Haute Couture

7 Street Style Trends to Steal From the Fall 2022 Haute Couture Shows

7 Street Style Trends to Steal From the Fall 2022 Haute Couture Shows

Summer is here, and while it’s usually true that hemlines get shorter, outfits get sheerer, and the layers come off, couture attendees in Paris played against type. Rather than familiar warm weather staples, we saw head-to-toe black tailored suits and designer denim paired with crisp button-downs, and in place of the Miu Miu minis at the fall ready-to-wear shows, skirts dropped to sensible midi-lengths. But the glam wasn’t completely gone from the streets. Sequined dresses, silver metallics, and blinged-out accessories were also in the mix, and some showgoers embraced the drama of opera gloves and unconventional face coverings–it was couture week, after all.
Below, check out seven of the coolest street style trends spotted at haute couture fashion week.
Suit Up!
Head-to-toe black tailoring was the go-to look for showgoers this season. Who said fashion shows are not serious business?
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
The High Low Method
When everyone else is overdressed, trust these insiders to keep it low-key.
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
Masks Required
Mesh, knit, and denim face coverings may not be Covid-safe, but they definitely look cool.
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
You’ve Got to Hand It to Them
Because nothing captures the drama of couture more than opera gloves.
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
Midi-Layer Garment
Minis may have ruled the streets of Paris in March (shout-out to Miu Miu), but school-appropriate midis were in session here.
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
Photo: Phil Oh
The Bling Ring
Silver metallics, sequins, paillettes, and Swarovski crystals shine extra bright in the light of the day.
Photo: Philip Oh
Photo: Philip Oh
Photo: Philip Oh
These Boots Are Made for Street Styling
Thigh-highs and knee-highs are unlikely, but statement-making summer footwear.
Photo: Philip Oh
Photo: Philip Oh
Photo: Philip Oh
Photo: Philip Oh
Originally published in Vogue.com
Read next: The Best Street Style Photos From Paris Fashion Week Fall 2022

5 Things To Know About Fendi’s Fresh Take On Haute Couture For AW 2022

5 Things To Know About Fendi’s Fresh Take On Haute Couture For AW 2022

“I wanted lightness in the clothes this season,” Fendi’s artistic director Kim Jones says of his fresh approach to the brand’s autumn/winter 2022 haute couture collection. Below, Anders Christian Madsen shares his key takeaways from the show.

Kim Jones debuted a lighter take on haute couture
Photo: Gorunway.com

There was a lightness to the savoir-faire Kim Jones presented for Fendi on Thursday afternoon in Palais Brongniart, which uplifted his take on haute couture with a new freshness. As the show progressed, he quite literally peeled off the layers until the lightness reached a point of near-nudity, with buoyant embroidered overlays floating ethereally over the models’ skin. “It’s pretty light,” he concurred during a preview. “I wanted lightness in the clothes this season, also in terms of how the embroideries were done.” If Jones’s first forays into couture at Fendi were about showcasing his discoveries of the magic made possible by the artisans of this haute institution through multi-layered craftsmanship, this season represented a clean slate, and one that felt like a way of using haute couture as a proposal for ideas that could trickle into real life.

It featured Kata Yuzen motifs from Japan
Photo: Gorunway.com

It all began with a trip to Japan in March, before the borders opened. “I managed to get in. I was so determined,” Jones said, hinting at some next-level string-pulling. “I used to go six times a year. I love it so much. We went to see a number of the suppliers we’ve always worked with on special projects, and I bought all these fragments of 17th-century kimonos. Just pieces of hand-painted silk fabric.” His finds prompted him to contact a family of traditional Kata Yuzen fabric-makers in Kyoto, whom he knew from previous collaborations. “They hadn’t really been working very much because there were no ceremonies in two years. I asked if they would like to do something with us.” The results were a series of beautiful fragment patterns in pastel colors, which Jones worked into column dresses that cut a monastic silhouette for the collection that felt decidedly Fendi.
It was a real-life approach to couture
Photo: Gorunway.com

“With me, when I’m looking at stuff, I’m always thinking past, present, future. The past is the research, the present is now, and the future is the idea of where it’s going to go,” Jones said, referring to the optical white box that framed the show and added the sense of futurism to proceedings, which was also present in his previous haute couture show. It had a simplifying effect on a collection that felt like a real consideration for how haute couture might be used in everyday life – by the lucky few – and, more importantly, how it might serve to push and inspire ideas for ready-to-wear. Take for instance the scalloped embroideries that adorned a two-piece set, which was, essentially, a T-shirt and a slouchy trouser. Along with the Kata Yuzen, these motifs and techniques felt ripe for ready-to-wear adaptation.
Jones gave us daywear couture
Photo: Gorunway.com

Jones also made pragmatic proposals for daywear couture. The two exquisitely-cut tailored looks that opened the show were created from the finest vicuna, a tactility Jones went on to interpret in the knitted dresses that followed. “Loro Piana always send me a piece of vicuna for Christmas. I always make myself a nice tailored coat out of it,” he quipped, but those desires are entirely universal. Of the knitwear, Jones said it was all about creating a super-luxe lightness for real-life (the extravagant kind, in any case). “I wanted to have some light knitwear pieces for, you know, that jet-set lifestyle of the client. They can wear that on the plane and get off and still [feel] fabulous.” Seeing Jones tackle the idea of real-life daywear in his haute couture was great and created a real affinity with his ready-to-wear collections.
Jones has the same birth chart as Karl Lagerfeld
Photo: Gorunway.com

Asked by Suzy Menkes if he’s the new Karl Lagerfeld – what with his multi-faceted work schedule and all – Jones laughed. “I don’t think I’m the new Karl, but I have exactly the same birth chart. I like to work hard.” In the case of this collection, his hard work was in the detail: a subtle, muted and pared-back illustration of the painstaking art form that is haute couture. “Fendi is about a working woman. A woman that’s powerful,” he said, reflecting on the role of the collection in the real world. “I love the colors. I’m really happy with it.”

