Fine, maybe the last one isn’t a requirement but that doesn’t make it untrue. So let’s take a look at the gorgeous designs presented to us by some of the fashion houses last week. Note the pictures below are not mine.
Plaid, plaid and more plaid. On a Parisian park themed runway and under a replica of the Eiffel tower, Karl Lagerfeld displayed a lot of the material that the brand is now synonymous with. Embellishing the plaid were, of course, pearls. No matter how many plaid outfits Chanel introduces, it never seems enough. Each piece is unique and beautiful. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if my wardrobe consisted of just plaid, as long as it’s just Chanel. And let’s take a moment to congratulate Mr. Lagerfeld on receiving the La Médaille Grand Vermeil de la Ville de Paris at the event – one of Paris’ highest honors. What a genius.
Newly classified as “haute couture” (it was previously classified as demi-couture), I expected a lot more from this designer. The clothes started off a bit on the dull side, with mini-dresses and sequined patterns. Later, they progressed into more aesthetic patterns, complete with multicolored looks and fabrics. Undoubtedly, they were all beautiful, but I tend to associate couture with more ‘oomph.’ I do love the heart shoes though. On a side note, I also styled my cape like that for my Beauty and the Beast shoot…perhaps that’s where Bertrand Guyon (Schiaparelli’s Creative Director) got the idea for the last outfit? 😉
One thing I love about Maria Grazia Chiuri is consistency. If you’re about to watch a Dior show, you already expect flowing diaphanous gowns, pleats and a nod to astrology (typically zodiac signs). This couture collection boasted the same elements but also reached deep into Dior’s original creations and brought back the bar suits and tapered waists. In fact, the high collars were reminiscent of the gowns and jackets Christian Dior first became known for. I love that Maria tried to converge her designs with the very essence of the fashion house. And as you can see, the results were phenomenal.
Ralph & Russo
I don’t think I have the heart to give this fashion house anything less than an A. Even though their styles are also quite consistent (bucket hats, big ruffles, a grandiose show stopper), the details in their clothing are impossible to miss. The intricate beading, lace patterns and embroidery is baffling and I can’t even imagine how long it must take to construct these works of art. This particular collection deviates from the Ralph & Russo norm, yet reminds me of some other outfits worn by celebs previously. For example, the cupcake dress is similar to the Giambattista Valli dress Rihanna wore and the bejeweled black gown reminds me of the Reem Acra one JLo wore.
(Giambattista Valli dress)
(Reem Acra dress)
Wow. Where do I even begin? This was definitely my favorite collection at Paris Couture Week. Typically predictable, Elie Saab is known for his belted lace dresses with gorgeous trains and fitted bodices. But it seems Mr. Saab has been watching a lot of Game of Thrones recently and is definitely inspired by it. Can’t you imagine Sansa in that hooded dress, Cersei in the black two-piece and Jon Snow in that fur stole?
What was your favorite collection? Sound off below!