The first things that come to mind when we hear the word Haute Couture are embellishments, feathers, and ruffles, not to mention bespoke designs that are priced at almost $100,000.

But in the sea of escapist delicate fabrics and intricate artistry during the 2019 Autumn-Winter shows of the Paris Fashion Week, some designers displayed works that contained hints of realism. Many designers have also made it their goal to emphasize the importance of upcycling in their crafts.  

Sustainable elements

Most of the pieces in Dutch designer Ronald van der Kemp’s new collection were crafted using repurposed materials like excess stocks from old collections and surplus from factories. According to Rumpf who is an advocate for sustainable fashion, the idea behind his collection is to inspire the ladies to be conscious and creative by recycling clothes to create a new one instead of buying new ones.

The same idea is behind Viktor and Rolf’s patchwork dresses that were created from vintage clothing. They also showcased a collection of coats that they crafted in collaboration with Dutch designer Claudy Jongstra. These coats were made from the Jongstra’s own sheep.

The Dutch brand Schueller de Waal took their show to the next level by having their models wear upcycled clothes while picking trash in the town hall’s facade.

Chanel’s New Start

Chanel has always been the most popular and most awaited brand when it comes to this kinds of shows, more so now that is under the management of the new director, Virginie Viard. Though their show this season pales in comparison to their previous shows, the two-story library is the perfect tribute to the brand’s previous director, Karl Lagerfeld, and founder Coco Chanel, who both had a penchant for books. The collection, however, proved that the brand is in good hands, and Chanel lovers can rest assured that the brand will remain to have its distinct allure even under new management.

Daniel Roseberry, a Texan designer, also debuted this season and deviated from Schiaparelli’s usual style. For the label’s autumn-winter collection, he created pieces that had oversized silhouettes paired with pensive accessories. 

Technology in Couture

The use of technology is a trend that likewise emerged from this season’s collections. Renowned Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen worked with kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe to create an “Infinity” dress. Herpen said the dress, which was made from aluminum, feathers, and stainless steel, was his way of appreciating the beauty and complexity of our environment.  Herpen also aims to inspire others to create pieces using other resources instead of lace, tulle, and beading which is a trademark in haute couture.

Tony Ward, a Lebanese designer, created a dress made from 3D prints and eco-friendly plastic. According to Ward, the dress was an innovation to prove that the magical touch of couturiers can come up with something environment-friendly but still extravagant.