Social media was flooded with tulle, blush pinks, and Kaia Gerber’s big hair (at Valentino) while the world went oozed with Couture fashion week. As a variety of new eyes were fixed upon a tradition and rigor as many were unaware that this F/W18-19 Couture celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM). The French fashion’s governing body began in 1868 when Charles Frederick Worth was dressing the Empress Eugènie. As the crowds gathered and the hearts soared via Instagram live, shows were documented and teleported worldwide during the five-day span, but only a mere half of the brands are actually members of the federation, meaning that they are actually considered “Couture Houses”.

Say what?

Haute Couture literally translated means “high sewing” “or “dressmaking”, an exquisite skill recognized for handcrafted and custom-created garments by highly-specialized technique. Intricate dreamlike pieces are formulated with rare fabrics, the most precise attention to detail, and exclusively customized down to the very last stitch. In France, the term “Haute Couture” is protected by law and only those members who are selected by the Chamber Syndicale del al Haute Couture abiding by the rules which govern within, are eligible to be true Haute Couture houses.

As the shows rolled out, it was the Maison’s which define the industry who continued to withhold their prestige.

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ALEXANDRE VAUTHIER

Having studied under Thierry Mugler, moving on to be named head designer of couture of Jean-Paul Gaultier, his professionalism, training, and creativity fuelled his desire for expression. He launched his brand in 2009.

Today, models strutted during couture fashion week to the latest Kanye West/Kid Cudi track as modernity was presented with new techniques and a noticeable femme fatale flair. Wide-waisted 80’s belts cinched citrus-sheened tailleur jackets and plissé in punch colors or with lace overlays. Slinky, all over dazzling dresses danced through the club privé vibe with feathered frocks causing jaws to drop as looks were topped with black boater hats and his infamous slouchy boots.

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CHRISTIAN DIOR

“Is it possible to stay faithful to the strict rules decreed by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture while breaking them down to create a new order?”, was one of the questions posed by Maria Grazia Chiuri in this season of FW 18-19 couture. As world-renowned stars like Chiara Ferragni, Karlie Kloss, Kate Bosworth, Mia Moretti and Oliva Palermo (to name a few) all gathered to be immersed into another one of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s worlds for Dior.

Presented at the Musée de Arts Décoratifs the show places the atelier in the spotlight, highlighting the very essence of the haute couture creations as the temples and sacred custodians of thoughts and of imagination. Whether the challenges in the world of couture arise from a desire to overturn codified gestures through rare fabrics or wanting to reduce the ritual manner of dressing, couture offers an occasion to wear something absolutely unique.

Maria Grazia Chiuri returned to the fundamentals of design accentuating her transgression by referring to the rules of use, while brilliantly twisting their syntax: the bar jacket developed bat wing sleeves, the powdery colour palette inter-played with nude, having created a delightful dreamlike flow  of complimenting silhouette in true couture fashion. The mix of pleating and layering contrasted with bustiers created incongruity but structure, as evening gowns wooed. Chiuri’s ethereal craftsmanship saw a red silk dress sculpted from a single piece, which opened a course of majestic creations. Maria Grazia Chiuri dazzled the confines of tradition with her explosive yet elegant rebellion that very elegantly, refrained from overstepping boundaries.

 

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GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

With a mid-drift bearing attitude towards couture, Giambattista Valli offered up a plethora of cheeky and playful silhouettes. High-waisted trousers paired with bowed bandeaus shifted couture away from any kind of conservatism and got a definite nod from the new generation of onlookers. Bows were carried over in mini version on full-feathered mini dresses that fluttered with encrusted waistbands. Feathers peeked out from under a two-piece tweed mini set, carried through to bustiers and skimming chiffon. The tulle Valli loves was seen cropped in the front and left elongated in the back, made easy for dancing, in delightful hues from hot pink to pastels, whites contrasted with black bandeau recall, and black paired with cyan feathered mohawk heels. Flowing goddess gowns, Chantilly lace, pantsuits, floral prints, and jump-suits were topped with Chopard jewels, definitely reverberating a millennial buzz.

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GIVENCHY

After inheriting the Maison last year, Clare Wright Keller dressed Meghan Markle on the day she wed Price Harry- quite possibly one of the biggest cultural events witnessed by this generation. Givenchy was all the buzz. However, Waight Keller was very scarcely mentioned. In true discreet nature, Wiaght Keller paid homage to Hubert De Givenchy as one of the first celeb designers and the first at the house to honour the late creator.

Playing with fabrics and updated silhouettes, Waight Keller drew inspiration from Audrey Hepburn and the pure elegance and chicness of Givenchy’s creations for the actress. Keller’s clean, crisp lines were evident as were futuristic gladiator touches of metallic that made an impactful yet fortifying impression under chiffon or accentuating waistlines. Multi-coloured jewel-toned, gill-like evening gowns fluttered and contrasted with more architectural pieces, twisted classics exhaling freshness and exposing a new generation to a history that perhaps they have not yet been exposed.

 

VALENTINO

As this week of couture blossomed, it was evident the necessity to appeal to an approaching generation. As couture is a profound and much more intimate perspective, Pier Paolo Piccoli dove deep into his creative essence. A parade of astonishing, saturated hues was presented with a vast and varying array of unique fabrics and patterns that blended harmoniously together in a world overflowing with craftsmanship. Immense proportions were controlled and impeccably applied. As the crowd’s dream swirled and shifted between hues, the evening gowns stupefied in construction, fabrics, volumes, and manipulations. The colours: turquoise, emerald, mauve, lemon, strawberry, gold, and lemon, so lusciously dramatic and created for the woman who has every intention to stand out. As Kaia Gerber strolled in a feather strapless sheer daydream and an emerald green cape was paired with wool trousers the show surpassed the epitome of beauty, drama, and elegance.  Show-goers witnessed something so incredibly fabulous that they took to their feet to applaud Piccoli, and even Valentino himself shed a tear.

 

 

 

 

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