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This Week in Haute Couture: Paris Fashion Week

Paris, the home of renowned designers such as Chanel and Dior, hosted its annual Spring/Summer Haute Couture Fashion Week last week. Labels like Valentino and Givenchy displayed their most extravagant designs, ending the runway season in the most remarkable way possible. Here’s a little recap in case you missed it:


Chanel has a very distinct look, with its typical bouclé skirts and jackets. This couture collection was sure to incorporate the classic elements of Chanel but, Virginie Viard, creative director, wanted to add some elements that would appeal to younger crowds. A light mesh was used in many of the looks, mainly draped over the classic skirts, giving them an edgier look. Many of the models’ waists were accentuated with wide black belts, as well.


The most colorful collection this week, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli was not afraid to express his creativity. Wanting to show the structure and construction of some of the looks, he used linear layering to highlight different parts of each garment. A factor that really differentiates this show from the rest was the fact that some of the models that were selected were older than we usually see on the runway.


Artistic director Clare Waight Keller found inspiration in love letters and gardens when designing this collection. Many of the gowns had elements of ruffles. Most of the collection was made of simple black or white, with a few garments that used brighter colors and stood out. The runway itself was very simple, allowing all attention to be focused on the models. The musicians, however, were sitting on chairs that were suspended in the air, making them very apparent throughout the show.  Keller stated that she wanted to give an “air of mystery — the floatingness…the feeling, the emotion that you get through the music. And so that sort of isolation — not one of them had a conductor. They all played individually.” The musicians helped create the ambiance at the venue.  

Elie Saab​

Known for their romantic prints and embroidered florals, Elie Saab presented a collection full of golden hues and delicate details. To compliment the gold, colors such as blue and pink were utilized for a few of the looks. Gowns designed by Saab are light, containing soft swirls and pearls.

Jean Paul Gaultier

Gaultier is a pioneer of diversity and gender-fluidity within couture, which is why it was so devastating for the fashion industry to hear that this show would be his last. After 50 years, he said goodbye to runway designs. The looks he presented were representative of his career and who he is as a designer. Below, you can see supermodels Bella Hadid, Karlie Kloss, and Irina Shayk wearing some of the pieces from this collection.


Although Balenciaga did not participate in this past Couture Week, they have made headlines by announcing that they will show their first couture collection since 1968. Balenciaga is putting together a skilled team to get back to the company’s origins and to honor its founder Cristobal Balenciaga. This is the first time the brand will create a Haute Couture collection since Balenciaga himself shut down the atelier.

All images courtesy of Giovanni Giannoni/WWD.

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Retail Entrepreneurship Major at Florida State.
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