Twice a year, Paris is transformed into the fashion capital of the world as it presents haute couture Fashion Week. Over the course of a few magical days, one-of-a-kind luxurious pieces are shown, displaying the outstanding talent of the artisans who bring the wildest dreams of fashion designers to life with seemingly boundless creativity.

by Stéphane Le Duc

Unrestricted by the commercial constraints of ready-to-wear collections, haute couture is a place where concepts, styles, and other fashion experiments flourish. Legendary fashion houses and up-and-coming designers fight for attention as they showcase their prowess on the world stage. Case in point: Vetements, a collective founded by Demna GvasaliaGvasalia – who recently joined Balenciaga – has managed to take his work back to basics while simultaneously shining a new light on femininity. Similarly innovative, Iris van Herpen: The avant-garde designer never ceases to amaze with futuristic creations that seem to defy gravity. No matter your style, her otherworldly creations are undeniably fascinating.

Viktor & Rolf surprised critics this season by delving into their archives and recycling fabrics from the past 25 years for an environmentally conscious collection.

Since launching in 2009, Alexandre Vauthier’s shows have become mandatory events in the world of haute couture. His resolutely modern and sexy look attracts attention from a daring international clientele, even seducing Carine Roitfeld with his twenty-first century Amazonian look.

Luxury warriors took the catwalk in this season’s collection of ultra-feminine military-inspired outfits. The designer’s love for luxury explains his use of python skin on a mechanic’s jumpsuit or his decision to cover a tweed vest with cassette tape.

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For over 30 years, Jean Paul Gaultier has been at the forefront of the French fashion industry. His innate tailoring and sewing expertise, combined with a touch of punk inspiration, have made him a well of creativity. His latest collection, inspired by nature, could share a title with his previous offering, “In the Wood for Love,” in which Mr. Gaultier took us for a walk in the depths of an enchanted forest.

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As for Schiaparelli, the fashion empire


As for Schiaparelli, the fahion empire continues to deliver a punch and has been in a constant state of expansion since Bertrand Guyon’s debut as design director. In his first season, the designer gave the nod to the brand’s famous 1938 Cirque Collection, proving that he could, simultaneously, respect the brand’s past and propel it into the future. Guyon managed to magnify sober asymmetrical cuts in a truly unique and bold way. The pieces adorned with Lesage embroidery—a look Schiaparelli loves  —overflowed with legendary creatures, circus imagery or Harlequin lozenges.

The most anticipated show remains Chanel. Under the inspired direction of Karl Lagerfeld, the brand constantly surprises. Chanel paid tribute to the very heart of couture—the petites mains [the little hands of the seamstresses] and premières d’atelier [supervisors]—by recreating the brand’s workshops down to the most minute details. Loïc Prigent, the renowned fashion film director, was blown away: “Even the ironing stations were functional! It was great to see that they reproduced the workshops without resorting to caricature or theatre. It shows Karl Lagerfeld’s respect for what powers Chanel.

Amfitheatrof, now the design director for Tiffany & Co, previously created jewellery for Chanel. “It’s humbling that Karl is allowing this kind of discourse. It shows that couture is about craftsmanship. That is what makes it superior, because it’s not tied down by commercial motives; it’s about true artisanship.”

The collection includes light pink, black and white muslin dresses, but it is the architectural shapes of the pearl-covered tweed jackets with their broad shoulders and heavily embroidered collars that attract attention. “I loved the oddities, the mixture of the styling, the super-structured medieval outfits,” said Francesca Amfitheatrof.

“I’m impressed by Karl’s ability to create new ideas. It’s absolutely incredible,” gushes Inès de la Fressange. “I think it’s wonderful that we are paying tribute to the workshops. These women, the petites mains, know their trade inside and out. It’s a point of pride for France.”

“Karl loves his workshop. He is close to everyone on the team,” says Virginie Viard, Karl Lagerfeld’s right-hand woman. “He is so focused, innovative and attentive that he helps us push our own limits. I’m so lucky to be working for Chanel,” she reflects with pride. “Every day at work is incredible!”

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Stéphane Le Duc
Editor in Chief

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