Paris Fashion Week: Haute Couture

Paris Fashion Week shifts up into haute couture

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 January, 2015, 12:39pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 January, 2015, 12:39pm


Italian house Versace was the first to step into the prestige whirl of handmade women’s fashions collections for spring-summer 2015 as the haute couture shows kicked off in Paris.

American mother-and-daughter actress duo Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn attended the glitzy event, with models showing off racy soiree outfits in electric blues, reds and whites.

In all, 24 catwalk shows, including ones by Chanel, Christian Dior and Valentino, will take place until Thursday, filling palaces, museums and other historic venues in the French capital with celebrities and the extremely wealthy women who buy the creations, whose price tags run into tens of thousands of dollars.

France is the only country to boast haute couture shows, twice a year, in January and in July. The designation is protected by French law. Houses – French and non-French – that win the label have to show their high-end clothes are entirely made by hand and tailored to each client.

“The Haute Couture label allows a brand to make its name internationally more quickly and gives a lot more visibility,” explained Didier Grumbach, a fashion expert and former president of the French Couture Federation, which organises the shows.

Internationally famed brand Dior was showing on Monday and another, Chanel, will show on Tuesday.

On Friday many eyes will be trained on Jean Paul Gaultier, who late last year announced he was ditching his ready-to-wear collections entirely to concentrate on haute couture and other projects.

The biggest hole in the calendar is Maison Margiela, which has taken on John Galliano three years after the British designer disgraced himself by making drunken anti-Semitic comments in a Paris bar and was dropped by Dior. In a snub to Paris and those who spurned him, Galliano opted this month to show an “artisinale” collection in London – a decision that raised eyebrows and that, if repeated, could cause Margiela to lose its haute couture status.