When couture week first started, the question of whether the zeitgeist had caught up with the opulent world of couture was on everyone’s lips. Thankfully, couture week proved that the dream of a brighter future is very much alive, and even though couture clients can’t wear their latest works of art to any high society function at this moment in time, dressing up in couture at home works and is highly encouraged if you are lucky enough to wear any of the pieces from the following designers. The couture collections this season embraced the act of dressing up, showing up and stealing the spotlight even if it only means for a twirl on your own hardwood floors.
Rarely does the fashion industry see success stories quite like Daniel Roseberry’s at Schiaparelli. Dressing Gaga for the inauguration? Check. Kim Kardashian West’s Hulk-like chest plate ensemble for Christmas which broke the internet? Check. This, all whilst paying homage to one of the greatest designers of all time, Elsa Schiaparelli. Roseberry’s decision to continue in the footsteps of Schiaparelli’s surrealism has paid off this season. The collection is layered with references to Elsa’s crux, feels modern and is filled with brand staples such as surrealist trompe l’oeil, mouthwateringly lustrous gold accessories and best of all, a healthy dose of Schiaparelli pink.
Stand-out Look: Look 18
USP: Couture for those who want to be a part of fashion history
Music: Ben Brunnemer
Julie de Libran
Dresses from Julie de Libran have a special, often undisclosed and rarely discussed appeal to them; her dresses transcends the ballroom and enter into everyday life. Julie de Libran wants you to wear couture on a daily basis, a task made simple with a collection like her Spring 2021 couture collection featuring casual dropped waist dresses in ultra-feminine floral prints partnered with in-your-face sequin ensembles that scatters light across the room as you move. Camille Rowe starred in the collection video this season, showing you that when Le Marais girls do couture, they do it understatedly.
Stand-out Look: Look 14
USP: Brighten-up-your-day sequins and dresses for every occasion
Video takeaways: The video is in collaboration with Sisley Paris
For Spring 2021, Giambattista Valli may have caused a shortage of tulle in the textile industry with his multi-metre width gowns in shades of red, pink and black, adorned with ruffles, flowers and bows. The collection travelled from bubblegum fairy looks to witchy black ensembles, also constructed out of a sea of cascading tulle. For this season, Valli flexed his couturier guns and created a collection that saw showstopper after showstopper with perfect gowns for memorable moments like debutante balls in the USA to the red carpets of award shows the industry so dearly misses.
Stand-out Look: Look 23
USP: Gowns that take up the whole room
Peak tulle moment: Look 10 and look 14
Pierpaolo Piccioli has changed the couture game in so many ways by now, it has become quite impossible to predict what his next move will be. This season? Pole dancing shoes made its couture debut next to a collection that seesawed between casual wear and mega-voluminous gowns. Tinsel coats and acidic inserts of neon worked perfectly for Valentino this season. Pierpaolo Piccioli is quickly becoming a man known for his use of vibrant colours and this season he triumphed. For Spring 2021 he also featured a small, but significant set of couture looks for men, which were subdued, but oozed elegance and luxury.
Stand-out Look: Look 67
USP: Pole dancing shoes for the ball
Stand-out men’s couture look: Look 19
Kim Jones knows how to cause a social media moment and for his Fendi Couture debut, he did just that. The designer showed Fendi Couture clients that just because he has a background in streetwear it doesn’t mean he can’t knock it out of the park. With a star-studded cast consisting of Demi Moore, Kate and Lila Moss, Christy and James Turlington, Adwoa and Kesewa Aboah, Bella Hadid, Cara Delevigne and Naomi Campbell, the collection explored themes of slinky floral ballroom gowns juxtaposed with asymmetry in both tailoring and dresses, which could be found throughout the collection for both men and women.
Stand-out Look: Look 4
USP: Couture that will go down in history as the beginning of a new era
Stand-out men’s couture look: Look 14
The soundtrack: Virginia Woolf recording
Maria Grazia Chiuri tapped into the magical world of tarot card reading for her Spring 2021 couture collection and with a cinematic Matteo Garrone directed fashion film the collection’s initial concept and meaning became even more clear; listen to what the tarot cards are saying. Gold brocade, heavy woven fabrics and hyper-detailed embroidery inspired by graphics you commonly see whilst sitting looking into your future through a crystal ball became symbols of french luxury without appearing too gimmicky. Regency era dresses and gowns reigned as the high priestesses of Dior gave the audience a chance to believe in something not supported by science.
Stand-out Look: Look 16
USP: Extravagant couture for astrology fans and the tarot card crazed
Pictures featuring a pearly white horse as a prop: 10
Iris van Herpen
The enfant terrible of couture, Iris van Herpen proved yet again that in a fight between man vs. machine, the machine always wins. Sculptural 3D printed looks took to the runway in shades of rust, blue, purple and eggshell, in typical Herpen extravaganza. The dresses this season appeared to be inspired by something that is not human, nor an animal, nor is it a plant, namely fungi. Through dresses that are so detailed and intricate it’s difficult to spot where they start and finish, Herpen captured the essence of fungi in bloom where gills became lace and the cap turned into magical couture dresses.
Stand-out Look: Look 17
USP: Couture for extraterrestrial galas
Star of the show: Sevdaliza in look 13
Instead of closing with a wedding look this season, Virginie Viard decided it was time to dedicate a whole collection to tying the knot, from actual wedding gowns to maid of honour looks and not to mention your staple Chanel tweed two-piece sets, which for Spring 2021 appeared on the runway as vest and trouser combos in shades of pink and green. Look 21 however stole the show with its full black tulle skirt and relaxed pearly white silk shirt, the look spliced traditional couture elements with the modernity of an oversized silk shirt to perfection. Tweed ensembles this season were also accompanied by flamenco skirts in chiffon and minimalist accessories.
Stand-out Look: Look 21
USP: Dreamy bridal looks for a wedding at the family chateau
Charles de Vilmorin
This season’s newbie to the world of couture is none other than Charles de Vilmorin and for a first couture collection on the calendar, he made a cataclysmic entrance. Jean-Paul Gaultier sponsored his ticket to the Parisian couture calendar just a month ago and with his debut couture collection, the designer gave the audience an insight into who he is and where his place is in all of this. Scribbles, voluminous puffer skirts and feather trimmings took centre stage as the collection proved his claim for a rightful place in the couture world, but above all the collection offered couture made for the next generation of couture buyers, namely Gen-Z.
Stand-out Look: Look 1
USP: Controlled but chaotic couture for the artistic Gen-Z consumer
Stars of the fashion film: Charles de Vilmorin’s friends
Ronald van der Kemp
For Spring 2021 Ronald van der Kemp looked to collaging and scrapbooking for his latest couture collection. The whimsical and youthful lookbook was accompanied by a video presentation where rock n roll and classical music butted heads, this juxtapositioning was evident in the collection too which consisted of sleek black and leopard ruffled gowns which were later competing with a ripped denim ensemble featuring jeans with chain applique and a denim bustier. Models were on pointe shoes, dancing and masquerading themselves in the lookbook which underlined RVDK’s playful approach to couture and look 15 harkens back to Jennifer Beals slinky backless tuxedo look from Flashdance.
Location: De L’Europe Hotel
USP: Whimsical couture for clients who don’t take themselves too seriously
Star of the show: The model in look 7 on pointe shoes
Written by Madeleine Holth for The Perfect Magazine