Originally published in Vogue.co.uk 
Read next: How Louis Vuitton, Dior And Fendi Are Selling On Their Leftover Fabrics

The 23 Best Modest Looks from the Spring/Summer 2022 Couture Season

The 23 Best Modest Looks from the Spring/Summer 2022 Couture Season

Ikram Abdi Omar for Antonio Grimaldi
The spring 2022 season was a big one for modest couture, with a large number of demure silhouettes finding their way on the Paris couture week runways and presentations.
Although an homage to Rome, Kim Jones’ collection for Fendi appeared to also have been influenced by the Arab world. Alongside the more obvious kaftans and abaya-like silhouettes, other dresses featured full sleeves, high necks, and lengthened skirts. At Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri offered modest clothing in various forms: from a suit with the house’s iconic Bar jacket to caped dresses and formal gowns. It also seemed important for Valentino to offer conservative pieces as it took upon itself to allow people of all shapes and sizes to see themselves in couture. Chanel’s take on modest dressing featured the classics such as the tweed suits, while at Viktor & Rolf, Dracula-inspired raised shoulders topped everything from suits to dresses. Modest evening and statement-making dresses came via Glenn Martens’ debut couture collection for Jean Paul Gaultier, including jacquard knit pieces, and gowns in bold shades of red and green. The concept was also championed at Italian designer Antonio Grimaldi’s show which not only opened with Somali hijabi model and former cover star Ikram Abdi Omar, but also cast her as the bride dressed in a modest wedding gown.
Scroll to see the best modest dresses from the Spring/Summer 2022 couture season.
Fendi
Alexandre Vauthier
Chanel
Valentino
Fendi
Jean Paul Gaultier
Viktor & Rolf
Ashi Studio
Schiaparelli
Giambattista Valli
Alex Mabille
Charles de Vilmorin
Azzaro
Christian Dior
Alexis Mabille
Antonio Grimaldi
Jean Paul Gaultier
Julie de Libran
Christian Dior
Ronald van der Kemp
Fendi
Chanel
Valentino
Read Next: The Best Street Style from the Spring 2022 Couture Shows

5 Things to Know About Chanel’s Art-Infused Spring/Summer 2022 Couture Show

5 Things to Know About Chanel’s Art-Infused Spring/Summer 2022 Couture Show

Photo: GoRunway.com
Chanel’s spring/summer 2022 haute couture show swept social media thanks to the efforts of Charlotte Casiraghi – muse to the late Karl Lagerfeld – who opened the presentation at the Grand Palais Éphémère on horseback. Vogue fashion critic, Anders Christian Madsen, was in the audience.

A horse opened the show
Photo: Dominique Charriau
By now, it’s the stuff of social media legend: a horse opened the Chanel haute couture show. It was ridden by Charlotte Casiraghi, the show jumper and brand ambassador, who – as the daughter of Princess Caroline of Hanover and granddaughter of Grace Kelly – held a very special place in the heart of Karl Lagerfeld. Casiraghi wore a Chanel riding jacket in black tweed and sequins, heralding a collection founded in unexpected dialogues between materials, spaces and occasions. “The idea for the show’s décor came from a longstanding desire to work with Xavier Veilhan. His references to constructivism remind me of those of Karl Lagerfeld,” Virginie Viard said, referring to the artist best known for his graphic sculpture work. “Xavier wanted to work with Charlotte Casiraghi. His artistic universe is full of horses, and Charlotte is a skilled rider.”
It was a collaborative effort
Photo: Dominique Charriau
The set imagined a surreal show jumping course erected inside the Grand Palais Éphémère, the construction by the Eiffel Tower currently filling in for the Grand Palais while it’s under refurbishment, which will also serve as a venue for the Paris Olympics in 2024. Within it, Veilhan created supersized objects, from stable elements to enormous instruments played by the musician Sébastian Tellier, who has worked with Chanel in the past. “Xavier and Sébastien are friends. Along with Charlotte, they form the kind of Chanel family that I like to surround myself with,” Viard said. She described the set design as a place that made her feel free, and you could see that in the collection. There was an ease and confidence in the way she matched and clashed textures and codes in the same looks, creating a dynamic and liberal wardrobe that literally turned heads.
The collection played with clashes and constructivism
Photo: Dominique Charriau
“Virginie plays with the construction of dresses and how to bring embroideries into them. There is such a big number of people working on these dresses, it makes them quite special. In couture, your imagination can allow you to do these kinds of pieces,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of fashion. Viard worked with each of Chanel’s specialist embroiderers on the collection, underlining the collaborative premise of the show. The embroideries materialized in geometric shapes mixed and matched across eveningwear. A graphic black and white pattern of a cape collar crowned a floor-length filtrage dress in silver and grey lace. An iridescent sequin-embroidered brassiere descended into a sheer bustier that waterfalled into a transparent tiered skirt with hems that looked like tie-dye. And a translucent dress with a skirt that ballooned over itself was structured from constructivist intarsia shapes.
The daywear game was strong
Photo: Dominique Charriau
In a time when haute couture is often associated with ballgowns and banquets, and more houses are launching or relaunching haute couture collections, hoping to elevate their brand value and get a piece of this highly exclusive cake, Chanel’s attention to daywear stood out. “In the day of Coco Chanel, haute couture was for everyday. It wasn’t just for cocktails and red carpets. I think this is quite important,” Pavlovsky said. “At Chanel, we have two ateliers that focus on tailoring – which is the opposite of flou – and a new generation in training to be able to offer this daywear. The customer can pick pieces for any time of the day. It’s not just incredible dresses. In this collection, we have some daywear silhouettes which are amazing, if I may say so.” He wasn’t just tooting the Chanel horn. Viard’s check tweed skirt suits slit open at the front, with broderie anglaise bursting out from within, and her handsomely sculpted jackets with voluminous trousers were fitting examples of what haute couture can do to daywear.
Chanel is happy with other houses launching haute couture
Photo: Dominique Charriau
Pavlovsky, however, is excited about the current enthusiasm for haute couture. “The more of us there are, the better it is. Haute couture is about Paris, and the more strong designers we can have, the better it is for all of us. To see more and more designers wanting to develop haute couture is the best signal we can have,” he said. “Couture… I don’t want to say it’s ‘no limits’, because it’s not about limits, but it’s the best of today. Virginie offers a collection, which is, for her, the best of what she wants to do. Here, we don’t need to think about how to manufacture, etc. We have one hundred people working in the atelier. We have the Metiers d’Art. It’s a small business with very high-quality customers. We don’t need to explain to everyone that haute couture isn’t the same as ready-to-wear. Ready-to-wear is a business from the ’70s, but Chanel has been doing haute couture since the beginning,” Pavlovsky said.
Read Next: The Best Street Style from the Spring 2022 Couture Shows
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk

