If any one ready-to-wear fashion week is a sneak peek of what you might want to buy in six months, Haute Couture Fashion Week is all about offering up an inspiring spectacle. Highlighting custom made-to-order designs from a select group of maisons that have passed a rigorous check-list of criteria — including having an atelier that employs more than 15 people, and presenting at least 50 looks twice a year — the bi-annual event sets the tone for the upcoming season. In short? Even if some of the exact looks on the catwalk are too over-the-top to copy, it’s worth paying attention to the trends; they’re sure to influence how people dress in the near future.
And for Spring 2024, there’s certainly been plenty of compelling new ideas to draw from. Over at Chanel, designer Virginie Viard played with unexpected proportions via effortless layering and an amalgam of contrasting fabrics. Then there was Dior, where creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri went for subdued statements by way of sweeping, elegantly draped outerwear and gowns. And Kim Jones countered minimalism with extreme sparkle at Fendi, resulting in a superbly modern line-up of sleek silhouettes with just enough light-catching detail to keep things interesting.
Keep scrolling for more on these stand out collections and other key themes worth noting.
High-Low, How Are You?
While similar to the omnipresent mullet hemlines of 2014 in theory, this look employs larger proportions and more opulent fabrics. At Chanel and Giambattista Valli, the asymmetrical cut took a romantic turn via cascading stretches of tulle; Ronald van der Kemp, meanwhile, went for a sassier vibe via leopard print and bouncy, bustle-like volume around the waist.
Looking At You, Marabou
Feathers are hardly a new addition to the fashion sphere. But used sparingly as a soft, downy trim, the material was a refreshing touch on the ladylike creations of Alexis Mabille, Dior, and Julie De Libran.
Should there be a black tie affair on your calender, luxury houses have just the thing to throw over your dress: roomy, beautifully-cut opera coats. Dior offered the loveliest embroidered short sleeve option that would pair well with both a silk maxi or jeans; Valentino served up a sophisticated cape-like number in a striking pumpkin orange. And Chanel sent a sweet mid-length floral topper down its runway — the ideal choice should you be wearing something on the shorter side underneath.
It’s A Cinch
If there’s one surefire way to cut a striking figure, it’s by slipping on some form of remixed corsetry. This was certainly the case at Viktor & Rolf — who crafted a number of deconstructed gowns around bustier tops with boning — and Jean Paul Gaultier designed this season by Simone Rocha, where the show was packed with shapes that pulled in at the middle and accentuated the cleavage line. And at Maison Margiela, the entire selection seems to revolve around traditional bodice-like fits, including one modeled by actor Gwendoline Christie.
Swish Swish, Bish
There’s regular fringe, and then there’s the head-swiveling crystal strands (seen at Rahul Mishra and Jean Paul Gaultier) and nearly floor length tassels (check out Schiaparelli) that dominated the runways this week. And once you’ve seen the latter, you’ll never settle for a few safe and humble strings again.
Move over, sequins: The most of-the-moment way to show your shine right now is with delicate light-catching accents. Fendi dappled more than a few maxis with glittering crystals; Zuhair Murad played with light-catching gems of different sizes on its pieces; Giambattista Valli covered a sheer, bridal-esque gown with dazzling little precious stones.
Happily Ever After
Were any Disney princess muses this season? It’s not out of the question. There were more than a few gowns in the collection that were fit for a fairy tale heroine. Standouts include: Elie Saab’s floral appliqué confections, Giorgio Armani Privé’s flouncy pastel ballgowns, and a sexy update on Cinderella’s iconic blue dress at Miss Soohee.
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