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Fall 2019 Couture: Who to Watch

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

Article by Paige Venturi

It’s that time again folks.

Break out your best Miranda Priestly impressions because it’s Fall Haute Couture runway show season in Paris. And these shows might just be … groundbreaking.

The week is almost over, so here’s my take on who wore the boots and who called Cerulean “blue.”


Just Kill Me Already: (AKA Really Good)

Iris Van Herpen

Van Herpen has been around since 2007 when she started a movement of technological fashion after she 3D printed clothing. She was largely influential in exhibits at the 2016 Met Gala: “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” where she showcased 7 pieces. It wasn’t until recently that she became a more common name, as celebrities like Beyonce, Solange, Gwendoline Christie, and Jordon Roth flaunted her looks in music videos, at awards shows, and at the Met Gala. DO NOT SLEEP ON HER.

Van Herpen’s use of 3D printing gives each garment not only an oddly flexible structure, but also allows geometric patterns to move freely down the runway, creating a hypnotic vision of mixing colors and shapes, blending with and almost hiding the body entirely. She also successfully created a dress with moving pieces this couture season, so here’s the link to it walking down the runway. You’re welcome.

Christian Dior

Dior is always a hit and never a miss, we all know that. But this fall collection goes a little darker, premiering a couture line of “Vampire-Nun Chic,” as I’ve coined it. Maybe inspired by recent horror movie installments, or maybe, (and I hope) Maria Grazia Chiuri is finally giving us a peek inside her head and no longer hiding behind countless layers of pastel tulle.

Bring on the black, Dior. Each look on the catwalk features a girl properly in mourning, black veils and pillboxes galore, and 65 variations of pantsuits, skirtsuits, short dresses, gowns, a robe, and even a tiny house (?) The opening look poses the question “Are clothes modern?” and the collection then beings with what looks like is going to be a haute couture-take on a Victorian wife mourning the death of her husband that she really didn’t give a shit about. But then body suits of lace that mimic tattoos and thigh-high boots with flaring eyelash feathers changes that image very quickly. I’m not really sure of what the tiny house closing look means yet, but guessing very much so that Chiuri is making a statement: clothes can be modern and traditional at the same time. Bitch.


Not to be Forgotten: Good, but also I Expect You to Be

Giambattista Valli

While Giambattista Valli’s catwalk photos aren’t circulating as prominently as the editorial photos are, the collection is undoubtedly beautiful. I’m slightly confused because this definitely looks more like a Spring collection, but considering the inspiration behind it was a “moment of peace,” I guess I can let it slide. (Phelps,

Valli’s 31 looks all – ALL – include some sort of pluming ruffle and some sort of flower. He uses a minimal color palette of black, white, pastels, and the occasional hot pink. Many of the gowns play with shape, as some echo the bulb of a tulip, and others trail a high-low of tulle and chiffon that anyone wearing would want to twirl around in for at least 20 minutes.


Forewarning: Yes, I do expect bullying from this. Fully. I love Chanel with all my heart and soul – RIP Karl – but I want MORE FROM COUTURE. Virginie Viard is doing an amazing job, that’s not what I’m debating. With such an iconic house to take on, she stepped up to the plate and is eating some caviar from the damn thing. The designs are great, the collection is great, Chanel is great. As always.

But it’s just … Chanel. In my mind, I feel as if I’ve seen this collection before. And there are 70 looks in it. The structure and tailoring of each piece are impeccable, but I wasn’t really wowed until look 45. I love the androgyny and the variation throughout the collection, Viard definitely is showing her skills. She has more to come and Chanel will weather it all.


Who Surprised Me: Schiaparelli, in an Odd, Futuristic Way

Schiaparelli is not typically the name that pops into my head when I think of the most iconic or favorited fashion houses. But creative director Daniel Roseberry did not come to play. His fall collection is stunningly beautiful, incorporating lavish accessories from earrings to facial jewels to glittering scarves. It perfectly combines both an overuse and a lack of silhouette in magnificent proportions. The fabrics in use are rich and opulent, gleaming while minimal enough to let the construction and design shine.


Designers to Look Out For: I Don’t Care if You’re at the Beach or Lighting Fireworks with Your Cousin Jimmy, Just watch the Shows for the Love of Meryl Streep

Viktor & Rolf: By god, Camp has been the word of the day since May and if the notorious Viktor & Rolf doesn’t hit fall with something as hard as their Spring couture show did, myself and the entire cast of Queer Eye will be disappointed. Guo Pei: Also not a super common name in fashion, Guo Pei’s designs are always something I look forward to and harbor as a secret in my designer lust. Known for his yellow Met Gala look on Rihanna in 2015, Pei is an out-of-this-world designer who always comes up with something new and exciting. Be prepared for over-the-top in all the best ways. Valentino: A classic. Do I really need to say anything else? Elie Saab: Definitely one of my favorite evening wear designers. Elie Saab always finds a way to make what should be the same dress new every time. Look forward to lots of jewels, shiny stuff, and hopefully deep v-cuts.


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