It used to be that Paris Couture Week (and the tightly gate-kept schedule) was reserved for the Chanels and Diors of the world. But now all sorts of brands are crashing the party, even if they're not on the official calendar, as this season once again showed.
Related | Highlights From the Men's Paris Shows
Ready-to-wear brands Patou and Paco Rabanne unofficially kicked off the Fall 2022 Haute Couture shows last week, as did Alaïa, though that brand has long showed this way — a tradition started by its late founder Azzedine. And in the middle of the Paris shows was Vetements, who's pretty much shown whenever, wherever and however they want to the past few years.
The action wasn't just limited to Paris, either. After the final day, clients, press and VIPs flocked to Rome for Valentino's showcase on the grand Spanish Steps. Then everyone migrated to Sicily for Dolce & Gabbana's four-day extravaganza for its Alta Moda and Alta Sartoria festivities. (As both brands showed, couture menswear is still a big deal.)
It wouldn't been Fashion Week without a little bit of mess, and this season did not lack in that department thanks to some drama between Dior and Valentino, as well as some social media chatter around the Jean Paul Gaultier show.
Anyway, as the fashion world takes a breather until the next set of shows in September (the Euro brands love to disappear in August), let's take a look at what got people buzzing at the couture shows last week, shall we?
Dior Is Beefing With Valentino
I love mess, so this morning's WWD story about Dior and Valentino was a fantastic way to start a new week, personally.
Basically, Dior sent a letter to Valentino (signed by the retail manager of Christian Dior Italia) after the latter's couture show in Rome and is seeking compensation of 100,000 euros for the disruption caused to Dior's store, which they allege customers could not access due to Valentino's show, which took place nearby.
WWD reports that if the amount is not paid by Valentino in two weeks, Dior will “adopt all the necessary measures to protect its rights" aka take legal action. Valentino has yet to respond to the claims, likely because they're still glowing from the show's rave reviews and Anne Hathaway looking like a brunette Barbie on the Spanish Steps. Give them some time!
Update 7/12/22: Dior is reportedly retracting its demands! According to WWD, Dior is asking Valentino to disregard their demands for financial compensation of 100,000 euros, citing “cordial relations” between the two luxury houses and “mutual respect.”
Safety Pin-Gate at Jean Paul Gaultier
\u201cmy mouth dropped. like, you couldn\u2019t tell from the live feed or the Vogue Runway images from that the pieces were safety pinned. and he said it was visible in the third row. wow \ud83e\udd74\u201d— \ud83e\udd82\u2728\u2600\ufe0f (@\ud83e\udd82\u2728\u2600\ufe0f) 1657226149
A TikTok from ShowStudio went viral for exposing a number of looks at the Jean Paul Gaultier show which were held together with safety pins — on shoulder, behind dresses, on the bust — which they apparently could see from the third row, even though haute couture is supposed to be the height of dressmaking.
The user goes on to point out how the situation is a result of favoring marketing and buzz over craft (JPG hires guest designers each season, this time it was Balmain's Olivier Rousteing) with the new designers just re-hashing old ideas and not having pre-existing relationships with the petit mains and ateliers.
Vetements Recreates Famous Paris Hilton Meme
Courtesy of Vetements
It's been over two years since Vetements showed on the runway — remember the celebrity doppelgängers? Since then, the brand's been pivoting to lookbooks and introduced a new line called VTMNTS, which recently showed logo jockstraps and crop tops during Paris Men's Week.
Now, for Couture Week, Vetements made its IRL return under co-founder Guram Gvasalia, who said this was his "coming out" as sole creative director after working behind the scenes as its CEO (his brother Demna remains uninvolved and is still at Balenciaga).
Those ironic slogan tees seem to be doing well for Vetements, as this latest collection continued down that path with another set of cheeky t-shirts with phrases like like "I'm Not Doing Shit Today" and "Just Be Jealous." They also referenced a famous Paris Hilton meme with a shirt that said "Stop Being Rich," a nod to a fake photo of Paris "wearing" a "Stop Being Poor" shirt from 2005.
North West's Couture Week Breakout Moment
Photo via Getty
The first time we saw North West at a fashion show, she was crying in Kim's lap next to Anna Wintour and Beyoncé at her dad's Yeezy presentation. Now, the 9-year-old seems to be fully embracing the Fashion Week circuit.
