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Haute Couture goes online - Paris, Day 1

[Image via Dior]

Haute Couture presentations go Digital.

But not just digital. The old catwalk and salon shows of pre-covid allowed for all sorts of flights of fancy, but the new virtual program has created all kinds of different interpretations into how fashion can be presented.

Some presented artistic concepts. Some presented video montages of what might have been. Some presented short films which may or may not have showcased the fashion well. A few (very few) used the old catwalk formula but with their own spin.

Here's a summary of Day 1 of Haute Couture Online.


  • Behind The Scenes

[Image from Dior film]

Many of the ateliers opted for romanticised montages of the work that goes on behind the scenes in the lead-up to an haute couture presentation. Drawings, thimbles, seamstresses (yes mostly women), swatches, models being fitted and so on. Set to evocative music, BTS was a common lead-in to the actual viewing of the couture outfits

  • Short Films

[extract from Iris van Herpen's short film, available on YouTube]

With the exception of Dior's long 'Le Mythe Dior', many designers opted for short artistic films which represented stories, moods or other ideas. For some of them, the film seemed more important than the fashion - it set the scene for the artistic inspiration but left you wondering what the clothes looked like.

  • Nostalgia

[From the Dior Collection]

Despite a lot of modern digital work and structural or sexy techniques, there was a lot of nostalgia creeping through, especially with the bigger fashion houses. Dior's collection is definitely harking back to 1947; Schiaparelli's drawings (by artistic director Daniel Roseberry) reflected a lot of past looks; Ralph and Russo used the 7 modern wonders of the world (which aren't exactly modern) as part of their inspiration. Giambattista Valli suggested nostalgia with his uninhibited use of layers of tulle.

  • Tulle and Feathers, again. Also, high-low hemlines (eg short skirts with long over-trains or high-low silhouettes)

[Giambattista Valli]



  • Christian Dior

"Le Mythe Dior".... So inspired ..... and so tone deaf.

Ignore the complete lack of diversity in the film, and instead understand the original inspiration (1. The doll forms from 1945 which were dressed by designers, displayed at the Louvre and then went on tour to raise money for French war survivors, and 2. the 'Mythe Dior' idea, with mythical nymphs and creatures featured in the film bringing the ideas and inspiration to life).

Then, skip to the actual outfits. Luckily, we can forgive Dior because the nostalgia of covid is making these beautiful designs very lustworthy. A strong throwback to the New Look and some gorgeous fabrics.

  • Ralph and Russo

[Image via Ralph and Russo]

Ralph and Russo took the digital platform to another level by using an avatar called Hauli (Swahili for strength and power) to showcase some of their outfits in front of the 7 modern wonders of the world. The video discussed the inspirations - nature and travel.

The outfits themselves - as expected - lavish, detailed, lots of beading and tulle and sequins. Some daring slashes and skin here and there, but swathes of tulle or other tricks to balance the outfits.

  • Giambattista Valli

A simple but effective presentation which still appeals to the artist. Paris scenery on the side, the outfits as the main showcase.

The most dreamy collection. Layers and layers and layers of tulle. Ruffles, feathers, sequins and bows. A nod to Covid19 via the artistic masks on the faces of some of the models.

  • Schiaparelli

"Collection Imaginaire" - image from video

Schiaparelli didn't actually present a clothing collection. A video of Artistic Designer Daniel Roseberry sitting in Washington Square Park sketching was the main component of the presentation. Their rationale was that these unusual times meant that they couldn't function as usual, and so they presented images of 'what might have been'.

The sketches, however, have been so popular that Schiaparelli have announced that they will now make items for display later this year, which can be made-to-order. The designs are heavily retrospective in inspiration, and a little bit whimsical.

  • Iris van Herpen


A very short film featuring only one model, one dress, a focus on the intricate beaded pattern and using light to convey the diaphanous nature of the outfit.

There were more - but that's a good start. Stay tuned.

To watch all the virtual presentations, a good platform is here --> https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/05/fashion/watch-paris-couture-fashion-video.html

All photographs used in this blog were from --> https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/fall-2020-couture

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