Feminism to face tattoos: 7 Paris haute couture fashion week moments you might have missed

Feminism to face tattoos: 7 Paris haute couture fashion week moments you might have missed

Paris haute couture fashion week concludes today, rounding off four action-packed days of catwalk shows in the French capital.

Brands like Chanel, Givenchy and Dior unveiled their spring/summer bespoke collections – aka the most expensive clothes in the world, which can command prices well into six figures – to audiences made up of A-listers, editors and their most loyal customers.

With spectacular sets, showstopping outfits and the creme de la creme of models, this couture week was full of talking points. Here are seven moments you might have missed…

1. Dior’s feminist statement

Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri accepts applause after the Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Francois Mori/AP)
Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri accepts applause after the Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Francois Mori/AP)

Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director at Dior, has focused on feminism for the past few seasons with both her couture and ready-to-wear collections, and isn’t about to let up now.

On a womb-shaped runway hung with a banner that read, ‘What if women ruled the world?’ created by feminist artist Judy Chicago, Chiuri sent out a parade of Roman goddesses in draped and fringed jewel-toned gowns, metallic suits and gladiator sandals.

2. Magnificent millinery

Model Kaia Gerber leads other models as they wear creations for the Givenchy Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Christophe Ena/AP)
Model Kaia Gerber leads other models as they wear creations for the Givenchy Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Christophe Ena/AP)

Bridalwear always makes an appearance in the haute couture collections, and this season it was Givenchy’s stiff, voluminous veils that got everyone talking, particularly as model of the moment Kaia Gerber wore one for the show’s finale.

Alexandre Vauthier was responsible for the other millinery masterpieces at Paris couture; the huge feathered headdresses were reminiscent of the city’s famous showgirls.

A model wears a creation for Alexandre Vauthier Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Christophe Ena/AP)
A model wears a creation for Alexandre Vauthier Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Christophe Ena/AP)

3. Horses on the catwalk

Models wear creations for the Franck Sorbier Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Christophe Ena/AP)
Models wear creations for the Franck Sorbier Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Christophe Ena/AP)

Laughing in the face of the old adage ‘never work with children or animals’, Franck Sorbier sent horses out alongside models for his Latin themed collection.

Ridden by impeccably dressed men and women, they added a dramatic flourish to the show.

4. Chanel’s schoolgirls

Model Gigi Hadid wears a creation for the Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Francois Mori/AP)
Model Gigi Hadid wears a creation for the Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Francois Mori/AP)

Karl Lagerfeld’s successor Virginie Viard took inspiration from Coco Chanel’s childhood for her spring/summer couture offering.

Aged 11, Chanel was sent to live in a convent and was required to wear an austere black and white uniform, which is why this season’s collection was entirely monochrome, made up of neat tweed skirt suits and demure, collared dresses.

They were modelled by the likes of Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber who walked the runway in white ankle socks and sensible shoes.

5. Schiaparelli’s incredible eyewear

A model wears a creation for Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Francois Mori/AP)
A model wears a creation for Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Francois Mori/AP)

Daniel Roseberry’s second collection for the famous house of Schiaparelli featured bold hues and voluminous skirts, the block colours contrasting with intricate embellishments and jewellery.

The most extreme example of the latter was the golden eyewear dripping with pearls. Practical it was not, but that’s not what couture week is about.

6. Jean Paul Gaultier said au revoir

Designer Jean Paul Gaultier, centre, accepts applause from singer Boy George, left, and models after his final Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Thibault Camus/AP)
Designer Jean Paul Gaultier, centre, accepts applause from singer Boy George, left, and models after his final Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Thibault Camus/AP)

The most star-studded show was without doubt Jean Paul Gaultier, who was saying farewell after 50 years in the couture business.

To mark the momentous occasion, a who’s-who of supermodels past and present – including Karlie Kloss, Karen Elson and the Hadid sisters – took to the catwalk, while Boy George serenaded Gaultier as he took his final bow.

7. Viktor and Rolf’s face tattoos

A model wears a creation for the Viktor & Rolf Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Francois Mori/AP)
A model wears a creation for the Viktor & Rolf Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 fashion collection (Francois Mori/AP)

Dutch design duo Viktor & Rolf are famous for finding unusual ways to include slogans in their designs, and this season they used models’ skin to get their message across, daubing faces and bodies with temporary tattoos.

The overall look was somewhat at odds with the respectable world of couture – the models looked more like rappers – but that was the whole point. The designers wanted to bring a toughness to the fluffy and frilly dresses.

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