The city of light shone a little more brightly this month, as luminaries and stars of the fashion world descended upon Paris in celebration of Couture Fashion Week. Top fashion houses like Chanel, Fendi, Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier presented their Spring/Summer 2022 collections, once again propelling our imaginations with awe-inspiring designs and extravagant innovations.
From Chanel leading its show with a royal on horseback, to Glenn Martens’ gritty glam interpretation of Jean Paul Gaultier’s most signature styles, here are all the Haute Couture Week shows that we’re still obsessing over.
Chanel’s Spring-Summer 2022 Haute Couture show opened with Grace Kelly’s granddaughter, Charlotte Casiraghi, not walking the runway but trotting along on a horse. The Monacan royal led the show in a sequined Chanel jacket and black helmet, followed by models wearing a series of structured tweed skirt and pant suits in pastel and neutral colours which then gave way to airy, ethereal dresses. Designed by Virginie Viard, the collection had no shortage of organza, feathers and sequins, while the closing bridal dress came in the form of a silk and chiffon slip with beaded detailing on its straps and neckline.
The art of embroidery takes centre stage in the Dior Spring-Summer 2022 Haute Couture Collection, which was showcased against the backdrop of graphic, embroidered tapestries handmade in collaboration with Mumbai’s Chanakya School of Craft. Emphasising the sense of human connection bound up in craftsmanship, the presentation saw embroidered tights, grisaille-debecked suits, draped leotards and tulle evening dresses. A palette of subdued, neutral hues marked the collection by Maria Grazia Chiuri, allowing the painstakingly handcrafted details of garments to truly shine through.
For Valentino’s Anatomy of Couture collection, Pierpaolo Piccioli rewrites codes of haute couture that have been embedded for far too long, seeking to better reflect the richness and diversity of the contemporary world through its show at the Maison’s 8 Place Vendôme. Celebrating the plurality of beauty, a variety of models with different body shapes and ages walked the runway, dressed in sumptuous silhouettes that highlight the body above all else. Short hems, frame hugging gowns, torso revealing necklines starred in the lineup of glamorous ensembles, alongside structured dresses, embellished suits and elegant separates.
Fusing the worlds of classical Roman art and space sci-fi, Fendi’s Couture Spring Summer 2022 show transported us to an utterly mystical moment and place, at once representing past, present and future. Sequin-covered gowns in strong warrior like silhouettes, capes and dresses adorned with hand painted recreations of Roman statues, and monastic robes that wouldn’t look out of place in a Star Wars film floated down the runway to the electronic synth beats of Jon Hopkins. Adding to the collection’s theme of otherworldly edge, the evening wear ensembles were completed with accessories like spiky black ear cuffs and chunky rings designed by Delfina Delettrez, daughter of Silvia Venturini Fendi.
Jean Paul Gaultier
Following Chitose Abe’s takeover for Jean Paul Gaultier‘s Fall/Winter 2021 Couture show, it’s Y/Project’s Glenn Martens turn to take the reins this season. For the Spring/Summer 2022 Couture collection, Martens made sure to stay true to Gaultier signatures of corsets, stripes and flair for the dramatic, while adding his own trademark stamp of experimental zeal. Gaultier’s iconic marinière gets a darker, edgier interpretation with spiky red coral embellishments, corsets are amplified into full dresses, and gowns overflow into voluminous ruched trains of unending fabric.
For Schiaparelli’s first in-person couture show since the pandemic started, Daniel Roseberry’s vision was one of disciplined artistry. “All of the tricks that couture designers (including me) use to communicate grandeur and craftsmanship—big silhouettes, glorious poufs of fabric, huge volume—felt hollow,” the creative director wrote in the show’s notes. Instead, only three colours were used: black, white, and of course, gold, to create a celestial escape from the chaotic times we live in. Sharp, tailored silhouettes impressed with gilded elements like planet-shaped earrings, headdresses with radiating sun rays, palm trees sprouting from jacket shoulders, and long strands of metal spilling from the top of a bodice.