Haute Couture Week’s Biggest Trends Were An All-Out Celebration Of Extravagance
Audacious, inspiring, and surprisingly wearable.
To qualify as an official Haute Couture house, a brand must abide by the strict regulations set by Paris’ Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM); Members must design made-to-order garments in an atelier with at least 15 full-time staff, host more than one fitting, and show a collection of no less than 50 looks in January and July. As a result of the expert craftsmanship and meticulous effort required, avant-garde experimentation is encouraged (for reference: anything Iris Van Herpen), meaning couture creations typically skew outlandish. But, quite surprisingly, the trends from Haute Couture Week Fall/Winter 2022, which showed this past week, felt refreshingly down-to-earth and accessible. Even the more audacious looks — Fendi and Dior’s softly sentimental, ethereal gowns or Balenciaga’s melodramatic sartorial satire on celebrity culture — offer inspiration for your everyday wardrobe.
Perhaps the most notable, wearable aspect of the haute couture collections was the Parisian-led take on Western fashion, with Chanel’s Creative Director Virginie Viard serving as a vanguard of the aesthetic. In truth, the showing from the French luxury fashion house was explicit with its theme: Set in an outdoor stadium at Étrier de Paris equestrian center and with Annie Oakley as one of Viard’s many guiding muses, the runway featured diamond-encrusted bolo ties, sleek riding boots, and dramatic wide-brimmed hats that remained, somehow, minimalistic in spirit. Alexandre Vauthier adopted a similar cool-girl-cowboy approach when crafting its light-reflecting fringe, which served as a nod to the iconic Western trim only with more of a discothèque-ready mood.
Self-referential homages were also incredibly prevalent throughout the showings and offer a profound takeaway to keep top of mind when cultivating your fashion point-of-view: The past is a forever wealth of inspiration and always yours to pull from.
At Schiaparelli, Daniel Roseberry honored the fashion house’s roots in the post-World War One Surrealist art movement with Salvador Dalí-esque trompe l’oeil and grape motif earrings that dripped down the model’s chest to become a chest piece. There was Olivier Rousteing’s guest collection for Jean Paul Gaultier, too, where the Balmain creative director explored the brand’s many signatures with a uniquely sharp, contemporary sensibility. For instance, Gaultier’s iconic Le Male fragrance bottle with its body-shaped tin casing became a sculptural and striped metallic look fitted to the model’s form. Conical bras, an integral house code, and nude-illusion breastplates were heavily sprinkled throughout the collection as well, tapping into Gaultier’s famous ‘90s-era unapologetic sensuality.
Below, you’ll find a comprehensive round-up of the standout trends from Haute Couture week, as well as a few ideas on how to translate them into your everyday wear.
Start practicing your slow-dancing skills — Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2022 invites you to attend its high-fashion prom. Ronald Van Der Kemp and Balenciaga opted for cheesy (but chic!), ‘80s-era kitsch of fluffy asymmetry and crunchy-looking taffeta. In Giambattista Valli’s showing, however, more princess-like ball gowns made of air-whipped tulle adorned with rosettes and bows made an appearance.
We’ll Always Have Paris, Texas
For a welcome refresh on Western style, the couture Fall/Winter 2022 showings introduce a Dallas-meets-Paris aesthetic. Think high-shine fringe that’s an evolution of traditional suede or leather iterations, minimal riding boots a French It-girl might wear when visiting a dude ranch, and refined cowboy-inspired accessories such as wide-brim hats and bolo ties. Dior also participated in the Gallic take on wild-wild-west fashion with its embroidered, bandana-like prints featuring natural flowers, paisley, and geometric shapes.
The surrealist silhouettes found on runways from the likes of Schiaparelli, Iris Van Herpen, and Jean Paul Gaultier were ideal examples of an abstract concept with accessible, easy-to-wear potential. Done literally — à la Roseberry cutting the neckline of a velvet smoking jacket into two mirroring profiles — or with a more figurative drawing of a face, the artistic trend is one to keep in mind come fall and winter.
Expanding upon the unpretentious craftcore iterations of previous seasons, designers in Paris elevated the net fabric trend to a couture level through shimmering embellishments and materials. Both Balenciaga and Elie Saab offered sheer, glittering gowns in a macramé-style design, while Armani Privé offered a sparkling shawl in a crochet-like textile.
Hear ye, hear ye: The haute couture collections from this season signal a Renaissance revival. Ample cosplay inspiration for your next Ren-Faire visit came from Viktor & Rolf’s voluminous collars reminiscent of the crimped ruffs worn during the period and the floor-sweeping gowns adorned with metallic embroidery, guipure braids, and lace from Dior. Zuhair Murad, for one, honored the mythological and spiritual thinking that took shape during the Renaissance era through tarot card iconography and celestial motifs. Tackle the trend yourself via a folksy maxi gown or through garments or jewelry with astrological symbolism.
Picked, Pressed, & Preserved
In a wildly inspired take on flora motifs, Fendi, Rahul Mishra, and Ronald Van Der Kemp portrayed flowers and leaves as if they were freshly picked, flattened into a 2-D form, and then preserved to freeze them in time. The end result feels wonderfully sentimental, calling on the feelings that arise when drying out your wedding bouquet or pressing summer wildflowers into a scrapbook (Dior’s offerings, in particular, resemble buds sandwiched between pages of craft paper).