Once again, Paris is enveloped in luxury with the Fall 21 Haute Couture collections. Haute Couture week is back, now in a hybrid format including in-person shows and digital presentations.
The most important week in the industry has begun, and the Fall 21 Haute Couture collections have left us incredibly impressed. Here’s what we saw from each of the following great designers.
Pure maximalism. Schiaparelli gave us an Haute Couture collection both eccentric and surreal. The result is a sense of excessive opulence. Daniel Roseberry, creative director of the French brand since 2019, has managed to bring all of Elsa Schiaparelli’s creativity into the new millennium.
Schiaparelli’s Fall 21 Haute Couture collection takes inspiration from “matador” clothing, elevating it to a whole new and surreal level. It plays with the silhouettes and sizes of the garments and manages to create new shapes that fit a woman’s body in an innovative way. Throughout the collection, we also saw those classic symbols that have represented this French brand since the time of its founder, Elsa. Eyes, locks, ears, and breasts were all elements that the designer used back in the 30s and that shocked the world. Roseberry plays with each of these components to give new life to garments that flirt with the line of fashion and art. He’s undoubtedly continuing the legacy of both the brand and its founder, who not only created clothing but real works of art.
The garments in this collection are just that: works of art. It is as if they are surrealist paintings, with real elements that represent unreal ones. I loved the denim jacket with oversized sleeves and embellishments in the shape of eyes, ears, and lips that intertwined with the golden embroidery. This piece would make whatever woman wears it look like a living gem. In a sea of rococo garments, we also saw more minimalist pieces like a baby blue silk dress with a black bustier and a vibrant orange and black dress. These pieces might be demure, but they are still fantastical. The designer plays with proportions, creating dreamlike clothing, and this collection invites us to dream big, shaking off our boredom and celebrating life.
Iris Van Herpen
This is a designer who, collection after collection, manages to merge the worlds of fashion, technology, and art. Her looks explore the versatility of clothing through different materials and processes that use the latest technology. How could we possibly forget her “Crystallization” top, which was the first garment to ever be created on a 3D printer.
Once again, this Dutch designer pushed the limits of fashion and went avant-garde with her new Fall 21 Haute Couture collection, entitled Earthrise, inspired by space missions, specifically Apollo 8, the first manned flight around the moon. This historical moment inspired the designer to explore the concept of flying, something that has always captivated humans, and create pieces that capture the sensation of levitation. The collection took six months to make and we can clearly see the work that was invested in it. For Iris Van Herpen, one of the most important things is to see beyond traditional clothing and merge it with other disciplines to create something totally new.
Each of the looks we saw on the runway was done in a post-human style, in which bodies were merged into the garments themselves–creating new elements. A clear example was the nude mini dress, a garment with ruffles that resembled rustling leaves. Due to the color of the dress, it blended in with the body of the model, transforming her into a force of nature. Another example was the dress that looked to be made of purple dragon’s scales, a piece that morphed the model into a beautiful sea creature. I personally fell in love with the blue dress with free-moving organza sleeves. Iris Van Herpen has done it again and taken Haute Couture to new levels, reminding us that this art form is not dead.
This designer, originally from Lebanon, has been characterized by the masterful touch he puts on each of his garments. Georges Hobeika has been doing Haute Couture shows for more than ten years, which is no surprise because his garments are true gems that enhance natural beauty and the feminine form.
For his Fall 21 Haute Couture collection, Georges Hobeika decided to play with silhouettes of the sixties, re-imagining them for the modern woman. Each outfit represented the history of this Lebanese fashion brand, with romantic textiles like silk and organza and emblematic characteristics like feathers, crystals, and embroidery. It was like reading a love letter written to the art of Haute Couture. The pastel rainbow palette of the collection gave the garments a feminine air. These tones contrasted well with the neutral white background of the show, perfectly framing this glittering collection.
What I most loved about this collection was its range. There were perfect daytime looks, such as the Maya blue blazer with XL jewel buttons reminiscent of tiles but shaped like fringed skirts. Then, there were pieces that simply invited us to mix and match, such as the lime green blouse with embroidered crystals and the organza skirt with ruffles. For eveningwear, we saw dresses with crystal inlays and feather sleeves, fuchsia tones and white, bejeweled slip dresses that brought to mind 1920’s flapper looks. I was also impressed by the jewelry: opulent flower-shaped earrings that spoke the language of luxury. Georges Hobeika gave us a collection that celebrates women.
If Marie Antoinette were still alive, she would surely want to meet Giambattista Valli. This Italian designer is known for collections that take luxury to the hilt. Each of his creations is an ode to romanticism, femininity, and opulence. He makes garments that transport us to the magical realms of fairy tales.
For his 2021 Haute Couture collection, the designer decided to create energetic pieces that reflect the renewed strength of the City of Lights after its year of proverbial slumber. This symphony of dreamy dresses combined silhouettes from the past with the metallic hues of the future, giving us the idea of a new tomorrow. Organza, tulle, chiffon, and silk crepe brought these creations to life. The show, in the form of a fashion film, featured models walking to the melody of Mozart’s “Lacrimosa” mixed into a techno beat–a reflection of modern Paris. The pastel color palette contrasted beautifully with black and white tones, giving us both femininity and edge.
Each look was more impressive than the one before it. I loved the pale pink dresses, particularly the asymmetrical one with the pleated tulle detail. Each of these dresses asked us to look closely, appreciating the extraordinary details in the embroidery and textiles. One clear example of this was the neutral dresses, which at first looked simple but at second glance were actually full of intricate details. Any bride would look gorgeous in that white gown and cape with ruffle details. One of the most unexpected moments for me was that of the menswear looks. Wow! Just, wow! The contrast between the minimalism of these garments and the over-the-top vibe of the more feminine ones struck a perfect balance. It was like an updated version of the classic Parisian fashion of Louis XVI or the Bridgerton series that everyone loves.