This Haute Couture Fashion Week, hope has proven to be all but lost as fashion editors and usual show attendees have long-awaited the online-only presentations. The week is usually filled with drama, mega-watt celebrities, and over-the-top fashion show productions, but in the age of Covid-19, the traditional in-person show format is decidedly unfeasible. Yet, that hasn't stopped couture designers from looking to show their collections in new, innovative ways to meet the current setback as a new creative challenge.
While the Coronavirus put a halt to Fashion Week as we know it, designers were able to approach showing their collections in new ways. And with no rules, regulations, or expectations to follow, the couture houses attempted to propose what fashion in the future digital-age will look like. New fashion show solutions varied from as far as animated avatars, to miniature sets, to socially-distanced cruise boat presentations. And while accessible online lookbooks cannot quite compare to Parisian runways and fully built out garden and forest sets, this Haute Couture Fashion Week arguably presented what show-goers have been asking for, for quite some time: something fresh. While we are still missing the customary electricity generated by the more-is-more haute couture shows, here are the best looks to come out of the new unconventional presentations this season.
During the post-quarantine period in Paris, Alexandre Vauthier quickly churned out the production for this collection and had it captured by a fashion dream team of Karim Sadli, Inez and Vinoodh, and videographer Albert Moya. This pink lemonade feathery piece is an editorial dream-come-true. The sleeve detail attached to the skirt brings the dress to life, and is sure to create the most interesting of shapes whether it is captured in person, or through the newly popularized FaceTime photoshoots.
Alexis Mabille produced a total of 26 daringly detailed looks over the course of the quarantine period in Paris. The team's solution for fabric shortages? Using their own. Sourcing from materials in their own studio, the house presented garments full of embroidery, encrusted lace, and jewel-toned colors. While Mabille suggests his clients will find an occasion to wear couture no matter what, the balloon sleeve on this dress radiates a (perhaps digital?) red carpet energy we hope to see during an awards season in the not-so-distant future.
Pushing the envelope this couture season, Balmain has been the only designer so far to make an attempt at gathering a group together to show a collection live. Capturing the energy and movement of the boat models boarded to present the collection around Paris, this look embodied a new hope as the sun radiated off of each ruffle, and the opera-length gloves were amongst some of our favorite trends we are looking forward to seeing this upcoming fall season.
Making use of dramatic photography and lighting, supermodel Adut Akech was quite the star of Chanel's digital couture presentation. Showing 30 looks full of jewel-encrusted dresses, tiaras and punk hair-do's, this cinematic, romantic dress was amongst our favorite looks. Worthy of an appearance in a period-piece film or a moment on a Met Gala themed carpet, we are dying to see more of this dress on some of our favorite celebs.
What could be more adorable - or efficient - than the miniature set on which Dior displayed their haute couture collection this season? Channeling the essence of the New Look era at Dior with the classically cinched waist and full skirt, this look struck a balance of the classic Dior we love, combined with the inspiring and forward-thinking modern couturiers who were able to make these tiny garments come to life.
Giambattista Valli's tulle-filled collection modeled by Joan Smalls was able to satiate our appetites for the drama we crave in a couture season. While the tiered colorful frocks weren't a first for the couture house, the bright color, volume, and creative head covering in this dress did provide a healthy dose of escapism through our computer screens that we have desperately needed.
Ralph and Russo
Ralph and Russo have made an effort to tap into the future of fashion with the help of model and digital avatar Hauli to present their couture collection this season. Embracing all the advantages of animation, Ralph and Russo illustrate the perfect flower-embellished dress complete with voluminous shoulders on Hauli.
Ronald van der Kemp
This fiery look from Ronald van der Kemp is both ethereal and perfectly bohemian, yet still perfectly fit for a couture stage. With an effort to produce meaningful and gender-fluid looks, van der Kemp also sourced his materials by using fabric from previous seasons.
The only brand to present their collection via sketches, Schiaparelli still found a way to bring life and their unique vision to the now-hypothetical couture stage. With a knack for being quite literal while still tasteful, designer Daniel Roseberry turns this dramatic gathered fabric into a perfectly light-hearted pairing with the model's Shar-pei. Proving here that if there is anything the fashion crowd loves more than drama - it's dogs.
Viktor and Rolf
Still riding high from their impressive (and viral) couture collections of recent years, Viktor and Rolf refused to compromise their whimsical and imaginative designs in the midst of a pandemic. In fact, they reassured us that the optimism and transcendence executed in their clothing is needed now more than ever. While it was hard to choose a favorite, this oversized, bow-embellished coat stole our hearts and teased a level of slight practicality (everyone needs a coat!) that we are using to rationalize the hope of seeing more of this outerwear piece in the future.