All the Highlights from Day One of Paris Haute Couture Week Fall/Winter 21-22

All the Highlights from Day One of Paris Haute Couture Week Fall/Winter 21-22

Alaïa. Photo: Courtesy of Alaïa
Yesterday marked the return of couture week and it opened with the debut show of Alaïa’s new creative director, Pieter Mulier. Faithful to Azzedine Alaïa’s style, Mulier celebrated the female beauty adding to the DNA of the brand a pinch of modernity. The perfectly balanced silhouettes formed an Alaïa army to kick off the week.
Read on for more highlights from day one of haute couture week and check back for more updates.

Georges Hobeika

Georges Hobeika‘s emblematic signature is back. Mixing feathers and sparkling crystals, mystery, and sobriety, Hobeika’s fall 21/22 is a comeback of his minimal extravagance and joyful romanticism of the 1960s.
Rami Al Ali

In an unashamed ode to opulence, Rami Al Ali takes creative cues from the photography series “Seduction” by Cyril Porchet. In a full white and gold collection, with intricate handwork, the designer also explored the curiosity around architecture.
Schiaparelli

Undoubtedly, Schiaparelli is one of the most awaited shows of the season. Entitled “the matador,” the fall/winter 21-22 couture collection by creative director Daniel Roseberry is not from Spanish influence, but a homage to a coat that Elsa Schiaparelli designed with her friend, poet, and artist Jean Cocteau. Bold, extravagant, and unbelievably new, the Schiaparelli collection is a bouquet of craft and creation.
Dior

After presenting her collections for Dior through films during the lockdown, Maria Grazia Chiuri emphasized, more than ever, the importance of fabric and the language of embroideries in her comeback physical show during Paris fashion week. Recalling the “salle aux broderies” in the Colonna Palace in Rome, the work titled Chambre de Soie and created by French artist Eva Jospin, serves as an impressive backdrop for the presentation of Chiuri’s magnificent pleated dresses, trains, and hand-woven chains that compose patterns on the body. The show was a mix of art and extraordinary savoir-faire.
Giambattista Valli

Giambattista Valli’s fall 2021 couture collection was filled with vibrant, youthful, and bold pieces. The color palette ranged from chic black to pastel lights, with a touch of red. He also brought cloud-like whimsical tulle dresses, draped chiffon gowns and capes, and elegant sequin dresses along with bright feathered gowns. Including men’s couture is a first for Valli, as cool, nonchalant, and sharp capes and shirts brought a whole new vibe to the brand.
Azzaro Couture

Honoring the late Loris Azzaro’s previous daring disco designs, current creative director Olivier Theyskens, incorporated shimmering silver sequins, power-shoulders, and waist-snatching skirts to bring back the vision of previous collections. This year’s collection opened with a bedazzled silver sequin-covered suit like a disco ball followed by liquid platinum suits, slinky, sparkling dresses, and jumpsuits.
Read Next: “To Have and to Hold” Dior Fall 2021 Couture Beckons to Be Touched

