The usual pomp and circumstance of this season's Couture week was truncated at best this season. The usual show-goers that crowd the Jardin des Tuileries and Grand Palais this time of year are instead watching fashion unfold from the comfort of their own homes. But while the methods for presenting the latest collections may be unprecedented, the best of the Fall 2020 Haute Couture collections still managed to translate the splendor and emotion through the screen. At a time when daily routines are disrupted and life may not feel like it will ever go back to normal, couture isn't meant to feel frivolous, but instead to offer an escape.
To successfully execute a collection this season took ingenuity and a willingness to think outside of the box. Dior miniaturized its designs, Schiaparelli skipped the production process all together, and Balmain staged a socially distanced show down the Seine. Each beloved fashion house found a way to connect with the customer that was unique to its own DNA. With all this reimagining, will Haute Couture customers — those who look to spend thousands of dollars on custom pieces — still commit to purchasing designs they haven't had the chance to touch or see IRL? The coming months will reveal the health of the very top-end of a tumultuous industry. Until then, stream the escapist, elegant video creations from your couch, dressed in your very best sweatpants.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Balmain
Balmain's Olivier Rousteing knows the power of social media, so it shouldn't be surprising that the Creative Director staged his latest collection with a live stream on TikTok. Models sailed down the Seine in Paris in a mix of beaded and bowed gowns — new designs mixed with pieces pulled from the archives.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Schiaparelli
Rather than produce the latest collection, Schiarapelli's Daniel Roseberry took a simpler route — instead sharing a collection of his sketches, an imagined collection that will be made to order once the means of production are once again available. For now, the brand's signature surrealist details may simply be on paper.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Viktor & Rolf
Victor & Rolf's playful collections have a habit of garnering media attention. (Remember the voluminous neon gowns emblazoned with phrases like "I Am My Own Muse" from Spring 2019?) This season, the collection was one that embraced the current moment. From cloud motifed slip styles, to a luxe take on a robe, it's a collection that acknowledges the current reality of those watching from home.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Ronald van der Kamp
Couture is so often about all-out decadence, but designer Ronald van der Kamp looked to fuse exquisite design with a more sustainable frame, upcycling materials and designs from previous seasons to create the latest. A series of eight videos encapsulate the essence of the collection, each which add to the idea that couture isn't just about fabric, it's a multidisciplinary art form.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Chanel
This season, creative director Virginie Viard turned to her mentor Karl Lagerfeld as her source of inspiration. Models Adut Akech and Rianne Van Rompaey star in the video and photo shoot showcasing the playful, textured collection.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Dior
Resurrecting the Théâtre de la Mode, a traveling minIature-sized presentation of designs that rose to popularity in 1945, Dior's Haute Couture collection was presented in miniature size. The re-sizing connects back to Maria Grazia Chiuri's inspiration for the season — a sense of surrealism embodied by the clothing.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Giambattista Valli
This season Valli enlisted model Joan Smalls to pose solo in the 18 couture pieces created for the collection. Which stayed true to the label's high-volume designs complete with silk and taffeta confections in red, white, and pink. One style detail fit for the Covid era: ruffled head gear that doubles as a mask.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Azzaro
For his first season at the helm, Olivier Theyskens chose to present the collection in video format in the form of a performance by Sylvie Kreusch. Theyskens dove into the brands archive, reimagining details like the signature three-ring motif considered an Azzaro signature. Though its a notably odd way to kick off a new position heading up a storied design house, Theyskens conveys the energy and splendor to come.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Alexandre Vauthier
Shot in New York City by Inez and Vinoodh and in Paris by Karim Sadli, Alexandre Vautheir's latest collection captured a more wearable side of couture. Feathered and ruffled gowns were presented alongside sharp suiting and even a relaxed trench silhouette. Its a modern take on '80s-era glamour and a welcome infusion of fun.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Iris van Herpen
Transmotion is the theme of this season's creation by Iris van Herpen, whose otherworldly designs often seem to challenge the laws of physics, combining the natural and that which feels ultimately unnatural. In collaboration with Carice van Houten, this season's presentation was a film that embraced the ideas of growth and change.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Maison Margiela
For the latest collection, John Galliano tapped Nick Knight to create a film as a way to showcase the clothing. The collection employed the idea of recycling, scouring vintage stores to create anew a series of ensembles inspired by 1980's London and the new romantics.
Haute Couture Fall 2020: Valentino
Usually a show awash with bold colors, this season Valentino opted for a collection of white and silver gowns that by no optical illusion measured meters in height. In response to the current pandemic, Pierpaolo Piccoli created a video in collaboration with Nick Knight to showcase the etherial, otherworldly designs.