Paris Haute Couture Week will always feel magical – something you know for sure when even a pandemic can’t dull its sparkle. From Dior to Chanel and Alexis Mabille, check out all the highlights of Paris Haute Couture Week Spring/Summer 2021 below.
Cover photo: Courtesy of Chanel
Paris Haute Couture Week
Paris Haute Couture Week has kicked off with some physical shows, all held behind closed doors. Only a lucky few were part of Chanel’s wedding0like setting at Le Grand Palais, while no-one was allowed at Valentino’s spectacle. Let’s round up the highlights of Paris Haute Couture Week Spring/Summer 2021.
Check out the full schedule of all fashion weeks.
Area’s Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk know how to address the rising group of people who like to ‘dress out loud’, as Vogue Runway put it perfectly into words. Operating on a high level of crafts, the New York-based brand recently restructured their collections. The designer duo now creates ready-to-wear and one-offs, together with made-to-measure. Their debut couture collection consisted of fourteen pieces, shown by Yasmin Wijnaldum and Precious Lee. Their choice of models demonstrates a new wave in the world of couture; one in which inclusiveness is real. Even Chanel seemed to have waken up, with Jill Kortleve having a prominent role in the fashion house’s couture video.
Area’s collection was everything but ordinary. It showed extravagant dresses, over-the-top crystal-embellished bows and even clogs – all in a couture way. While it might not be couture as you’re used to, Area is definitely the fresh air Paris Haute Couture Week needed.
Inspired by the daughter of Eros and Psyche, Alexis Mabille’s Spring/Summer couture collection was an “amorous gave for divine women“, as the designer explained. Daughter Voluptas was renowned for her divine beauty. Mabille translated this beauty into more than divine gowns in which fluidity, sensuality and femininity played a major role.
For the CHANEL Spring-Summer 2021 Haute Couture show, Virginie Viard called upon photographer, filmmaker and graphic designer Anton Corbijn to stage the silhouettes of the collection in a series of “family portraits”, brought together in a film and a photo album with a camellia on the cover, also painted by the Dutch artist.
And as a true tradition, Chanel showed its look at Le Grand Palais in Paris. “I knew we couldn’t organise a big show, that we would have to invent something else, so I came up with the idea of a small cortege that would come down the stairs of the Grand Palais and pass beneath arches of flowers. Like a family celebration, a wedding…” says Virginie Viard setting the tone for the Spring/Summer 2021 Haute Couture collection.
“I love big family reunions, when the generations all come together. It’s so warm. There’s this spirit at Chanel today. Because Chanel is also like a family,” Viard explained later. Everything falls into place when you watch the full video.
Recommended: Best of Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2021
The Italian Matteo Garrone created a spectaculair and romantic film to present Dior’s Spring/Summer couture collection. The looks “reflect the esoteric origins and meanings of the cards in the tarot deck, from a dress inset with guipure tarot medallions to the mysterious smoky gauze gown glittering with crystals and the light femininity of a bodice adorned with an airy floral frieze,” the fashion house explained on Instagram. The choice for this theme was based on Maria Grazia Chiuri’s love for the cards, combined with Christian Dior’s love for divinatory arts.
Recommended: Discover our favorite Dior Spring/Summer 2021 looks
Iris van Herpen
As always, Iris van Herpen found her inspiration in nature, while creating it in the technical world. The starting point for her Spring/Summer 2021 collection was the book Entangled Life – a story about how fungi survives life on earth. Van Herpen translated the book quite literally into her designs; there were mushroom-like silhouettes and fungi-ish patterns. On top of this, a large part of the materials came from upcycled plastic, gathered by Parley for the Oceans, making the collection a sustainable spin on couture.
Viktor & Rolf
“Traditionally ‘beautiful’ couture references are put into a raw, young context. Haute Couture meets underground party. The mood is irreverent and almost casual but always elegant: an antidote to doom scrolling,” Viktor and Rolf explained about their Spring/Summer 2021 couture collection. It indeed felt like a rave, an underground party and made us long for times in the past – and hopefully those in the future.
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Pierpaolo Piccioli knows how to create magic, this time by paying hommage to the values of haute couture.”They celebrate the human: the mind that conceives and the hand that creates and gives value,” the creative director explained about his Spring/Summer couture collection. It resulted in striking shapes and materials, lots of sequins and bright colors.