Paris Haute Couture Week SS21 highlights: Chanel’s wedding party, Kim Jones’s debut collection for Fendi, and more
Paris Haute Couture Week Spring/Summer 2021 has officially come to an end after a magical week, and although it was a virtual experience this season, brands still pulled out all the stops to present their latest awe-inspiring collections. From Kim Jones’s highly anticipated debut at Fendi to Pierpaolo Piccioli’s haute couture-redefining moment, here’s everything you should know:
Highlight: Welcome to Chanel’s garden wedding. For the SS21 Haute Couture collection, Virginie Viard imagined a pre-pandemic celebration that served as the perfect fairytale escape.
Where: Instead of the grand show-set that we’re used to seeing, the Grand Palais was transformed into a boho wedding party in the village, complete with flower arches, string bulbs, and rose petals scattered across the floor.
Who: Ambassadors including Vanesa Paradis and her daughter Lily-Rose Depp, Penelope Cruz, and Marion Cotillard sat on gilded chairs in the courtyard and smiled on as models walked down the Great Staircase before taking a set themselves.
What: With a remix of Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Be My Baby’ playing in the background, models were dressed in looks that were dreamy and romantic. A sense of lightness can be felt throughout the collection, as flouncy numbers—including a silk chiffon dress and tiered maxi tulle skirt—floated down the runway. The finale wedding dress referenced the ‘20s—crafted in ecru satin crepe, embroidered with straws and pearl butterflies, and finished off with a wing collar and shirt cuffs.
Watch the post-show roundtable conversation between the Maison’s ambassadors below:
Highlight: Creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri has always injected fantastical elements into her collections, and this season, she explored the world of Tarot, the divinatory art that Monsieur Dior was fascinated with.
Who: The designer continues her collaboration with Matteo Garrone—the director behind the highly raved Haute Couture AW20 film.
What: Dubbed ‘Le Château du Tarot’, the short film depicts a young woman getting a tarot reading before wandering the halls of the castle. Along the way, she meets the characters from the deck, including Temperance, Justice, Strength, the Devil, and more. All 15 figures were dressed in Renaissance-inspired looks that highlight empire-waist, intricate brocade and embroideries, and corseted bodice.
Highlight: While Kim Jones has dabbled with couture at Dior Men in the past, his Fendi debut marked his first substantial foray into the women’s couture universe. The show was the most highly anticipated collection of the season.
Where: The showspace was transformed into a dreamlike glass maze in the form of the brand’s double-F logo.
Who: What better way to make a debut than with a star-studded cast? Aside from Demi Moore, Naomi Campbell and Cara Delevingne, it was also a family affair for some, as Christy Turlington and nephew James, Kate Moss and daughter Lila, and Silvia Venturini Fendi’s daughters Leonetta and Delfina were included in the model line-up.
What: Virginia Woolf’s time-travelling, binary-blurring novel Orlando sits at the heart of the collection. Inspired by her relationship with fellow writer Vita Sackville-West, Kim Jones sent down an array of romantic yet androgynous looks that were worn by both men and women, such as the half-jacket half-evening gown hybrids, and regally tailored cape pantsuits. There were also ensembles that are fit for a queen—Bella Hadid’s sheer halter-neck gown that swayed with every move; Kate Moss’s Bridgerton-esque empire-line dress; and Naomi Campbell’s marble-print gown with a dramatic cape.
Highlight: After taking a hiatus last season, the brand is back with a collection that left no details spared.
Where: The show was filmed at the brand’s Milanese atelier, Palazzo Orsini, for the first time.
What: The search for beauty and glamour never stops, and that’s evident in Giorgio Armani’s Spring/Summer 2021 Haute Couture collection. The opening looks featured sharply tailored suits that are designed to “skim the body”, before a slew of tulle numbers and crystal-encrusted separates took over, tuning up the ethereal feel. The dramatic gowns towards the end will undoubtedly be red-carpet favourites.
Highlight: Minimalism and couture don’t always go hand-in-hand, but this season, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli redefined the latter’s definition with everyday looks that were masterfully created for the modern women (and men).
Where: The show was shot at the Galleria Colonna in Rome sans audience.
Who: The brand partnered up with British artist and musician Robert Del Naja on an audio-visual artwork, titled Code Temporal.
What: Unlike AW20’s larger-than-life collection, this season, the brand is all about resetting and reprogramming one’s wardrobe. Described as “vibrant simplicity”, closet essentials including soft knits, Bermuda shorts, and coats can be spotted throughout, amped up with fantastical elements from exaggerated A-line silhouettes to opulent embellishment. Placing an emphasis on long and lean lines, models walked in towering platform heels that took the looks to new heights.
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