Paris Haute Couture is the stuff that dreams of made of as it’s always a feast for the eyes, and Fall 2019 couldn’t be any different. Celebrities and fashion lovers invaded the French capital to see the most fantastic collections. While I going through all the shows to prepare the highlights of my favourite Haute Couture fall 2019 catwalk shows for you, I’ve just realised that there’s been a shift in the fashion world and three of the most influential houses are now headed by women.
Virginie Viard’s debut couture show for Chanel was an ode to Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld’s elegant signature looks. Viard worked alongside Karl Lagerfeld for 30 years. Consequently, she knows like nobody else the craftsmanship of the talented “Petites Mains” of Chanel’s ateliers. Hence, she created luxurious designs with embroideries, and feathers and organza ruffs that reminded Lagerfeld’s high-collared shirts. All in all, it’s a romantic and ultra-chic collection with tall and narrow silhouettes with mandarin collars. Additionally, there are tweed coats, nonchalant wide trousers worn with flat shoes, and beautiful satin cocktail dresses.
As we expected, Maria Grazia Chiuri opened her Fall 2019 Haute Couture show for Christian Dior with a slogan T-shirt dress. The slogan read “Are Clothes Modern?”. This is the title of a 1947 essay written by the Austrian-American Bernard Rudolfsky. The writer analyses aspects of fashion he thinks are not only useless or ugly but also harmful for women. For example, pointy-toed shoes that hurt the feet. Inspired by his book, Dior’s creative director designed the woman-friendly sock-shoes the models wore on the catwalk. Chiuri found old samples of fine mesh in the archives of the French house. She then used them for the Stephen Jones head veils the models wore. And also in the bodice and skirts of the evening gowns, which gave them volume and lightness. The collection was mainly in black to focus on the silhouette, texture and details.
Pierpaolo Piccioli has managed to outdo himself with his fabulous Haute Couture collection for Valentino. The front row was a show within the show. Celine Dion, Gwyneth Paltrow and Naomi Campbell were some of the famous guests present. And on the catwalk, models of all ages. For example, the beautiful Lauren Hutton, in her 70s. And Cecilia Chancellor, the embodiment of the British It Girl, now in her 50s. Piccioli presented so much beauty in this collection that it’s impossible to choose one favourite look. The surprising combinations of colours like ochre, lilac and yellow or citric green, purple and prune were stunning. And the craftsmanship of Valentino’s atelier could be perceived in the gorgeous draped taffeta dresses. Likewise, the floral appliqués took 990 hours of handwork for just one dress. Also fabulous were the feathered coat and gowns with wool fringe.
After two years at Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller, one of the favourite designers of Meghan Markle, presented a sensational show. The designer explained that she wanted “to push it into something that has a little more theatre.” Her idea for this collection was “ an anarchic woman that comes through the chateau and all the elements that you’d find there ” hence the title of the show; “Noblesse Radicale”. Waight Keller created voluminous taffeta dresses with feathers that sprout from under the skirt. The capes and gowns with pleated silk, lace and fringes were not only theatrical but also fabulous.