The Best Of Fall/Winter Haute Couture 2019
For Virginie Viard's first couture collection, it was one for the bibliophiles. Set against the backdrop of a library, models walked down the runway in the house’s iconic black and white tweed suit numbers, dressed with a dose of nonchalant allure. Long ensembles (think: coat dresses) and flowy silhouettes with a tinge of volume was a display of Viard’s elegant restraint even in the hands of couture.
Maria Grazia Chiuri explored the link between femininity and architecture—one of Christian Dior’s passions—with an almost entirely black collection focused on construction and architectural definition. The final look (see above) was a replica of the French fashion house’s legendary location at 30 Avenue Montaigne, which will be closing for renovations.
3/15Dolce & Gabbana
Inspired by Olympian Greek goddesses Athena, Hera, Aphrodite and Artemis for their strength, fragility and beauty, Dolce & Gabbana held their biannual Alta Moda show at the Valle Dei Templi in Agrigento, Sicily—a national monument of Italy and an archaeological site. Our Fashion Director Desmond Lim attended the show, with the breath-taking ancient temple as its backdrop, whilst models floated down an elevated runway that changed from yellow to a glorious amber, alongside the setting sun.
Newly-appointed artistic director Daniel Roseberry reinterpreted Schiaparelli’s signature silhouette by modernising volumes and proportions for a sculptural effect. The designer didn’t shy from colour for his debut collection, with sometimes surprising combinations playing on asymmetry, gathering, and pleats.
5/15Iris van Herpen
Iris van Herpen once again presented impressive designs based on innovative technologies, creating unexpected movement for a hypnotic effect dubbed 'kinetic couture'. In collaboration with sculptor Anthony Howe, the collection's dreamy designs were mainly created from satin and organza. One dress, in particular, transformed its model into a gilded angel, while the 'Infinity' finale dress was simply breathtaking.
6/15Ralph & Russo
Inspired by Art Deco, Ralph & Russo’s collection relied on draping and embroidery with lots of beading and sequined embellishments. The feeling was of elegant femininity and strength, with some of the more audacious cocktail dresses taking on vibrant shades of yellow or red.
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Elegance was taken to the extreme at Antonio Grimaldi with asymmetry, transparency, and proportions, balanced with occasional bold, colourful looks.
With a couture presentation at the Temple of Venus, on Rome's Palatine Hill, the fashion house paid tribute to its native city of Rome, by hosting its guests in a historical location. Silvia Venturini Fendi also took the opportunity to pay homage to Karl Lagerfeld, who passed away in February, in her way, through a number of elements subtly included throughout the collection, such as draped dresses and geometric necklines. During the show, no less than 54 looks were presented, the same number as the years of Lagerfeld's tenure at the maison.
The collection's palette was also inspired by Rome's minerals such as citrine, jade, rose quartz, and chalcedony, combined with that utmost expression of the city's power and light—gold.
Giorgio Armani’s couture collection is pure delicate elegance with pearls, shimmering lace, and tulle, in a soft multicolour palette. This same elegance shows a stronger, more assertive face with silhouettes featuring blazers with strong shoulders and shimmering loose-fitting pants.
For a more sombre, almost rock’n’roll attitude, Givenchy’s models walked in lofty feathered designs. Givenchy also showed understated elegance with two-tone, black-and-white designs, featuring high collars, long sleeves, and slender silhouettes.
11/15Maison Margiela Artisanal
Deconstruction and layering are at the heart of John Galliano’s show for Maison Margiela Artisanal. Men wore suit jackets and garter belts, seemingly evoking an equestrian element, while women were dressed in contrasting ensembles, such as this combination of wide-cut pants with a strapless dress and nude corset.
Asia was the inspiration for Elie Saab's opulent new collection, which featured feathers, gilding, and sparkling elements. The Asian references were also present in the shapes and cuts chosen by the designer, who offered grand, fully embroidered dresses inspired by the kimono.
13/15Jean Paul Gaultier
A fan of trompe-l’œil, Jean Paul Gaultier played with illusion in his first show without fur, using tailoring techniques and playing with materials such as feathers, jewellery, and animal prints to keep viewers guessing.
Zuhair Murad took us on a trip through North Africa with a palette of traditional motifs, which were echoed in the carpets under the models’ feet. The fluidity and folds of the dresses—some styled with turbans—also paid homage to the culture and traditions of the region.
Guo Pei sent strong, determined figures down the runway, wearing luminous, heavily embellished garments with patterns evoking magic and mystery. The highlight was an impressive gown created for twin sisters who were not only linked by their clothing, but also by their extra-long tresses.
Additional reporting by Chloe Pek.
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