If Paris Fashion Week is the crown jewel of Fashion Month, then Couture Week is the exquisite gemstone that sits gloriously atop the crown. Every year, the biggest names in fashion flock to the French capital to experience the epitome of fashion, art, and craftsmanship as designers unveil their Haute Couture creations. This season was no different. From astonishing runway accessories, breathtaking craftsmanship, and unforgettable debutants to famous front-row occupants, the Spring/Summer 2024 Couture week was packed with spectacular moments that now live in our heads rent-free.
Discover our highlights of Paris Couture Week Spring/Summer 2024 below.
E-WASTE MEETS COUTURE AT SCHIAPARELLI
Would it even be Paris Couture Week if Schiaparelli didn’t kick it off with an internet-breaking moment? Last year, it was Kylie Jenner and a massive hyper-realistic lion head-affixed dress in the front row that sent the internet into a frenzy. This season, Schiaparelli owed its virality to an unexpected runway accessory – a Swarovski-encrusted robot baby cradled by model Maggie Maurer. The alien baby was born out of clever weaving of obsolete tech and dazzling pearls, studs, and other embellishments, A dress woven with the same electronics from the reject pile was worn by model Hana Soukupová.
In a surprising collision of couture and tech, Daniel Roseberry’s Spring/Summer 24 Couture collection for the Maison had Elsa Schiaparelli’s penchant for unlikely marriages at its heart. Tapping into the fashion house’s surrealist DNA, Roseberry highlighted the brand’s cosmic connection in his show notes, explaining how Giovanni Schiaparelli, Elsa Schiaparelli’s uncle and an astronomer, inadvertently sparked modern fascination with extraterrestrial beings.
The show unveiled a lineup of awe-inspiring designs that blend the familiar with the otherworldly. Think pre-iphone era electronics ( flip phones, CDs, motherboards) skillfully intertwined with pearls and Swarovski crystals. As always, dramatic silhouettes and intricate embellishments took centerstage.
DIOR’S QUIET COUTURE SPEAKS VOLUMES
“To weave is human,” stated Dior, as the Maison’s Spring/Summer 2024 show opened with a reading of a poem by Patrizia Cavalli. “Dear readers, here we weave for you as play,” reads the poem. “Isabella Ducrot conceived the plot and cast the stars: the weft and warp of cloth.” In a fitting portrayal of the Dior Spring/Summer 2024 Couture show, the poem highlights the collaboration with artist Isabella Ducrot, who imagined the set.
For this collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri looks through the Maison archives, drawing inspiration from Monsieur Dior’s ‘La Cigale’ 1952 collection. The creations showcased architectural elegance, featuring coats with bold collars, wide skirts with dramatic cut-outs, layered looks, and stylish pants and jackets. Among the 59 looks showcased, nine embraced the elegance of beige trench fabric, featured in coats, asymmetric day dresses, bustiers, and pants—an embodiment of understated luxury.
CHANEL BUTTONS-UP FOR BALLET
Who would have thought that the humble button would one day be at the center–both figuratively and literally– of Chanel’s couture collection? Staged at the Grand Palais in Paris, Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2024 Couture collection, envisioned by Virginie Viard, twirled the spotlight onto buttons – a symbol of liberation (from corsets) for Madame Chanel. The button, however, assumed the role of an understated hero as Chanel wove another subject close to the brand into the couture mix – ballet. Picture this: pink and white aquarelle hues, dramatic tulle, and tights. From long dresses and short, dramatic tulle skirts, pleats, lace, flowers, and bows, this collection was the epitome of femininity.
ARMANI PRIVÉ ADDED A GENEROUS DASH OF SPARKLE
For the Armani Privé Spring/Summer 2024 Couture show, the Italian designer embraced an expressive and experimental mood, exploring delicacy, wanderlust, and maximalism, skillfully combining sheer, lace, patterns, and crystals within individual outfits.His mastery was evident in the layering of gossamer and jacquard fabrics. Tiny crystals adorned various fabrics, from dégradé handkerchief ruffles to heirloom lace tops, cardigan jackets, and kimono-like robes.
