Why Haute Couture Fashion Week Is More Relevant Today Than Ever

Romance Was Born, Haute Couture Fashion Week, Paris AW18
Romance Was Born, Haute Couture Fashion Week, Paris AW18 | © Kim Weston-Arnold, Indigital.tv

As Paris Haute Couture Week comes to a close, Culture Trip reflects on the evolution of the event and what it stands for today.

Despite its French heritage, it was English couturier Charles Frederick Worth who established the first haute couture fashion house in 1858. In 1945, a set of guidelines were put in place to define exactly what made labels worthy of the title, which translates as high dressmaking. Twice a year designers had to present collections of 50-plus pieces spanning both day and eveningwear, demonstrate exquisite hand-craftsmanship and operate from a Paris-based atelier with a minimum of 15 employees. The label also had to offer a bespoke made-to-measure service.

The rules still apply and, as such, many fashion houses have dipped in and out of the category throughout the years. Today, it’s the likes of Chanel, Giambattista Valli, Givenchy and Christian Dior that continue to keep the genre alive in its truest form, but in January 2017, the event welcomed a select handful of ready-to-wear labels to the schedule for the first time. Bridging the gap between the elite and up-and-coming names, this development proved that Haute Couture Fashion Week was far from dated.

You may also like: Why Are There No Haute Couture Fashion Houses in London?

Giambattista Valli, Haute Couture Fashion Week, Paris AW18

Autumn/winter 2018 presentations, which have just come to a close, saw the heritage labels start to introduce a sense of modernity into the mix despite collections usually being rooted in tradition. Giambattista Valli stated that “The idea of youth is important,” when talking about his collection backstage. High-rise tailored trousers and bandeau tops adorned with oversized bows led the presentation, celebrating a new wave of younger couture customers and their confidence in styling luxury items by day. This, as well as gowns designed to show subtle flashes of midriff and mini-dresses embellished with feathers, was a collection that, in part, made couture feel wearable and relatable to the contemporary consumer.

Christian Dior, Haute Couture Fashion Week, Paris AW18

Dior’s presentation hinted at a similar idea, albeit in a ‘Dior’-like manner. Artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri sent models down the runway in minimalist ruffled tailoring and pleated midi dresses as well as the signature tulle and floral-applique gowns. Surprisingly, she called out her favourite look as being a navy skirt and jacket combination that exemplified the label’s foray into this more low-key, wearable design direction.

Romance Was Born, Step Into Paradise, Haute Couture Fashion Week, Paris AW18

This season, contemporary Australian label Romance Was Born was among the handful of up-and-coming labels selected by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode and invited to showcase. A worthy addition to the schedule, the brand’s designs are elevated by handworked appliqué, embroidery and intricate beading. For AW18 the design duo behind the label worked with artisans and experts from all over the world to create their Step Into Paradise collection.

It’s the combination of heritage brands edging ever closer to ready-to-wear and emerging labels bringing a sense of modernity to Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week that makes the event relevant today. A chance for designers to showcase their best and most intricate work, it remains a celebration of craftsmanship, skill and exquisite design, but its recent updates and subtle nod to the future hints at an exciting time for the future of haute couture.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

close-ad
Edit article