The return of classic Haute Couture

María Luísa Funes

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In this new era, in which the local cultural heritage is finally valued, high fashion has taken notice. Seeing that message t-shirts and military boots do not give more of themselves or inspire the elites, the great sewing houses have returned to their historical roots, putting their eyes on the work of the founders of each maison.

Representative look of the return of the Balenciaga house to its roots
Representative look of the return of the Balenciaga house to its roots

With all rebirth brands dedicated to recreating pop culture and streetwear from the New York depths, industry executives have ordered their creative heads to turn their efforts into Haute couture. Quite a success. If someone thought that haute couture was going to disappear in the era of massification and global culture provided by the internet, they would be confused. It is now, more than ever, when the public, the press and professionals in the sector demand more creativity, more sophistication and a return to social life after these almost 18 months of isolation due to the pandemic.

Balenciaga, from the hand of Demna Gvasalia, has returned to its origins after several years of surreal and bizarre collections that -in effect- caused a stir for the ridiculous several seasons. But that was in the ‘ready-to-wear’. Until now, Gvasalia had not been inclined to touch Haute Couture, a field that – with his training as an economist – he does not master. This time Gvasalia has launched into Haute Couture, pushed by Pinault, claiming that he not only knows how to make T-shirts and sweatshirts. “Haute Couture is the coolest thing in current fashion,” he rightly stated, also taking up the hackneyed mantra «It is better to buy a good and unique piece than 20 different shirts per season. And it is also more ecological. Gvasalia must have been the last to know.

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The elegant models presented by Demna Gvasalia
The elegant models presented by Demna Gvasalia

Demna Gvasalia has launched to replicate the fabulous lines devised by the master Balenciaga, endowing them with more exaggerated volumes and maximalist accessories. The hats take on even more dimension, the shoulders are detached from the arms and the coats are inflated. But, taking into account the look of this Georgian, creator of the irreverent brand Clothing, the result is a somewhat surreal but very correct tribute to the master of Guetaria, who last walked in Haute Couture 53 years ago. Of course, to get it they had to hire the hatter Philip Treacy, Saville Row tailors, Parisian embroiderers and Italian shoemakers. A lot of effort that they only plan to replicate once a year.

Giambattista Valli, owner and lord of some of the best couture collections in recent decades and especially in the runway week for fall 2021, he has rejoiced in his usual sophistication declaring that it was time for the spectacular, manicured and feminine collections were back in the ring. Exquisite and statuesque, as always.

End of the Dior Fall 2021 Haute Couture show
End of the Dior Fall 2021 Haute Couture show

On Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri finally got it right. And he achieved it by replicating the seriousness, formality and abundance of rich fabrics of Monsieur Dior, after several seasons emulating Prada, Vuitton and Balenciaga. Winter coats, hunting hats and riding helmets, tweed in brown and gray, the elegant realism devoid of absurd additives that characterized the founder of the house and the tranquility of a parade in the gardens of the house abounded. Museo Rodin.

During the Chanel Fall 2021 Haute Couture Show
During the Chanel Fall 2021 Haute Couture Show

On Chanel the same thing happened. Lagerfeld’s former assistant, Virginie viard, to which the position of artistic director was doing something great, has succeeded by returning to the keys of the house. She is not the one – for now – to add more sneakers or sweatshirts to the house on rue Cambon. Retaking the keys to Mademoiselle, he managed to present the first wearable Chanel collection in several years. Gorgeous black cocktail dresses – yes, black is ubiquitous again – elegant tweed suits, timeless evening gowns and feminine pastel outfits. The walkway, which consisted of going up and down the stairs of the great Galliera PalaceIt was a scene of astonishing neatness. TO Coco Chanel, he probably would have liked the event.

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Y Daniel Roseberry, retaking the baton of Schiaparelli, looked for the artistic and surrealistic side of which the Roman seamstress displayed, mixing it with sensual touches such as Versace and ethnic and complicated fabrics that recalled the excellent work that Christian Lacroix performed for decades before retiring. Roseberry has been able to combine the artistic side of the Schiaparelli with contemporary influences from unorthodox painters.

This week of the Parisian Haute Couture has shown that ‘couture’ can be the most modern form of fashion in this 21st century, that the public is eager to return to physical shows, to the sensations of the live show, to the elegance of what is well done and that values Historic fashion houses convey aspects that customers value: craftsmanship, exclusivity, individuality and work with exquisite materials. Long live Haute Couture!

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