Although many fashion houses still presented their collections using digital content, a similar number of designers opted for in-person shows with models, buyers, VIPs and packed front rows, staging them in sumptuous locations such as the Rodin Museum for Dior, the Italian Embassy for Giorgio Armani and the Palais Galliera for Chanel.
There was a clear desire to return to the rhythms of pre-pandemic life, based on traditional dynamics and a longing to resume our lives with more commitment, joy and serenity.
As always, the Haute Couture Week (Autumn-Winter 21/22) was opened by Schiaparelli, with a collection that stands apart from the others in that it is more contemporary and less linked to the founder’s heritage, including references to Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix, among others.
What remains unchanged, however, is the tradition of the wedding dress as the climax, made with 70 metres of taffeta.
After two digital fashion films, making a return to the Christian Dior catwalk were the true stars of fashion: fabrics, embroidery and fine workmanship. And the setting of the fashion show is proof of this: a hand-embroidered tapestry of dozens of metres, made by the artist Eva Jospin, patterned on the Sala dei Ricami in Palazzo Colonna in Rome. Maria Grazia Chiuri took her inspiration from Claire Hunter’s book ‘The Threads of Life’ for a collection that moves from the cashmere yarns of tweeds and mesh to the subtle weaves of evening dresses, where dense tulle pleats encase the figure.
From the embroidered walls we moved on to the concrete walls of the Niemeyer space where Giambattista Valli shot his collection. Divided between night and day, it has a more mysterious side with black capes and cloaks, and a brighter, lighter side with tulle dresses adorned with feathers and sequins in decidedly brighter shades.
There is also no shortage of colour in the ‘Shine’ collection from Armani Privé: purples, greens and pinks are the palettes used in the tulle and chiffon dresses, along with transparencies, bright fabrics and glitter: a glittering response to the darkness of this last period.
And according to Chanel designer Virginie Viard, post-pandemic clothes must also meet the needs of women who want to feel special again. We see licence, then, for the use of feathers on tweed outfits, georgette crepe flounces, embroidered macramé and removable lace skirts to uncover the legs. A revival of Coco Chanel’s 1920s and 30s look sets the mood of the collection, which ends with a wedding dress that was completely unadorned yet compellingly beautiful in its simplicity.
Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga’s designer, has also been influenced by the stylistic legacy of fashion genius Cristóbal in the art of sculpting the figure, but does so using her own detailed cutting-edge design, maintaining a dialogue between past and future, bringing the Maison (53 years after the closure of the atelier in 1968) back into the Couture calendar.
Article written by @elisanascimbene.