Everything You Need to Know About the FW21 Haute Couture Shows

Everything You Need to Know About the FW21 Haute Couture Shows

Photo: Daniel Roseberry/ Courtesy of Schiaparelli
While much of the fashion industry has endured disruptions throughout the pandemic, haute couture has persevered and is brimming with sensational moments to come. The upcoming FW21 schedule, from July 5 to 8, is jam-packed with not only the usual big-hitters, but also fresh talent, broadening the spectrum of the oldest and most prestigious of fashion weeks. 
The history of haute couture 
Just after the war, in 1945, the most revered of maisons — including Chanel, Christian Dior, Schiaparelli and Givenchy — were invited by the Chambres Syndicales to present couture collections. Members were expected to create one-of-a-kind pieces adhering to specific rules, including excellence in creativity, painstaking detail and a minimum number of hours spent making the creations, in order to qualify for the schedule. Since the first event, couture week has made its mark on fashion history with exquisite pieces and enchanting spectacles — Versace’s high-octane FW95 show rife with dazzling supermodel glamour and Chanel’s FW13 post-apocalypse presentation spring to mind.
This season, expect a mixture of major physical and virtual moments. Storied houses such as Dior, Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier, whose collaboration with Sacai’s Chitose Abe (the first in a series of  guest designers), and Balenciaga, set to make its hotly anticipated return to the haute couture schedule after 53 years of absence, have opted to present live shows to a limited guestlist. Fendi, Maison Margiela and Schiaparelli, meanwhile, are sticking to a digital showcase. 
Other unmissable moments include New York-based label Pyer Moss’s virtual inaugural couture presentation, making creative director Kerby Jean-Raymond the first Black American designer to show on the schedule. Young designer Charles De Vilmorin’s second couture collection will also be shown digitally. Away from the official line-up, creative director Pieter Mulier — Raf Simons’ right-hand man at Jil Sander, Dior and Calvin Klein — presents his first collection at the Alaïa Maison (remember how warm and humble he came across in the 2014 Dior And I documentary? Yes, we fell in love with him then, too). And, how can we forget Valentino, which will be showing its collection to a live audience, several days after the official schedule concludes, in Venice? 
Who said there could be too many fashion moments? No one, ever. So take your FROW seat in your lounge for the fantasy and theatre of haute couture here.
Read Next: Inside Gucci’s Dream-Like Presentation of its Nature-Inspired High Jewelry Collection

Cover Story: Celebrating Enduring Couture That Continues to Thrive in an Era Rocked By a Pandemic

Cover Story: Celebrating Enduring Couture That Continues to Thrive in an Era Rocked By a Pandemic

Just like a century ago, when haute couture persisted through world wars, it continues to thrive today in an era rocked by a pandemic – albeit forever changed.
Malika El Maslouhi wears dress, shoes, Iris Van Herpen; headpiece, Iris Van Herpen X Casey Curran; nail artwork, Iris Van Herpen X Eichi Matsunaga. Photographed by Thibault-Theodore for Vogue Arabia
If haute couture had a patron goddess, she would have to be Demeter’s daughter Persephone, who cyclically died only to be reborn. As long ago as 1965, when what Diana Vreeland termed the “youthquake” was rattling the planet, the New York Times noted that “every 10 years the doctors assemble at the bedside of French haute couture and announce that death is imminent.” Around the same time, French actor Brigitte Bardot rejected Coco Chanel’s offer to dress her because haute couture – the bombshell complained – “was for grannies.”

