Hands down, couture week is our favourite — the drama is out in full force, and so are the celebrities (both front row and on the runways). Colours, frills, ruffles and volume came to play and the shows transformed into show-stopping spectacles. We’re talking acrobats, larger-than-life sets and a cast so powerfully diverse, it made headlines everywhere. See our favourite shows from haute couture spring 2019 below.
Pre-show, Valentino‘s Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli said: “I don’t believe in modernising couture.” Staying true to these words, 65 classically couture creations — in ruffles, frills, fringes, volumes and flowers — glided down the runway. In a spectrum of jewel colours and exquisite fabrics, the dresses demonstrated the maison’s signature impeccable craftsmanship. The show notes revealed the work behind the creations, of the invisible stitches that finished the hand-rolled organza and lace ruffles, the hosiery made of collages of couture lace, and the 700 hours it took to create a patchwork of metallic lace on a floral-printed dress. One other element that stole the? The diverse casting. Piccioli’s lineup of models featured a cast of mostly black women, as a means of couture celebrating uniqueness. So iconic was this collection that “Queen of Couture” Celine Dion was spotted wiping away her tears throughout the show.
Viktor & Rolf
Meme-worthy gowns at a couture show? Only at Viktor & Rolf. Models wore literal statement-making gowns — quotes ranged from “I’m not shy I just don’t like you” to “Sorry I’m Late I Didn’t Want To Come”. Emblazoned on voluminous dresses made of tulle and ruffles in candy colours, each dress was a tongue-in-cheek reference to today’s viral meme culture. Referencing this, Rolf Snoeren said: “All these statements that are so obvious or easy — there’s a lot of banality on Instagram and social media in general — are counterbalanced with this over-the-top, shimmery, romantic feeling.”
It was the finale at Chanel that got showgoers talking. Instead of the ubiquitous wedding gown, the collection closed with a model clad in an embellished one-piece bridal swimsuit complete with a cathedral-length veil. And instead of Karl Lagerfeld himself taking the final bow, creative studio director Virginie Viard took his place. Set in the Grand Palais at the Villa Chanel, an 18th-century style Mediterranean house replete with manicured gardens and a pool, the collection featured updated tweed suits, this time in slender silhouettes, with boat necklines and mid-calf hemlines. Referencing the “frivolity of the 18th-century style”, the maison highlights the flamboyant details of the assorted looks, such as a sequinned tweed skirt paired with a feather-covered cape, and white pleated chiffon dresses interspersed with lace, ruffles and more ladder lace.
It was a circus at Dior. Within a giant tent, acrobats from London’s only all-female circus troupe performed gravity-defying formations as models in skull caps walked the runway. The circus has always played a crucial role in the maison’s history as Christian Dior himself was a regular attendee of the Cirque d’hiver. Maria Grazia Churi reinterprets it as a place of inclusion, building a collection for the contemporary woman. Models wore ringmaster suits, ruffled clown collars paired with tutu skirts, impeccably cut bloomers and harlequin prints accompanied with clown-inspired eye makeup of graphic black eyeliner. Show notes referenced the clown as an inclusive figure: “Is it a man or a woman? It’s neither one nor the other — it’s a clown.”
Jean Paul Gaultier
We don’t expect anything less than tongue-in-cheek at a Jean Paul Gaultier show, and the designer did not disappoint. Centreed on a theatrical representation of Asia, the show set sail with the house’s signature maritime stripe. In signature Gaultier style, the looks became progressively whimsical. From punk-styled geishas to suits with pointed sharp shoulders, the collection’s highlights included a wedding gown made of paper parasols and a sharp-shouldered, rainbow-striped jumpsuit. Queen of Burlesque Dita Von Teese closed the show in a nude and black tulle gown with a velvet cage bustier, a wing-esque structure on the shoulders and an embroidered train.