The Top 7 Shows at Paris Couture Week SS20
Jaw-dropping collections from Iris van Herpen, Givenchy, Maison Margiela and more.
A pure fashion fantasy, Paris Couture Week Spring/Summer 2020 saw jaw-dropping collections that not only reflect the craftsmanship of the ateliers, but also tell fascinating tales of the past and the future. From Dior‘s goddess-themed runway — a tribute to artist Judy Chicago‘s proposition, “What If Women Ruled the World?” — to Maison Margiela‘s rebellious creations cut and sewn with reclaimed fabrics, we’re highlighting the top shows of the season below.
To see more from the biannual event, take a look at all the stunning beauty looks and the stylish front row style at the Haute Couture shows.
Titled “Sensory Seas,” Iris van Herpen’s new collection dives deep into the human central nervous system and explores the shapes of the Hydrozoa, a class of delicate, deep-sea organisms. Their shared branching forms served as inspiration for the Dutch designer, who employed techniques like 3D-printing and laser cutting to construct dresses that bounce, move and flow like marine creatures. Contrasting with the ethereal gowns of layered lace and silk-organza in oceanic hues are the sculptural footwear, which comes in the form of open toe sandals sitting atop hollow platforms.
At Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller sent models down the catwalk in exaggerated ruffle dresses and belted pantsuits in a gamut of lilac, bright orange, baby blue and ombré yellow resembling pansies and irises in a summer garden. In lieu of the latex leggings from her Spring/Summer 2019 range, the new collection features accessories like oversized tassel earrings and stilettos enveloped in embellished, sheer tights. Kaia Gerber, who’s the show’s finale bride, walked down the aisle in a larger-than-life umbrella hat, with intricately cut white lace flowers cascading down her back.
For the brand’s SS20 Artisanal co-ed show, Maison Margiela Creative Director John Galliano redefined luxury by deconstructing bourgeois classics. Suit jackets appear as though they have yet to be sewn together, while velvet dresses are punched with holes throughout. Addressing the urgent need for more sustainable ways to produce clothing, the majority of the fabrics utilized in the collection are reclaimed.
For some — especially the sneakerheads among the fashion crowd — a highlight of the show was the surprise Margiela x Reebok collaboration. Designed with elements of both the iconic split-toe Tabi and the sportswear brand’s Instapump Fury sneaker, the hybrid shoe is likely going to be a sought-after footwear release.
“Individuality as a unifying quality, a trait that brings all of humanity together,” reads the show notes of Valentino’s SS20 show. Besides red carpet-ready gowns coming in an array of vibrant shades — like the pink, feathery number modeled by Pierpaolo Piccioli‘s go-to model, Adut Akech — the collection features a lineup of separates fit for a style risk-taker. From a majestic cape covered in a gold fish print to long, dangly earrings that accent tops with hits of colors and interesting shapes, the show was a lesson in statement dressing.
For his sophomore collection for the couture house, Daniel Roseberry was inspired by the personal style of none other than the brand’s creator, Elsa Schiaparelli. Taking cues from the duality of her pragmatic work outfit and her Surrealist-inclined party garb, the collection is equal parts playful and practical. Voluminous suit looks are punctuated with elaborate jewelry, while fabrics of evening dresses gather around the neck and head to form dreamy, cloud-like structures.
Staged in a set that mimics the abbey orphanage in Aubazine, France, where the young Gabrielle Chanel used to live in, Chanel’s SS20 Couture show was a coming-of-age narrative about the transformation of a schoolgirl becoming a governess. Her second couture collection since the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, Virginie Viard dressed models in peter pan collar frocks and innocent ankle socks styled with loafers. As the show progressed, so did the style of the silhouettes, with the collection’s unifying black and white color palette finding home on a range of tiered skirts, featherweight dresses and sophisticated long coats.
Continuing her exploration of the complex relationships between feminism and femininity, Maria Grazia Chiuri made “What if Women Ruled the World?” — a question posed by American artist Judy Chicago — the central theme of Dior’s SS20 Couture collection. Presented inside a monumental installation created by Chicago, aptly dubbed The Female Divine, the show saw a succession of goddess-like looks ranging from gold lamé gowns and Roman dresses. Crafted to perfection, the finale look featured a sequined full moon rising over a glistening sea of deep blue fringes.
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