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Bardot’s snub was understandable. Haute couture had been predicated on “older, outdated ideas,” Schiaparelli’s creative director Daniel Roseberry says. Chanel was a hoary 82 and haute couture itself – a government-controlled appellation – was more than a hundred years old. Though the antecedents of the haute couturier go back to Louis XIV in the 17th century, the French profession’s true founding father was Charles Frederick Worth, who in the 1800s introduced such novelties as the designer label and seasonal live presentations.
Malika El Maslouhi wears dress, Alexandre Vauthier. Photographed by Thibault-Theodore for Vogue Arabia
Though, like a fairytale enchantment, the maison Worth lasted one century, it was the venerable master’s spawn – the fantasist Paul Poiret, the functionalist Chanel, the purist Madeleine Vionnet – who ushered haute couture into the modern age. Persevering through the first world war, the Spanish flu, and the Great Depression, the French couturiers not only dressed “tout-Paris,” but also exported hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of their coveted handsewn confections. “History teaches us,” Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri observes, “that couture is extremely resilient and, above all, adaptable.” The second world war and the Nazi occupation of Paris, however, posed a nearly terminal threat to the industry. Vionnet’s vast operations closed permanently in 1939. Chanel shuttered her doors. Her rival, the avant garde Elsa Schiaparelli, escaped to the US. But the enterprising Lucien Lelong stayed open, defiantly thwarting Hitler’s grandiose scheme to transplant all of Paris fashion to Berlin or Vienna. So miraculous was the Lelong-orchestrated wartime survival of haute couture that in 1945, Diana Vreeland exhorted an assistant to return from Paris with a single fabric rose as evidence of the rarefied institution’s continued existence.
Malika El Maslouhi wears dress, Fendi Haute Couture. Photographed by Thibault-Theodore for Vogue Arabia
More than Vreeland’s handmade rose (probably from the fournisseur Guillet), what bloomed from the ashes of the second world war was a fecund garden of “women- flowers,” wrote Christian Dior, who founded his maison in 1946, all wearing sumptuous “skirts like petals.” Before long, the Dior empire accounted for three-fifths of all haute couture sales. The remainder came from the other fabled houses of haute couture’s post-war golden age – Fath, Dessès, Heim, Balmain, Griffe, Rochas, Balenciaga – whose workrooms were as intricately structured as their lavish dresses, and whose formidable directrices were as lofty as a ballgown’s price.
Malika El Maslouhi wears dress, Ashi Couture. Photographed by Thibault-Theodore for Vogue Arabia
Haughty personnel and intimidating invoices were just two elements of the old-school haute couture culture that drove legions of women in the 60s and 70s out of the storied salons and into brand- new, funky boutiques selling ready-to-wear. Yves Saint Laurent had initiated the pret-a-porter movement in 1966 with the opening of the first Rive Gauche store, on Rue de Tournon. Trendsetting shops, some as far afield as London and New York, soon usurped haute couture’s function as (in Viktor & Rolf’s words) “a laboratory of ideas and experimentation.” Predictably, by 1973, the doomsayers of Time magazine were reporting that the enterprise of haute couture was “breathing very hard.”
Malika El Maslouhi wears dress, Guo Pei Couture. Photographed by Thibault-Theodore for Vogue Arabia
As before, the rumors of haute couture’s extinction were greatly exaggerated. During the bullish decade of the 80s, Karl Lagerfeld revived the ailing Chanel empire with his cheeky reinterpretations of the house’s hallowed codes. And with a heady eleven francs to the dollar, nouveau riche Americans flocked to Paris on the Concorde, frenetically buying up whole collections and fervently embracing newcomer Christian Lacroix. Haute couture reclaimed its magical ability to serve – to invoke Roseberry’s metaphor – as a “love language” spoken between designer and client.
Malika El Maslouhi wears dress, Viktor & Rolf Haute Couture; earrings, Hugo Kreit. Photographed by Thibault-Theodore for Vogue Arabia
In the 90s, after a market crash, recession, and Gulf war had yet again incapacitated the industry, LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault played Prince Charming to haute couture’s Sleeping Beauty. Arnault’s ingenuity lay in transforming haute couture from an entity that served not just private customers, but a brand. A demographic even larger than Arnault might have calculated began participating in haute couture’s previously esoteric rites – viewing collections, judging them, sharing them, and buying spin-off, logo-emblazoned status items, via the proliferating digital platforms that propelled fashion into the 21st century.
Malika El Maslouhi wears dress, Viktor & Rolf Haute Couture; earrings, Hugo Kreit. Photographed by Thibault-Theodore for Vogue Arabia
Responding to the rapidly changing environment, the antiquated trade organization Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture morphed into the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode and safeguarded its future by modernizing its rules of admission, essentially unchanged since the time of Lucien Lelong. As a result, its roster of haute couturiers expanded from about 15 members in the early 2000s to 100 today. This updating of the bylaws has allowed many esteemed out-of-towners, such as Iris van Herpen, Elie Saab, Fendi (under Kim Jones’s direction), and Victor & Rolf to become “correspondent members,” and Guo Pei, with her new studio in Paris, and Christophe de Vilmorin, fresh out of design school, to become “guest members.” Rallying in the face of the pandemic and lockdowns this past January, 28 of the Fédération’s houses resourcefully presented collections during the three-day SS21 haute couture showings (albeit virtually).
Malika El Maslouhi wears Lion Vénitien Necklace, earrings in 18ct white gold set with diamonds, Chanel High jewelry. Photographed by Thibault-Theodore for Vogue Arabia
Paradoxically, rather than hamper designers, the limitations imposed by Covid-19 freed them to explore new formats and engage with artists in other media. “Covid forced us to break through traditional barriers and explore new ways of presenting our conceptual ideas,” say Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren from Viktor & Rolf, whose creations addressed sustainability as well as the need for a “lighthearted escape into fantasy.” And, just as Elsa Schiaparelli, in the 1930s, enriched her own work by collaborating with Leonor Fini, Jean Cocteau, and Christian Bérard, so the present-day couturiers overcame Covid-induced constraints by merging their imaginations with the aesthetic worlds of filmmakers Anton Corbijn (Chanel), Nick Knight (Valentino), Matteo Garrone (Dior), and Christophe Tiphaine (Schiaparelli). “Fashion has always been the realm of the imagination,” Chiuri explains, “So it is natural for me to turn to a film format to express my project through visual stories.” For Roseberry, whose sensual collection was cleverly compressed into an Instagram-friendly three minute, 52 second video, the goal was “to create a format and a way of showing the collection that really lets the viewer experience it.”
Malika El Maslouhi wears dress, headband, earrings, rings, Dior Haute Couture. Photographed by Thibault-Theodore for Vogue Arabia
The pandemic may have simply accelerated an inevitable evolution. Viktor & Rolf plans to “become more digitally focused, creating content that caters to each platform.” Elie Saab foresees a “mix between smaller, less hectic, live fashion shows and digital content.” Twenty-four-year-old Vilmorin, who gave birth to his brand during lockdown, doesn’t even see a need for “all that mise-en-scène and spectacle” of a runway event. Says Roseberry, “It’s a total reset.”
Malika El Maslouhi wears dress, shoes, Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture. Photographed by Thibault-Theodore for Vogue Arabia
No longer a resource-draining marketing exercise, haute couture – the ultimate “slow fashion” – now has the capacity to turn a substantial profit, as robust economies around the globe generate new clients, whose fittings might even take place through Zoom. “Covid has made people rush less and appreciate more the value of things,” Saab reflects. Among the freshly minted devotees of the most extravagant finery on earth are the very young, and – in a development that the sybaritic Sun King himself would surely appreciate – men. Fendi, Valentino, and Vilmorin all showcased their offerings on male and female models. As Ralph Toledano, president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, stated, “It seems that there are no longer any boundaries to couture.”
Read Next: Editor’s Letter: Why Our May Issue is Dedicated to the Highest Artistries and Haute Couture
Originally published in the May 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia
DOP and video editing Cheyne Tillier-DalyPhotographer Thibault-ThéodoreStyle Lisa JarvisFashion director Katie TrotterHair Charlie Le MinduMakeup Annabelle Petit at Wise & TalentedNails Lora de Sousa Creative producer Laura PriorProduction Weird Fishes StudioProducer Réda Ait Retouching Curro VerdugoAnalog operator Maëlle JoignePainter Damien CacciaStudio assistant Tom KleinbergStyle assistant Francesca Riccardi Set assistants Antoine Dugrand Castaignede, Amin Bidar, Thomas JardinProduction assistant Adélina Bichet ElzeyModel Malika El Maslouhi at Viva Model

