PARIS HAUTE COUTURE FASHION WEEK Fall/Winter 2021/22
Paris saw its Fair Share of Wildly Extravagant Frocks, Gently Juxtaposed with the Mission to make Haute Couture More Sustainable.
Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week is without a shadow of a doubt the coveted jewel in the crown of The Paris fashion calendar. Wonderfully glamorous, wildly extravagant and filled with all things indulgent, this is the platform for fashion stalwarts and couture heavyweights alike to strut their stuff, here is also where the ‘old’ comfortably rubs shoulders with the (relatively) new kids on the block, case in point being Dutch designer extraordinaire Iris van Herpen. And believe you me, holy haute couture has a very dedicated and exclusive set of aficionados – for very obvious reasons! The rest of us mortals can only spectate, appreciate from a distance and drool over all the lavish beauty that Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week bestows on us. (Sigh!)
This highly anticipated, emerging-from-the-pandemic Fall/Winter 2021/22 offered a mind-blowing selection of the most exquisite of shapes, shades and textures – from body-hugging cocktail dresses to uber voluminous ball gowns, from dramatic floor-sweeping robes to micro-teensy mini frocks, from the highly textured to the super sleek, some pieces exploding with vibrant colour and others demurely monochromatic. One thing they all have in common is that magical WOW factor, that sizzling-hot red-carpet quality that only haute couture can elicit.
We’ve rounded up some of the best of Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week – both on and off the virtual catwalk.
For coverage of the rest of the incredible selection, see:
More so than any other designer today Dutch designer Iris van Herpen is synonymous with creating wearable art. Her designs are the perfect fusion of sculpture and engineering and those of us fortunate enough to have followed Van Herpen’s astronomical journey of design and innovation over the past decade, will agree that this designer has, without fail, managed to pull off haute couture collections that blow your mind, time and time again. The ultimate proponent of slow fashion, haute couture is undoubtedly the perfect fit for Van Herpen’s design ethos. Unsurprisingly she has on occasion alluded to that fact that the future of fashion is one in which clothing should only be made on demand. Food for thought indeed …
Watch the video of the show here:
Each and every Iris van Herpen piece is tactile and multilayered, it’s complex and delicate, it’s hugely inspired and imaginative and above all, ethereally beautiful. To boot, much of the Earthrise collection for Fall 2021/22 was made from recycled plastics. These pieces are the brainchild of a true visionary who sees both old-fashioned handcraft (allegedly it took months to do the handwork on some of the pieces) and modern-day advances in science and technology as allies working together to create the perfect wearable couture aesthetic. We can’t agree more! it’s indeed a marriage made in heaven.
These are clothes one can move in! In fact, in the video presentation models hover high above the earth, flying, their floaty ball gowns flapping in mid-air. A trained dancer, Van Herpen designs with the female form and freedom of movement at the forefront of her mind. She’s fascinated with optical illusion and this phenomenon can be seen in many of the otherworldly pieces, which seem to have a life of their own and move – oftentimes in synch with the body and sometimes independently of the body. Unsurprisingly nature is an important aspect of Van Herpen’s work – not only does she take inspiration from the patterns and regularity within nature, but she’s adamant humankind, and fashion for that matter, should respect nature above all. And who could possibly dispute that?
If you’re as fascinated as we are with the construction of these extraordinary creations, watch Iris Van Herpen’s take on the design process at the Virtual Design Festival:
The line-up of Van Herpen’s fellow haute couture stalwarts presented us with jaw-dropping, outrageously flamboyant fairy-tale creations, each designer having put their own distinctive creative mark on their collection. The overall result was, as always, pure magic. And true to the ages-old tradition of haute couture, the hours and hours of handiwork in surface embellishments was to be seen everywhere: the astonishing embroidery, the meticulous pleats, folds and drapes applied to the pieces, the mammoth task of sewing tens of thousands of beads onto bodices and skirts … nothing short of awe-inspiring. What a delight to be able to appreciate all this beauty albeit from the sidelines!
Haute couture’s everlasting love affair with tulle – in the most delicious colours – was also evident in many of the creations. Maribou feathers and individual plumes in bright shades, long sweeping trains, statement jewelley, matching bags and shoes and an outrageously diverse selection of fabrics – some traditionally ‘couture-esque’ like chiffon, organza and lace, others a little less so, like wool and leather, were also stars of this flamboyant show. Some fabrics were laser-cut to precision, taking advantage of the latest in fabric construction technology to create textures never, ever seen before.
Now, no couture show would be complete without its stylish set of high-fashion-adoring attendees! We’ve rounded up a handful of the most interesting street fashion looks at Paris Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2021/22.
Image credit: The Trendspotter
We’ll drag ourselves away from all this lavish beauty and say good-bye for now. Haute Couture into the future and beyond! Au revoir, until our next meet-up in Paris!