The collection was described as an “open embrace of different cultures,” creating a “wholly imagined journey from West to East.” Armani’s design prowess blurred explicit references, envisioning a woman who amalgamates influences from every Place she visits. The focus remained on intense, decorative motifs rather than rigid silhouettes.
SIMONE ROCHA MAKES AN UNFORGETTABLE COUTURE DEBUT AS JEAN PAUL GAULTIER’S GUEST DESIGNER
Ever since Simone Rocha was announced as Jean Paul Gaultier‘s guest couture designer, the expectations from within the industry and the designer’s fans were sky-high. Yesterday, in a show that ended in a round of applause, Rocha made a historic couture debut, exceeding the mighty expectations of the fashion world. Every single look in the collection–complete with its gothic beauty element–demanded attention.
Here, Rocha’s aesthetics, characterized by bows, ribbons, and a touch of rebellion, intersected provocatively with Gaultier’s legendary showmanship. The iconic conical bra, now transformed into thorns sculpted from silk, made a bold return affixed to a black tuxedo jacket, a voluminous red dress, and curving like devil horns on a peach silk dress.
Rocha masterfully reimagined Gaultier’s corsetry, adding her signature lacing elements with ribbons that were left hanging. Some were buckled with bondage harnesses, others delicately embroidered with daisies. Notably, the corsets were as often left undone as they were tightly fastened, trailing ribbons like undone shoelaces, adding a layer of subversion to the details. Accessories, such as earrings crafted from porcelain casts of suspender-belt stays and chignons made from human hair, further embraced the theme of rebellion and uniqueness. Nautical touches, like rhinestone shells and sailor hats adorned with red rhinestone florals, added a Rocha signature. The collection concluded with a bridal gown in classic lace, rebelliously frayed at the edges.
VALENTINO LOOKS BACK AT THE GOLDEN AGE OF COUTURE
Titled ‘Valentino Le Salon,” the Maison’s Spring/Summer 2024 Couture display took an intimate turn seating guests–which included the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Florence Pugh, and Kylie Jenner with Stormi clutching hand–in its salon in Place Vendôme. In an attempt to revive the intimacy of ‘Salon de Couture’ from the era when couture was born, Pierpaolo Piccioli refused the grand show stage. He emphasized the essence of couture as a personalized, made-to-measure experience, evident in his lineup featuring both red-carpet stunners and quirky daywear. Oversized jackets, palazzo pants, vests, fishtail skirts, and duster coats showcased a vibrant palette of chartreuse, oxblood, lime, putty, mustard, and sage.
Eschewing elaborate embroideries, Piccioli focused on labor-intensive details. Patent leather discs mimicked crocodile skin on a glossy green men’s coat, while a chiffon top featured tiny white feathers crafted from cut organza, creating a magical illusion. Conversely, a seemingly effortlessly draped peacock green silk dress required a lifetime of skill, executed by 81-year-old master craftswoman Antonietta de Angelis at the Valentino atelier in Rome.
FENDI LANDS IN THE FUTURE
Fendi is living in the future. Taking inspiration from Karl Lagerfeld‘s visionary approach at Fendi, Artistic Director Kim Jones embraced a futuristic theme for the spring couture collection. Describing it as “a little bit spacey,” Jones, a devoted Star Wars fan, showcased off-the-shoulder gowns, sinuous column dresses, and scintillating embroideries. The collection featured bespoke Baguette bags and futuristic Thelios sunglasses as fine jewelry.
Addressing the rising demand for red carpet couture, Jones introduced silvery, alien-esque designs to provide a distraction and an optical illusion for those uncomfortable on the red carpet. Despite the seemingly simple cuts, the meticulously crafted clothes showcased delicate fabrics and meticulous embellishments. Jones emphasized the appeal of “wearable, quiet couture” in contrast to louder alternatives in the market.
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