This past week’s fashion week saw a grandiose return to couture, with Paris, the couture capital du monde, hosting almost twice as many shows as last year.
Schiaparelli, Valentino, and Jean-Paul Gaultier sent out stunning collections playing with vivid colour, and ornate hardware whilst other heavy hitters like Alexandre Vauthier, Fendi, and Viktor & Rolf played with form, proportion, and texture.
Here is our round-up of highlights from fashion’s most revered.
With all things Roman, Fendi displayed its collection at the Palais Brongniart. On the runway, Kim Jones found inspiration in ancient and futuristic Roman temporality as he presented embroidered capes, boned mini dresses and beaded gowns with long, lean lines. In particular, the hand-painted monastic faces and statues applied to luxurious velvet and mink fabrics stood out as the most impressive.
Pierpaolo Piccioli offered an incredibly intimate haute couture show titled “Anatomy of Couture” for his 2022 collection. By casting a wide range of models, Piccioli attempted to reframe the notion of what haute couture is and ought to bee. Body shapes of all sizes as well as ages were featured in the collection, giving a much-needed jolt of body positivity during a week that has been famously exclusionary. Amongst the clothes themselves, one found structured taffeta gowns embellished with bold bows in vibrant colours, suits with surface embellishment galore, and mini dresses with allusions to Roman and Hellenistic draping.
Y/Project’s Glenn Martens 2022 couture collection paid reverence to Jean Paul Gaultier’s brand DNA with ruched corset gowns where the fabric overflows, pink chiffon arched to resembled an arched Valentine heart, and sculptural wrap gowns ripped from Marten’s own celebrated collections, the designer showcased his signature aesthetic.
Viktor & Rolf
Dior opted to set its 2022 couture show at the Musée Rodin against tapestries made by Indian collective Chanakya and Madhvi Parekh, an artist and textile designer with whom creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri regularly collaborates; an effort to return to the luxury of handcraft to “honour human relationships with handmade objects” per the show notes. The collection, in the wake of the pandemic’s induced isolation, stressed, in large part, a return to each other. Incorporating this sentiment, embroideries over organza and tulle and bodysuits or tights replete with hand-stitching lent an organic and artisanal feeling to the collection, whilst double-breasted coats, capes, and cream and gray suiting satisfied the Dior sophistication their couture shows have come to command.
Daniel Roseberry asked his team prior to their Couture collection, “with regards to this Maison, what does surrealism mean when reality itself has been redefined?” The designer answered that question himself by stripping down and paring back for Spring 2022. “I realized that what felt exciting in this moment was something different, something restrained,” he says. “Suddenly, color felt wrong to me. So, did volume. All of the tricks that couture designers (including me) use to communicate grandeur and craftsmanship—big silhouettes, glorious poufs of fabric, huge volume—felt hollow.”
The inspiration instead leaned toward the mythical and divine. Individual body parts set in gold, and eulogized in intricate sculpture felt like worship of the female form, or, of perhaps life itself. “It isn’t for the reviews. It’s because, when it’s done right, when it has something to tell us, it can help us feel the inarticulable. It’s because it still has the power to move us.”
In his second collection for the French house, Pieter Mulier offered up a ready-to-wear runway collection sprinkled with couture pieces for Spring 2022. Feathers adorned the hems of sheer lace gowns and knitted turtleneck dresses in the ready-to-wear portion and ironically the simple black finale look turned out to be couture. Other dresses, meticulously crafted, hugging every single curve of the model’s frame, were fashioned out of belts fused together. Mulier’s task at fusing RTW with couture was an arduous one, but the result? A breathtaking collection of simple surrealist fantasy.
Cody is the Editor in Chief and senior contributor at liminul.
He is a photography aficionado, fashion enthusiast, avid Lana Del Rey fan, and lover of all things aesthetically pleasing.