Haute Couture Week SS24: The best of Giorgio Armani, Valentino, and more

True fashion symbols


By Benedict Unang

Featured images courtesy of Valentino
Haute Couture Week SS24: The best of Giorgio Armani, Valentino, and more

Straight from the excitement of Men’s Fashion Week, Haute Couture Week Spring/Summer 2024 seized the limelight in the French capital. The thrilling extravaganza left fashion enthusiasts spellbound as Simone Rocha tastefully reconstructed Jean Paul Gaultier, Dior reimagined its iconic silhouettes, and Fendi paid a poignant tribute to Karl Lagerfeld’s enduring legacy. As we look back on this four-day affair, here are five collections that embody the innovation and creativity synonymous with haute couture.  




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Creative director: Maria Grazia Chiuri

Venue: Musée Rodin

Highlights of the collection: ‘Aura’ is the magic word this season and Chiuri brilliantly translates the identity of the classic trench coat into a series of unexpected iterations. Whether it’s the off-shoulder jumpsuit or halterneck gown, each garment is meticulously designed to blend in with the feminine form. Amid Ducrot’s installation, the runway showcased two-piece ensembles adorned with floral motifs, intricately crafted with silver threads, glass beads and delicate ribbed iridescent ribbons. A fascinating manipulation of fabric is evident as a white draped dress is gathered into a basketweave panel at the front, and a pleated full skirt is elegantly paired with a refreshed Dior Bar Jacket. 

Key pieces from the line: The focal point lies in the rebirth of the iconic La Cigale dress, now presented in a refined neutral colour palette. On the runway, these updated versions catch the eye with contemporary lines, pronounced cut-outs and artistic use of the Moiré technique, imparting a fabric surface that shimmers like rippling water. On another note, black long dresses have been enhanced with texture and embellishment, while polka-dot pieces echo the Maison’s historical significance. 




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Creative director: Pierpaolo Piccioli 

Venue: Place Vendôme 

Highlights of the collection: ‘Le Salon’ celebrates the spirit of creation, unveiling a kaleidoscope of colours right from the first ensemble. Picture a burgundy leather jacket paired with a powder pink silk chiffon blouse, intricately embroidered with fringes and accompanied by fuchsia wool and silk trousers. As the show progresses, the crimson hue effortlessly draws attention, adorning both gabardine trousers and pleated silk chiffon strapless overalls. At the very end, the models appear decked out in black tulle dresses, amplified by the luxurious beauty of Chantilly lace. 

Key pieces from the line: Several pieces resonate with the recent menswear collection, sharing a cohesive sky blue colour palette, as exhibited in the velvet camisole, crepe coat and taffeta skirt. The allure of the collection deepens when textiles and techniques blend to create the illusion of exotic skins, fur and feathers. This is evident in pieces like the forest green trench coat and the black caftan dress covered with feather embroidery. What also adds a personal touch to the collection is the thoughtful use of accessories like metallic belts, evening gloves and bold earrings. 




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Creative director: Kim Jones 

Venue: Palais Brongniart 

Highlights of the collection: In a nod to Lagerfeld’s visionary outlook, the runway showcased the new Scatola silhouette embodied in the form of column dresses, expertly fashioned from silk gazar. The models walked down the catwalk in rib-knit dresses constructed from traditionally masculine tailoring fabrics like super kid mohair, each adorned with knotted ‘Shibari’ harnesses. Along with that, the assortment exuded a primal allure through the use of crocodile leather, seen on a cropped jacket and sheath dresses.

Key pieces from the line: Beyond its futuristic theme, the lineup maintains a human touch with detailed embroideries occupying shift dresses. These gowns introduce a fresh form of feather-like, all-over fringe, resembling a unique kind of pelt. Adding sophistication to the ensemble is the ‘Singular Vision’ fine eyewear crafted from 18k white gold and white diamonds. Subsequently, the idea of precious practicality is brought to life in an array of bespoke Baguette bags, including those with mink-lined details and fringed embroideries. Not to be overlooked are the Fendi Gem Baguette and Mini Baguette bags.


Giorgio Armani Privé


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Creative director: Giorgio Armani 

Venue: Palais de Tokyo 

Highlights of the collection: Armani’s masterpieces are drenched in a stunning palette of aqueous hues—pale pinks, jade green, soft blues, gold flashes, midnight and royal blues. The one-shoulder dresses, in particular, embody a seamless melding of lace and delicate embroidery. The juxtaposition gets more obvious when translucent lace tops meet voluminous, asymmetrical pleated bottoms, emulating the feminine motions of their wearers. A couple of evening gowns radiate glamour with intriguing colour gradients and palm tree motifs on them.

Key pieces from the line: Enticing pairs of airy short jackets and silky tapered trousers dominated the collection, heightened by the addition of statement accessories such as chunky necklaces and bracelets. Meanwhile, a selection of tops donning sweetheart necklines is elegantly matched with sheer organza skirts embellished with nature-inspired motifs. Similarly, the tiered ruffle maxi dress emerges as one of the most striking designs, bringing an extra layer of femininity to the divine series. 


Jean Paul Gaultier


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Creative director: Simone Rocha 

Venue: 325 Rue Saint-Martin

Highlights of the collection: Rocha takes on the role of guest couturier for Jean Paul Gaultier this season and immediately reveals Peach Fuzz looks on the runway. Each outfit is tailored to mirror her individual style while staying true to the unmistakable Gaultier aesthetic. Backless gowns or underwear-as-outerwear styles, for instance, are softened with the addition of ribbons, pearls, ruffles, and lace. There are also generously proportioned garments throughout the collection, which include a billowing ball gown and a coat dress with a trumpet cut. 

Key pieces from the line: The red ball gown, boasting contemporary conical bras is hard to miss, as is the décolleté gown in rouse-poudré silk satin that stands out with its exposed corset. In another instance, the sailor hat serves as a charming homage to the House, especially when coupled with a 3D-like floral top and loose-fitting trousers. The absolute highlight is the final ensemble—an extraordinary couture bridal look featuring a sheer, strapless lace gown embellished with a bubble helm, elegantly complemented by a floor-length veil.




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