Haute, Yes

Photo by Chanel | @chanelofficial

In the middle of summer when Fashion Week seems so far away, the leaders of the fashion world grace us with some beautiful eye candy: Haute Couture Fashion Week. There are only 14 brands that hold this coveted title and glitterati from around the world flock to see the new designs. This week was no exception as superstars descended upon the City of Love to catch a glimpse of the artistry of famed designers.

To most of the world, haute couture (French for “high fashion”) is a hazy, misunderstood concept, mostly because the one-of-a-kind pieces crafted almost entirely by hand can cost the upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This keeps the customers of these pieces restricted to the privileged few, much like the designers who are considered haute.

To be considered a haute label it must:

  • Have a workshop in Paris that employs at least 15 people
  • Design custom pieces for private clients with one or more fittings
  • Have at least 20 technical ateliers working in a workshop that may or may not be in Paris
  • Every season, present a collection of at least 50 original designs to the public, both day and evening garments, in January and July of each year.

The current stars of haute couture are design houses that have been around to shape the world of fashion for decades, such as Christian Dior and Chanel as well as relative newcomers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and guest Haute Couture label Elie Saab. Ironically, these design houses usually take a loss on their couture lines due to the high cost to make the pieces and the small circle of people buying them. To combat this loss and keep the profit margins out of the red, most of these labels employ other means of making money such as beauty products and perfumes.

Although this may seem outlandish and silly, the details of these gowns and other pieces find a way to work themselves into everyday fashion. Colors that become “in” are dictated by the creative director of famous fashion houses. This year Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, found inspiration in the past modernizing looks worn by women at the beginning of the 20th century. Intertwined with the colorful show stopping gowns were also a myriad of neutral tones. Greys, blacks and the ever-sexy nudes were the highlights and are sure to be seen this winter.

“I think that these lines are really relatable in a way,” says Kellen Redcay, a student at LaSalle University, who considers herself a self-proclaimed fashion expert. “With ready-to-wear it’s all about pushing boundaries, but with haute it’s so classic.”

Haute couture trends can be seen all over social media worn by your favorite celebrities and fashion icons.

Karlie Kloss debuted her new platinum tresses in a sheer Dior dress while Cara Delevingne continued to prove that bald can be beautiful at both Dior and Chanel shows.

Bella Hadid rocked the catsuit at the Met Gala, a trend that was carried on by grungy, Chanel cool-girl Kristen Stewart who wore the sparkly jumpsuit to Chanel accessorizing with sky-high Louboutin’s and her ever-present frown.

Wearing a pink grandma sweater, tie-dye t-shirt and yellow Adidas sneakers, Pharrell Williams proved that dad-style can be anything but boring. The singer-songwriter-producer strutted his bold look at the Chanel show.

These celebrities have turned runway fashion to street style, and you can do the same. Tweet your favorite haute couture looks @ValleyMag.