Haute couture fashion shows are always windows into the souls of top-billed designers. Without the constraints of mass-production, cost, or even practicality, their imaginations can roam free, producing runway pieces that let us glimpse into their current personal and world views. In that freedom, designers seemed to strike upon similar themes in many cases this year. Here are some of the trends we spotted at the July 4th through 7th Paris Haute Couture Autumn/Winter Week.
Designers are mad about metallics again, perhaps craving the flair and excitement lacking in most of our lives during the pandemic. Silvers, golds, and many other shiny hues were embraced in collections like Fendi’s, which featured a a green-and-gold evening gown with a pattern reminiscent of a cracked dinosaur egg. Similarly, Giambattista Valli softened a silver sheath dress with a fluffy pink boa, and Balenciaga draped Nicole Kidman in what looks like it could have been a giant astronaut tarp.
Flowers and floral trends were equally big. Dior showcased traditional Ukrainian peasant flower motifs on one dress to show solidarity with the besieged country. Chanel featured a retro pattern with daisies in mint and pastel pink. Rahul Mishra placed giant orange poppies on oversized sleeves. And plenty of designers combined floral themes with metallics, like Elie Saab, who dropped an enormous silver rose on the shoulder of a sleek evening gown, and Schiaparelli, who adorned a gold-stranded bodice and skirt with lily and posy epaulets.
With their models swimming in ridiculously oversized jackets, perhaps some designers were hinting at their pandemic-induced feelings of wanting to hide from the outside world. Or maybe it’s a tribute to the sense of being dwarfed by our circumstances. Viktor & Rolf created an entire collection of suits and dresses with shoulder lines twice their normal size, and Fendi sported a tan overcoat and pant suit that comfortably hid the figure all the way to the ground. Maison Margiela also debuted a sleeveless, metallic trench coat that’s narrowest point started at the shoulders.
Several designers played around with amorphous shapes, revealing a need to think outside the box of quarantining. For example, Iris Van Herpen created an angel-esque form out of wisps of white-to-teal strings. And Rahul Mishra crafted a bush-like drape composed of delicate metallic ivy and flowers.
Chunky Platform Shoes
Models from almost every designer strolled the catwalk in extra-chunky, sometimes geometric, platform footwear. Gaultier’s cone-breasted pregnant figures wore combat style boots with five-inch silver soles, while Stéphane Rolland put one of his models in candy-apple red, hourglass-shaped platform heels (and hot dog earrings).
Many designers included an all-white getup of some sort, perhaps a nod to the fresh start we have all sought after the past few years. Chanel created a chiffon tent with wispy black feathers, while Giambattista sent a model out in a 1950’s-style full white skirt and tailored ivory blouse.
While you aren’t likely to see these fashion artworks on the street anytime soon, there is a good chance this fall and winter’s wearables will feature hints and elements of this year’s Paris Fashion Week trends.