Haute Couture Week (I.G. @hautecoutureweek) in its Fall/Winter ’21 season returns with a series of events that allow us to experience the various proposals of textile craftsmanship of designers in physical and digital formats, being a major challenge in a post-pandemic era to elevate more than ever the qualities of the practice of couture. The collections presented in the first two days present us with a haute couture that although it has a certain criteria, does not mean that it is confined to a single place, to a simple presentation as it was before, but now, in an era after the confinement, this shows its value and appeal more than ever by presenting collections that go beyond the catwalk, we could say that from above the ground in the middle of the skies to the digital screen of video games.
This season includes the presentation of some of the most anticipated events, such as Demna Gvasalia’s couture debut which marks the return of Balenciaga after 50 years, as well as Kerby Jean-Raymond’s debut with Pyer Moss at Couture Fashion Week.
Schiaparelli: “The Matador”
”Give me more fashion. Give me more hope.”
The first day of Haute Couture Week began with a collection that carried a message of hope and optimism through a surreal transmutation between the nostalgia of Schiaparelli’s vision and the dreamy power of “Fake it till you make it” that fashion has. Called ”The Matador” Daniel Roseberry’s fourth collection is considered in three parts: 1) an homage to Schiaparelli’s jackets of the past, 2) a focus on the body and costume jewelry and 3) a celebration of color.
The collection denotes an overall romantic feeling through the use of bold colors and the exaltation of shapes, with some reminiscent of the traje de luces, like the chquetilla, the embellished pieces with gold, and the montera hat. For the designer, after the times that have been experienced since last season, what better than to dream big and in a better way, what better than to highlight that dreamy power that fashion infuses when it is an art and not a serial reproduction. As Roseberry stated through a press release:
” I hope this collection reminds all who encounter it of the sheer pleasure that fashion can bring us in difficult times, and with it, the promise of more joy when the clouds part. Give me more fashion. Give me more hope.”
Iris van Herpen: ‘Earthrise’
Moving on from surrealism, we come to Iris van Herpen “Earthrise” collection that transcends the limits of both freedom and the power of haute couture through its complexity, softness, and delicacy to be applied to other fields as extreme as would be an extreme sport like skydiving, which requires maximum strength and toughness.
Undoubtedly the theme of the environment and the impact of fashion is something that is part of the global agenda, the collection reflects through its 19 looks the circular processes that mark the change in the planet, uniting handmade tailoring and organic craftsmanship.
The collection also features looks made from Parley Ocean Plastic®, which were made from marine debris recycled by Parley’s Global Cleanup Network.
When opting for an in-person presentation, after the confinement time, being present has to have another meaning, Maria Grazia Churi’s intention for the Christian Dior collection being an emphasis on tactility, that is, where the materiality, shape, and movement of the fabrics and embroideries are transformed into a diversity of squares, tweeds, textures and different dimensions in black and white, showing innovative warp and weft constructions.
Haute couture does not escape history. Being in a contemporary context different from its origins, as well as the difficult times it has lived through (eg. the Second World War) does not mean that its appeal is less or that it is exempt from the effects marked by the pandemic because considering the criteria applicable to this industry, the ateliers, their workers and customers were also affected. Certainly, Maria Grazia Churi reflects this in her collection, being as inspiration the book “Threads of Life” by Clare Hunter, where the value of weaving and embroidery, through art, protest, identity, is discussed and sensitized. The Chambre de Soie, created by French artist Eva Jospin, is the backdrop for the show, with life-size embroidery on the walls of the Musée Rodin, evoking the embroidery room of the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, made in collaboration with the Chanakya Atelier and the students of the Chanakya School of Craft in India.
“Muse, museum, mode.”
When it comes to a couture collection like Chanel (I.G. chanelofficial) it’s about a manifesto. When it comes to fashion, it’s about fashion always being in Paris. When it comes to haute couture, inspiration can come from art, which in turn can come from the painting, sculpture, and architecture of the museum that contains it and of course…its muses. Presented at the Palais Galliera, the venue that still exhibits Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto, as a backdrop to the collection, Virginie Viard presents a series of pieces inspired by Impressionist painting “Works by Berthe Morisot, Marie Laurencin, and Édouard Manet. There are Impressionist-inspired dresses, skirts that look like paintings and a long white satin dress dotted with black bows like Morisot’s…”
The impressionist influence is seen through colorful touches on tweed coats, as well as on blouses embroidered with mauve and pink sequin motifs, or with small red, blue and yellow daisies on a black background, multicolored striped tweed skirts.
The collection’s runway show could not have ended without the introduction of a new Chanel couture bride, this time being House ambassador and actress Margaret Qualley.
Julien Fournié: First Squad
While some designers took advantage of the physical presentation format to show their pieces, digital presentation also has its advantages, and if you know how to exploit them you can generate a fashion-meets-videogames collection, being the case of Julien Fournié (I.G. @julienfournie) who for his collection “First Squad” took advantage of both his level of creativity and aesthetics as well as his admiration for superheroes and the aesthetics of video games, who in this era have achieved effects as realistic as life itself. If there is something that both fields have in common is customization, and that is why the designer collaborated with PUBG Mobile, offering its players the possibility of creating their own identities.
If the pandemic has not allowed in part to show off outfits outdoors, being able to do it with video games is another opportunity that is explored, being reflected in this collection where the exclusivity of haute couture is available at your fingertips so to speak.
Giorgio Armani Privé: Shine
Finishing the second day of haute couture with the best we found Armani Privé with their “Shine” collection. As the name of the collection says, the collection injects a sense of joy and optimism through looks that denote the brightness of textiles like silk organza and watery sequins. The collection, presented at the Italian embassy in Paris, also included pieces from the last Privé collection in January.