Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 October 2019

Paris Haute Couture: Dior, Iris Van Herpen & Giambattista Valli – in pictures

With couture fashion week underway in Paris, we look at some of the best shows so far

Couture week is always busy, with every show demanding attention as the very finest that fashion has to offer takes the runway. A true incubator of finesse and technique, it is where new ideas and interpretations are born, and as such, is the twice yearly event that the whole industry waits and watches.

The fall/winter season is no exception, and with a more crowded schedule (in what is undoubtedly heartening news, it seems there are more couture customers than ever), there are many houses to watch.

Here are some highlights from Christian Dior, Iris van Herpen and Giambattista Valli.

Christian Dior

At Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri turned to the work of the writer Bernard Rudofsky for inspiration. A contemporary of Dior himself, Rudofsky wrote a piece in 1947 entitled Are Clothes Modern? – a phrase daubed across the very first look.

Like Dior, Chiuri chose to deliver a collection that was largely black, as if to strip away the frippery and let the audience take in instead at the immaculate cut of the clothes. With a woman now at the helm, Dior has shifted to a more practical, wearable, and (dare I say it) comfortable style of modern dressing, that very much continued through this couture collection - normally the home of impossible wisps of nothingness. Instead of dreamy froth, Chiuri instead delivered a wardrobe of beautiful made,and utterly wearable pieces that actually mirror the lives of the very woman who will eventually wear them.

Giambattista Valli

Giambattista Valli opted for a presentation this season rather than a runway show, but given the wondrous froth of his designs, it makes little difference. While some dresses need to be seen on a moving body to make sense of them, Valli's creations seem instead to be spun from clouds and candyfloss, and so sit happily in the realm of make believe. Acres of tulle in sunshine colours were carved and chopped into shapes more like sculptures than clothing, but as ever with Valli, it is impossible not to want to burst into applause.

Iris Van Herpen

Iris Van Herpen went entirely in her own direction. More cerebral structural engineer than mere maker of clothes, Van Herpen once again explored the fragile relationship between space and the human body. In a collaboration with American kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe, Van Herpen showed her complex and highly technical pieces amid Howe's wind powered art work. With fashion as art, Van Herpen is the undoubted master.

Updated: July 2, 2019 01:48 PM