The fashion world had its main life beat – its shows – taken away from it for a big part of the past year, with the majority of fashion houses going online when live shows were scrapped. While phygital shows allowed for new ways of story-telling, innovative way of consumer engagement and incorporation of technological feats that were fresh while they lasted, nothing beats the real live seeing and touching of pieces when it comes to fashion.
The case is particularly apparent with haute couture, where artistry and craft are the centrepieces of each design. Thankfully with the Covid-19 vaccine on the roll out and the European borders relaxing for vaccinated travellers, the Autumn Winter Haute Couture Week returned to spectators and fashion royalty attendees this week, each show making up for lost time.
Given such a comeback, brands didn’t disappoint and presented just a show. Here’s how some of the biggest players reclaimed the runway and showed what fashion really means in the fullest force
Balenciaga returns to couture for the first time sine 1967
Balenciaga presents Couture for the first time since 1967, when founder Cristóbal Balenciaga left the fashion industry. Balenciaga Couture Winter 21 is officially the House’s 50th Couture collection—and artistic director Demna Gvasalia’s first. The collection is a mix of men’s and women’s made-to-measure pieces meticulously crafted using today’s most sophisticated techniques. Paying tribute to Balenciaga’s revered Couture history, garments architecturally transform the body and defer to the art of savoir-faire while taking an interest in modern dressing. W balenciaga.com
Chanel takes over the Palais Galleria
Iconic Parisian locations have always set the backdrop for Chanel’s shows and this time, it returned with a purpose to the Palais Galleria. Painting is at the heart of the Chanel Fall-Winter 2021/22 Haute Couture collection by Virginie Viard, unveiled amongst the Neo-Renaissance architecture of the City of Paris Fashion Museum. Inspired by movements of French painting, a multitude of fashion muses are brought to life by the magic of the Haute Couture ateliers, as colourful tweed suits echo Impressionist brushstrokes and dresses bloom with English garden flowers. W chanel.com
Dior reclaims the present moment
Reclaiming the values of haute couture after this period of restrictions, the Dior couture collections designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri were mainly presented through film. The materiality of fabric becomes form, while the subversive language of embroidery is expressed in a project that becomes a performance of energy resembling poetic pleasure, at the intersection of style, movement and attitude. Through textile research, a series of pieces, featuring an assortment of checks, tweeds, textures and different dimensions in black and white, showcase innovative warp and weft constructions. This Dior haute couture autumn-winter 2021-2022 collection by Maria Grazia Chiuri takes place within a singular context. The return to “being present” implies shifting attention to a tactile materiality. W dior.com
Fendi looks to British Theatre
Fendi enters a time-travelling vision in a glasshouse maze, embarking on a liberating journey from the romance and sensibility of the Bloomsbury Group to the marble palette of Rome’s Galleria Borghese. The collection breathes an air of upholstery, with a neutral colour palette occasionally glimmering with iridescence. Dresses borrow from hybrid looks – presenting half a gown and hald a blazer or shirt. Tailoring for the collection is structured, some framed by floor-sweeping capes, others with soft romantic tulle. Kim Jones’ background in menswear can be picked up, with a clear melancholy to the show lacing the Britihs approach to his version of haute couture theatre. W fendi.com