Ever wondered what a catwalk womb might look like? Us neither.
Still, that was very much the shape of things at Dior’s show during the couture merry-go-round in January, a week that also offered Coco Rocha jigging on Jean Paul Gaultier’s last ever catwalk and classical musicians suspended above the runway at Givenchy.
And the frocks, oh the frocks. Pierpaolo Piccioli’s closing look was fashioned from a fan of powder pink plumage, while Kaia Gerber was Givenchy’s fantasy bride in a delicate lace wedding dress with an umbrella headpiece designed to look like a petal. Here’s our round-up of the winners of couture fashion week that you might have missed.
Fishtails are back from 1950s people, or so says Valentino’s masterful Pierpaolo Piccioli, who ditched his usual voluminous pouf dresses for new, angular silhouettes that fanned at the knees and made shapes across shoulders. So many enchanting frocks to choose from (no two creations looked remotely alike) but this dress, with its mysterious show of pink plumage and pitch perfect palette – that sugar pink, the strawberry red, the black opera gloves – hits all the right notes.
Those who remember Rihanna’s floor-polishing, yolk yellow Met Gala ensemble in 2015 will know that the Beijing-based couturier Guo Pei deals with designing fantasties. For this collection, she transported show-goers to the mountains of the Himalayas with a snowscape set and creations fashioned from thick, antique textiles, which were reworked, embroidered and lined with white feathers and looked heavy enough to brace a snowstorm. A little bit Snow Queen, very His Dark Materials.
Reese Witherspoon, Bel Powley and Juliette Binoche sat front row at Armani’s couture show to spot their next red carpet get-up for the Academy Awards, Cannes and beyond. Forget that the Italian designer is famed for greige. This collection was an ode to ikat, the Indonesian dying technique, which meant fabrics were drenched in rich, curling patterns and then beaded and embroidered on top. See this intricately worked-on resplendent beauty.
JEAN PAUL GAULTIER
Days before his couture catwalk, the “l’enfant terrible” of French fashion announced that this show would be his last. And, with over 230 looks, what a show it was. Coco Rocha danced an Irish jig down the catwalk, the male ballet dancer Germain Louvet marched out on pointe, while Simon Le Bon, Nicolas Ghesquière and Isabel Marant sat front row. The clothes explored many of Gaultier’s key aesthetics, such as recycling.
Karlie Kloss wore an upcycled plastic bodice with a bubble-wrap skirt, while skirts were formed of black silk stockings and bodies made of vintage silk ties. While Boy George performed at the end of the show, Gaultier was held aloft in the middle of the catwalk. “I love fashion,” Gaultier said backstage.
“What If Women Ruled the World?” asked one banner of 21 that hung above Dior’s womb-shaped catwalk, designed in collaboration with the “the godmother of vagina art” Judy Chicago. As for the dresses? They were based on goddesses, and a Greco-Roman theme was clear in dresses of fine silk strands strapped across the body and chiffon draped and twisted over one shoulder. There were Roman sandals – gilded, naturally – plus this beautiful silver design, that is fit for a 21st century goddess too.
Kaia “the bride” Gerber stole the Givenchy show in this off-the-shoulder cut lace creation under a canopy hat so large a couple could fit under there to say “I do”. Inspired by the Vita Sackville-West’s gardens at Sissinghurst Castle, Clare Waight Geller’s collection was an ode to English gardens, visible in a palette the shades of summer flowers, dresses constructed of 3D petals, and the XL canopy hats, which were each shaped like huge petals, too.