Dolce & Gabbana Discuss Couture for Men

Dolce & Gabbana Discuss Couture for Men

Long before fashion weeks started splintering, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana set up their own haute couture ecosystem in Italy, immediately spying potential for male clients.
Six years after their first Alta Sartoria collection paraded through Palazzo Labus in Milan, the designers say men make up fully half of their couture clientele, numbering more than 200 people in Asia, the U.S., Europe, India, Russia and South America, in particular Mexico and Brazil.
What’s more, they described a close, collaborative relationship with their clients, offering them a familial, immersive experience exalting all things Italian. The designers have staged lavish couture events in Florence, Portofino, Naples, Monreale and Agrigento over the years, in addition to stops in the U.S., Japan, Mexico and China (where the company’s business has rebounded after a November 2018 scandal when the designers were accused of making racist comments on social media; they apologized and the brand has worked to reestablish relationships).

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Sartoria collection.  Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana

“It’s not just a fashion show for cool clothes. It’s a moment, it’s history, it’s a relationship, it’s food, it’s Italian, it’s everything,” Dolce enthused of couture in a telephone interview. “Couture is more about style of life. Prêt-à-porter is more fashion.”
While some men order styles directly from the runway, Dolce characterized the Alta Sartoria collections as a “suggestion” to open a conversation about wardrobing them for their unique style of life, or a very special occasion.

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“We speak with our customers. We try to understand what people need,” he said, describing an exchange of sketches, color suggestions and swatches. “It’s a beautiful conversation.…We discover a lot of very different lifestyles.”
For example, two months ago a client asked if the Alta Sartoria ateliers could create a jumpsuit for skiing — something Gianni Agnelli might have worn on the slopes in the Sixties. Dolce said he and Gabbana relished the challenge of a technical couture garment, and managed to source a stretch wool reminiscent of the period.
Dolce recalled that his father was a tailor, and he always envisioned that role far beyond mere outfitter. “It’s organizing dreams for the customer,” he said.
The Alta Sartoria atelier stocks mannequins for all its important clients, which reduces the number of fittings required. Tailors are also dispatched with clothes to places like Singapore, Tokyo, New York or Los Angeles if necessary.
Here, Dolce and Gabbana discussed their adventures in high fashion for men:
WWD: What compelled you to launch Alta Sartoria in 2015?
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana: Alta Moda is a project on which we reflected for many years, until we concluded that closing D&G — our second line — was the necessary condition to embark on this new path. Therefore, in July 2012 we presented the first Alta Moda collection in Taormina and in January 2015, in Milan, the first Alta Sartoria.
History teaches us that man, by nature, has always chosen to mark time, a particular moment, choosing a special outfit. We have seen it with high aristocracy, princes and maharajahs. Similarly, with Alta Sartoria we want to satisfy male hedonism with a proposal that is consistent with the DNA and values of Dolce & Gabbana. With Alta Sartoria, we satisfy men’s desire to feel unique.

WWD: Did Alta Sartoria take off right away?
D.D. and S.G.: Yes, we immediately had an excellent feedback. Some important prêt-à-porter customers approached Alta Sartoria, the husbands of our Alta Moda clients started ordering for themselves and word of mouth was undoubtedly helpful.
A look from Dolce & Gabbana Alta Sartoria collection.  Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana

WWD: How important are the couture shows?
D.D. and S.G.: For us, the Alta Moda and the Alta Sartoria events narrate Italy. They are not just a moment of showcase, but of sharing and exchange. We like to communicate a lifestyle, a feeling and live it with the clients — now friends — who participate in our events and who, after years, love to meet each other. With the Alta Moda events, we speak about Italy, its art, culture and excellence, from artisanship to food, of the places we choose. Each event has its own narrative, which represents the added value of the experience we give life to.
WWD: Has couture shopping become a couple activity?
D.D. and S.G.: Many are couples, but it is interesting to note that many young people are fascinated by the Alta Moda world. Often sons and daughters of our clients ask to participate in our events and we are happy about it.
WWD: How do you account for the growing popularity of couture for men, and how is it different from the made-to-measure suit business of yore?
D.D. and S.G.: We have a critical attitude toward made-to-measure because we think it often leads to a well-made product, but still industrialized. Alta Sartoria is a very different project that is based on the relationship, the dialogue between the client and our team — from the atelier, to the tailor. It is an intimate connection, almost a confession, through which we get to know the client and his world and he learns something new about himself. He is very fascinating.
WWD: What are the most popular garments or categories of couture garment for men?
D.D. and S.G.: Usually men approach Alta Sartoria asking for a traditional suit, maybe characterized by particular details, but still a classic. But when they relax and feel at ease, their personality and hedonism comes out and they really start to appreciate the project and to ask for clothes, or accessories, in line with their passions often linked to the world of sport. So, we find ourselves working on projects that are not really fashion and that represent a challenge, which leads us to a constant technical and creative research.
WWD: Are there any specialty techniques used only for men’s couture, or skills you had to bring into your ateliers?
D.D. and S.G.: Alta Moda and Alta Sartoria are synonymous with experimentation. This has led us, over time, to have to expand our ateliers and to acquire highly specialized employees. With the Alta Moda project, we want to give visibility to the artisan excellence of our country and, in each place where we choose to show, we go in search of a manufacture, of a particular technique to work on.
A watch from Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Gioielleria collection.  Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana

