6 Standout Shows From Paris Couture Fashion Week FW2019
From debut collections by Virginie Viard for Chanel and Daniel Roseberry for Schiaparelli, this season was marked by new beginnings. We list our favourite Paris Couture Fashion Week shows of the season below
American designer Daniel Roseberry was appointed Artistic Director of Schiaparelli in April this year. The designer had previously spent a decade working alongside Thom Browne and seemed a fitting candidate for the fashion house founded by Elsa Schiaparelli, which is rooted in the avant-garde and surrealist art. Roseberry opted for a more performative show for his debut collection, as he sat on a desk on the stage, sketching—depicting the starting point of each of his creations.
Roseberry also boldly avoided the obvious references to Schiaparelli’s designs (think: the lobster dress, hot pink and hands), and instead, injected a sense of the unexpected to the line with a "brain hat" by milliner Stephen Jones to deconstructed taioring, and acrylic nails and rhinestone fringes to a cage skirt with a matching headpiece.
There was also no shortage of party-ready frocks in a multitude of colours, some with floor-grazing bell sleeves, sweeping trains and even complimenting hairpieces.
Iris van Herpen
While some couture houses showed over 50 to 70 looks this season, Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen kept her collection tightly edited with 19 exits. Each of her exquisite looks from the ‘Hypnosis’ collection was a testament to her ability to bring high-tech to high fashion, and even featyred a kinetic sculpture by American artist, Anthony Howe, to serve as part of the experience.
“The collection is a hypnotic visualisation of nature’s tapestry, the symbiotic cycles of our biosphere that interweave the air, land, and oceans,” Van Herpen explained. “It also reflects the ongoing dissection of the rhythms of life and resonates with the fragility within these interwoven worlds.”
The couturier used a variety of techniques ranging from ancient silk moire weaving, Japanese ink on water, to modern laser cutting, printing and heat-bonding to create these three-dimensional works of art that wrapped around the models’ figures.
Maria Grazia Chiuri likes to start her Christian Dior collections with a quote or a message, and for FW19 Couture, it was no different. Words by Austrian-American writer, Bernard Rudofsky, “Are clothes modern?”, were written across the chest of a column-shaped bias draped opening dress by model Ruth Bell.
Housed at 30 Avenue Montaigne, the birthplace of the house of Christian Dior, the collection was predominantly black, sometimes puncutated with gradient tones of pink and blue.
It was a deep dive into new silhouettes, proportions and textures, and continued to refine shapes such as the mesh-sleeved ballerina dresses, embroidered corsetry, and the bar jacket and skirt from Mr. Dior’s New Look from the 1950’s.
For Virginie Viard’s debut couture collection for the house of Chanel, guests were welcomed into a multi-level library, a subtle homage to her predecessors (and bibliophiles), Mademoiselle Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld. The 70-look collection was a testament to the house’s timeless codes and did not waver and given into seasonal trends.
Ankle-length coat dresses opened the show, while a variety of high-craft, big-shouldered jackets were worn with matching knee-length dresses were worn by models (often donning reading glasses).
Mademoiselle Chanel’s classic little jacket was also reworked in a variety of new ways—it became a little black tank top for one look, and the jacket was spliced at the shoulders and replaced with 3D florals (worn by Kaia Gerber). All in all, Viard makes a strong case for smart as the new sexy.
As a designer with only four seasons of haute couture under her belt, it could easily be mistaken that Clare Waight Keller has been a couturier for most of her career. The British designer delivered new volumes and use of luxurious textures for her joint men’s and women’s haute couture collection for the house of Givenchy.
Daytime looks, made of houndstooth separates that were shredded with precision, started the show, but it was the larger-than-life evening looks that made a lasting impression.
A fitted blazer in dark florals incorporated a floor sweeping peplum was paired with tailored slacks; a feathered gown, in a gradual fade from light to dark teal, offered a three-dimensional look; and even crinolines peeking through dresses but were brought back in modernised drop-waist styles, with fringes and bead embroideries.
Couture Week didn’t just stop in Paris. Fendi invited editors and industry insiders to Rome, and staged a show against the backdrop of the ancient ruins of the Temple of Venus and Roma. The show, named “The Dawn of Romanity” consisted of 54 looks—one look for each of the years Karl Lagerfeld worked at the house of Fendi.
This season’s silhouettes were lifted from archive sketches by Lagerfeld, and were personally selected by Silvia Venturini Fendi. Graphics on the garments were inspired by the ancient city; geometric patterns, a play on marble, as well as mosaic tiles that would have lined the floors of Roman temples found their way on sheer bishop-sleeved gowns and intarsia knit fur jackets, while soft tailoring—often styled with matching flared trousers—were topped off with patchwork fur stoles.
There was a balance of luxurious furs that paid tribute to the house’s roots, modern couture dresses, a lightness that Lagerfeld introduced and a testament to the legacy that Lagerfeld left behind for the Roman house.