Chanel turned the Grand Palais into a sun-soaked spectacle
To the uninitiated, Haute Couture Week might sound and look like a bizarre and overly-extravagant event. And, that’s because it is.
Twice a year, the world’s most esteemed fashion designers showcase their most exuberant and expensive creations in Paris.
Sheer bodices, tiers of taffeta and human-sized bows are just some of the sartorial quirks that render couture clothes, if one can even call them clothes, entirely unfit for purpose. But that’s the point.
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Couture Week is essentially a biannual art fair for designers, offering them an opportunity to flex their creativity muscles to their max, leaving no sequin unturned.
From Chanel channelling Marie Antoinette grandeur in a sun-soaked 18th century villa to Naomi Campbell making a momentous return to the catwalk at the Valentino show, here’s everything you need to know about this season’s Couture Week.
Viktor + Rolf turned memes into couture
“No photos please”, “F*** this I’m going to Paris” and “Leave me alone” might be phrases you’re more accustomed to seeing on T-shirts at Camden market than on £10,000 gowns.
But hey, why not combine the two and see if it sticks? Apparently it does. But the Camden aesthetic was given a couture twist this week at the Viktor + Rolf show, which was awash with brightly-coloured tulle gowns covered in quippy slogans.
In a week filled with clothes so expensive and hard to wear that you start to question its purpose, Viktor + Rolf’s contribution brought a much needed dose of relatability to the whole affair.
Naturally, people fawned over the avant-garde collection on social media, where snaps of the gowns quickly went viral, much like the memes that inspired them.
Naomi Campbell closed the Valentino show
The supermodel extraordinaire made a surprise appearance at Couture Week by closing the Valentino show in an vampirish black gown complete with a full ruffled skirt and a sheer bodice.
The crowd, which included Celine Dion, watched on in awe as the 48-year-old icon glided down the runway with the kind of poise and authority that few bar Campbell could exude. She is a true pro.
Chanel gave us some serious holiday inspiration
Although head honcho Karl Largerfeld was absent on the day due to tiredness, the luxury French fashion house maintained its place as one of the undisputed highlights on the Couture Week calendar with its Riviera-inspired show. With one of the highest budgets around, Chanel holds no punches when it comes to production.
This season it transformed the Grand Palais into a decadent tableau complete with palm trees, a swimming pool and a terraced apricot villa that looked like something out of a Wes Anderson film.
The clothes were pretty lavish too, with models walking the runway in diamante swimsuits and candy-coloured tweed suits that are custom for house.
A Sex Education star proved her fashion credentials at Balmain
Sex Education is the Netflix show that has captured viewers with its witty dialogue and forward-thinking storyline that sees a sex therapist’s teenage son guide his peers through the minefield of dating, relationships and, well, sex.
Now, one of the series’ breakout stars is crossing over into another sphere. Emma Mackey, who plays the whip-smart character of Maeve Wiley in the show, was spotted on the front row at Balmain’s couture show, the label’s first in 16 years.
Wearing a pair of high-waisted vinyl trousers and a heavily shoulder-padded jumper, the 23-year-old actor’s outfit proved she is just as much of a thespian as she is a worthy FROW’er.
Watch this space.
Céline Dion dominated the FROW
The singer’s unflappable street style, which was on full display at this season’s Couture Week.
Dion made front row appearances at Giorgio Armani Privé, Alexandre Vauthier and Valentino. Her showstopping outfits – plunging gowns, giant pussybow neck ties and razor-sharp tailoring – are just part of her overall excellence that awarded her a rightful place at the shows, front and centre.
It’s her reactions to the clothes themselves that make Dion the bastion of Haute Couture that she has become, with fans marvelling at her visceral reactions to the shows on social media.
She “oohs”, “aahs” and even cries with aplomb. Long may Dion’s heart for Couture Week go on.