Haute Couture Week: Everything you missed – from sculptural gowns to star-studded front rows

·3-min read

Celebrities and fashionistas have flocked to Paris to see the most extravagant shows on the schedule for Haute Couture Week.

Couture shows are a step above the normal ready-to-wear fare – designs are much more luxurious, expensive, and are usually one of a kind.

This isn’t really the place to get inspiration for your everyday wardrobe – but it’s definitely a good opportunity to ogle star-studded front rows and opulent outfits…

Surrealism on the runway…

In a week full of viral shows, Schiaparelli managed to stand out from the pack. Creative director Daniel Roseberry themed his collection around surrealism, and it was a masterclass in imagination and artistry. Models wore architectural designs in black, white and gold, looking like sculptures come to life.

Laverne Cox was one of the many celebrities on the front row, and the FT reports her as saying: “In such surreal times, we need this.”

Kanye West and Julia Fox take Paris…

Kanye West and Julia Fox at the Kenzo menswear show
Kanye West and Julia Fox at the Kenzo menswear show (Lewis Joly/AP)

We’re still only in the first month of the year, and Kanye West has dominated headlines for his whirlwind romance with Uncut Gems actor Julia Fox. The new couple arrived in Paris early to catch a few of the menswear shows – most notably wearing matching double denim to the Kenzo presentation, with echoes of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake at the 2001 American Music Awards.

The couple’s fashion obviously struck a chord, with PrettyLittleThing reporting a 4400% increase in searches for their look.

Then it was onto the couture shows – West and Fox sat front row at Schiaparelli, dressed head-to-toe in the brand. Fox’s look proved divisive, as she sported some particularly dramatic black eye make-up.

Big strides for diversity…

While the fashion industry is slowly changing for the better, it’s not traditionally that welcoming to larger bodies – and couture shows tend to have an even poorer track record with diversity.

However, Valentino made headlines for featuring curvier models on the runway, with creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli writing on Instagram: “This collection interrogates the body, this collection challenges the canon. It does so, after a long reflection, and it does so in order to represent a wider idea of beauty.”

He later told Vogue: “I wondered if the classic idea of couture – the Cecil Beaton, the salons – could have different ranges of women with different proportions with different ages giving the same beauty, and giving them dignity? Because that’s important. It’s really important today to talk about body awareness.”

Live animals on the runway…

Charlotte Casiraghi rides a horse as she wears a creation for the Chanel Spring-Summer 2022 Haute Couture fashion collection
A horse opened Chanel’s show (Lewis Joly/AP)

In what we can only imagine was a health and safety nightmare for organisers, Chanel opened its show with an actual horse riding down the runway.

The horse was ridden by real life royalty – Charlotte Casiraghi, granddaughter of the prince of Monaco Rainier III and Grace Kelly – and a competitive showjumper.

Herman Munster, but make it fashion…

Viktor & Rolf couture show
Viktor & Rolf’s show was all about statement shoulders (Thibault Camus/AP)

In one of the more confusing runway presentations of couture week, Viktor & Rolf sent extremely exaggerated shoulders down the runway – with pundits making comparisons to the broad shoulders of Herman Munster.

Other celebrity appearances…

Rosamund Pike (L) and Cara Delevingne at the Dior show
Rosamund Pike (L) and Cara Delevingne at the Dior show (Lewis Joly/AP)

Dior’s front row was predictably star-studded, with appearances from Rosamund Pike, Claire Foy and Cara Delevingne.

Few people looked like they were having as much fun in Paris as Laverne Cox, who was attending Haute Couture Week for the first time. She went everywhere – from Schiaparelli to Alexandre Vauthier and Jean Paul Gaultier, wearing extravagant outfits and working them for the camera.

Chanel wasn’t to be outdone – house ambassador Margot Robbie made a rare public appearance to watch the show, and was joined on the front row by Pharrell, Vanessa Paradis and Sofia Coppola.

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