Why the elite opulence of Haute Couture makes Paris Couture Week the most revered of all the fashion weeks.
Haute Couture is a patented trademark of the Parisian fashion scene. It is a binary opposite to Prêt-à-Porter (Ready-to-Wear) fashion, and instead rather abstractly focuses on the unwearable. Paris Haute Couture Week holds the monopoly over the entire fashion genre, and each year gives the audience a dose of lavish decadence they had almost forgotten they needed.
For Couture Week SS19, designers propelled the theme of provocative decadence, brazenly commanding: “admire me, but by no means approach me”. It’s no secret by now that this stance was most outspokenly endorsed by Viktor & Rolf this season, with the design house injecting the week with some millennial attitude, featuring statement dresses of sugary tulle with contrasting “meme” slogans emblazoned across the front. “I’m not shy I just don’t like you”, “I am my own muse” and just simply “NO” were a few of the wry phrases embellished onto the excessively girlish pieces, and unsurprisingly their outlandishness has captivated online media outlets across the board.
Viktor & Rolf’s creativity this season has reminded us all of why, in terms of creativity and originality, Couture week continues to annually outshine the staple Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer fashion weeks. Couture week is continuously excessive and we love it for being so. It is the week where we allow fashion for fashion’s sake; designers are granted their well-deserved right to exercise their role as artists, visionaries and revolutionaries and not just suppliers for the mass market.
Couture Week SS19 has me reminiscing about previous Couture weeks, most notably SS17. Again, we could rely on Viktor & Rolf to stun and amuse us in equal parts, as they replaced models’ faces with oversized dolls’ heads and again chose to contrast the girlish image with grunge inspired designs and simple Doc Marten boots. Designs from Dior in SS17 were also admirably excessive, with their “more, more, more!” take on the boilersuit: all over high-shine leather and plush white shearling wool largely detailing the collars and sleeves. In fact, the “more, more, more!” effect is something we are given every year, and we can’t help but bask in its lavishness. An example of this is Alexandre Vauthier’s designs from SS19, a slightly overlooked contender for showstopper of the season. The pieces by Alexndre Vauthier could very well have been inspired by aristocracy, featuring designs any duchess would be itching to wear – pearl embellishments, heavy velvet fabrics, gold embroidery; they spared no luxurious detail.
Couture Week will always captivate and consume us better than any of the traditional fashion weeks, and though it may not be accessible, or even wearable, fashion junkies will continue to rejoice in its extravagance just as the designers do.
By Elicka Ghaharamani.