Paris Haute Couture Week felt like a sea change. After over a year of the fashion industry being blighted by Covid, most of the shows were held in person, and it was almost like a return to normality.
Couture promises escapism. The outfits are extremely expensive, one of a kind, and you have to be invited by the Chambre Syndicale to present a collection. It’s not really an opportunity for fashion houses to set trends or show us what we might be wearing this season, but rather a chance to go all-out in design and creativity.
With extreme fashion, famous models and quirky beauty choices, this couture week had it all…
Sky-high hair at Giambattista Valli
Giambattista Valli brought Sixties-inspired absurdism into its beauty looks, with models wearing comically high beehives. As for the collection itself, it’s everything we’ve come to expect from the Italian fashion house: frothy tulle dresses, pastel colours and a ‘more is more’ approach.
Balenciaga returns to couture
Showing its first couture collection in over 50 years, all eyes were on Balenciaga. Designer Demna Gvasalia presented a confident, chic collection – full of sharp monochromatic tailoring, oversized coat dresses in bold colours and even (gasp) jeans. It’s much more minimalist and utilitarian than you normally see from couture, and celebs were out in force: Kanye West and Bella Hadid were in the audience, and Vice President Kamala Harris’ stepdaughter Ella Emhoff was a model.
Balenciaga’s collection really had the high fashion seal of approval – fellow designer Marc Jacobs has commented on many of the outfits on Instagram with words like “magical”, “divine” and “chic”.
Margaret Qualley as a bride at Chanel
Every Chanel haute couture show ends with a bride walking down the catwalk – and this season, creative director Virginie Viard tapped actor and daughter of Andie MacDowell, Margaret Qualley for the role. She wore a stunning pale pink, long-sleeved gown with puffed sleeves, and a delicate veil with multi-coloured accents.