With the Monreale show, for example, we worked on the mosaic technique, weaving different fabrics and materials — leather, brocade and sequins.
For the collection presented at the Ambrosiana Library in Milan, we instead focused on the technique of punto-puttura and piccolo-punto to re-create the emotion of the paintings that we have chosen to reproduce on the garments.
WWD: Do men order couture mostly for special occasions?
D.D. and S.G.: Exclusivity is the concept behind the Alta Sartoria project. We only make unique and non-reproducible garments.
Unlike the woman who approaches Alta Moda for a special and unique occasion, the man tends to want to build a personal wardrobe made of clothes that satisfy and tell about his lifestyle, his dream.
See also:

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https://wwd.com/runway/spring-couture-2020/paris/jean-paul-gaultier/review/

Valentino Spies ‘Great Potential’ for Men Buying Couture

Valentino Spies ‘Great Potential’ for Men Buying Couture

Valentino, which introduced haute couture for men in a big way with its spring 2021 collection, plans to further develop and reinforce this niche business, spying “great potential.”
The Rome-based house described an enthusiastic reception from its male clients, and cited expressions of interest from Europe, America and China.
According to a spokesman for the house, Valentino is — pandemic allowing — planning to set up “exclusive appointments with a couture team in special locations around the world.
“In past seasons, men’s couture looks have been presented in ready-to-wear shows and then sold during private appointments, in the showroom at Place Vendôme, as exclusive couture pieces,” he added.

Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli had explained during a preview last month that his spring couture skewed more toward daywear and items rather than ensembles, which prompted him to include men in the show for the first time, realizing that capes, turtlenecks and Bermuda shorts are genderless garments. Out of 73 exits, 23 were modeled by men.
“There is not a ‘men’s couture’ or a ‘women’s couture.’ It’s just couture,’” Piccioli explained over email, calling his spring effort a “contemporary wardrobe built through pieces that can be worn freely. A trenchcoat is a trenchcoat — the piece itself has its own life and aesthetics, the person who will wear it, a man or a woman, will bring this piece to life.

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Valentino Couture Spring 2021  Courtesy of Valentino

“When I observe new generations, for the most part, I see an incredible strength and assertiveness, they don’t need to specify what they are wearing, they pick up what they like, whether it’s a men’s or a women’s piece,” he explained. “When I first started to work on this ‘Code Temporal’ collection, I had clear in mind what I wanted to see. The essence of couture lays how the couture is done and most of all by who it is done.”
According to Piccioli, the “rituals and the process of the haute couture are an exaltation of the human being — they are timeless. And this non-belonging to time made me think that gender shouldn’t be a limitation, but instead an added value,” he continued. “Inclusivity and equality are not just words, but actions that must be taken. I think that to cross gender borders — it’s a natural evolution of what we do through our job.”
See also:

EXCLUSIVE: Demna Gvasalia Thinks Couture Can Change Fashion

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https://wwd.com/runway/spring-couture-2020/paris/jean-paul-gaultier/review/

Haute Couture for Men Is Flourishing: Here’s Why

Haute Couture for Men Is Flourishing: Here’s Why

Dr. Gabriel Chiu, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills and star of the Netflix reality series “Bling Empire,” once attended a Chanel couture show in Paris with his wife, Christine — and a men’s coat on the runway caught his eye.
“When I asked about it, I was told only the runway sample was available and otherwise there were no plans to make it in another size,” he lamented.
But in 2016, a year after attending his first Dolce & Gabbana Alta Sartoria men’s couture show, Chiu took the plunge and ordered a three-piece suit in ivory Mikado silk with rose-shaped cutouts whose edges were hand-embroidered in the same color.
“Before I realized it had gotten a hold of me. I started getting more couture items, like a one-off watch made by Louis Vuitton’s La Fabrique du temps that is registered in Geneva as The Dr. Chiu,” he related.

Christine Chiu and Dr. Gabriel Chiu, both in Dolce & Gabbana couture.  Courtesy of Christine Chiu and Dr. Gabriel Chiu

Fast-forward to 2021 and haute couture for men is flourishing, with Valentino introducing high-fashion looks for men in its recent spring collection, and Balenciaga poised to introduce couture for men in July when it is slated to return to the Paris calendar after a 53-year absence.
Couture for men also received massive exposure during the recent Super Bowl half-time show when The Weeknd strode out in an outfit realized in Givenchy’s Paris ateliers — its pièce de résistance a sparkly red jacket that took 250 hours to hand-embroider. It is understood Givenchy’s new creative director Matthew Williams fully intends to create high fashions for men once the house rejoins couture week in Paris.

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Why this sudden fascination with extremely expensive, painstakingly made men’s wear?
According to Andrew Groves, professor of fashion design at the University of Westminster, the rise of couture for men reflects “the increasing strength of the ultra-luxury experiential fashion market, which is set to grow exponentially” as technology supersedes human intervention in fashion and other industries.
“The importance of craft or hand skills that cannot be replicated by automation will become increasingly valuable. But more significantly, the intimacy of the relationship between designer and client will also become greatly coveted,” he said, describing something of a return to the carriage-trade of yore.
“For the last 100 years, the most celebrated designers have been generally wealthier than their clients, but we are now returning to a period where the clients will be substantially richer. In effect, the designer’s position is being reversed, returning them to their historic role, as an artisan to the court,” he explained.
Couture houses guard client confidentiality ferociously, and won’t give prices. However, it is understood men’s couture items start at about 20,000 euros for a silk robe and quickly climb into six figures for tailored items.
Jean Paul Gaultier is considered the pioneer in male couture, including looks for men with his very first haute couture show for spring 1997, and in his final runway show in January 2020, which had his muse Tanel Bedrossiantz wearing dramatic coats with a spray of cock feathers — and the rest of the bird — attached to one of his shimmying shoulders.
“Men in search of highest quality and craftsmanship were already buying but without the media’s attention, so Jean Paul Gaultier brought them into the limelight by breaking the clichés of very traditional notions,” according to the house.