There she was with mom Kim all over Paris in her big sunglasses and several street style getups, including a look she pulled from Kanye's archives. While she has several big shows under her belt, including Louis Vuitton's Virgil Abloh tribute in Miami last December, this is arguably her first big Fashion Week moment as a whole.
The future style star wore Balenciaga almost exclusively, including for the show her mom walked in (it seems she's partial to the Balenciaga x Crocs platfoms, which she had on for nearly the entire week). The only exception was for the Jean Paul Gaultier show, where she sat front row wearing a pinstripe vest, skirt and necktie situation. Her matching moment with Kim appeared to reference a Madonna-JPG moment from 1992.
Dolce & Gabbana's Celeb-Packed Weekend
Alta Moda, Dolce & Gabbana's made-to-measure line that sits at the highest (and most expensive) end of the spectrum, celebrated their 10-year anniversary with a four-day extravaganza in Sicily. It was another lavish display of festivities and opulence, where clients and celebrities collided to close out Couture Week.
Mariah Carey was there, a rare sighting indeed considering she's not exactly the biggest Fashion Week fixture these days, but still not too surprising — she recently wore the brand for her BET Awards performance. There she was in her custom dress resembling Sicilian tiles (she also wore an evening robe for Night 2), mingling with fellow guests (and D&G regulars) Sharon Stone, Helen Mirren, Drew Barrymore and Kris Jenner.
Interestingly, Kris was the only member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan there, even though the brand hosted Kourtney's entire wedding festivities in Portofino a few weeks earlier. Other celebs spotted were Ciara and Russell Wilson, Lupita Nyong'o, Heidi Klum, Emma Roberts, Anitta and Lucy Hale.
The Balenciaga Speaker Bag
Courtesy of Balenciaga
While most of the chatter surrounding Balenciaga's show revolved around celeb cameos on the runway (Nicole Kidman, Dua Lipa etc.), videos of a speaker-handbag hybrid, a collab between the French house and Bang & Olufsen, also went viral Twitter the day of the show (the soundtrack was played through these speaker bags, which were placed throughout the venue).
The bluetooth-enabled device has controls under the top handle and a side compartment for holding your stuff in. According to the brand, only 20 editions of this bag were made (it also comes in silver) and it sold exclusively in the new Balenciaga Couture store on Avenue George V.
The bag (priced at 8,500 euros) is constructed from a block of solid aluminum before being pearl-blasted, anodized and hand-polished at Bang & Olufsen's Danish factory over a period of several days to create that satin finish. It's part of Balenciaga's "Objects" range, which includes 350 euro candles and couture figurines, all available at the Couture store.
Some Very Surreal Shoes
It was a huge week for crazy, over-the-top heel shapes. At Alaïa, Pieter Mulier showed towering Mary Janes with heels in the form of gold walking legs (and buttocks). It's based off a shoe that was originally designed by Azzedine and Raymond Massaro in 1991.
shoes iris van herpen couture fall 2022 pic.twitter.com/sYbnYml5wA— jøhnzinhu (@halluciting) July 6, 2022
The heel-less shoes at Iris Van Herpen was also sick. Note how the platform sole is turned upwards slightly at an angle. The exaggerated wing shapes sort of recall Prada's cult flame sandals from 2012.
Photo via Getty
But the shoes that had most fashion fans buzzing were the ones Olivier Rousteing designed for Jean Paul Gaultier. He went crazy with the JPG fragrance references and literally turned the bottle shapes into heels. The tin can shoes were also a nod to another popular perfume shape.
Olivier Rousteing referencing Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Eau de Toilette for the upcoming couture collection! pic.twitter.com/xX6jrw1ZwC— ideservecouture (@ideservecouture) July 3, 2022
Schiaparelli's Double Act
Not only did Schiaparelli open Couture Week on Monday, but the brand is also the subject of an entire exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, which opened to the public two days later (on view until January 22, 2023).
It's a retrospective about the brand's founder Elsa and its history with surreal artists, but there's also some portions dedicated to its current creative director Daniel Roseberry, who basically put the brand on the map again thanks to his interpretation of surreal motifs and celebrity placements.
The obvious things that stood out from his latest collection were the Christian Lacroix-inspired matador hats designed by Stephen Jones, plus a very dramatic headpiece made of ostrich feathers that at first glance resemble wheat fields.