Fashion

The Best Collections at Paris’s Couture Shows

From Valentino’s sacred ensembles to Margiela’s deconstructed garments, here’s a closer look at what designers sent down the runways this season.

Since John Galliano’s reign at Christian Dior in the 90s, couture has garnered a reputation for extravagance. To keep up, Parisian ateliers work year-round to materialize the vision of fashions most respected creative directors, bringing to the stage a demonstration of the dexterity of human hands and the power of fashion houses. Here are some highlights from this years fall couture shows, which just wrapped up in Paris.

Photos: Courtesy Valentino.

Valentino

This season, Pierpaolo Piccioli turned to the church for inspiration, sending down the runway pieces that emphasize the similarities between fashion and religion’s ritualistic practices. The collection featured a selection of capes and robes embellished with intricate handwork, including lace, feathers, and embroidery.

Photos: Courtesy Fendi.

Fendi

The artisans at Fendi work with fur as if it were a textile. In Karl Lagerfeld’s latest collection, mink, lynx, and sable take the shape of flowers sprinkled on lace dresses and coats.

Photos: Courtesy Chanel.

Chanel

Lagerfeld doubled down to also design Chanel’s couture collection, conceived as an ode to Paris. Amid a 125-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower constructed at the Grand Palais, models dressed in cocooned silhouettes made of tweed and mohair paraded down the runway wearing canotier hats.

Photos: Courtesy Schiaparelli.

Schiaparelli

Elsa Schiaparelli was surrounded by iconic women who fought conservatism and pushed the social boundaries of their time. It was the breath of fresh air they brought to society that inspired the house’s current creative director, Bertrand Guyon, to defy gravity and create a strong, feminine collection. 

Photos: Courtesy Dior.

Christian Dior

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s references for fall include a world map by Albert Decaris—a nod to both the global expansion of Maison Dior and the late founders desire to serve women outside of Europe. Together, these points inspired Chiuri to create a collection based on female explorers. Jackets, coats, jumpsuits, and pleated A-line skirts fashioned from menswear fabrics were softened with glimmering surfaces and a chiaroscuro effect.

Photos: Courtesy Alaïa.

Alaïa

Azzedine Alaïa’s first haute couture collection in six years was highly anticipated. The designer’s technical mastery was on full display with textured, richly colored fabrications and thoughtfully executed motifs.

Photos: Kim Weston Arnold/Indigital.tv via Vogue.com.

Maison Margiela

John Galliano stays true to Margiela’s founding concept of deconstruction and reconstruction. For this show, the designer debuted several reinterpretations of the trench coat—an iconic garment of Galliano’s British homeland—as a pleated dress, sheer outerwear, and knitwear.

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