Groves noted that Gaultier has always “challenged perceived gender norms within the fashion industry. That he was the first to do this, and that it has taken so long for others to catch up is surprising.”
And catch up they have. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who showed their first Alta Sartoria collection in 2015, have parlayed it into a major business that today includes high jewelry and watches, dubbed Alta Gioielleria and Alta Orologeria. According to the Italian designers, their couture business today is evenly split between women and men.
Nobu Torii in Dolce & Gabbana couture.  Courtesy of Nobu Torii

“Exclusivity is the concept behind the Alta Sartoria project. We only make unique and nonreproducible garments,” the designers said in a joint interview. “Unlike the woman who approaches Alta Moda for a special and unique occasion, the man tends to want to build a personal wardrobe, made of clothes that satisfy and tell about his lifestyle, his dream.”
In a telephone interview, Dolce described couture for men as being more about “style of life,” than fashion, mentioning male clients who have requested wardrobes for golfing, for sailing life, or to match a collection of Ferrari sports cars.
Not that special occasions don’t matter.
According to a spokesman for the Gaultier house, it receives many special orders for groom outfits. “Men also want to be part of this unique experience and get the feeling of wearing something that has been made especially and only for them,” he said. 
Indeed, shopping for couture has become a shared passion for many couples.
“My wife is an obsessed Chanel haute couture client and loves Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda, too. So in a way it was finally my turn to enjoy the process,” said Nobu Torii, an investor based in Honolulu. A longtime client of Dolce & Gabbana ready-to-wear for men, he started buying from the Alto Sartoria collections in 2015, describing them as “another level of perfection” and their lavish couture weekends — comprising runway events, dinners and parties — as pleasing to all senses.
“They have turned their couture shows into events that couples can enjoy together. The shows are over the top, the venues spectacular, the clothes are exquisite. Whether you are single or come as a couple, everyone leaves with a memory that will last forever,” he enthused.
Historically, Savile Row can be considered as the equivalent of couture for men, according to the professor Groves, noting that among Gaultier’s first couture creations for men was a boiler suit reminiscent of the bespoke ones Turnbull & Asser made for Winston Churchill.
Any elite tailor can provide their clients with a wide range of other items, Groves said.
Clients see things differently.
“Men have always ordered custom clothes, and I think it’s great that we now have the chance to enjoy haute couture as well,” said Fredrik Robertsson, a creative director and LGBTQ activist based in Stockholm. “I love extreme, I love creativity and I love exploring masculinity and femininity in my style. So for me, Savile Row has nothing for me. I much prefer the likes of Gaultier, Viktor & Rolf or Iris van Herpen.”
He, too, lauded the experience of couture, from sketches to fittings. “Watching craftsmanship by people who are the best in the world so up close is fascinating,” he said, noting the team from Gaultier recently paid him a visit in Sweden to fit a couture jacket incorporating a corset and cone bra.
Fredrik Robertsson gets an at-home fitting for Jean Paul Gaultier couture.  Ea Czyz / Courtesy of Fredrik Robertsson

“We drink tea, chat, gossip and it’s a special moment that becomes part of the memory of the garment,” he said. “As soon as traveling is a bit easier, I am going to Rome to find a Valentino men’s couture look that works for me.”
For Torii, couture offers men “the fashion element, sex appeal and glamour… It’s for a man who appreciates craftsmanship, enjoys high fashion and loves details that differentiate.”
Dolce said many first-time male couture clients order a suit, but this has nothing to do with made-to-measure, which has an industrial component. “It’s completely another approach,” he said, describing “the best vicuna, the best cashmere and the best wools” employed for a completely hand-made garment with details to each man’s specification.
Consider Torii. For his first purchase from Alto Sartoria, he chose a navy silk suit that had his Japanese family crest custom-printed inside.
“It was my bit of East meets West,” he said, explaining that historically in Japan, clients would order elaborate fabrics and embroideries but they were hidden on the inside layer of the kimono, visible only “when you lift your arm to pay” for something, or when socializing with close friends.
Details from Nobu Torii’s Dolce & Gabbana piece.  Courtesy of Nobu Torii

“This is the ultimate chic: ‘Iki’ in Japanese,” he said.
Groves noted that men’s wear offers some of the most luxurious fabrics imaginable. For example, he said Scabal has produced suiting fabrics using yarns embedded with diamond fragments, or impregnated with the smell of orchids.
Chiu said his first brush with couture shows involved “seeing the new trends and applying them to my work as a plastic surgeon” and then he started to appreciate the detail and craftsmanship, in addition to the artistry of the designers.
“The world of haute couture fashion has always orbited around women, with an occasional men’s piece placed as a satellite,” he said. “And as society has increased acceptance of individuality, more men are willing to express themselves and not be boxed into the same conservative styles. Dolce & Gabbana has proven that there is a couture market for men that is full of potential and relatively untapped, so it was only a matter of time when other houses would take notice and focus on this market. Now, I look forward to seeing the new styles and looks from not just Dolce & Gabbana, but also Louis Vuitton, Dior Homme, Armani, Tom Ford, Givenchy and others.”
See also:

EXCLUSIVE: Demna Gvasalia Thinks Couture Can Change Fashion

Jean Paul Gaultier Couture Spring 2020

Paris Couture Week’s Top Trends: Celebs, Mushrooms and Men

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